By Justin Quaintance, June 28 2017 —
Central United Church played host to a slate of instrumental artists for Sled Island on Friday, June 23. The church’s open design made it ideal for the evening’s atmospheric bill.
Pyramid//Indigo, an Edmonton-based ambient duo, were the first to take stage. They played a brand of ambience that silenced the room with its subtle yet haunting undercurrent.
Calgary solo ambient artist Valiska played next. His performance took the form of a single song, ebbing and flowing for over half an hour before reaching a climax so heavy that it shook the walls of the church. Perhaps the most impressive thing about his set is that it was mostly improvised.
The evening’s highlight was no doubt the post-rock band Mono, who travelled from Tokyo to make their Sled appearance. The performance encompassed their distinct style, slowly building songs into intense and cathartic cacophonies.
As the music’s intensity peaked, it was fascinating to watch the band move as if their instruments were an extension of themselves, amplifying their sound with their bodies. Takaakira “Taka” Goto notably carried the emotional tone of the music with his expressive movements and guitar playing.
After Mono’s performance, the crowd erupted into a standing ovation. While most of Sled’s biggest shows take place in bars across downtown past midnight, Friday’s show at Central United Church featured some of the festival’s most exhilarating moments.