So, my sister turns 21 this year, and to mark the occasion we went to see the Cirque de Soleil, an amazing acrobatic more-than-a-circus at the Royal Albert Hall. I have fallen in love with the wide circular building, the tiers of seats, and moons of acoustic domes in the ceiling. The set was very avatar-like in blues and greens with ambient forest sounds. The acrobatics were incredible, and while entranced by them it took me a few moments to realise that the music was all from a live band, partially shielded from view by green tendrils of the forest floor. A vocalist dressed in black standing on an illuminated basin of water cast ambient vocals out across the arena. There were no words, unless they were in the strange language of the island of Amaluna, but somehow you could feel the meaning of the music by the tone, emotion and, interestingly, the vowel sounds that she chose.
The change in vowels changes the shape of the resonators in your vocal apparatus, and this vocalist exploited all of them, allowing harmonics to rise and fall, changing the timbre, volume and intensity. Clever stuff. A few times I found myself watching her instead of the gymnastic feats on the stage. Mesmerising. All in all, it was artistic showmanship at its best.