CHARLES HAYWARD VERSUS HARMERGEDDON at The Albany
South-east London is a crucible of cultural excellence and one of its most shimmering ingredients is the phenomenon that is Charles Hayward, drummer extraordinaire and bona fide musical guru.
His latest creative project, recorded on vinyl in lockdown, is an astonishing collaboration with local electronica duo Harmergeddon which pulses with the grace notes of Silver Apples, Can and Public Image Ltd yet is a work of uncompromisingly contemporary originality.
Called Hayward Versus Harmergeddon, it was given its first live airing at the Albany in a gig that was also streamed in real time on YouTube.
It’s almost impossible to overstate just how great this performance was. Hayward reminded me of Can’s legendary drummer Jaki Liebezeit as he laid down a mesmerising groove for Harmergeddon pair Nathan Greywater and Polyphoniefae who flooded the Albany with their unique blend of light show, punk sensibility and electro-psychedelia. It was quite simply sensational.
Their set was the finale of an epic evening under the banner of Charles Hayward Presents… which, like its host, challenged the boundaries and definitions of musical genres.
Thus we were given three acts of wildly differing styles – eclectic offerings from DJ Raimund Wong, eerie underground experimentalism from French violinist Agathe Max and artist Ross Adams and wonderful weirdness from Merlin Nova, south-east London’s answer to Björk.
They perfectly set the mood for the Hayward-Harmergeddon finale and helped make a magnificently memorable evening.