Live Gallery: YL Hooi & Silzedrek at the Sydney Biennale 15.05.2024

YL Hooi

YL Hooi, (the project of Valya Ying-Li Hooi,) plays the Sydney Biennale tonight, performing at the magnificent White Bay Power Station.

She is supported by Silzedrek, which is the newest persona crafted by Tarquin Manek, a name already familiar in many experimental music circles.

His set is unlike anything I’ve seen before. Amidst the haunting strains of his clarinet and saxophone, he incorporates an array of unexpected props: metal stools, long planks, and other metallic objects. He drops and twirls them on the ground, transforming the clatter and clang into an integral part of his performance. It’s spellbinding, watching him blur the line between noise and music, creating an experience that feels both chaotic and meticulously crafted.

Hooi’s music inhabits a subtle, mysterious realm of furtive, dubbed-out songs, sparse electronic percussion, and distant winds. Active in Melbourne’s underground scene since 2017, Hooi is a key member of Kallista Kult alongside Sam Karmel and Tarquin Manek. She’s also recorded and performed with notable artists like Jonnine Standish (HTRK), Jarrod Zlatic (Fabulous Diamonds), and Rohan Rebeiro (My Disco). Her debut album, ‘Untitled’—initially released on cassette by Altered States Tapes in 2019 and reissued on LP by Efficient Space in 2021—garnered wide praise.

She is joined on stage by Silzedrek. The two musicians conjure ethereal sounds from behind a desk piled with gear. Hooi’s voice floats through the cavernous expanse of the White Bay Power Station. The venue, with its heavy machinery and industrial aesthetic, stands in stark contrast to the sounds the duo create. It’s a juxtaposition that heightens the magic of their performance, making the ethereal even more otherworldly against the gritty backdrop.

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