The Melbourne Fringe Festival was lucky enough to host the Brisbane based ensemble Mooshim, previously known as the Quadratic Contingency. It was played at the Substation in Newport on the 21st and 22nd of September.
This experimental ensemble challenges conventional structures of music, where they combine various genres - such as minimalism, organic improvisational and contemporary classic - to project a truly original sound. Mooshim's music is like an exploration of noise that achieves a unique ambience, which took me on an aural spin. I was transported to a timeless dimension and then filled to the brim with richness and emotion in response to their musical command. The modernism of this music juxtaposed with the historic building and could still be heard and felt long after the music had ceased.
While their pieces were lengthy, it allowed you to be completely submerged in the music. Their longest piece 'Malady', written for the film with the same title, was 25 minutes long, so if you were submerged to the point of suffocation, there were bottles of wine and beer that would bring you back to Earth. Some could see Mooshim stepping dangerously to the potential of pretentiousness; however, they managed to swerve that obstacle without a hiccup due to their friendly demeanour on and off stage.
Mooshim is composed of an unconventional blend of instruments and soundscapes that are used in unusual ways in order to create interesting effects. Sliding bows up and down, or dropping ping pong balls onto the vibraphone are just a couple of examples that highlight their approach to their art of noise. This ensemble has had a lot of collaboration with Australian experimental film and is known for writing music for silent films. One of their most highly acclaimed projects was for underscoring the experimental documentary film, 'Flood Plains'. Through their innovative effects, their music created strong imagery, particularly in their piece 'Section 5' that was a segment for this documentary, which seemed to be reminiscent of water.
This progressive ensemble was altogether a fantastic contribution to Melbourne's Fringe Festival in its celebration of independent artists. They are destined for a bright future, and I'm sure with even more eccentric musical concepts that will leave each audience with an open mind.
Artist Paul Young won't be happy if you don't have at least one glass of wine at their gigs