What’s with silhouettes? As mood, such lighting can conjure magic, a segue during a track as it hits the gas, timed strobes kicking in for impact. But sustained over an entire set, musicians reduced to silhouettes? I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but there’s a need to see musicians at play. Faces, reactions to the very sound they create. Interaction. Then again, as Shlohmo’s moniker might suggest, his music never reaches crescendos, sitting even on one melody and tinkering with it through-out a track (per Wednesday night’s performance). With that, I guess, we might have met with neutral stares in full light. And there were fleeting moments, between tracks, where the stage lights hinted at the performers, giving them a chance to tweak instruments free of complete darkness. Shlohmo’s set was a mix of thoughtful, reflective electronic sound; stuff that’s best played on a lonely drive home. Beats heightened by synths, fueled (on occasion) by electric guitar and a live kit seldom reaching full-blown snap (the energy didn’t call for it). Though, of all the performers who carried the WEDIDIT carnival, Shlohmo’s was one which tinkered with the most dynamics; a sense of experimentation.
It was a long ride to get to the magician himself, a ride that included the likes of Nick Melons, D33J and Purple. These performers, also mostly appearing as silhouettes, provided a nice soundtrack to personal wandering. Sure, the crowds slowly gathered to shoulder-to-shoulder for the main event, but the mood was set just right to travel early on. And I think that’s where it’s at in terms of sound. For the most part, the sound is built for reflection. But how does it reach the mind when surrounded by so many others in a crowded, standing room environment? It can work, it has worked… it just didn’t seem to work here.
I was hooked on parts but not the whole, my ears out for an explosion in sound. There was an appreciation for the artist’s work, the craft… There were moments where I found my mind trying to put pictures to sound; an almost involuntary need to match sound with a sort of visual mood (a sort of go-to in terms of inspiration). But, yes, I needed that solitary listening experience. That chance to drive with the music as opposed to watching the silhouetted performers perform it. In a crowded sea I was left a little stumped. Maybe a lack of communal connection with the crowd was my undoing (as said, it was pretty much shoulder-to-shoulder come Shlohmo, so the true believers were there). Maybe I just didn’t let myself go.
Written by D.L. Bugeja
Photographs by Joshua Pike