Review: Tectonics Adelaide, Day Two

Curated by Ilan Volkov and showcasing a diverse array of experimental and ambient works, day two of Tectonics Adelaide was a mind bending journey into the rich and diverse world of sound-art.

Featuring acts from interstate and overseas, this celebration of the abstract kicked-off with a breathtaking performance by New York and now Melbourne based composer, David Shea. Working in collaboration with Mindy Meng Wang (guzheng) and Speak Percussion, Across the Silk Road was the perfect way to get day two’s proceedings underway. Led by Shea on programming and piano, Across the Silk Road is a musical work that explores the connections between traditions. Imbued with a sense of narrative, and playing like a soundtrack without a film, Shea’s composition is a marvellous mix of contemporary electronica and traditional Chinese music. Next up were two pieces performed by members of Sydney’s Splinter Orchestra, a large-scale electro-acoustic ensemble that take the notion of ‘experimental’ to the extreme. Infused with a rich DIY spirit, this group of artists challenge all notions of classical instrumentation. With members using all sorts of bizarre objects such as water bottles, tin cans, ornamental Christmas reindeer and plastic tubing to bring their ambient compositions to life. tectonics-adelaide-festival-review-town-hall-tony-lewis-2016 Interspersed with intervals galore – in a bid to make these experimental works as palatable as possible – the evening session took the concept of sound-art to a whole new level.  Performing a piece by Austrian composer, Klaus Lang, Speak Percussion treated those brave enough to stick around for the second half of day two to a performance of supreme restraint. Entitled, Moon in a Moonless Sky, Lang’s composition has to be one of the quaintest musical works ever penned. Built around large chunks of silence and punctuated with subtle flurries of xylophone and delicately caressed bongos, Moon in a Moonless Sky is a beautiful and unique work that culminated in all five members of this talented percussion troupe softly rubbing the tops of half-filled water glasses. With so much experimentation on offer, Melbourne’s youthful wind chamber players, The Arcadia Quintet brought a breath of fresh air to this at times claustrophobic program. Playing two pieces by Canadian composer, Eyvind Kang these fabulous, classically trained musicians were captivating from the moment they took to the stage. Playing with great gusto and passion, these five uber talented musicians infused Kang’s compositions with texture and vigour, and stole the hearts of everyone in the crowd. Clocking in at almost nine hours, day two of Tectonics Adelaide was a mixed bag. From classical works to abstract noise experiments, this wild and experimental showcase of sound-art had a little something for everyone. And no matter what your stance is in relation to ambient and abstract musical forms, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who could deny the creative nature of Tectonics Adelaide. 3.5 stars Tectonics took place at the Adelaide Town Hall on Friday, March 4 and Saturday, March 5 as a part of the Adelaide Festival of Arts. Images: Tony Lewis

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