Sydney Bernard Parmegiani performance nights

hey guys, it's interesting to hear your thoughts on the bris performances so thought I'd drop a few lines on my impressions of the sydney performances

I went along to both of the sydney nights for Bernard Parmegiani - the first night had locals Pimmon, Philip Samartzis, Donna Hewitt, and Scott Horscroft playing.
the most impressive performance for me was Donna Hewitt. I'd never seen her before or heard her music, but it's really quite beautiful. I could be wrong in what I think she was doing, but it seemed like she had a theremin attached to the microphone stand or had attached contact mics or something to it so it was acting like a theremin and creating feedback as she moved it. first she sang a few notes and adjusted the sounds with her hands. I was sitting back and couldn't see exactly what was happening at the start until I moved a bit. she was watching the laptop screen, and as new sounds came in she'd move the mic stand around in circles and adjust the sounds. it sounded like she was generating sounds with it, and her voice (& adding delay) as well as having some sounds coming from the computer. I didn't get a chance to ask her what she was doing. was anyone else there who could fill me in? the sounds were really nice - much softer sounds, only a few harsh ones. I guess as a punter in the crowd, this performance was most interesting for me as I could see how her movements were adjusting the sounds.
Scott Horscroft played next and I could only see part of his computer screen (he used a desktop) as he sat with his back to the audience.

Philip Samartzis' performance was interesting also. he had all these cd players lined up and a book with notes and he played sounds from the cds and adjusted the levels on the mixing desk. he explained what he was doing before the performance which was cool cos I like to know what's going on. his performance technique seemed similiar to BP's the following night.

Pimmon was last to perform. I've got some of his music on cd and seen him once or twice before but never up so close. usually he's just a head behind the laptop screen from a distance and I can't see any movement. this performance was different though as I sat side-on to him from about 2metres away. it's cool to watch his hands move and the expression on his face, his brow furrows in concentration and he tends to bight his lip a bit during the heavier parts of the songs. there was a bit of rocking back and forth to the sounds too keeping in rhythm to the music.
his sounds were so much more powerful than the other performers on the night also, so I'd have to say I got more out of his performance that night than other times I'd seen him.

it was a smallish room - I think it was an old school hall, but it looked like an old church. really high ceilings but quite narrow. I thought the sound in the room was really good - you could hear the sounds flying around the room leaping between the speakers, really clear sounds. it must have looked funny to watch the crowd as a few people were watching the sounds moving around, heads following them from speaker to speaker. others were sitting with bowed heads and closed eyes.
The wed night I took a friend and his flatmate. I've dragged my friend around to some live electronic nights but this was the first he'd seen up close with people quiet through the performances. His flatmate hadn't been to any before. Her comments were funny - she said at first she was sitting there thinking 'make it stop, make it stop' and she was having problems dealing with the unusual sounds.
Then she said she started to relax and all of a sudden she thought she was going to fall off the chair because her head had turned to mush and she was so relaxed (I suggested strapping her to the chair for the second half of the performances so she didn't hurt herself).

The performance on Thursday night from BP was really nice. I preferred his last two pieces, the earlier ones. It was interesting to hear the later pieces sound similar to other experimental sounds I've heard. I couldn't really see what he was doing apart from adjusting the sliders on the mixer - I wasn't sure where the sounds were sourced.. cd perhaps?? I just remember thinking how he was probably in his 30s (or maybe 40s) when he created the first pieces and how cool it was to be still travelling the world sharing the sounds with other people. Before the gig I wasn't sure what to expect about his performance technique - whether he would do something I'd never seen before or play from cd or what. I liked his bow at the end - made it feel special like we were watching a private concert close up which could have been performed in a huge concert theatre.

Anyway I enjoyed both nights - was interesting to note that even in experimental community internationals receive the most support as the second night sold out and there was not a seat left in the house and people were sitting on the floor in front of the performance desk and on the chairs lining the sides of the room whereas the first night the room was probably ¼ - 1/3 full. I saw a few faces who were at both nights but I don't know enough sydney people in this circle to know if they are other music artists or part of the organising crew. thanks to the organisers for putting it together!

I'd love to hear what other people at the sydney performance/s thought


-- via email to aus_noise mail list 21/07/2003

reply by Andrew Kettle
reply by Scott Sinclair
reply by me/Kath

Donna Hewitt's website via @scottsinclair
Donna Hewitt interview on Small Black Box via @scottsinclair

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