ROBIN FOX’S SINGLE ORIGIN @ The Rechabite gets 8.5/10

Robin Fox Single Origin @ The Rechabite
w/ Hi. OK, Sorry.
Friday, 21 February 2020


Single Origin, a musical-visual Perth Festival event, dazzled on Friday night to create an unforgettable show at the newly-remodelled Rechabite Hall on William Street, with the star of the show being the kick-ass laser beam that accompanied Australian electronic artist Robin Fox’s gnarly beats.

After some juggling of set times this week, along with the wise decision to close the two upper balconies of The Rechabite Hall to save peoples’ retinas from being fried, local electronic duo Hi. OK, Sorry. took to the darkened stage at about 8:30pm. Hiding behind their banks of keyboards and electronics, Eva Bujalka and Phoebe Avenue started out with only a squiggle or two emanating from somewhere amongst their gear, but then branched out organically from there to show us what ‘bleakwave’ is all about.

One criticism of hearing electronic music in a live performance is that the musicians have too little to do: push start and then try to look busy. This doesn’t apply to Hi. OK, Sorry., as they worked like two improvising chefs that seemed to never be quite in sync, but that chopped up a lot of delicious beetroot, mushrooms and other funky ingredients to whip up an entertaining dish of a set. The pace picked up over their half-hour set, ending up in a kind of scuzzy dancehall zone. Many punters were seated on the floor of the hall (a trend that would continue with Robin Fox), content closing their eyes and bobbing their heads to the tunes.

Robin Fox’s Single Origin began sharply at 9pm, and…WOW! WHAT A LASER! If you thought all lasers were more-or-less the same, fahgetaboutit! The laser in Single Origin is completely next level. ‘Single origin’ refers to the single point where the laser light emits from. But after that constraint, this laser can do nearly darn anything. For starters, it’s super bright and cut the air with incredibly rich colours that seemed to transform the very atmosphere of the hall. There could be just a single beam of light, or planes formed from multiple lines or translucent sheets of light. Colours and shapes could change extremely rapidly or rhythmically, or engage in pulsing waves or mesh-like patterns. For ‘just’ a single laser, the visual show was absolutely jaw-dropping with occasional time outs for big smiles.

One key aspect to Single Origin is that every move and quiver of the laser was timed to Robin Fox’s chaotic beats. The ‘electronic Jesus’ (as a mate refers to him) likes his beats skeletal but very, very large – think dinosaur bones hammering timpani – but with blasts of noise and other hard-to-pin-down sounds on top. The tunes had a lurching kind of momentum to them, appropriate for the laser show, and also could be highly abrasive.

The music was heavily gated, with stop-start dynamics, and the astonishing thing was that the laser and the beams emitted were also heavily gated – with amazing patterns appearing, then disappearing instantaneously in lockstep with the music. This was another key to the show: the rapidity of the changes heard in the electronic sounds that were manifest visually in the hall right before everyone’s eyes. Some of the punters, seated or standing, were looking backwards from the stage to watch how the lights appeared on the ornate ceiling and railings of the hall. Whoa… Cool, man.

Although a relatively short show, the venue, Hi. OK, Sorry.’s set and Single Origin made for a wonderful Friday night out for those who like their beats a bit wild, and it’s hard to imagine anyone not digging the Single Origin laser. I think everyone just wished they were selling mini-Single Origin lasers at the merch table, but alas you’ll have to catch Robin Fox and his uber-laser in person the next time.


Photos by Maria Sioulas

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