Published May 16, 2015As demonstrated by the "ass crack" noise combos of recent years, there's usually not much to watch when tabletop electronics bands play live. Instant Places deal with this issue by using their computers to create videos as well as music. Although Alberta's Laura Cavanagh and BC's Ian Birse were hunched over their arrays for most of the performance, the screen behind them was constantly bursting with weird, new colourful images, spinning and bobbing like kayaks in a stormy sea.
It's a nice gesture, because their electro-acoustic music is demanding and continuously erupting into new abstract forms; it's comforting to have something to hold onto. A few "real" instruments are used — Cavanagh had a violin and Birse a small pipe — but most of the sounds emerge from the computer: cracked electronics, treated vocals and noise triggers. The results are rarely assaultive, but they mutate quickly and fluidly. If the long piece they played, "Sleeper," had a narrative, it's impossible to explain. All you could really do was to jump in and go along for the ride. The trip was messy and quite wonderful for those so inclined.