Photo by David MunnThe Neil Campbell Collective

Static Gallery, Roscoe Street (8th May 2009)

Reviewed by Alicia Rose

Upon entering the reception area of the Static Gallery, there was a quiet anticipatory buzz for euphonious things to come. What could possibly be a truly great musical achievement rested in the wings. Comprised in the six pound admission fee were two mp3 tracks from The Neil Campbell Collective and entrance to their performance of liberal rock and ‘Powaqqatsi II’ type visuals.

The night commenced promptly at nine o’clock with a multimedia type work called ‘Visioni’ featuring Francesco di Fiore on keyboard and synthesizer. Although commendable, the anfractuous arrangement appeared to continue long past its point of appreciative zenith. The approximate two third full audience contained in the ‘main room’ of the venue began to thin toward the end of the piece. Overheard was a comment that it was ‘lullaby music’, beautiful but somewhat prolix.

After a brief interim Campbell and his seven-piece ensemble took to the stage. With a lightning bolt of initiation a journey of epic proportion began. Jeff Jepson’s lyrics reached well-pitched heights whilst Brocklesby’s drumming and Maslivek’s bass simmered and scorched. Nicole Collarbone’s eloquent fingers danced deft across strings with what can only be described as incredible fluidity whilst Anne Taft ‘chair’ meditated before standing to breathe the audience into her soprano exploit.

Key to the whole formation, Campbell continues to excel. Advocating methods of musical enlightenment this talented composer, arranger and extraordinary musician rightfully collected rapturous applause. The absolute superior soundscape was let down only by choice of venue, which presented less than tidy comfort for the punter. That aside, The Neil Campbell Collective’s masterful achievement is quite possibly secured.

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