BY THOMAS MISSON
Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania, 21 January
At what we affectionately call Mofo, the Museum of Old and New Art’s underground space known as The Void played host to the acoustic indie-chamber music group Hinterlandt. The full line-up consisted of Natalya Bing and Susie Bishop both doubling on violins and xylophones, Simeon Johnson on cello, Brian Campeau and Nicole Smede on vocals while Jochen Gutsch took on a multi-instrumental role playing guitar, trumpet, keyboard, piano and glockenspiel. Most of the day’s performance involved Jochen’s 40-minute long song called Ode to Doubt, exploring the idea of doubt as essential to our critical faculties and our personal development.
The opening was peaceful and idyllic in character and the lyrics were transparent in their storytelling though the unusual acoustic of the void made some words disappear. The mood progressively grew more anxious and the music more rhythmically angular and undulating. It was in these more intense moments that I felt a sense of reservation in the use of instrumental techniques, rarely drifting away from standard bowing, trills, clusters and mutes.
The acoustic piano was saved until the conclusion of the song and was effective in creating a warm ambient and contemplative aftermath with its soft undercurrent of tremolos. While I could identify with the central premise to Ode to Doubt more than the sound itself, there was plenty to like in its premise, stylistic synthesis and sense of scale and pacing. A short piece concluded the afternoon, initially of a waltzing-character, rhythmically contorting itself in a very fine and spacious orchestration. The capable musicians delivered a secure performance if a little reserved in emotional physicality, especially from the two singers. Nonetheless, Hinterlandt represents a distinctive, interesting and, I think, important stylistic excursion. Jochen Gutsch’s talent and vision as a multi-instrumentalist and composer has shaped an original project.
Would you like to perform Hinterlandt’s new music, too?
Listen to the album
Image supplied. Credit: Mona/Rémi Chauvin, courtesy Mona, Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia