28.February.2024

Adam Page STEREO at The Lab at ILA: Riding The Waves Of Musical Bliss – Adelaide Fringe 2024 Review

Clayton Werner for The Clothes Line reviews Adam Page’s STEREO presented at The Lab at ILA for Adelaide Fringe 2024.

The stage set-up at The Lab at ILA, a couple of mics, a couple of keyboards, pedals galore and the musician’s space is surrounded by instruments (it’s a bit like Adam Page’s favourite lolly jar – all those delicious toys!). But one is missing – his Saxophone, odd for someone who’s first major is Sax? Then in he comes with Sax hanging from around his neck – whew!

Many of us remember Adam Page the musical and chatty clown – but it is a different Adam on the stage tonight. There is a stereo Loop Pedal machine at his feet as well as a (hand operated) stereo fader for feeding it, thus the title. As well, the rather brilliantly studious Adam Page is equipped with some new and rather mind bending Looping techniques (which in the scheme of things are definitely what is edgy and most challenging about this performance).

It’s clear that this new Adam Page is focused on the music and hasn’t really practised at being the serious musician when in his looping persona. Adam starts with a little playing with the stereo fader and looper, to give us a taste of the new toys. And instead of the usual patter and hilarity, it’s Adam introducing some completely new concepts in how you can use Loop Pedals to get some quite different effects, and while there are times that Adam (as well as the rest of us) are caught in the deliciousness of these waves of sound, there are other times that Adam is deep in concentration making these new techniques work – while the audience at The Lab is still simply enjoying!

He had names for several different types of looping techniques. Describing them in mathematical and arithmetical terms and you’ll only find out about these will be in his PhD dissertation, not in general discussions at this point in time. But don’t expect that dissertation for at least a couple more years!).

If Fringe is for putting experimental artistic endeavours out there – then this is definitely Fringe. But at the same time, it’s music, it’s impro and it’s completely spellbinding (and that is without mentioning the fantastic nebula artwork decorating the big screens that is The Lab).

Adam has written for orchestras, for Jazz ensembles, for Rock bands and for his solo improvised looping shows (well the latter in a very loose sense of writing). And Adam Page: STEREO displays all of this even to the point of ambience at times. Adam’s overseeing Professor was also in attendance, and he can have only enjoyed the show!

Just at the end of the show we get a taste of Adam’s silly side, a vocal looped impro as Adam the clown gets out to bring what has been a fascinating and sometimes quite intense show of musical improvised exploration to an end.

The show was all impro, based around some of his new techniques and every night will be different.. He’s a genius and he’s challenging himself in ways that I don’t think anybody has ever done – it’s well worth seeing at The Lab this Fringe season.

5 stars

Read more by Clayton Werner here.

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