STEREO fittingly begins with Adam Page stepping on stage and rubbing his hands together as he looks at his wide array of instruments, like a child excitedly trying to decide which toy to play with.

The Lab at ILA (previously Light ADL) is the perfect setting for this audio and visual experience, with lights and moving space-scapes surrounding the audience. The first sounds of drum blocks and bongos begin panning around the room.

STEREO is the culmination of Page’s recent PhD studies attempting to find new ways to use loop pedals, mimicking man with machine. Each improvised piece utilises one of his new techniques, beginning with what he dubs the “fluid arithmetic technique”.

Despite the academic premise of the techniques, Page’s musicality shines. He plays music with a voice that one can sense is fuelled by passion and artistry. He manages to find a sweetness on his tenor sax amid a flurry of polyrhythms.

Throughout the show he explores a modern minimalist sound layering up percussive motifs on keyboard, synth-bass, clarinet, saxophone, flute and assorted hand percussion instruments.

Inspired by the likes of minimalist composer Steve Reich, his next method, the “fixed phasing technique”, slowly offsets the loops, which find their own fluid interplay, shifting around the beat without Page needing to re-record them.

Page has long been inspired by free jazz and improvised music, and STEREO includes improvised solos atop drone-like backings and beats. This means each performance is unique.

This night’s show featured an improvisation inspired by an audience member’s recent experience in Adelaide’s mushroom tunnels. It begins with gentle synth drones and the rain-sounds of chajchas rattles. Page adds a floating flute improvisation that transports the listener to a garden, with breathy saxophone sounds almost like the wings of butterflies.

The third technique on display is Page’s “displaced arithmetical technique” which focuses on percussion and percussive sounds. Big beats and bouncing motifs hold this piece together.

The beauty of this show is that audience members are both watching Page create something new in real time while anticipating what it might turn into.

Despite the composer-musician’s endeavour to take a more serious approach to his shows this year, allowing his music to take centre-stage, he cannot resist a silly moment to end the performance, delighting the evening’s audience.

Adam Page takes this Fringe as an opportunity to take musical and artistic risks as he allows himself to indulge the conceptual ideas of his more serious side.

Adam Page: STEREO is playing at The Lab at ILA until February 25. Page is also presenting the family show I Wanna Be a Musician at The Lab.

Read more 2024 Adelaide Fringe coverage here on InReview.

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