Belgrave Music Hall
Test patterns are used when a television is receiving a signal but nothing is being broadcast, showing that any problems do not lie in the box itself. Scanner, who is Robin Rimbaud, stands among seven LCD computer monitors showing ever-changing coloured vertical stripes akin to these test patterns, but there is nothing wrong with his set. The visuals seem to mirror the music in its intensity and volume; during the most intense moments the stripes become brighter with a wider spectrum of colours, while the more ambient sections are accompanied by more thinner, more homogenous colours.
Tonight’s show is part of the Leeds College of Music’s International Festival for Artistic Innovation. In an age where live electronic music surrounds us, Rimbaud does live exploration in the genre better than most, and with a much higher degree of improvisation. Some of the sounds are rendered live; Rimbaud taps his fingers against a microphone stand with a contact microphone taped to it. By amplifying and distorting the result he’s able to produce sounds similar to that of tuned percussion, while allowing for the on the fly versatility that can make live electronic music so enticing. While this aspect was impressive, the logic behind which parts of the music were given this treatment eluded me and drew attention to the majority of the creative process taking place behind a laptop.
When he’s finished Rimbaud meekly bows to the rapturous applause of a mostly empty Belgrave Music Hall, symptomatic of one of music’s bigger problems: the innovators are rarely remembered.