Tag Archives: Kynan Robinson

SHAMELESS PUBLICITY FOR COLLIDER

Collider @ La Mama Musica, 205 Faraday St, Carlton, Monday, June 20, at 7.30pm
Shared Obsessions

Kynan Robinson trombone, Adam Simmons tenor sax, Andrea Keeble violin, Jason Bunn viola, Ronny Ferella drums, Anita Hustas double bass

Collider

Collider

Ausjazz blog’s take on Collider: “This was really visceral music and its effect was felt physically. The combination of instruments provided a timbre-laden treat that would gladden the heart of a Tasmanian conservationist or an Orbost logger, or both.”

Collider’s take on Collider: “A truly eclectic Melbourne ensemble, part jazz group, part string ensemble and part wind band.  Collectively the members of Collider occupy almost all facets of the Melbourne music scene, from the MSO, to the Make It Up Club.”

This program will showcase new material composed by four Collider members — Ronny Ferella, Anita Hustas, Andrea Keeble and Jason Bunn. Five new works will be premiered in “Shared Obsessions”:

Valiant Obsession (Jason Bunn): Inspired by a track from the Punch Brothers,
where a seemingly random violin tone was woven into a crackin tune (“Me and
Us”, from “Antifogmatic”, 2010). Each instrument is given a short tone
row, first set over a John Adams-esque driving accompaniment, then expanded
to allow each player to explore the improvisational possibilities of their
tone row, both individually and in combination.

Peteliske  (Anita Hustas): (pronounced peh-teh-lish-keh) means butterfly in
the Lithuanian language. This piece is inspired by the ancient Lithuanian
song form ‘Sutartine’ which is a polyphonic mantra like vocal chant.

Cloud Shaped Thought (Anita Hustas): based on the poem Cloud Shaped Thought by Lidjia Simkute.

Both Peteliske and Cloud Shaped Thought are performed from graphic scores
created especially for Collider.

Shrouded History (Ronny Ferella): A three-part work inspired by the drumming and singing of the Santeria religion (a religion found in Cuba that combines West African religious traditions with Catholicism)

Fly (Andrea Keeble): Inspired by musician/composer John Zorn and explores
eastern European folk influences.

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COLLIDER

GIG: Bennetts Lane, Sunday, February 27, 2011

Adam Simmons tenor saxophone, Kynan Robinson trombone, Ronny Ferella drums, Anita Hustas bass, Jason Bunn viola, Andrea Keeble violin

Jason Bunn on viola

Jason Bunn on viola

This was an unusual line-up, but not a surprise given the involvement of Simmons, Robinson and Ferella, who are always imaginative. It was formed in 2006 for a visit by San Francisco saxophonist and composer Phillip Greenlief, but he could not make it and neither did the charts for his suite, which was to draw on material from Ornette Coleman. So Simmons hurriedly put together a suite — untitled, but Adam suggests something like The Language in Beauty — inspired by Coleman, Greenlief and in part by the “what am I gonna do” panic that arose from wanting the gig to go ahead. Simmons asked Robinson to join and the band was born.

Kynan Robinson points the 'bone

Kynan Robinson points the 'bone

Collider has played infrequently since, at Melbourne Jazz Fringe Festival and the Melbourne Women’s International Jazz Festival. Most compositions are by Simmons and Robinson.

Jason Bunn on viola

Jason Bunn on viola

The evening opened with a Simmons piece entitled Words from Clouds, followed by three Robinson compositions — A Night on a Rollercoaster Turns a Woman’s Hair White, Midori and Malt as Water — followed by the Keeble and Hustas composition New Black SuiteNew Black 1 & 2 and Homeland.

The second set at Bennetts included three pieces from the Language of Beauty suite — Raskolnikov’s Folly, What Were the Names of the Karamazov Brothers?, and  All You Needand then Simmons’s Seven.

The pen I use to record track names and random responses to the music ran out early, so I hope the above is reasonably accurate. It certainly wasn’t accurate when this was first posted, but after multiple revisions and much help from Adam Simmons I’m hoping it is almost correct.

Andrea Keeble on violin

Andrea Keeble on violin

This was a most enjoyable and fascinating performance, but I feel as though words are a poor substitute for being there.

Collider at work

Collider at work

Collider works. It is unusual to have a violin and viola mixing it with more traditional instruments of improvised music, but the compositions and the musicians gave the whole performance an inspired coherence.

Ronny Ferella at the drum kit

Ronny Ferella at the drum kit

There were some absolutely entrancing standout solos — Robinson digging deep into the gravel and realising mid-solo he was breaking Ferella’s earlier appeal for quieter playing, Ronny Ferella taking the space to take us on a sublime journey of intricacy and introspection, Anita Hustas opening the final piece of the night with great presence, and Simmons on fire in slow-burn fashion that etched tenor notes into the dark room.

The viola gives voice

The viola gives voice

Jason Bunn on viola and Andrea Keeble violin were responsive, excited and exciting, ever adept as they set up and ran with rapid escapades that were often answered by the horns.

