Australian composer Jack Prest has explored a lot of different ground in the last decade, but it all comes together stunningly on this performance of his multi-disciplinary piece, “The Risk of Hyperbole.” Premiered near the end of 2021 at Phoenix Central Park in Sydney. As a movement in three parts – sound, object, and movement – “The Risk of Hyperbole” goes through multiple shifts and covers many different styles and genres. It’s an expansive piece of work, as immersive as it is engaging and always storming forward.
Prest is joined by clarinetist Jason Noble, percussionist Claire Edwards, and pianist Benjamin Freeman to perform the sonic components of this multi-media piece. Synth arpeggios drift along emotive drones with field recordings woven throughout before exploding into more rhythmic, pop-infused spaces. Prest’s compositional excellence is on full display in the details adding new levels of richness to the sweeping soundscapes.
As “The Risk of Hyperbole” moves into its second act, artists Joe Wilson and Chanelle Collier assemble a series of striking artworks that celebrate sound, object, and movement and serve as a beguiling backdrop for the fireworks ahead. As the pulsing rhythm takes over, so does Sudanese artist and dancer Azzam Mohamed. His movements are hypnotizing, moving in conjunction with Jason Noble’s wildering clarinet runs to add an air of magic and whimsy. Throughout, it’s impossible to look away from Mohamed’s movements as he engages us with a generous approach.
How Prest connects the various, differing movements of “The Risk of Hyperbole” is special. Wilson and Collier return to the stage, adding and subtracting pieces to simultaneously alter focal points and change backdrops. Edwards is fantastic throughout adding texture and drama, but her vibraphone sorcery in the last section is incredible. For his part, Prest’s trumpet passages are emotive as they land, setting it up for the triumphant finale of anthemic catharsis. Mohamed continues to spin magic until the final moments when “The Risk of Hyperbole” takes its last round. It’s an incredible, massive performance from beginning to end.
The Risk Of Hyperbole was commissioned by Phoenix Central Park, supported by The Australia Council for the Arts and Create NSW and produced by Intimate Spectacle.
An LP edition of The Risk Of Hyperbole – Vol.1 – Sound is also available from Prest and has been on regular rotation here at Foxy Digitalis HQ. I recommend checking it out and picking up a copy below:
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