All photos: Ryan Kelly
From Colin’s last review of Kishi: As the old saying goes, never bury the violin virtuoso who seamlessly creates intricately layered music by seamlessly looping himself throughout songs better than anyone you’ll ever see. The last bit’s slightly hyperbolic, I’ve only ever seen a handful of solo ‘loopers’ but Kishi Bashi does so in a way that makes you think he’s pulling off the musical equivalent of “Man on Wire” before your ears.
Looping can be a bit tedious if done slowly. It’s difficult. Performing this way is like putting together a living being (not a human but maybe a mouse or some other small critter) by skeleton, flesh, then endocrines and nerves and blood in a sequence of minutes. Or less graphically, building blocks of sound one at a time. Bashi does this at times with the speed and subtlety of a hummingbird. He slaps together loops so seamlessly you almost miss the movement between played notes and looped, he incorporates quick bursts as sudden and brief as a supernova. He does so with enviably precise technique, but warmth as well, even when deconstructing a carefully yet quickly convoked song. This is hard to appreciate on his studio recordings; check him out live, or in the absence of doing so this video of his complete performance at the Hamilton. You would not expect a voice that ranges as powerfully as his from a violinist, not an instrument who many sing so well and play, but he seems to reach into another dimension for his falsetto. And no, drugs did not contribute to the composition of that description.