Left – Kim Myhr
The Substation in Newport has an industrial history which has been minimally (and respectfully) refurbished as an art space, that provided the ideal venue for Three Solos featuring Tony Buck, Peter Knight and Kim Myhr. As a collective, the Three Solos can be best described as experimental and dissident, were each artist used techniques of looping – recording live sounds, and replaying, whilst overlaying and building with new sounds.
Tony Buck was the first of the solos. The seating was informal, with soft red lighting complimenting the rich velvet curtains, creating a bohemian art space. The furnishings in perfect contrast to the industrial rough brickwork of the walls, inlaid with functional black steel windows. As the audience settles there is the sound of a record player off track. When Buck appears, he moves slowly and his face is obscured by a black hat which has long, thin metal chimes all surrounding. Buck moved head down between guitar unamplified to drums, to amplified distorted guitar. Face still obscured to the audience Buck changes his headwear to that of large wooden chimes with black feathers, whilst playing wooden hand drums. Buck’s performance was seemingly improvised, and the sounds Buck was creating had the tension of a movie score.
After a short intermission Peter Knight prepares the space for his performance, he places a trumpet on the stage area. Seeing the trumpet, I feel an expectation of what I am about to hear. However, what Knight produces is nothing I have ever heard from a trumpet before. Knight poured a small amount of water into the trumpet to produce a soft almost percussive sound element, which Knight used for the basis of his performance. Knight drew the audience into his performance beautifully. As Knight built on his sounds using a Revox reel-to-reel tape, the sound became constant, encompassing, then overwhelming which ironically quietened my mind as I focused on sound processing. The layering of sound was built slowly, and resulted in a complicated and mesmerising piece.
During the second intermission Kim Myhr prepared his performance space at the back of the room at what appeared to be a mixing desk. The audience without direction organically turns their seating to face Myhr. Young teenagers lay on the floor watching Myhr position his foot pedals. Myhr opens his guitar case and brings out an impressive deep red twelve string guitar, with cream binding. As Myhr starts out the warmth of sound generated is welcomed. This shifts as Myhr begins looping recorded sounds with the clicking of foot pedals, moving into constant strumming patterns. Myhr was an enigmatic performer, the looping and layering of his guitar was sophisticated which gave the impression of a carefully structured performance.
As a recital, the Three Solos made me aware of the miniature of details in the music produced, and how that music made me feel. Whilst the Three Solos had elements of commonality, they were three very different artists whose works were equally challenging and thought provoking.
Kim Myhr, Tony Buck and Peter Knight
Venue: The Substation | 1 Market Street Newport VIC
Dates: 9 June 2018
Bookings: www.thesubstation.org.au | (03) 391 1110