Published Sep 30, 2016Gear strewn across a plastic mat on the dance floor, under some glimmering projection light, Kristel Jax opened the more intimate night of FORMS's concert programming with a provocative set of her pop concrète performance music.
After some initial vocal wails and radio surfing that dialled through some foreign language AM territory, Jax landed on the bridge from the Smashing Pumpkins single "Today," which she immediately committed to a sample bank. After testing the waves a little longer, it made one more appearance, heavily drenched in reverb opposite ads and string sections before it was effected into further obscurity.
The dark pop confessional fit thematically with the fragmented visions of internal drowning Jax presented, but the sample's gaze stood in stark contrast to it, too — especially when Jax left her nest of samplers, radios, and synths between bits of dark harmonica abstractions and pop noise and prowled the audience singing "Tightly But Briefly," an original, operatically inclined triste about staying with an abuser for many years before deciding to leave.
Note: this review has been edited from its original form to better reflect the meaning of "Tightly But Briefly" according to the artist.