Blue Koi Collective at JZ Club in Shanghai
Melville's thoughtful guitar was more audible in the second song of the second set, accented by Kyhl's djembe and Li's beatbox, jawharp, and pipa. I reveled in the subtle call and response betwixt the instruments, the unexpected harmonies, and the overall freedom of sound. Meirano constantly grounded his fellow musicians with his keys, bringing harmony that's even sweeter after such freedom. Ears seek harmony, spirits seek change; the combination brings contrast and color to paint the world anew. At moments, the piano possessed strength and surety, showing that Meirano, too, could take center stage when he chose.
Van De Locht and his bass clarinet were brought on for the third set of the night. As soon as all the players were on stage, another woodwind storm rose. Li threw down a bit of throat singing for juxtaposition.
Van De Locht and Kyhl together presented a high-pitched and downright avian mix of sounds that was underlined by Haavik's grounded tenor saxophone. The bass clarinet, with its ability to go from low to high in 0.6 seconds, isn't an instrument you see very often and Peter V played it with fervor. Haavik, always lyrical, provided melody amongst chaos. In the end, Li whipped out another special little instrument, a guanzi (a small Chinese flute). I left JZ Club heady from sound overload and happy to have heard a host of fascinating instruments played by a group of musicians who are not afraid to use them.
An earlier, and fairly addictive, self-titled debut album by Blue Koi Collective is available from Gabriele Meirano.