Saturday 14 September 2019, 7.30pm
Two years on from a pair of sold-out performances, US group Object Collection return to Oto, premiering excerpts from new opera ‘You Are Under Our Space Control’. In support, vocalists from 2 exquisite British groups - Jessica Hickie-Kallenbach (of Still House Plants) and Odie Ji Ghast (of Historically Fucked) - perform solo.
‘You Are Under Our Space Control’ is firebrand US group Object Collection's inimitable Slip return: a utopian space-opera, a homing signal cast into an empty universe, a beacon for an aesthetically radical future.
Drawing on space travel, transhumanism, astronautics and the resurrection of the dead, Kara Feely's texts rehearse a progressive politics through a total re-envisioning of everyday life. Travis Just's limber speech-song vocal parts are eerily and spasmodically FX'd, and navigate surprisingly glistening instrumentals - a headlong tangle and squelch of flexing 808s and metal objects, roboticised guitar, and unreal synthesis.
YAUOSC's bubbling force belies its diverse, unruly underpinnings. The opera’s musical backbone is a drum-machine transcription of John Cage's 1951 piano solo ‘Music Of Change’, a landmark of indeterminacy; its title grabbed from Cy Roth's sci-fi romp ‘Fire Maidens From Outer Space’ (1951); its texts inspired by Sun Ra and the Russian Cosmists’ poetics and philosophies, and interviews from real (and imagined) space travellers and astronomers.
Object Collection charge these impulses with a burning, engrossing physicality. This is, above all, a piece of heaving, life-giving music, deep in the mess of futuristic fervour.
The group will perform for around 70 mins.
“One of the most confronting and exhilarating things I've seen” – BBC
“Innovative” – New York Times
“ferocious in scope” – The Guardian
“A disorienting, multi-sensory attack” – Frieze Magazine
Jessica Hickie-Kallenbach is, triumphant when barking, flirting with misdirection, with weak knees, malfunctioning. All brushed up when just-heard through bedroom doors.
In H-K's longstanding project Still House Plants (alongside David Walker Kennedy and Finlay Clark), ambiguous vocal intimacies guide minimal song structures, and build upon melodic hierarchies of guitars, pianos, drums, and falling bodies. Still House Plants released their album 'Long Play' in 2018 on Bison Records, recently completed a fuelled-up February residency at Cafe Oto, and toured Europe with Sholto Dobie.
It started as my solo work that is more linked with production. I tend to stick to my way of recording voice on dictophone device (or, these days, more often on my phone). Then I mash that lo-fi recording with samples, put my voice like a cherry on top.
In recent years Odie Ji Ghast became my performer name also, and I don’t hesitate to use it for whatever. Essentially though, this artist lives digitally more than stays gropeable, real and clean in the present. It is a voice that goes through microphones, dictophones, sound machines and wires. That is when Odie Ji Ghast happened anyway - when she got fascinated and heavily consumed by sound that is crackling. And can I take one step away from the sound of acoustic? Visible, front-line - for a second can I sneakily escape?
I play around with instruments from time to time but I take nothing but voice onto the stage. Because only that (and me fiddling with software at home) is what truly represents what this artist is solo. Plus some things I write, and some songs I sing when alone. So this is me trying to present a singular musical body in its most natural format.