BY THOMAS MISSON
Tilman Robinson and Luke Howard
Federation Concert Hall, 15 June
The Federation Concert Hall played host to electro-acoustic artists Tilman Robinson and Luke Howard with guests on drums and string quartet. In the first section of the performance, Robinson’s string backing initially created a soothing experience. It featured a healthy variety of electronic timbres mixed with simple drones from the strings in an ambient, slightly minimalist style. I eventually craved a more performative display from the quartet, which presented itself more like a backing group, at times. I also started to crave more complexity in the music.
This need was answered with the arrival of Luke Howard on piano, bringing richer, more alive musical textures. With independent layers constantly folding back on each other – and falling between soundscape and simple melody and accompaniment – the experience was pleasingly eclectic and detailed. Howard was also joined by a drummer who gave adept, raw, honest and rhythmically eloquent life to the sonic habitat.
A few of the tracks boasted a Yann Tiersen or Philip Glass aesthetic, which was less musically engaging to me and relied heavily on the high quality visual art. Luckily, these visuals were the most consistently engaging element of the performance, with imagery of shooting stars and exploding, ornate geometric shapes – possibly alluding to the duality of religious symbolism and science.
I felt this performance didn’t quite match the asking price, with the various elements of sound and art inconsistent against charm and allure. Though, from a creative’s point of view, it did arouse curiosity on the possibilities of similar collaborations.
Image: Dark Mofo and City of Hobart Winter Feast. Credit: Dark Mofo/Lusy Productions, 2017. Image Courtesy Dark Mofo, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia