New Zealand, 1973
In the press
[…] This was a shining example of micro-tonal field performance, but let’s contrast this with the superb Saturday afternoon theatre set from electric guitarist Ryan Kernoa in combination with electric bassist Eric Normand and Canberra musician Michael Norris on electronics. Normand does a lot more than merely strum his instrument in time which one often comes to expect from a bassist. If I can be so bold to make the comparison, Normand does for improvised music what Joy Division bassist Peter Hook did for post-punk in terms of redefining the role of the bass, so that it adopts the role of a lead instrument that allows for harmonic interplay beyond simply laying foundations.
So it went that Normand attached all sorts of devices to his instrument. He banged and stroked it in equal measures to set a scene that involved controlled feedback, performance theatre in the form of physical contortions in response to the sound, and a highly disciplined approach to noise making. This was enhanced to the nth degree by the mouth watering atonality of guitarist Ryan Kernoa who altogether dispensed with melody to explore bristling electrified string configurations which at times reminded me of Thurston Moore at his finest. When Michael Norris’ flailing tonal pitches on electronics were added to the mix the ensuing sound from the three performers was a welcome exploration of noise that improvised music hasn’t forgotten.