August 24th, 2016 | Live reviews

plasmodian world by david cotner

Justice Yeldham, Plasmodian World – August 22, 2016 – Collective Arts Incubator

The sound that passes through the space surrounding the CAI in Highland Park inspires not pain but instead wonder at a perplexingly heavenly congress of soundwaves. They rise and converge as gracefully as any murmuration of starlings, soaring mild and free. The sound of voices shimmers and fades through a forest of blossoming what-the-fuck and with this kind of ambient music (as performed by Don Bolles and Mitchell Brown, known tonight as Plasmodian World) what tends to happen is a gentle conflict of the listener trying to identify the sounds, versus experiencing those sounds immediately and as-they-are: the rawness of present moment.

This isn’t to say that their sound exists without influence or direction, or without modes of control that draw as much on the lessons of the past as much as they do on the anticipation and anxiety of future moments. It is to say that the overall movement of the sound is driven by the players with as much conscious force as any given heartbeat. Mssrs. Brown and Bolles are old hands at this kind of sonic sorcery—they create a kind of mercurially radiant racket that sounds as fresh now as it would have 40 years ago, or will be in 1000 years’ time. It never gets tired or sounds dated. It transcends fads and fashion, and when all the horrible and horribly clichéd rock confections vanish into the dust of their own irrelevance, this music remains. Theirs is music that will continue to transcend and disorient in the way that only the freest art can.

justice yeldham by david cotner

Australia’s Justice Yeldham—the sometime Lucas Abela—currently finds himself in the strange position of having his Google results completely overtake his suicidal and scandalized judicial namesake. Speaking of a breakdown in law-and-order—Abela’s work consists of the unnerving sound of something breaking down. It pulls people immediately into the performance space from all the way out in the back patio. He insistently rubs and blows onto a shard of glass, the sound amplified and contorted as it passes through several effects pedals that would ordinarily grace more ordinary instruments. It feels like Abela blows and rubs on the surface of the shard forever, holding it like a pan-flute. What seems like danger and noise is merely the passing of time in a truly realistic manner, because this is sound—brash, ballsy, alien sound—happening in real time, minute by unexplored minute. From guttural, storm-sewer lows to piercing, otherworldly highs, the glass in his hands becomes a portal to another world, carved out of space by sheer brilliant weirdness. To end the show—which only lasts about seven minutes—he smashes the glass over his forehead.

Yes, there’s blood—but that’s not the point. It is in fact one of the greatest acts of showmanship available in the performing arts today.

—David Cotner