Culture | Future jazz

Fusions have been ubiquitous in popular culture for many years; from Cuban-Asian cuisine to rap-rock to jeggings (yes, the jeans/leggings hybrid) – they’re usually pretty questionable in quality. The Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music and Technology (CIRMMT), however, has faith in fusion. This Wednesday, they’re producing a concert that exhibits fusion music with a more traditional precedent. The CIRMMT is bringing Andy Milne and Benoit Delbecq to the stage, a pair of master jazz pianists who incorporate live electronics into their performance.

“Live electronics,” you wonder? Like, robots? Not quite. Though it may not be – thank God – the Transformers film on stage, Milne and Delbecq improvise jazz in a contemporary manner while experimenting with art and audio technology, using both electronic synthesizers and computers. This means you are likely to see some bizarre and beautiful instruments on stage during their performance.

Primarily, though, Milne and Delbecq perform on an acoustic piano. The sound they propound is somewhere between poppy synth and Cuban, African, funk and hip hop infused jazz. The effect produced has led the New York Times to dub their music “strangely beautiful.”

All the aforementioned influences come together to provide a concert experience that promises to be not only aurally pleasing but also visually immersing. Taking into account texture, timbre, space, and time, the duo engage with the spaces they play in using an individual approach each time in order to ensure that every performance is unique.

More so than any other fusion you are likely to come across, Milne and Delbecq’s music maintains a harmonious relationship between its various elements. Though their work may seem complicated in its description, its elegant complexity is exactly what makes it exciting music to see performed.

Andy Milne and Benoit Delbecq perform on February 17 at 8p.m. at Pollack Hall (555 Sherbrooke O.).


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