Eastern Ear was established when a group of seven local artists and improvisers met over a shared passion for spontaneous collaboration and the desire to provide an accessible platform for any and all local musicians to perform.
We have created ‘The Plank’ to provide just this; we host regular sessions where artists, musicians and audiences can meet to perform, to practice, to develop or to simply observe. ‘The Plank’ is entirely inclusive and open to non-musicians or those that are curious, we’d especially like to collaborate with artists of other forms (painting/movement/spoken word etc).
Sessions are typically in two clear halves; the first is structured and led by Eastern Ear where we explore particular themes and ideas, the second half is free play, usually divided by working in smaller ensembles and groups.
The Plank has attracted over 30 members since it's inception and has earned it's place on the national scene for supporting community based improvisers meetings, alongside The Noise Upstairs in Manchester and Flim Flam in London.
As part of the development of the project we have concentrated on periods of recording and performing; most notably 'Plankestra Presents' was a mini-series of performances featuring smaller groups formed at the Plank, and the large ensemble PLANKESTRA, that has performed on the same bill as Flower Corsano Duo and Steve Noble.
We have worked hard to support the engagement of visual artists within the group, using the music to shape and develop their practice but also to use the visual materials in musical activities, the musical and visual elements of the group are often entirely entwined and always harmonious.
Below is a collection of artwork made by Laure Van Minden and Paul Levy during their participation in The Plank, and recordings of PLANKESTRA performances throughout different stages of its evolution.