Published Feb 10, 2018To open their set, Melody McKiver recalled to their audience that their love of classical music had brought them to the National Arts Centre many times as a listener while growing up in Ottawa. Now, it was their turn to take the stage as a performer. Running their viola through a battery of effects pedals, their loop-based compositions were marked by sound technique: pizzicato playing for lower register bass loops, and string skipping for winding, arpeggiated melodies.
McKiver performed a number of pieces from their recent score for Reckoning, a theatre production from Indigenous activist arts company Article 11 that focuses on experiences in residential schools. Their compositions here were cinematic in their own right. Long, reverb-laden draws of their bow held the audience in silence, at times adding lower, droning notes at the click of a pedal. In more vigorous moments of playing, McKiver's use of dissonance and dynamics created plenty of musical tension.