Saturday, October 31, 2009

Matthew Duffy and Ryan Kirk - To the Storm/Offering/Taurus/Awake

Two of my favorite people and respected peers Matthew Duffy and Ryan Kirk have began collaborating together and we are all are better for it. This is a very focused performance from a house show involving poetry, samples, loops, guitars, and references to Stockhausen. Here's what Ryan says on his blog about the performance,

We mostly exchanged rough cut recordings of vocal lines and poems over e-mail taking turns making transcriptions of parts of them and turning them into melodic heads that could be improvised on and around. Then we added in the melodic line of Taurus from the Karlheinz Stockhausen composition Zodiac. Both of us are Taurus', so it seemed appropriately cosmic.

The show took place in a loft in Halifax during a Halloween party and the musics very spooky indeed. Ryan's guitar playing is somewhat like Bill Frisell's at times but with a very anxious vibrato. The composition sort of reminds me of Marianne Faithfull's record Strange Weather, in which Frisell lends his talents. It's similar to that record in terms of vibe, something to listen too during strange weather perhaps, and in the production in terms of the space each of the players allows each other. Of course Kirk and Duffy are only a two piece and not a small chamber orchestra, but through the use of samples and the distance and patience that they each give each other, they achieve similar moments. This is a visceral performance but it is well thought out. Matthew Duffy's vocal delivery and performance is the best I have ever heard from him. His ideas and skills seem to be coming into fruition. He goes through a wide range of emotions throughout the performance, sometimes reciting bizarre poetry, to wide-vibrato-crooner-like singing, to desperate and tortured screaming. His Clarinet playing is the best I've heard as well, very sparse, which is perfect for this musical landscape, he carves out strange melodies and phrases to accompany the guitar.

Excellent performance, I only wish I was there. These two are known for very ritual inspired performances, and I'm sure with the visual and performance aspect of this piece, the work would only be stronger. If there are any pictures or videos please send them my way!

Here's Ryan's blog on the show!


Ryan Kirk

Matthew Duffy and friend

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