A welcoming, blissful way to welcome in the New Moon, Monelise’s latest performance feels like much more than yet another Zoom gig. The relaxed, welcoming atmosphere defies the inevitable remoteness of the internet. If the aim is to take the audience on a journey to explore new possibilities and reach out to the cosmos, then Monelise succeeds to an extent barely held back by the material limitations placed on this immaterial exploration.
Technically the show is marvellous. Smoky visages travel across the screen, and textual graphics make what could otherwise be clunky transitions feel seamless. It proves to be a perfect accompaniment to the music, a naturalised and wonderful part of the experience. Monelise’s selected tracks range from her 2019 album Hauntology right through to more recent releases such as Clockwork Heart and Insane, The changes to the songs are subtle, almost unnoticeable in fact, but still make each track feel like a refreshed, exciting discovery. Monelise’s stunning vocals carry every track through, opting for a gentler waltz through her discography rather than opting for full power (which would have felt out of place given the tone of the evening). The ecological, meditative lullaby that is Shimmering Stream stands out as a highlight, as does the wonderfully harmonic cover of Nick Cave’s Into My Arms.
Enveloping purples, pinks and at times deep reds saturate the screen with a warm, striking light. What little equipment Monelise has asides her instruments are on full display, complete with additional small flourishes that sit especially well with the on-screen graphics. The mixture of quotes shown on the screen from the likes of Arthur C. Clarke and John McCormack, set the ethereal mood so convincingly. The best way to enjoy this experience is to give yourself over to it completely, exactly as you are invited to do with such open arms throughout the mesmerising 45-minute performance.
You sadly never quite forget that you are sitting at home on your laptop rather than being taken away somewhere else. Even so, the fact that the gig proves as transportative as it is showcase’s Monelise’s uncanny ability to conjour up strange places and enchanting possibilities through her music. It is a wonderful performance accompanied by technical wizardry and a passionate interaction with the audience. Against all the odds, you feel like part of something beyond yourself.