Cat Hope performs Eliane Radigue’s Occam XXIV
With moody blue light pooling on surfaces the only luminescence piercing the otherwise total darkness of Carriageworks’ Bay 20, Cat Hope moves to the centre of a circle of scattered listeners reclining on pillows. From the perspective of those sitting up in the stands, it might have looked as if she was standing at the centre of one of those mindfulness rock labyrinths. In between Hope’s audibly deep breaths, a slow procession of monophonic reedy tones diffuses outward into the air. People sitting around me seem both drawn towards the music and drawn into themselves; I guess for most people this kind of single-note minimalism doesn’t just invite an inward experience, it forces it. The crowd seems enthralled, although some, notably my cousin sitting beside me, were not so entertained.
The Speaker by Pan Daijing, Valerio Tricoli & Werner Dafeldecker
After the resounding applause dies down for Cat Hope, Pan Daijing’s voice signals the beginning of The Speaker: A six-channel acousmonium of aural theatre; a collection of overlapping audio-text pushing through glitching strobes and smoke. Daijing beckons us into the inner chamber of her vivisected childhood over a soundscape of melting server farms and AI drones flying menacingly overhead. Synthesized rivers of sound and shifting augmented cloud formations mesh with ASMR-youtube video-esque mouthings, but most of the time these sounds are sparse, interspaced by yawning chasms of expectation. It is a visceral personal diary of hyperstitial time, endless recursion, replication, a holographic VR boot stamping a human face – but maybe not forever.
After a short intermission, everybody’s favourite technicolor grizzly uncle takes to the stage amid his regular haberdashery of plush totems and tapestries. The crowd greet him with fervour apposite to the legend he has amassed after half a century constructing vast personal theologies from resonance and op-shop bargain bins. Starting his set à la groggy hermit waking from deep cave slumber he greets the dawn with a clank of two wine glasses, then offers a volley of nasal salutations before finally settling at the piano. Beginning with a see-saw of octaval tones, he slowly knits his trademark gradually-evolving meshwork of resonance, tottering along the gangplank between Phillip Glass and art-brut plink-plonk, but usually leaning more towards the former. After some unquantifiable span of time – perhaps long enough to dry out any of his tapestries dampened by the drizzly Sydney weather – he ends with a short coda of battery-toy harmonization, before taking another quaff from his wine glass and bidding us adieu.