Edinburgh Science Festival
When I walked in the Dissecting Room of the Summerhall to the ambisonic soundscape of Kraftwerk, & took my seat at a round table in front of 6 pairs of exotic beers, I thought to myself, ‘I fuc£ing love science, me!’ A few moments later Barnsley-born Pete Brown idled onto stage with a bottle of beer in his hand like a good-looking Les Dawson, & cracked on with his investigations into whether music makes beer taster better, & if it does, why? In his pre-amble, he declared he was proud to be in the Summerhall, a homecoming if you will, because it was four years previously that he’d played a bit-part in ‘Sensory Dining,’ from which catalyst his four-year odyssey & investigations into the science behind music & sensorary taste evolved.
Before our glorified beer-tasting session kicked off, we witnessed a man funnier & more confident than most professional comedians off load a wide plethora of interesting information into our minds, from retronasal taste to musical synesthesia. Using excellent VJs & nightclub style lighting, Pete immersed us in his journey, an anecdotal lecture into why beer & music have been pleasant bedfellows since time immemorial. Then we got to the science bit, where Pete made us sip different beers to different songs from his personal collection.
To Goose Island’s Urban Wheat he attached Neil Young’s ‘Harvest Moon,’ while the 8.5 percent Duvel got The Pixies ‘Debaser.‘ When he explained that the Joy Division’s dark, brooding & oily album, Unknown Pleasures, was recorded only a stone’s throw from the brewers of the equally dark, brooding & oily Old Tom in Stockport, I thought for a moment there might be something in it. But by the end of it all, after tossing us into a shipwreck barrel of conflicting opinions & subjectivity, Pete admitted that the whole things was ‘remarkably inconsistent.‘ So science, perhaps not, or at least not yet, but getting drunk & listening to decent tunes while trying out tasty new beers is always a winning combo!
Reviewer : Damo Bullen