This was really visceral music and its effect was felt physically. The combination of instruments provided a timbre-laden treat that would gladden the heart of a Tasmanian conservationist or an Orbost logger, or both.

Anita Hustas

Anita Hustas on bass

I loved the contributions of each instrument, though Hustas seemed to be a little lost at times from where I was sitting. I loved the percussive interludes and the way Ferella intervened with such sensitivity and minimalism. And I loved the drawn-out string notes as the sombre final piece, Seven, came to a close.

Now that Collider has made such an impact, let’s hope the band gets out more.

Collider

Collider

THE ESCALATORS at Melbourne Recital Centre

GIG — July 30, 2010

DJ Element
DJ Element with the Escalators

Kynan Robinson (artistic director/composer) on trombone
Marc Hannaford on piano
Joe Talia on drums
Michael Meagher on bass
Lawrence Folvig on guitar
Pat Thiel on trumpet
DJ Element on turntables and samples

TOUGH day at work with a longer day to follow, cold Friday night, early concert at the Melbourne Recital Centre, but in the Salon, so the centre’s escalators were not necessary for access. Much more light in the room than when I last heard The Escalators live at Northcote Uniting Church in April, also on a Friday night. And this time DJ Element (Edryan Hakim) was veiled in an elegant, domed cubicle lightly clad with muslin, so that his movements — required to adjust some audio equipment at floor level — were less obvious. Though the domed structure seemed more appropriate to a wedding party than a DJ, I recalled how DJ Element’s busy activity had been a little distracting at Northcote.

The Escalators
The Escalators

It was a long set, running from shortly after 6.30pm until almost 8pm. The Escalators played the pieces from the album Wrapped In Plastic in order, beginning with Log Lady (about 25 minutes) and segueing into the brief Uncle Bob, then Blue Fire, James Boy On A Motorcycle, The Great Northern and the brief finale, Josie. Most, if not all, of these titles are references to filmmaker David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, though composer Robinson has said he did not mean the music to be specifically related to Lynch’s work. Rather, he “sought to imply concepts such as an investigation into normality as well as an application of dual narratives involving both the ideas of reality and fantasy into the sometimes beautiful, sometimes unsettling music played by the Escalators”.

To complete the scene, which was created by visual artists Kiron and Michelle Robinson (is there a Swiss family reference here?) and lighting designer Annabelle Warmington, images were projected on to a main screen above DJ Element’s enclosure, on to the surface of Talia’s kick drum and on to the right-hand side wall. These were repeated during the performance, so it was easy to catch them if you could see the screens. I always find that a passing glance at the images is enough for me, because it seems unnecessarily restrictive to try to relate an image or image sequence directly to the music, and I often want to close my eyes and just let myself become totally immersed in it. That also applies in situations in which I am not immediately aware of how a sound is being created. I’d rather not let my mind wander to wonder about that.

Lawrence Folvig
Lawrence Folvig

So, what was it like? Kynan’s description of “an investigation into normality” or his dual narratives involving reality and fantasy would not be how I’d put it, of course, but those ideas don’t jar with what I heard. I thought all sorts of things during the playing and I think that’s part of what it’s about. Log Lady is totally absorbing and it takes you on a journey that could easily be like a David Lynch film. The music creates a world that suggests strangeness and mystery, with the hint of events unfolding. I found that my awareness of each musician’s contributions shifted throughout, so that I would become aware of my awareness of Joe Talia’s amazingly even and unwavering rhythm for a while, then have my attention grabbed by a sharp burst from DJ Element, then notice the stillness of Hannaford at the piano, then a few notes from him, then a delicate intervention from Folvig on guitar.

Marc Hannaford
Marc Hannaford

I also noticed how I began to look for those brief and simple horn interventions, which added a sense of space and of reverence. I came to depend on them arriving and passing at intervals, and I thought about how easily the mind can be led into such expectations and carried along by patterns, even if the intervals between repeated themes are quite long.

DJ Element’s contributions were sharper and a little louder than in the album mix, but they always seemed to mesh with what the others played. I’m not sure where the samples were from, though possibly from Twin Peaks, but it did not seem to matter. I don’t think we were meant to look for some sort of hidden meaning in the snippets or in the glimpses of visual imagery. To me, the benefit of this Escalators concert lay in its ability to carry us away into our own landscapes of the mind, and its ability to free us from any requirement to find any specific meanings.

Escalators
Joe Talia and Kynan Robinson with The Escalators

I am not doing any sort of job here of describing the processes going on in terms of changes to rhythm, tempo, chord changes, dynamics or harmonies. But I don’t think that is needed. Each musician played their parts. I appreciated in particular the horn interventions, including some free work by Pat Thiel, the standout drum work by Joe Talia, the DJ obviously in his element, and Lawrence Folvig’s exquisitely delicate guitar work.

Was I wrapped in plastic? Well, I was rapt and the gig was fantastic.

To make it more like a review, I have to say that I did feel the compelling tension was lost a little during part of The Great Northern. Perhaps it was just me, or maybe the performance was a little long in one sitting.

I will be posting some more images from the concert.

ROGER MITCHELL