Bunnings hardware is music to the ears of mystical quartet
They are known for performing only once a year, never rehearse together and build new “instruments” for each three-hour show.
Since the late '90s, the performances of the four members of the avant-garde Japanese improvisation group Marginal Consort have acquired a semi-mystical status among fans.
For their first Australian performance the quartet, Kazuo Imai, Kei Shii, Masami Tada and Tomonao Koshikawa, have been on a shopping trip to Bunnings and Officeworks.
Friday night’s performance at Carriageworks will incorporate sounds from PVC drainage pipes, sheets of cardboard and lengths of timber, alongside an eclectic collection of household objects, children's toys, traditional string instruments, mixers, oscillators and effects pedals.
“It's a process of discovery each time for them and the audience,” says Brisbane-based curator Lawrence English. “This is probably the one time we are going to get them to Australia. It’s something I’ve been trying to do for the last four or five years.”
Although there are elements of free jazz in the performances, English says Marginal Consort express themselves through a “sonic language” rather than a musical one.
“Sometimes they are tonal, sometimes they are atonal, sometimes they are rhythmic, and sometimes arhythmic,” he says.
“The interesting thing is when you are inside the space with them all those elements begin to gel together and you get those relationships forming that are totally in the moment. And that I think is what this is really about – a momentary kind of music.”
Kazuo Imai and his three collaborators are setting up in the cavernous Carriageworks space called Track 8. Each of the four beavers away at a separate table in a corner of the darkened room. Lit by table lamps, they tinker with electronic gear and their chosen “instruments”.
The performance won’t be that of a conventional ensemble, Imai says, but more like four soloists doing their own thing.
"Each enjoys playing and when those different sounds come together something happens,” he says through a translator, fiddling with two large springs and a slate tile attached to a microphone. “A sound forms that is not intended to be there. It is like a coincidence. There is no intention of making this specific sound but something unexpected can happen.”
The audience is encouraged to move around the room during the performance to experience the sounds from different positions. What they take away from the performance is up to them, Imai says.
"Each person has a different impression,” he says. “It can be totally different from person to person. There are times one person may feel this is a good sound or that this is relatively bad sound. I just hope there are moments for everybody to relate to the sound. That’s something the audience has to find themselves.”
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