13 August 2012

Night of extremes, pt.1

It was genuinely a night of extremes at the CJP with Gian Slater followed by Laurence Ku.

It could be no else with Gian Slater’s Invenio as an introduction. At least for me, this was truly a unique experience in jazz - atypical, diverse, distinctive, unrelated, singular. When else have I heard an unaccompanied choir of 14 (nine females, 5 males) vocalising all range of wordless sounds over one hour with just two sung songs. What were these sounds? Animals, squeels, pops, slides, clucks, drones, forests, whoops, wheels, ca-ta-da, hisses, relationships, guttural, vocalised, more. Harmonies, sharing, movements, responses. And visually nondemonstrative, dressed in white or faun, standing with hands to the side, deadpan faces, moving only slowly but in synch with each other and the music, forming patterns on stage. And props? Just for vocal enhancements: cups and bowls at one time, metal foil at another, to rustle and mute. Then once a drone of sitar in support, but mostly just voices. And then just two sets of words, both sung by convenor/leader and presumably composer, Gian Slater. One of innocence and dread, starting What you said it left me hanging. The other similar in presence. There were intimations of minimalism with slowly moving lines amongst singing pairs or groups. There were melodies passed one to one and changing like a Chinese whisper. And always that beautiful, beautiful sound of voice taken to places unimagined. I thought of likening to The Necks in effect and to minimalism in the trance-like beauty. But this was of itself and immensely beautiful. One side of the night’s extremity.

Gian Slater led Invenio, a choir of fourteen voices (9 female, 5 male) in a performance of Gone without saying. The voices of Invenio were Gian Slater, Georgie Darvidis, Miriam Crellin, Gemma Tully, Jenny Barnes, Helen Catanchin, Loni Thomson, Audrey Zoega, Louisa Rankin, Edward Fairlie, Jem Savage, Jeremy Hopkins, Tom Barton and Josh Kyle.

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