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279 May 2007
On Location live and kicking:
Festivals, concerts, events in the flesh
Museum of Modern Art
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The fourth instalment of the Hipersonica festival is a musical subdivision of the much larger FILE (International Festival of Electronic Language), and inhabits the underbelly space of Museu de Arte Moderna, a late 1940s edifice that's supported by huge concrete struts. This is an acoustically perfect setting for high volume wrenching sounds, with its low ceiling and muscly speaker system spanning the four corners of the space. The artists traverse the spectrum of abstract electronica, edging towards the less regiment zones of beat oriented music. The stated aim is to combine a core musical programme with elements of performance art and installation.
The Austrian composer Wolfgang Dorninger opens the evening with his electronic opera Nasca on Perspective, aided by the desolate grey visuals of Fuckhead founder Didi Bruckmayr and the profoundly battering percussion of Max Wolfsteiner ricocheting underneath the arches with immense force. The imponsingly punky tenor Siegmar Aigner is the dominant presence, his guttural sustains coughed up from the sawdust covered boards of a low-rent opera house.
A complete contrast are
The festival's first revelation arrives in the shape of Laborg, another collective uniting visual and aural in spectacular fashion. Their governing concept is to set up a laboratory stage left, pottering about with glass bowls, tubes and tanks filled with a variety of oily fluids, which are mixed, squirted, bubbled by blow darts, boiled, shaken and stirred, filmed all the while from all angles, with real-time images ranged around multiple screens. Illuminated by a sickly amber glow, the look like bearded disciples, rapt with beaded concentration as they dissect the body of Christ. The music is suitably panoramic, minimally spread into slowly shifting blocks of shear rumble, flecked by cascading crinkles. They are followed by Ray_XXXX, a pair of Canadians who sit with their backs to the audience, delivering a set of obsessively pounding system music under huge flashing geometric shapes on the video screens. Their attack is physical, building up a visceral dense noise. The duo, Alain Thibault and Matthew Biederman, provide the night's last real outbreak of sonic extremity, as they're followed by a run of laptoppers who concern themselves with off-kitter rhythms for the club environment.
Acting as a bridge, Scanner opens with some trademark interference, pylons spreading fuzzes of grey noise. But Robin Rimbaud is in a partying mood and it's not long before his Techno set manifests itself. As he gradually sets the beats loose, Scanner is headbanging furiously, offering his own dislocated version of the Techno process. He ends up sounding curiously retro, accessible yet hard. He sings into his microphone like a fallen choirboy, sampling on the roof, mixing voice with expansive piano chords, rising on an exhilarating upward curve. Kode9 is bringing dubstep to
The showmanlike climax comes courtesy of Daedelus, draped in his white circus ringleader coat, bushy sideburns signaling willful eccentricity. His live set concentrates on the hyperventilating dance push, with laptop channeled through his homemade sample trigger, a box covered with twinkling light lozenges, like something out of a 1950s science fiction film. This allows complete spontaneity when triggering sounds, gushing out a jumbled collision of commercialised slices, compressed into a creamed up rush of all the best bits.
The Hipersonica festival was a well-crafted journey from moody abstraction to joyful pumping, with a variety of permutations encountered on the way.
|® 2006 File | Electronic Language International Festival|