Living in Berlin, Herndon is pushing the boundaries of how humans can interact with artificial intelligence to make music, approaching the tools at her disposal with optimism while keeping humans and humanity at the core of her production.
That’s what makes Hernon exhilarating live. Vocal trio Albertine Sarges (who plays at Melbourne’s Old Bar on Friday night), Colin Self and Evelyn Saylor – who accompany Herndon and her technological collaborator Mat Dryhurst on stage – are exceptional, either leading the electronic sounds on a wild jagged drive through new soundscapes or slowing the ride with a capella treats to silence the crowd.
Once the ears adjust to the variety of angles from which magical sounds are emanating you can focus on the performance. Herndon’s angelic and soothing presence leads from the shadows. She retains her humanity throughout with a wry smile, appreciating the harmonies from the trio that keep her present and connected.
When she joins in Herndon adds a sensual element to the interaction between performers. She and Self play their roles to perfection with Eternal – one of the most accessible tracks from Proto – appearing early while the mystical Crawler sounds sublime in the beautiful acoustics of the venue.
The interaction with the crowd comes late but is laced with an irreverent humour in the call and response singing of Evening Shades (so Spawn has something to work with back in Berlin). The audience is in palm of the performers’ hands.
With everyone standing for Fade the crowd is left wanting more. A night that started well with the haunting yet sometimes poppy sounds of Melbourne’s Sui Zhen ended with senses soothed and minds opened.