Monday, March 03, 2008


I recieved an e-mail from Ales telling me about a festival of new music. I lost the message, but remembered to google for more info which led me to the site. I decided to go and listen for myself. I met Ales and Lucie when I got there.

The main room of Fleda was prepared like a bizarre cinema or lecture hall. The seating was tiered with a mix of flip-down seats and sofas. Very inviting and comfortable. There was no stage, the performance area being the floor with a large white projection surface as a back drop.

The first to take to the stage were Mateřídouška. A strange duo. A man in a mask sat at a table with laptop and some other hardware that included some wood and metal percussion akin to a finger piano (Kenyan Kalimba). A woman in an asian styled dress joined him. She was singing and occassionally played what I think was a shamisen.

(The video is very dark: but at least you can hear things.)

The music was a mix of field recordings treated with DSP and etehereal tones which occassionally resembled more conventional synths. Crackles, bleeps, tweets and sighs, were the backdrop to a wide range of vocalisations.

Also sharing the stage was a large wheel, on the side of which was painted a kind of mini-mural. It was balancing on an axle around which it turned very slowly. A video camera was aimed at it and a portion of the picture was projected over the performers.

Near the end of the performance the music shifted into a kind of contemporary pop music with run of the mill riffs and a kind of trip-hop beat. This was actually something that didn't help the performance feel like a consistant whole, as it felt like a detour from the surreal opera vibe it had originally set up. Still an enchanting and different type of music to that I've experienced in my time in Brno.

They performed a very short encore, around two and a half minutes or quasi-pop. There was then a short break before the next performance.

The next performance was by Operabil Memotopia. The performance area was more stark than before. A small desk with a seat, laptop, and MIDI controller on one side and two seats and two lecturns on the other side.

A man sat at the table. Two women sat at the lecturns. The lights went down and a slide show began.

One of the two women was using her voice to make notes, long and short, often repeating the same sound.

The man would say a sentence or two in English after which the other woman (not singing) would say the same in Czech. I am not sure exactly what the story was about, but it semed to be about a charachter called 'Mousey'. And it suggested that we are all conected to a hook in the centre of the planet.

Strange and otherworldly stuff. (The video is very dark: but at least you can hear things.)

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