by Michael Canning
Tiny Ruins played in Sheffield yesterday as part of their current European tour and they were a joy to behold with such an implicit sense of space and lightness of touch. It was a wondrous concert to have witnessed. Tiny Ruins just have the knack of creating work with fundamentally clear and resonant tonal colour. The first time I heard ‘Wandering Aengus’ from the ‘Hurtling Through’ EP it brought about a powerful surge of emotion that hit me in my throat and jaw. It was instantaneous and a potent reminder to what a powerful medium music can be. The German music theorist Hamel once wrote that tonal colour is achieved through a relative proportion of ‘upper sounds’ of a harmonic series which corresponds with corresponding parts of the body and our inner aspect.
Fullbrook utilised various tunings on her guitars and played them immaculately, her arpeggios literally glistening. Her beguiling and beautiful voice weaved effortlessly around the chord changes and the intrinsic space that an acoustic guitar provides. When Hamish Kilgour took the stage for the second part of the set to play the songs from the Hurtling EP he played very minimally and softly on a drum kit, mostly leading on the kick drum. It was a very different form of playing to when I first saw him play with Bailter Space in 1988 yet just as graceful and filled with warmth.
The whole show seemed to pass by very quickly. Tiny Ruins had woven transcending musical spells. The last song was ‘Reasonable Man’, a request from an audience member. Fullbrook unplugged her guitar, moved away from the microphone, asked the audience to come closer, and played the piece acoustically. Her voice and guitar carried across in the space perfectly. She finished and left the stage to loud applause. It was an unexpected ending to an entrancing show of gentle and innately complete music.