Out of Body: Gazelle Twin + Carla Mackinnon @ FACT, Liverpool, 9 April
Puberty, a rite of passage that hopefully everyone traverses relatively unscathed, is an awkward process, but a necessary one. It’s trying, and usually failing, to find out who you are before being able to take on the main stage of living. Awkward discomfort is of particular interest to composer and artist Gazelle Twin, but is also emblematic of her performance tonight. With two albums under her belt, most recently 2014’s highly acclaimed Unflesh, you'd think she'd be confident in her presentation by now, however, Gazelle Twin provides much bluster and little delivery.
There’s an air of cynicism in her tastefully crafted A/V set with filmmaker Carla Mackinnon, where ‘visceral’ and ‘challenging’ are descriptors used as an aim rather than an achievement. The Jan Švankmajer-inspired body horror flows too heavy-handedly in the visuals; alongside the clumsy denotations of corporeal anxiety and vocal lead ‘tension’, the detachment to the performance is further compounded by the struggle for attention between the film and her contrived presence.
As Gazelle Twin creeps off stage only to return out of character for a Q&A session, it's clear that this is an artist with a strong vision for this project. But therein lies the problem: Gazelle Twin seems like a distant and overprecise project instead of an utterance; a think tank consensus of experimental music and performance. With every gesture too laboured, too worried about offending the placid audience, Gazelle Twin must grow out of simply being clever in order to be convincing.