Friday, 24 August 2012

essens:1 - Music Worth Flying For

I suppose that to some people it might seem a little mad to fly the length of the UK and back again in one day to watch a one-hour performace. I guess it depends how badly you want to see someone play live. In this case, very, very, VERY badly. :)

I've been following essens:1 since I friended one part of the eclectic duo on Facebook through his book page Who is Kai? I don't know a lot about classical music - I wouldn't know a piece by Mozart from one by Mendelssohn without looking it up - but I do know when I hear something that I like. essens:1 attempts to broaden the appeal of classical music and to put their own special stamp on it in a way that is both captivating and innovative. Using two laptops, an electric violin, an electric clarinet, looping, and a lot of talent and enthusiasm, essens:1 create their own unique twists. To prove their point, their performance at the Edinburgh Fringe this week was entitled From Mozart to Muse. Yes, you read that right. If you think classical music isn't your thing, these could be the guys to change your mind.

A live cover of Muse's Hysteria by essens:1 -- Ian Peaston (electric violin) and Per Johansson (electric clarinet). The entire piece is looped live, with all sounds produced electro-acoustically on violin and clarinet via Ableton Live. Not taken from the Fringe performance

From playing two pieces especially composed for them - Tobias Broström's evocative Dreamscape, and Stefan Klaverdal's pulsating Bach remix Misrau Ca - to film scores by Hans Zimmer and Yann Tiersen, and on to We Will Rock You by Queen and Muse's Hysteria (my personal favourite), the duo prove the versatility of their instruments, and their skill at using technology to play pieces that would normally require a full orchestra or fully equipped rock band.

Live at The Bongo Club 23rd August 2012

These guys love their music so much, and are so passionate about what they do that you can't help but be drawn in by their enthusiasm and their energy. They deserve greater recognition for it.

You can check out more of essens:1 work and forthcoming tour dates via their site here or their Facebook page here. You can also look up Ian's solo work as Violin Variations here, and for the scifi fans Ian's writing site is here. Also follow @elucian on Twitter.

essens:1 will be performing today and tomorrow at 14.30 at The Bongo Club, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh as part of the Fringe Festival. Go along with you!


  1. I am so glad you got to go - and that you had fun! I wish I could have seen! Great pics, too! Woot!

    1. Lauri, I think you would have loved it. But I am missing them all quite badly today. :(


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