Review: Christian Löffler at the Southbank centre
08 March, 2019 — By Tessa van Rens
Christian Löffler’s multi-sensory performance turned a Wednesday night at the Southbank centre into the unlikely home of a quiet, yet exuberant rave.
The young audience jumped out of their seats to dance to the heavy house music in the sold-out venue when he came back for an encore –the first of three, as it seems he just couldn’t help himself.
The evening started off much quieter, with Löffler creating a sunny yet melancholic daydream, where the bass matched the visuals of the trembling sun.
As the string quartet and vocalist Mohna joined him for Haul – a melody which became a theme throughout the performance – his signature sound, which tells the story of the wild, remote places where it’s been created, shone through.
While the ensemble had a small yet vital role, Löffler and Mohna often composed the music together, mixing side by side.
Although her voice was sometimes not powerful enough to cut through the heavy electronics, the chemistry between the artists remains audible.
The backdrop of the visual art, moving through a mesmerising sequence of abstract moving shapes, trees and hipsters on bikes, gave an extra dimension to the performance, at once following and leading the rhythm of the music.
A moving image, reminiscent of black oil dripping down a mountain, announced a departure from dreamy melancholy to the darker techno of tracks like the title song of his 2012 album A Forest.
The collaboration of the musicians and the visual art, the blend of instrumental, electronic and natural sounds and the transition from deep techno to euphoric electronica all felt so effortless that the audience loses themselves in it; forgetting where they are or how long they’d been there and always asking for more.
A memorable performance, which makes me eager to see Southbank Centre’s upcoming electronic gigs.