This collaboration between experimental electronic musician Beatrice Dillon and artist Keith Harrison – presented by Outlands, a new national experimental music touring network – brings a warehouse space in Salford rumbling to life with an interweaving collision of sound and vision. Speakers circle the room, and in the middle, varying sizes of speaker cones are built into plastic crates with strip lighting scattered throughout. Within the cones are a variety of materials from fluffy powders to sugar-like granules, coloured liquids and not-yet-firm homemade play-dough. As Dillon begins playing through the multi-channel system, the speaker cones reverberate and bounce, interacting with the materials and sending mini powder-bursts rocketing or creating rippling and immersive shapes that move from fluid patterns to gooey pulses.
It’s a performance that explores both interaction and misdirection. The buzzing clatter of the speaker cones firing white powder into the air pulls the eyes one way, while the multi-speaker set-up that plays a deft yet dancing composition – all flickers of rhythm, ambient clacks, industrial bleeps and bass booms – arrests the ears. People walk around the room, spending a few moments hypnotised by what looks like pink Angel Delight coalescing in dreamy, satisfying flows, before moving on to risk getting a nose full of chalky powder sent whizzing from a gargling bass rumble. Tonally, the music switches between deconstructed club music and unpredictable ambient; yet despite the busyness, it’s never overwhelming or superfluously theatrical. Instead, the focus is honed to a pleasing asymmetry that sees the overlap between animating materials to create sound, and creating sounds to animate materials.