A brieif overview: Solo In Red – A large-scale theatre work involving music, video and performance that drew its inspiration from the writings of Cormac McCarthy, specifically his epic masterpiece Blood Meridian. Commissioned by and premiered at the Melbourne Writers Festival and the work has subsequently toured and performed in major arts venues and festivals throughout Australia.
- Music and Art direction composed by Kynan Robinson
- Performed by Collider.
- Video Installation and design: Dotahn Caspi & Michelle Robinson
- Set Design and Lighting Design Dotahn Caspi & Michelle Robinson
“Kynan Robinson’s new piece Solo in Red is both astoundingly beautiful and original. Setting out to capture the atmospheres of a Cormac McCarthy novel it does all that and more. It is an absorbing experience that overwhelms all the senses and leaves you breathless” Vierre Magazine
“With titles such as Blood, One Itch of My Finger and You’re Dead and Soft Blood and Intuition, Robinson’s songs have a decidedly McCarthy-esque sensibility before you even hear them. Then, within a few notes, they transport you to a lawless realm, the delicacy and harshness of which is conveyed in a meticulously realised soundscape. Nothing is wasted in the music; there is lots of silence and small sounds.” Liza Power – The Age
“This was really visceral music and its effect was felt physically. The combination of instruments provided a timbre-laden treat. I loved the contributions of each instrument. I loved the percussive interludes and the way Ferella intervened with such sensitivity and minimalism. There were some absolutely entrancing standout solos — Robinson digging deep into the gravel, Ronny Ferella taking the space to take us on a sublime journey of intricacy and introspection, Anita Hustas opening with great presence, and Simmons on fire in slow-burn fashion that etched tenor notes into the dark room.” Roger Mitchell – Ozjazz.net
“While the combined virtuosity of the individual members of Collider is nothing short of intimidating, in the context of this project each musician plays his or her role to perfection ensuring that it is the compositions themselves that take centre stage.” Owen McKern
ABOUT THE WORK
Novels Blood Meridian, Sutree, Child of God, and The Border Trilogy by Cormac McCarthy have been wholly influential in creating this performance of Solo in Red.
During the creative process, the brain desperately searches for new ideas, and as a composer and artistic director, Kynan Robinson felt he was prepared to make a statement of deep, personal importance. His preliminary ideas were blurred and resembled something akin to what he terms a ‘disassembled mosaic’ where he found himself in a state of creative confusion.
Critically praised for dismantling the mythology associated with the traditional ‘Wild West’, Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian is based on historical events that occurred on the border of Texas and Mexico during the 1850s. The novel follows the story of ‘The Kid’, a fifteen-year-old runaway from Tennessee and his experiences with the Glanton Gang, a group of notoriously violent scalp hunters from the mid-west. The subject matter, language and flow of the text formed the foundation of Kynan Robinson’s latest compositional work.
Robinson found solace in McCarthy’s writing as well as a similar philosophical outlook to his own, exemplified by the use of literal and metaphorical language and recurring themes of detachment, tension, harshness, and the fragility of life. The dry wit also found in McCarthy’s writing complemented Robinson’s personal perspective, mirroring his own understanding and contrasting against the rigid framework and realities of every day.
After 18 months of experimentation, Robinson was then able to piece together the mosaic, collect his thoughts and ideas, and discover a multifaceted and creative way to express them; the result is Solo in Red.
“McCarthy’s books come at you like a horrifying flood, a poetic and troubled rush of debris. His writing is sparse, and operates within a supernatural or spiritual overlay that draws bleak attention to religion, truth and existence with his words presenting both the absolute beauty and absolute ugliness of existence, often within the same sentence. If you choose to enter McCarthy’s spiritual world, it will often result in the realisation of both frightening and peaceful truths. With Solo in Red, I feel as though I have found the creative and artistic voice I have been searching for throughout my entire career, which has been nurtured to meet at the intersection of music, literature and multimedia art. McCarthy’s texts introduced me to a new literary model from which I have been able to base my musical concepts on and expand on these captivating themes and atmospheres he creates as a writer, which in turn absorb you as a reader. It was this kind of absorption that I was interested and invested in creating and subsequently making my own.”
Combining with the extraordinary talents of Visual Artists Michelle Robinson, Dotahn Caspi and Sean Kelly, Solo In Red was conceived and created, a large-scale work that included music, video, lighting and even scent. Each element pulls and supports the others grounding the work and the listener deep inside the mythic, haunting, at times horrifying and always revealing the atmosphere of a Cormac McCarthy novel. The effect of Solo in Red can effects all of our senses in an unusually unique way. It is an experience that is both outstandingly beautiful, mesmerizing, haunting and deeply human. It reveals to us something more about ourselves and our place on this vast earth.
About the Ensemble Collider is
- Kynan Robinson – Trombone
- Adam Simmons – Tenor Saxophone
- Anita Hustas – Acoustic Bass
- Jason Bunn – Viola
- Andrea Keeble – Violin
- Ronnie Ferella – Drums/Percussion
Collider has been performing at major festivals around Australia since 2005 and consists of members of many influential Australian ensembles including, EnRusk, Old Des Peres, Adam Simmons Toy Band, CW Stoneking, Ish Ish The Victorian State Orchestra, and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Kynan Robinson is a highly regarded and successful Melbourne composer having had his work presented in major festivals throughout Australia, Asia, and Europe. He has toured and performed with a number of international acts throughout the world for the past 20 years.
About Michelle Robinson and Dotahn Caspi
Both Dotahn and Michelle are prize-winning and internationally recognised artists. Michelle and DOtahn began their art careers in Melbourne Australia. Dotahn’s initial forays into video production was as a head video producer and mixer for the club performance dance club Versus and closely aligned Michelle launched onto the national stage as a performance artist and lead MC for avante grade pop echno outfit Old Des Peres., also debuting at the iconic Melbourne club. SInce that poiint they have gone on to have significant careers. Michelle is now based in NY
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