Midlands (Sam Salem) for voice, electric guitar, keyboards, string trio, bass clarinet, amplified objects, performative electronics, tape and dual video projection
‘The work stands outside any common form and expression of a piece of music – it is a kind of staging, a Gesamtkunstwerk of light, live music and electronically embellished sound collages in a precisely ingenious sound design with exactly synchronous multimedia feeds.
And it quickly becomes clear: this unique performance undoubtedly has substance and creates its own pull, in which the concentration on stage is as high as in the hall. It tells the story of a ritual journey through Derby’s post-industrial hometown of composer Sam Salem. In a permanent half-light, this is almost meditative, carried on by an indefinable dark noise, from which the scratching of the strings and air sounds of the wind players flare up again and again to keep the soup from simmering.
The Voice is also just part of the whole, an instrumental voice between whispers and choking, far from any claim to beauty. Meanwhile, one focusses on the thrilling images in the four movements, which deal with fireworks, cotton-nature images, the British flag that breaks down into their components (“There Ain’t No Black In The Union Jack”) and rattling looms.’
The Freedom of Art Preserved / Die Freiheit der Kunst gewahrt, Vorarlberger Nachrichten, 04.10.2019