Live 2023-01-06 -- Jolanda Moletta - Full Moon Spell Session
First live review of 2023 and judging from the quality of the performance of Jolanda Moletta, it appears this year is off to a good start. As all too often, I had been utterly unfamiliar with her music and did not listen to any of it beforehand, nor had I ever heard of her before; the same is true of the label Ambientologist.
Who is Jolanda Moletta, then?
According to her Bandcamp page, she "[...] explores sound through a multimedia perspective, experimenting with vocals, short films, collage animation and more". She also "[...] fronted the alternative band She Owl for over a decade".
This does not help us much in this regard, or?
The setting was as follows: a close-up focus on her person, while microphones are placed on either side of her. In the background a video plays, which shows a picture of a full moon that rises during the first track and appears in either his normal colour or at some point in red; which reminds me on Morrorwind, but that is a different story. At some rare moments glimpses on other equipment parts were given.
Maybe it would be a bit unfair, but the basic premise of her music are layers. Layers, layers, layers, timing and variation. To make one thing clear right from the start. There are no "instruments". There are hardly any beats. There is nearly nothing that would accompany her or would work as a counterpoint to the voice. "Spell III: In the Great City Solitude" differs in this regard due to a very minimalist electronic pattern. Vocals appear at some rare moments and introduce parts of the music.
Does it need more?
Actually not, because with the help of repetitious vocal sounds or fragments in the background, her performance hovers on top of it and this play between these is what grabs the attention and sets the mood. This is not acapella, but rather a weird though intense expression of vocals whose structures attempt to escape an immediate understanding to the inattentive listener. One needs to keep all the focus on her person and let not any distraction divert it at any moment; the ever nudging mobile phone for instance needs to take a second row here. Ritualistic is an aspect that comes to mind in this regard. An archaic minimalism (sensorially) enhanced by modern technology. Relax. Focus. Meditation. Otherworldly at times. Slow and haunting.
Of course this could easily lead to a disaster, but the performance is utterly captivating. Perhaps the worst aspect is not to be able to experience it all on site. Here the distance and the lack of the atmosphere of the location is what limits the experience; something she can do nothing about. While it is already impressive to witness these sounds "from afar", what would a closer proximity to these amalgam of ideas be like; no, placing the face very very close to the screen does not help in this regard.
Whilst Bandcamp can help you experience her performance from afar, it cannot compensate for the intensity of a concert and watching at a venue with her being the sole focus of attention.
Note: It is also slightly annoying to see that Bandcamp has not been able to fix the error reported by me so far and that it occurs on the site of the replay again ... though in a different form this time. Well, one might say that that is at least something.
And some fog hovering around her posture would have been nice.