Fateless

2006
DVD
Label: Ashodel

Asphodel’s premiere DVD release features the Australian duo, turntablist Martin Ng and guitarist Oren Ambarchi in collaboration with visual artists Tina Frank and Robin Fox for an AV expedition into the sublime and fascinating worlds of Fateless.

Since the duo’s first release, Ng and Ambarchi have worked very closely with Tina Frank (house artist of the Mego label). Tina has designed the artwork of both Reconnaissance and Vigil, Ng and Ambarchi’s previous 2 CD/CD-Rom releases on Staubgold. The precursor to Fateless, Tina Frank’s illusory creation of destabilized and flickering lines on indiscernible planes, was built for a performance at Mutek.

The collaboration is described by Res magazine’s Sandy Hunter as „Tron-like grids that slowly morphed into more distinct forms to fluidly flowing motion graphic moments which perfectly reflected the otherworldly tones filling the space. The performance, focusing on the interplay between sound and image, left a packed house glued to the mats scattered across the floor. These moments were the tough act to follow of the Mutek festival.“ For those who weren’t at Mutek for the performance, Vigilance has a similar effect.

Overlapping modular harmonic geometries articulate the visual artist’s hesitant back and forth, a common visual element for Frank. Frank’s luminous pixels leak in carousel structures around an imagined axis, subtly introducing interfering waves of color and distorted currents of digital flourishes. The optical interaction with the eye comes as a challenge to one’s persistence of vision, furthering the notion of the work’s harmony, through the speed of pixels across the screen, the tension and release of kaleidoscopic color and the masterfully controlled sound.

Textura, November 2006:
Frank’s multi-hued patterns mirror the fluctuating intensity of the music but grow increasingly colourful as the piece develops. What is initially a stark achromatic display of spidery lines eventually transforms into pulsating rainbows of densely-layered geometric bars, grids, and shapes.

Though MUTEK 2003 attendees had a chance to experience Fateless in concert, those who missed it now have the DVD as a credible substitute. Naturally, the average home setup will pale in comparison to the festival’s large-screen presentation. To re-create the experience as closely as possible, turn the lights down low and the volume up high (on hopefully a large-screen display) and prepare to surrender to the DVD’s psychotropic effect. Fateless manages to be that rare thing: uncompromisingly abstract and experimental without being alienating or inaccessible.