Edinburgh Festival Fringe music review: Alien Lullabies: Songs from a Decaying Future, reviewed by The Scotsman’s David Kettle.
With its bizarre digital imagery of blackened-eyed alien dolls and beetles strumming bone harps, and a woman wailing into a microphone against the lazy, throbbing beats she’s created, you’d be forgiven for finding Alien Lullabies a little (forgive me) alienating. And certainly at first, with a long stretch of abstract, constantly changing video and no live performer, it’s tempting to wonder what on earth is going on.
But stick with it and it might just get under your skin. This is a hugely ambitious, pretty trippy music and video work from Scottish/Burmese composer/singer Fiona Soe Paing and Kiwi animator Zennor Alexander, and by the end of its often hallucinatory 50 minutes, it feels seductive and unsettling, sensuous and sinister.
Soe Paing, a weirdly cool figure in a floppy hat and high heels, has a sultry, highly persuasive contralto, which she uses to whisper or scream her way through haunting songs that linger in the mind even if you’d rather they didn’t. And dream-like images recur time and time again in Alexander’s crisp, video game-like animations.
It’s unutterably cool, darkly alluring, probably meaningless but fascinatingly inventive too – and there’s unlikely to be another Fringe show even remotely like it.
Summerhall (Venue 26) until 23 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 18 August 2015
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