Thursday, 18 April 2013

South-east Asia Tour

In February I went on a short tour of South-east Asia, performing in Singapore and Malaysia. It was a fantastic tour, and I was very impressed by the standard, creativity and supportiveness of the local musicians.

The first stop in the tour was Singapore, a melting-pot of cultures and ideas. I played at the Independent Archive & Resource Center, an artist-led project that aims to be an archive of, and resource centre for, art theory and practices in Singapore. There was a very friendly atmosphere there, as different people dropped in throughout the day to read a book, make musical instruments, eat chicken rice, or just have a chat.

Interestingly, my performance took place at the same time as one of the largest protests in Singapore history, a country where protest is largely restricted. Even so, it was a packed-out audience at the IARC as I took to the stage. The evening consisted of a solo set, followed by a question and answer session, where the audience quizzed me about my work and ideas, then, finally, a group session with some local musicians.

A couple of days before the event, I went along to be interviewed by Jordan Johari Rais, who organised the gig.

Kuala Lumpur was the exact opposite of Singapore. Where Singapore is squeaky clean, and you can even go to prison for chewing gum, Kuala Lumpur is more how you might imagine a large urban centre in Asia, somewhat chaotic and brimming with activity.

In Kuala Lumpur I performed at FINDARS. Whereas the IARC had a very homely feel, with assorted random objects strewn about the place in a slightly bric-a-brac aesthetic, FINDARS was very obviously set up as a venue for performance. The graffiti up the stairs leading to the performance space set the mood, and the black walls inside created an amazing atmosphere to perform in.

The darkness inside the venue gave the ideal opportunity to work with some visuals I had been working on during the trip. The visuals were written in Java using a kind of stochastic fractal process. The other acts were all of a very high standard, and ranged from free jazz, to drone noise, to postmodern genre-defying cauldrons of goodness.

Here are some highlights from my performance:

To finish with, here's the collaborative set from my gig in Singapore. This is one of the best bits about playing in new places, getting to meet and play with different artists, exploring ideas, developing what we do.

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