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John Harle & Marc Almond: The Tyburn Tree – Dark London

Extraordinary, haunting tour of The Big Smoke.

Having been a fixture on the music scene for over four decades, Marc Almond probably needs little introduction. As for John Harle, he’s also led an extraordinary career as a saxophonist and composer (his career encompassing the Cold Stream Guards, and work with luminaries from director Peter Greenaway to Elvis Costello). This is Harle and Almond’s second collaboration, and it is an extraordinary one.

Taking its name from the gallows erected near Marble Arch, The Tyburn Tree is a song cycle taking in London’s blood-soaked stories and myths: Victorian ghouls (Spring Heeled Jack, The Vampire Of Highgate); notorious real-life crimes (Ratcliffe Highway, Labyrinth Of Limehouse) as well as a thoroughly unsettling take on My Fair Lady.

For tone, imagine Almond doing for Lionel Bart what he did for Jacques Brel on Jacky. His committed, theatrical performances work perfectly with Harle’s sophisticated, modern compositions – progressive in parts, operatic in others (To The Crow The Spoils will give you goosebumps), with a stunning contemporary production to boot.

It’s a perfect marriage of subject and performance – my money’s on Tim Burton to make the videos…