Live Review: People Like Us, Position Normal, Pony Harvest @ Static Gallery

Posted on 21 May 2010
By Amy Roberts
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One man electronica bravado band Pony Harvest looks like a jolly nice bloke – which is good because standing amongst a raven atop a theremin, some toy instruments, a rubber duckie, and a desktop crammed full of synth and all kinds of pitch, pace and effect gizmos, he runs the risk of being submerged in pretension.

Thankfully though this isn’t the case, the set is a mini-triumph – jumping between some very big beats, unforeseen marveled melodies and a fantastically dark humoured remix of samples from a ‘hate on a gypsy family’ hotline, PH creates a well pitched atmosphere and narrative which thankfully never takes itself too seriously.

Position Normal, on the other hand, kind of look and sound like something Nathan Barley would get on stage and attempt in order to keep up with the Dalston hipsters down the bloody road.

Overall the piece does have some excellent moments, particularly when the focus is on the alignment between music and projected video elements, wherein a narrative of kitsch and lame British identity is explored through twee but distorted seaside shanties, and nostalgic songs about cowboys.

At the other end of this spectrum though is ill-conceived bouts of needless noise and grotesque video elements of retro British-isms which have almost become cliches of the video-art-music combo, not to mention visuals provided merely for (literal) shits, giggles and shocks including a clip of a dog defecating in reverse.
Christ, where’s Charlie Brooker when you need him?

The night is rounded off beautifully from the visual / audio delights provided by People Like Us. A video / music collage project (tonight’s piece is labelled Genre Collage), the composition is frankly stunning – thoughtful, powerful and at times often hilarious and moving, classic movies and music, mostly from movie soundtracks such as The Look Of Love or Somewhere Over The Rainbow, are inter spliced and mashed up to great effect.

The creation often concentrates on highly destructive and dysfunctional elements, such as souring love, hedonism, delirium, antagonism, and war, taking characters and narratives out of their original context and then leaving them to function within the realm of another.

Highly accomplished and often striking awe into her audience, a particular highlight of the entire piece comes when the opening of The Sound Of Music gets mixed with the opening to Apocalypse Now.

Don’t know about you but we always wondered what Julie Andrews would look and sound like submerged in a gulf of fiery explosions and remixed with Jim Morrison’s swan song The End. Spectacular.