“I hope you have not become robots but humanised” (or in Cocteau’s native tongue “J’espère que vous n’êtes pas devenu des robots mais humanisé”) comes the call from the grave. This was Jean Cocteau’s message filmed in 1962 – a message to the year 2000. Daisy Dickinson uses the essence of his address as audio-visual foundation of tonight’s performance by ‘The Other’.
Samual Kerridge and Taylor Burch stand behind turntables, a mix desk and Apple Mac paraphernalia, oozing chic. They’re flanked by five panels of white material which act as canvases for the images we’re treated to. Video is played and the words of Jean Cocteau are spoken by an actor. The sentiment is earnest. Cocteau’s hope is that the role of poetry (a superior form of mathematics) has not diminished. We’re also enlightened by his belief that myths are preferable to history, since history is based on facts that later become lies; whereas myths are based on lies that later become true.
All of this is seamlessly delivered with punchy, weighty, break beats that would make the ‘Chemical Brothers’ proud. Throughout the set the energy and pace engages the crowd. Initially appreciation was shown by a nod or two of the head. Later, pockets of the audience are unable to control themselves and take to their feet, dancing in the aisles. This performance would not be out of place in a field, under a tent, at a festival.
The projected imaginary dovetails between spoken word and the deconstructed white-noise that meshes the time-lime together. LS Lowry-like images of early 20th century working men and women going about their daily routine are intercut with skyscrapers and imagery of the Pope in receipt of religious adulation. Have we in, the 21st Century, learned from our mistakes? Have we progressed? While the technological hopes of Cocteau have advanced, the social concerns he raised have not.
If this were a traditional gig, ‘The Other’ would probably be the main act and ‘Adrena Adrena’ the support. However, nothing about this evening is traditional – nonetheless ‘Adrena Adrena’ go on stage first. E-Da Kazuhisa, again supported by Daisy Dickinson paves the way for the visual mastery to follow. This time the stage is split – left side DJ decks, right side E-Da Kazuhisa live on drums – no mean feat for a dance-based offering. ‘Adrena Adrena’ is reminiscent of DJ Shadow and/or The Prodigy but with the potential for pop sensibility stripped away.
Centre stage, the visual component of the act comes from a globe, upon which images of earth; flora and fauna; what appear to be weather systems; volcanic eruptions and the microbial contents of a Petri dish filmed at increased frames per second are projected. The globe ensures that if we can’t dance to this music in a field, our attention doesn’t wander too far from the sentiment.
Technically this work is flawless, providing a rhythmic performance equal to that expected from any digitally minded whiz!★ ★ ★ ★
The Other and Adrena, Adrena was at The Lowry, Salford Quays on 29 September 2019.