Baltan Night at Almost Cinema

Last friday I was in Gent, at the Baltan Laboratories Night of the Almost Cinema festival at the Vooruit. (Oops, ugly sentence in – at – of – at, anyway). I was nervous, having to moderate a talk with Edwin van der Heide, Lucas van der Velden, Bas van Koolwijk, Gert-Jan Prins and Tez, previous to 3 performances. Of course it went fine (as others said), and afterwards I could enjoy the 3 performances, having done my job.

First act: the Synchronator played by its creators Gert-Jan Prins and Bas van Koolwijk. This night was actually a kind of ‘premiere’, as the product, a neat box that adds video sync pulses and color coding to an audio input, was for the first time available, and for sale. (The very first one was bought that night by Edwin van der Heide): I have seen both playing with previous set-ups before, but I do not remember that I’d ever seen them as duo. Seeing them as a duo adds a lot to the performance, as it is not only a discovery, a dialogue and a struggle between performer and instrument, resulting in sound and images. It doubles it, no squares it, by the dialogue and struggle that goes on between Bas van Koolwijk and Gert-Jan Prins. The audience follows that – and also sees how Bas van Koolwijk is more prone to ‘hook’ onto visual developments, whereas Get-jan Prins more often concentrates on what he finds in the sounds. Top.

The immersive audiovisual composition PV686 of Tez I’d seen and heard in a previous form at Sonic Acts. Here the circumstances were much better, with the four speakers in a square, and our ears on the height of the speakers. In that way the auditory illusion of the binaural beats could be enjoyed to its max, and I was happy to be able to quietly sit through the whole piece, also discovering that I found the use of flicker rather mild. (Normally I’m quick to leave when there’s a heavy use of flicker, I can’t stand strobscopes for a long time, but in PV686, it’s just the screen with slowly changing colors that flickers.) It is a rather meditative piece. I did not find the sound loud, yet some in the audience found it loud. It seemed to me that they interpreted the binaural beats as being ‘loud sounds’.

Edwin van de Heide played his LSP in the large nineteenth-century ‘balzaal’. I’ve seen it at least twice before, but never in a circumstance where I could fully concentrate on his performance. I was enthralled and fascinated this time with how he sculpts spaces with the laser and the colors. It’s SF-like, sure, and it’s the 3D-illusion, it’s like travelling into outer space, seeing the dimensions open up – all of that. But it is subtle, it is not at any moment corny, not at any moment a ‘big laser show’ on a techno party, it’s compositionally precise using all of the previous aspects to create an audiovisual experience that is interesting in itself.

Just a shame that the audience was so small. (On the other hand, that presented for those present an opportunity to enjoy it all without any distraction.)

art,en,music,software | October 16, 2009 | 14:57 | Comments Off on Baltan Night at Almost Cinema |


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