Blank Canvas returned last night on Brick Lane with its trans-genre music experience. What was really great about the evening was the atmosphere. 93 Feet East was an ideal setting, as it provided the desired East End edge as well as ample seating (performances that are more beautiful than they are energising are really better enjoyed while sitting down). The terminally trendy came out, but so did those who didn't seem to care whether or not they looked cool. Though you could place bets on who was there for Stanford Quartet and who was there for Powerplant, it was nice to see that everyone stuck around for everyone else's set.
Though the evening was designed to be eclectic, the Stanford Quartet still seemed to be the odd girls out. Their performance of Janacek's 'String Quartet No. 2 "Intimate Letters,'" though experimental in its own right, was the only traditionally executed performance of the evening. Mind, that didn't make the tale of unrequited love any less lovely.
The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly Elizabeth Walling, who improvised vocals, flute, and autoharp while her bandmate Ed Briggs remixed her performance with the aid of a laptop and tape loops. The result sounded like a collaboration between Enya and Martin Swope. It is only because Walling has such a strong voice that the manipulation process worked, and only because she adds flute and autoharp that what could easily become a one trick pony stays interesting. And it was rather fascinating to see what tones Briggs chose to emphasise — though completely transparent about their methods, there is a certain curiosity as to where some of the sounds came from.
Image of Elizabeth Walling.