Cat Hope is establishing a formidable reputation as a concert curator. On Saturday the Anime concert as part of Tura’s Scale Variable series showcased the genre of animated notation which combines graphic notation (traceable to the 1950’s and even the medieval era) with computer animation. The intriguing concert featured eight premieres with the scores projected on a screen and the performers interpreting the colour, size, patterns and codes of the images.
Each piece displayed a different facet of Decibel, an electro acoustic six-piece ensemble with an ever-expanding capacity for persuasive improvisation. In Lindsay Vickery’s …with the fishes… the violin, viola, and cello sounds were electronically manipulated to create a murky, bubbling depiction of sea pollution as represented by the industrial structures and paint splashes on the score.
Hope’s bee-inspired Erst required performers to respond to tiny scattered squares and the delicate sounds were layered over an electronic drone with overtones thrumming like the wings of swarming bees. Dane Yates’ politically inspired [under] had a decaying, strangled sound world while Stuart James’ Existence éphémère created a humming gentle sheet of sound. Felicity Wilcox used footage of a train journey as her score for EXIT resulting in a plaintive piece built around the rumble of bass guitar and occasional pulses of percussion.
Some works had a playful element: Ryan Ross Smith used the motion of a cursor landing on dots to draw spatterings of sound from the instrumentalists and Bergrún Snaebjörnsdóttir invited two guitarists to interpret light patterns on the floor.
The piece that lingers in my mind is Jonathan Mustard’s Primorph. Each performer was allocated a clay-like shape on the screen and the sliding, tapping and blurting of the alert instrumentalists gave personality to the images as they twisted, sighed and sagged above them. Here image and sound met; composer and performers united to create compelling spontaneous art.
This review copyright The West Australian 2015.