Hypnotique’s Totally Wired at Brighton Fringe – review
Whether your interest in electronic music is casual – you bought a Yazoo or Hot Chip album back in the day – or more serious – musique concrète and Silver Apples of the Moon populate your inner palace – Totally Wired is for you. It is stuffed with tasty facts and topped with the squirty cream of live performance.
Madam Hypnotique grabs you by the hand and dashes through the invention and history of electronic music, pointing delightedly this way and that as we go. Using funny and informative video, featuring link ups and chat between Hypnotique and (ahem) the actual inventors and pioneers, our host banters and enthuses with these heroes as they demonstrate their various instruments and the weird, wonderful glops, blips and whooshes of vintage synthesis. Bright and fizzy, with one eye on the kids, the show has so many marvels for us that neither adults nor aficionados will be bored or disappointed for a moment.
The first instrument ever to utilise electricity was in 1748, astonishingly. But true synthesis really got going in 1919 with Leon Theremin’s invention. Lenin loved it, apparently, and the theremin ushered in the era of the ‘early electronic oddities’ – the Trautonium, the Croix Sonore and other room-sized monsters. With Kraftwerk’s arrival on the European art-pop scene in 1970, the era of modern and popular synthesis began, proceeding milestone-by-milestone to our contemporary global culture of affordable, ‘democratised’ electronic composition and performance.
Hypnotique sparks up her own theremin and accompanies several versions of Kraftwerk’s The Model and other widely contrasting bits and bobs. The only let-down is a pretty awful finale singalong (from The Space Lady on video) that doesn’t work for anybody and that Hypnotique cannot rouse us with. That aside, this show is a joy and deserves a packed house every time.