Review by bedfellow writer, Unjay Markiewicz, Saturday 27th October 2018.
Assembly Operation, produced by the ensemble, Speak Percussion, seeks to represent aspects of Chinese ability by exploring the sonic abeyant of three media axial to Chinese history: paper, ceramics, and low-fidelity electronics, apropos aback to associations with the iconic Chinese one yuan note.
Speak Percussion, is a ‘new music’ ensemble based in Melbourne but with an all-embracing reach. Co-founder, artful director, percussionist, and artisan of the present piece, Eugene Ughetti, has been alive with Speak Percussion aback its birth in 2000. He has additionally collaborated with all-embracing composers, such as Steve Reich and Pierre Boulez.
The brainy birth of Assembly Operation begins with Pierre Schaeffer’s musique concrète and Steve Reich’s minimalist and serialist styles of composition. The aim of this access is advisedly to abstracted musicality from sound, allotment to analyze the media of complete assembly in the abstract; the average is the message.
Speak Percussion manages to amalgamate these beat ethics with arresting affected staging for an immersive acoustic experience. Assembly Operation opens with the three percussionists (Eugene Ughetti, Speak Percussion’s Artful Associate, Matthias Schack-Arnott, and Kaylie Melville) built-in in the aphotic abaft desks or workbenches. There are three rows of three benches, anniversary row set for the corresponding movement of the composition. Around their anxiety are clouds of white tissue paper. Under minimalist spotlighting and some up-lighting, they activate to move loops of closely-microphoned agenda beyond their desks, evoking a complete like a abounding beck of water. They add to this with tissue agenda actuality scrunched and again accustomed to bounce aback to form. They abide to add ball and acuteness as they activate to tap out polyrhythms on the table, the book evoking the a aural alongside tasks of the a assembly worker.
The additional movement sees the percussionists assuming sonic explorations on ceramics, cymbals and agenda boxes application a array of accouterments including knitting needles, wire brushes, and violin bows, while gradually architecture the complete sources/instruments into a replica of the baptize pagodas illustrated on the about-face of China’s one yuan note. Similarly, the projected arena on the awning abaft the performers transitions from pagoda-like forms abandoning in water, to ink marbling on the apparent of water, which becomes an abstruse adaptation of the coffer note’s reverse.
For the third movement, the performers move to the aback row of tables to comedy baby keyboard synthesisers. This begins in a added blithe way with antic references to the 8-bit soundtracks of aboriginal computer games, alike cartoon some amusement from the admirers as Schack-Arnott and Melville exchanged cyberbanking ray gun fire. Gradually phasing polyrhythmic patterns acquired into an absorbing bank of complete as delay, echo, and border furnishings transfigured the naïve cyberbanking sounds of the keyboards. The cyberbanking artful was reflected in the projected angel of a filigree of colour alive LEDs and aflame red and blooming ancillary lighting.
More than aloof a composition, Assembly Operation presents a collaborative aggregation accomplishment amid video artisan Cyrus Tang, beheld artisan Jia Jia Chen, set artist Clare Britton, complete artist Nick Roux, and lighting artist Richard Dinnen, to aftermath a consistently minimalist allotment of achievement art.
There were absolutely absorbing and evocative soundscapes as able-bodied as some amazing beheld moments but, somehow, as a whole, the assembly bootless to body to article absolutely satisfying, arguably actuality somewhat egoistic in genitalia and, as such, it seemed ever long.
Despite its artful pedigree, it is arguable that Assembly Operation is absurd to accretion abundant accepted appeal, its purist sonic absorption abnegation to crop alike one acceptable tune and eliciting alone balmy acclaim from the Adelaide premiere audience.
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