Having spoken to the lead member of the group in the afternoon to chat about various education projects using electronic instruments and music technology, you would think I would know what to expect from the evenings performance of Re:Mix by The Red Ensemble. This was not the case.
The introduction to the performance was almost comical with “Thanks for coming, we have no idea what is going to happen”.
At moments during the first set when the ‘ambient’ drones from Jamie’s laptop blended with the woodwind, violins you could easily be mistaken for thinking you were in a setting somewhere in the middle east or simply transported to a scene with the soundtrack from ‘The Passion’ by Mel Gibson. There was a real arabic haunting sound to the first half which was probably created completely by improvising on a scale and in a tempo more reminiscent of that style.
Speaking to Tom at the midway point in the set he was very pleased with what had come from the first half of improvisations. Meanwhile Jamie (laptop performer) was frantically cutting and pasting the audio recorded into Ableton from the first half of the set and putting it through some interesting processes to form what would be the basis of the second half, which would be the Re:Mix.
As we took our seats for the second half we were given an introduction from the laptop using samples of swirling strings & woodwind combined with snippets of spoken word from Tom’s introduction at the beginning of the evening so drenched in reverb it was barely audible. The ensemble then improvised further over the recorded audio from the first half using a variety of instruments from Kaoss Pad, hand percussion, whistles, strings, flutes and soprano saxophone.
I don’t normally post on single gigs or concerts but this was so different to many of the things I seen in the past months i think it deserved a post all of its own. All in all I really enjoyed the gig, I have a huge amount of respect for the musicians for their bravery in trying something so adventurous, I admire also their creativity and their patience in improvisation and skill.