A blog on gigs, music, art and London.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Will Dutta, Max de Wardener & Plaid, Purcell Room, 24/04/10

I’m a little late in blogging about this but on Saturday I was at the Purcell Room at the Southbank Centre to see Will Dutta, Max de Wardener and Plaid play a show as part of the Ether Festival (my 6th concert of a very good festival). Multimedia had played quite a big role over the course of the two weeks and it did so tonight also, on this occasion Quayola providing the visual projections.

The show featured various collaborations between Dutta (piano) and de Wardener & Plaid (live electronics). The collaboration between Dutta & Plaid that closed the show was the most successful, Messiaen-like piano allied to glistening electronic chords and beats. During the collaborations various strands of colour flowed horizontally across a black screen, changing form and mutating in response to the music, eventually morphing into geometric shapes.

In between these pieces, Will Dutta also performed a series of solo piano compositions by John Adams, Olivier Messiaen and Erik Satie. The pieces by Satie were characteristically contemplative, the Messiaen typically colourful. Although undoubtedly beautiful (and played very impressively from memory by Dutta) they seemed to stand separately from the collaborations, making for a slightly fragmented, stop-start show. In the programme notes Will Dutta spoke about connecting the different genres of classical, electronic and dance music but tonights' show seemed to showcase these individually as opposed to a cohesive set. Even the visuals felt strangely separated and distant.

The evening also featured a screening of ‘Strata #3’, a collaboration between Plaid & Quayola. Visually, it was quite an interesting piece. Three-dimensional triangular shapes float inside an art gallery and then begin to interact with a painting. Gradually the shapes became part of the painting, slowly altering it before it is finally totally represented as a digital three-dimensional landscape. Plaid’s contribution was a lush, ambient electronic soundtrack.

Will Dutta came back on stage to play a sublime version of ‘Avril 14th’ by Aphex Twin as an encore.

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