ArtsWell 2016 – I read in the program that this experimental musician was going to play a daytime show at the Tempest (an old church). The description was promising so I made a point of getting to the show which I believe was on the Sunday. It seemed that this show had some buzz to it which was interesting given that I hadn’t heard of Uschi Tala. When we got to the church there was a long line-up outside – the fascinating part was that there were so many other musicians in the line-up.
When we got into the church it was completely dark with the exception of a couple of lights on stage. The windows were covered so it was slightly disorienting given that we had just come from daylight. Then Uschi Tala started and the show was mesmerizing – lush instrumentation including guitar, cello, and keyboards, looping pedals, reverb, a mixture of operatic tones with hip hop and beat boxing, and an artist doing drawings in sand projected. The show was haunting and heavy. Emerging out of the church at the end of the show from darkness back into light I remember feeling that my world had shifted slightly.
I immediately went to the merch tent and bought the CD. The album is a reflection of the live show in many ways. It’s an immersive experience listening to this album – it needs to be listened to loud or on good headphones to capture all of the nuance. Despite listening to it loud, it can also be a meditative journey going through this album. For me, there are no favourite songs or songs that particularly stand out – each song is in its right place on the album and the album deserves to be listened to as a whole.