LAURA ALTMAN, ROMY CAEN, PRUE FULLER, MEL HERBERT & ANDREW FEDOROVITCH
This five piece ensemble set up in the gallery space of 107 Projects which is always quite pleasant.
They used a variety of instruments including sax, violin, some kind of organ with the back falling off it and the ever popular ceramic-cup-type-thing to blow into for sound textures. Restraint and understatement was the name of the game, to the point where I felt turning my notebook pages was almost intruding on the performance. There were some undeniably pleasant, purling tones going on but in the end it sounded like a slowed down recording of screeching a chaise longue over timber floors very quietly. Actually that’s kind of an interesting concept.
CLOCKS & CLOUDS
Back in the main room, Clocks & Clouds from Wollongong took the stage with their bespoke vibraphone and pump organ. They made incredible use of the space to create a melodic, mellifluous roll of what at times sounded like the prettiest feedback you’ve ever heard. It was a dynamic display of shimmering overtones and was my personal highlight of the night.
This guy was pretty brutal. Tucked away behind a couple of synths and a ton of patch cables, he pounded out some heavy textures reminiscent of a circuit-bent didgeridoo with some bleeps and bloops and no-input shenanigans thrown in for good measure. While he had a few interesting moments, It’s always an underwhelming sensation when “experimental” music becomes somewhat formulaic in its madness; the boundaries being pushed over already time-worn sonic fields.
A deformed kind of beat/pulse emerged towards the end of the piece though which really livened it all up.
It’s always nice to be a little unsure of what someone is using to create sounds for their performance. Joe Talia I believe was utilising some kind of reel-to-reel tape machine fed through some nice reverb and a mixing board. He warped and twiddled that thing to create an atmosphere of schizophrenic ambience, washes of sound and tape pops coming in and out sporadically. He managed to conjure a satisfying array of soundscapes that sounded at once organic and synthetic. Again though, like Matthew Brown, there’s something ultimately frustrating with the lack of movement or direction to these explorative performances. Producing an intriguing set of sounds is an accomplishment no doubt, but for me it becomes memorable when they can be sculpted into something greater than the sum of their parts; not just existing as uncontrolled ephemera. But perhaps that’s the whole point.
The whole night was really very positive and thought provoking on the whole. Big ups to Thomas William for holding it down on the sound desk.