[20040004] First Sound

First Sound

Sound of Human @ The Umbrella Revolution

10:00pm, Wed 18 Feb 2004

Score: 9

Short Review: Pummelling

After his Human in the Audiosphere performance in ff2000 (and appearing with Pablo Percusso in ff98), Ben Walsh returns to the Adelaide Fringe on a much bigger stage than he’s had in the past.

He needs it, too. The stage is littered with all manner of drums, hanging structures, water-bowls, springs, and (surprise, surprise) even a “traditional” drum kit. And Walsh plays them all in a wonderfully measured set that would alternate pounding tribal rhythms with delicately constructed tunes; visually violent explosions with quite passages of flute.

The last two pieces are incredible. First, Walsh demonstrates his mastery of the familiar drumkit as he matches a tremendous variety of pre-recorded musical styles; then, playing within a frame supporting drums above, below, and to his sides, his limbs become a blur, the roar immense. And it’s at this point that you realise that First Sound isn’t just a study of rhythm; it’s also an exploration of space.

The lighting was another standout of the performance – sometimes subtle, sometimes stark, always engaging.

Despite the equipment problems he had on the night (mic issues, levels, an errant drum stand), Walsh put in a stunning performance. Not to be missed.

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