WANGARATTA JAZZ 09 — BARNEY McALL & SYLENT RUNNING

Barney McAll on keyboards, Gian Slater vocals, Chris Hale on electric bass, Ben Vanderwal on drums, Dan West on laptop, toys, electronics, Nir Felder (New York) on guitar

This was quite different from what I’d expected from the notes promising experiments in relationships “between silence and non-silence, beauty and its opposites … pristine acoustics and botched, ‘confused robot’ electronics”. Barney explained the set would explore a future scenario in which Gian was the last person on earth. They began with a piece that may have been titled “Okaline” or similar, then one Barney said was “for my son … he smiles a lot right now”.

Holy Trinity cathedral was packed for this, though many seemed not to stay that long. You have to be in the right state of mind, in the moment, and I was probably already ahead of myself, working out when to leave to catch Mike Nock and Niko Schauble, so I did not do this justice. There seemed to be a lot of surreal beauty, but not much of its opposites while I was there. It was too ambient for me, despite the hypnotic feel and the enticement of Slater’s voice.

This is a fairly inadequate snapshot of what I’m sure ought to have been considered as a whole concept piece. I had the chance to hear Sylent Running again in the Alpine MDF Theatre, but it clashed with the gig by Barney’s brother, John McAll and I went to that. I was not disappointed.

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