Amanda Handel & G.L. Seiler
The Red Room, Katoomba
Sunday 17 September 2006
Nested beside Katoomba station in the Blue Mountains is The Red Room, formerly known as Tres Elies, a nicely sized bar and restuarant that has hosted some fantastic shows over the years. Tonight it was the launch of a new record on the Feral Media label from Amanda Handel and G.L. Seiler (better known as Comatone) called Ghosts & Angels. Handel is a Blue Mountains-based composer with a penchant for all things Spanish, as evidenced by the endless flamenco footage that played over dinner. Seiler works as an engineer and producer in the mountains as well and the Ghosts & Angels project combines Handel’s piano work and Spanish found sounds with Comatone’s electronics.
The best ambient music relies heavily on atmosphere – especially when performed in a live setting – and the show promised much. The album is solid and it was always going to be a challenge to translate it to a live show. Whilst there were some sublime moments, the mood was all too often interrupted by constant stoppages. Amanda Handel longwindedly introduced each track – often dissecting it and its meaning – and in so doing drained much of the mystery and necessary surprise from the listening experience. Atmosphere dispelled, one’s tolerance of interpretive dance (reamrkably managed on the tiny stage) is greatly diminished and the whole experience felt more like a school rehearsal with the teacher interrupting all the time, than the transformative magic a good live show should be.
It was the first live performance of the album and musically there seemed to be relatively few hiccups, but Handel and Seiler need to work on creating a more immersive and less interrupted show.