Saturday, September 1, 2012
It is nearly a fortnight ago now since I saw Chris Mann perform live as part of Machine for Making Sense -- that is (this time) with Amanda Stewart, Jim Denley and Rik Rue. There were perhaps two or three sheets of paper in front of him and from these he performed what must have been thousands and thousands, if not always words, then phonemes and utterances and deliberate, highly musical hesitations. Playing with the dots on his website -- even clicking on one and then another -- you can get a sense of passing by someone who has spun himself into buzzing solitariness on a street. Now imagine this in a band. And yet you have to watch him perform to understand to what extent his gestures are essential to the experience. I thought I might have been able to find a video of him or the whole ensemble afterwards, somewhere on the net, but apart from his website, and the iTunes app. of the same name (you have to persist if you want to find it), there is nothing -- or perhaps, not nothing, but what there might have been has been coloured over by a U.S. idol of the very same name, who will hold the microphone as he doesn't, will close his eyes with passion, exactly as he doesn't, and deliver a song which, if described by the other, might have been the occasion, say, for 'goes a little something like this'.