Larry Can Laugh: Bricolage

Michael Garcia and Tony Flynn have been working together as a duo for a few years now. They first came to public attention (under the name LogaRhythm) in 2021, when their music featured on Corey Mwamba’s late-night Radio 3 show, Freeness. Prior to that, both of them had been involved in the free improvisation scene, Michael in London, Tony, in London and the North of England.

Their early work was more pitch-based, Garcia playing marimba and Flynn, piano. Since then, there seems to have been a definite shift in their philosophy, which perhaps they wanted to signal by changing their name to Larry Can Laugh. These days, though marimba and keyboard still feature, Garcia is more likely to be heard playing accordion and Flynn, electronics. Accordion chords and clusters and electronic sounds morph into each other (sometimes it’s hard to tell which is which), the whole sometimes clarifying into drones and snatches of sometimes folk-like melody. The result is an engaging sound, a music that has more edge and energy than this description might suggest. Garcia cites influences as diverse as bandoneon player Dino Saluzzi and composer Iannis Xenakis. Flynn, John Cage and Cecil Taylor. Whatever their influences, the result is a distinctive sound which avoids a number of clichés it could easily slip into. Free improvised music is often seen as something of a Marmite genre, but Larry Can Laugh might well come as a pleasant surprise to many people who think they hate it.

I listened to this, their new album Bricolage (their first as Larry Can Laugh) in one go. It was hard not to. It’s not one of those albums made up of, say, three really good tracks padded out with a few more that just ‘cross the line’: all ten are an engaging listen. Two, though, do stand out: Far From the Centre with its intriguing sound-world and novel melodic ideas and Chrome Yellow, the central – and longest – track, with its rich drone-sounds and which features Garcia on both marimba and accordion. Colours often pop up in the track titles: Magenta, Red Iron and, playfully, Burnt Umbrella. I was reminded by this of Derek Jarman, who, of course, lived at Dungeness, not far south of Larry Can Laugh’s base in The Warren, Kent. It must be something about the light down there.





Dominic Rivron

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