If it’s Monday it must be Experimontag at Madame C’s. The devil makes work for idle hands. The evening’s signals from the edge of the noise-field came courtesy of Justice Yeldham.
Yeldham was a disgraced paedophile judge whose suicide exposed systematic corruption in the New South Wales police but is also the current nom de guerre of Australian noise musician Lucas Abela who, along with his magnetic ribbon device, was here to entertain us.
Abela’s former exploits include remixing a C.D using skewers, performing a deafening duel with amplified Samurai swords and sustaining injury from high powered turntables constructed from sewing machine motors. There was a whiff of danger in the air.
Under a single light bulb in Madame C’s hell Cellar, Justice Yeldham pressed a metre long shard of broken glass ( with a contact mike attached ) to his lips and blew, tweaking the farts of electronic trombone squawk that were produced via three pedals strapped to his waist and another three beneath bare toes.
Soundcheck complete, “Can we have a little more volume here.” He puffed and blew, the crowd laughing with some nervousness. The resultant howl of feedback sounded like Caspar Brotzman being hurled down the IDM lift shaft, a massively amplified hiss of modulated distort, harsh techno on cheap speakers or Hendrix chopped and screwed by Atari back in the days of riot. The crowd stopped laughing and the glass broke.
Yeldham apologised for “the boring bits,” reattached the mike and returned to the diminished shard, evoking weird new resonances and harsh cliff faces of feedback from its shifted shape and frequency. Only once, as he drew the blade of the glass beneath his upper-lip, did it ever seemed played to the audience’s evident wincing.
The performance was without melodrama. The blood, the face squished and distorted against the glass, the incidental corollary of technique. This was not some dumb SM freak show where transgression is elevated and inflated by look at me, look at me weekend dominatrices. The anger was in the music. A statement of transcendent rage but in the sound, not the performer. This was Expirimontag.
The howl ended to applause, the audience uncertain of their desire for an encore. Breaking the remaining glass over his head Yeldham set the light bulb swinging, “Damm I forgot my dramatic lighting effect”. I guess no-one who witnessed his performance will be forgetting that Justice was well and truly served.