An ambitious concert mashing up the creative talents of local music and literature resulted in an entertaining and inspiring experience for all who attended Dimensions & Demons at the Esplanade Recital Studio last night.
Frankly, I had my reservations about how the various collaborations would turn out but intellectually I was impressed by the vision (and the nerve) of the organisers (National Arts Council and The Esplanade Co Ltd) to push something like this through. It’s not often you see something as daring as this in the Singapore arts scene!
Glad to report that the risk taking was rewarded with resounding success. The three collaborations had different presentations but fulfilled their artistic intents and how!
“Rain City” – from Ferry X Stephanie Ye – touched on the concept of alternate realities (a personal favourite of mine) and was probably the most accessible of the trio of stories. This was done to the visual impact of the shadow puppet narrative film as Stephanie narrated and Ferry (with Giants Must Fall bandmate Kelvin Ang) provided surprisingly almost telepathic musical backing. A seamless performance that deserves to be developed and brought around the world!
“A Carnival of Confessions” – from weish X Dave Chua – focused more on the performance skills of weish as she relied heavily on her bag of tricks – electronics mostly – and that gorgeous voice to relay a dark tale of nightmarish proportions. Perhaps the most cutting edge of the three, there was almost something perversely delicious in witnessing the cherubic weish mouthing out rather inappropriate confessions – whilst the contrast was rich, the effect was somewhat undercut.
You can’t win them all, I guess.
“Lucid Dream” – from Riot !n Magenta X Daren Shiau – was perhaps the most traditional presentation, from a musical perspective. This time, it was basically a performance by the band – but what a performance! It was clear that the collaboration had pushed the band into previously unexplored territories. It was particularly thrilling to listen to vocalist Ginny Bloop belting out what were essentially rock tunes. It was great to see how versatile R!M could be – not surprising when you consider that Ritz, Khai and Man all play in rock bands too. And when Ken started playing the piano in the last phase to the band rocking out, the sheer power was undeniable. So powerful that a few attendees balked at the volume and ran for the exits! How more rock ’n’ roll can one get??!?!?!
It was certainly informative to have a meet-the-performers session at the end as it provided insight into the performances, especially for “Lucid Dreams” and one interesting nugget was that Riot !n Magenta would incorporate what had been composed into new recordings. Now, that’s something to look forward to.
Kudos again to the Singapore Writers Festival and the Esplanade for putting this wondrous show together. Hopefully, more to come!