Events

Kelly Moran Turns 'Ultraviolet' Into an Audiovisual Spectacle

Experimental pianist Kelly Moran delivers a stunning performance traversing the entirety of her new record, with the great Kayla Painter opening the show.

Until recently, Kelly Moran was probably best known as the keyboardist in Oneohtrix Point Never's live ensemble. However, with her solo project she released one of the most intriguing records of 2018 in Ultraviolet. Harnessing a diverse set of influences, ranging from electronic and classical to jazz and minimalistic music, she produced a tour de force focused around a prepared piano. The prepared piano is a technique, mostly attributed to the experimental composer and musician John Cage, by which various objects are placed over the piano strings to alter the instrument's timbre. It was the key component to Ultraviolet, and when I found out Moran would be performing live in Manchester I just had to witness the magic of her record live.

First on stage was brilliant experimental music producer Kayla Painter, who produced an audio-visual spectacle. Painter's music drives through off-kilter territories, with the bifurcated beats leading the complex progressions. Throughout this wondrous trip the visuals were astonishing. At times they produced real-world images, as with the video for "Railway Lines", as the subtle narration further highlighted the narrative element of the track. But, it was the graphics at other times that resulted in moments of pure bliss.

Through abstract geometrical shapes or blinking lights, Painter was able to provide a visual anchor for her mosaically designed compositions. A further interesting twist was her composition "In the Witch Realm", which features samples of electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshire, and which Painter has masterfully used to create new worlds around them. So, please do check out her works, especially her latest records in Pack Your Bivouac and Cannibals at Sea are definitely worth your time if you are in the mood for some immersive, experimental electronic music.

The stage was set, the prepared piano was all ready and Kelly Moran arrived. Ultraviolet is mainly comprised of piano performances, so this would be an audiovisual piano set. For that reason there was a brief introduction asking to keep applause until the end of the show, because we were about to experience the full tour of Ultraviolet. And so Moran started going through her latest record in stunning fashion, kicking things off with the introductory "Autowave", as the video was dressing the stage in marvelous lights and colours.

Carrying down this immersive rabbit hole, "Helix" took off through its subtle introduction and slowly built up. The beautiful melodies of the track took over, with their rapid rendition while the background drones raved with their heavy presence. It was easily one of the most impressive tracks to experience live, with Moran's performance highlighting its directness and sheer force. The trip continued with "Water Music", as the intricate rhythmic components met with an array of captivating melodies and further sonic experimentation.

The sound design aspect would rise over "Nereid", further establishing the atmospheric core of Moran's vision, merging with the strained piano strings to create this dichotomy between the classical and the modern. The abstract shapes and stories detailed by the video would merge with the melodies and soundscapes of "In Parallel", with the track's finale being in particular moving.

The end would come with the more bitter and dissonant "Halogen", before the open and mesmerizing "Radian" would conclude the show. What ensued was thunderous applause, deeply deservant of such a fantastic performance. Throughout the set Moran was simply spectacular, navigating through the twists and turns of her work and further exploring its soundscapes and melodies.

As a final treat she finished the set with some music from an upcoming release, which I cannot wait to listen to. An overall fantastic experience from both Kayla Painter and Kelly Moran, that transported the audience to a completely different state of experience. Just make sure that if either of them are passing by your city you do not miss them.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Film

The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.

Music

The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.

Music

Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.

Film

'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.

Music

'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"

Music

Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.

Music

The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".

Music

GLVES Creates Mesmerizing Dark Folktronica on "Heal Me"

Australian First Nations singer-songwriter GLVES creates dense, deep, and darkish electropop that mesmerizes with its blend of electronics and native sounds on "Heal Me".

Music

Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff Tells Us "When It's Sweet" It's So Sweet

Neo-soul singer Otis Junior teams with fellow Kentuckian Dr. Dundiff and his hip-hop beats for the silky, groovy "When It's Sweet".

Music

Lars and the Magic Mountain's "Invincible" Is a Shoegazey, Dreamy Delight (premiere)

Dutch space pop/psychedelic band Lars and the Magic Mountain share the dreamy and gorgeous "Invincible".

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.

Music

Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.

Music

The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".

Music

Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.

Books

Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.