Saturday, 28 May 2016

What have I just seen / heard? - Holly Herndon

Image from artist's Facebook page
60 year old bloke (me) and my 20 y.o. son at the Roundhouse, awaiting Radiohead ... a shared passion.

Will there be a support?  Who cares?  Just killing time before the Masters come on.

Enter Holly Herndon.

The crowd stands perplexed as not much happens for some time except for a cacophony of set-up noises.  And then all audial hell breaks loose.  Chest-thumping beats and sound production second to none ... but what was the sound?

A tsunami of electronica and loops, that's for sure, interspersed with squeals akin to a crow/kookaburra hybrid.  And a relentless base rhythm that disappointingly works itself pretty much through the entire set.

Can you dance to it?  Perhaps in an altered state - and my own expertise in this area is an uncoordinated and embarrassing flailing of limbs - but I'm not convinced the Kung-Fu, head-banging antics of the androgynous Colin ("Gender is Over") Self match this musical outfit's aspirations toward the avant-garde.  You're gonna need more than a mouth-held pulsing LED light to cut it.  And Mat Dryhurst?  He's has an endearing smile and a talent for moving a cursor around a digital landscape.

From the first minute, my son and I continued to exchange bemused looks to see if either of us were getting it.  Me, wondering if he related to my suggestions of influences from the ethereal (Enya) to the experimental (Laurie Anderson), and him ... well, in truth, begging me to bludgeon his face in so he didn't have to listen to any more.  This from a guy whose eclectic musical tastes are often beyond even my own broad frames of reference.

I remain agnostic as I try to assimilate the assault on my senses - all I'm prepared to commit to at this stage is that I feel I have been daringly challenged.  I just need to decide if it was in a good or bad way.