The “momo live show” as it has been christened this evening consists of the highly regarded Sacconi string quartet a couple of classically trained singers and [mac book pro plug in powered drum roll please] a guitar and a lap-top “woo-hoo” you are now entering cross-oversville.
Classical cross-over probably stands as the easiest conceived genre in the known universe to create “I mean how cool would these slightly distorted guitars sound with some bloody cello and a violin backing them up?” However execution of such a fabulously trite idea takes a little more presentation than just a sexy soprano to pull off. I’m not sure it needs to be intermittently peppered with g.c.s.e. grade poetry either, but you can give it a go.
Toni Castells (the brainchild of Momo) rather gushingly introduces the show as a night pre-occupied with love, be it sexual, unconditional, plutonic or appropriately enough the love of one’s self. An accompanying slide show serves to enhance the general ambience of bush halls elegant décor and for the next 30 minutes or so we amble gracefully through the rolling contours of a grown mans heart. Hmmmmm. The first thing that becomes apparent is the alarming familiarity with which the show carries itself, nothing appears out of the ordinary, you just never feel that any of the concepts have been explored as far as possible. If you consider the competition to be within the ranks of ‘Sigur Ros’ or ‘Bjork’ and not sacrine-sweet classical rebels ‘Bond’ it becomes apparent where momo fails to hit the mark.
The rhythmical aspect of the arrangements especially could do with a touch more embellishment, think Matmos, Plaid, Boards of Canada etc and not just a fuzzy metronome. The kind of subtlety associated with the aforementioned beat meisters in my mind would really have given the project the truly contemporary edge it needs to break any new ground. The guitar work too sounds weedy and lame in comparison to the finery associated with a string quartet, possibly the fault of the live engineer who seems about as enthusiastic about his work as Theodor Morell, but what’s new.
At some point during my Momo experience it becomes apparent that the visual element of the evening if executed indeed wholeheartedly would have served in some respects as a piece de resistance. Having recently had the pleasure of witnessing Alfred Hitchcock’s first silent black and white film accompanied by a live orchestra, I can’t help but mull over the potential for a Momo short film score. I truly believe that at some point our over sexed over sensitised and over rated minds will demand a visual element to pretty much all live music especially when the participants of the pieces do little more rock back and forth in a way that only classical musicians can.
There seems to be so much potential within momo for something that could break ground and with some more refinement and maybe a division of labour in terms of a writing partner aside from Mr. Castells a real contribution could be made to blurring the boundaries between contemporary and classical music. I look forward to Momo growing up.