Fly!’s performance showed an all-too-live composition process

The original idea behind Fly! was to put a piano in a computer, said Laurent before his concert at Bangalore’s Alliance Francaise recently. Since that wasn’t possible, the trio would do the next best thing: route the piano’s sounds into a computer, at which stage Otisto23 would redesign the sounds. Laurent played one specific note, which would be manipulated to become the percussive base for one track. All the while, Nico Ticot would be projecting visuals on the circle of curtains which embedded Laurent and Otisto23.

To be sure, the music of Fly! was experimental, improvisational work at its core. Dissonant notes were common and one could see the composition process was all-too-live (for instance, at one point, Otisto23 was frantically trying to get Laurent’s attention, perhaps to tell him to change the note being played, but the pianist was too engrossed). But on the whole, the level of synchronisation the three artists achieved made for a visual and aural treat. Nico Ticot’s visuals ranged from abstract visualisations to videogame-style architecture, to recollections of classical European art. To watch Otisto23 work was a thrill: he directed the show to a large extent, telling Laurent how many cycles of notes he needed; he also radiated the manic energy of some mad scientist, which is perhaps what he is.

Songs played included versions of George Benson’s ‘On Broadway’; to acknowledge the degree to which the trio had changed it, the tune was now called ‘Sorry George’. The juxtaposition of jazz piano over a deep, growling bassline (which also comes from the piano!) meant that this isn’t dance music in the most straightforward sense; yet, you couldn’t sit still.

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