Adelaide Festival 2013 – UnSound Review – Trinity, Raime & More

I have been dying to attend something at the old Queen Theatre for years – it being the oldest surviving theatre on the Australian mainland, it is a mixture of preserved heritage fighting against the inevitable march of urban decay (not unlike many an old queen…)

What better place to sample offerings from UnSound, the Festival Within The Adelaide Festival showcasing some of the world’s finest dark ambient, experimental, avant-garde electronic artists that I never would have expected to see down here in the antipodeans.

First was duo Tim Hecker & Daniel Lopatin (the latter also known a Oneohtrix Point Never) who put the structural engineering of the Queens Theatre (and the scaffolding based stands I was sitting on) under severe stress by continually hitting their subharmonic mechanical resonance, risking a potential building collapse. Their weaving of low end frequency drone with sweeping high end attack, oscillating between harmony and discordance was not easily listening by any means – but perseverance brought revelation about the ability to manifest visceral intensity that is not reliant on volume alone.

The term ‘synaesthesia’ is often and easily bandied about when talking of the Laser & Audio show developed by Robin Fox, and I am not going to argue any differently. What this man achieves with a single beam green laser and synchronised sound treatments, diffused and refracted, demonstrates that minimalism is not necessarily synonymous with subtle. He traverses the gap between sound and form, to the point where they are indistinguishable. He is a master of Quantum Musica Universalis – instead of the planetary bodies his music arises from the dance of sub-atomic space, the violent exchange of charge and a confusion of causality.

Raime was a real discovery– noir down tempo techno sensibilities, it immediately invoked memories of my early exploration of electronic acts such as Morthound and James Bernard. With their visual montages of elemental destitution, desolation and resurrection, it was like the Queens Theatre was a natural performance space for them to inhabit, their particular aural offerings birthing renewal from fallen forms.

Lastly we had a rare performance of Trinity, manifested by Lustmord (Brian Williams) & MFO, being a commissioned exploration of the stark emotional space, cold visuals and inevitable dissolution of an old age arising from the nuclear weapons research program in the New Mexico desert . This definitive Atompunk audio / visual manifesto lowers a thick cloud of melancholic reflection over the observer, framing close scrutiny of fine lines between the salvation and destruction of civilization. Mr Williams’ chthonic invocations churn and regurgitate from below, punctuated by sonorific howling wails dropping liking divine tears – unable to extinguish the all-consuming incandescence that eventually erupts behind our performers.

One could not but walk away from tonight a little numb, intellectually and emotionally exhausted. Every bodily sense tangible and metaphysical was tried and tested. Big Kudos to the Adelaide Festival for curating a wheel within a wheel, the likes of which we have never seen.

Jonathan Mar 15th 2013 11:00 pm Art,Culture,Events,Music,News,People,Reviews,Style No Comments yet Trackback URI

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