Unsure quite what the evening ahead would hold, and descending the long steep stairs down to Liquid Rooms, the distant and faintly mystical sound of the ‘hang’ (also known as a hang drum) can be heard coursing throughout the building. Gracing Edinburgh on their debut global tour aptly titled ‘Luminous Emptiness’, Hang Massive share their distinctive new age sound with the crowds. Along the length of the stage stand five large ‘hangs’, domed steel pans in the shape of flying saucers whilst subtle orange and yellow lighting illuminate the duo as the smooth beats of ‘Warmth of the Sun’s Rays’ sound, bathing the room in a sunny glow. Known for the particularly ambient and ethereal nature to their music, Hang Massive put on a vastly more varied and surprising show than expected.
The atmosphere was peculiar, unlike any other gig, everyone was in a trance of their own and applauding at the close of every song without fail, showing their vast appreciation for the music. Watching in awe the gentle yet intricate movements of Danny Cudd and Markus Offbeat (surely, a stage-name?) as they played the hangs in a seemingly effortless manner whilst sounding throughout the venue. A simultaneous amazement fell over everyone as they heard the tones and felt the reverberations of the subtle taps of the hang.
Cudd and Offbeat had the crowd in the palm of their hands, their eyes either following every move or closed to heighten their sense to the ethereal sounds. The balcony above the main room proved a prime spot to watch as well as allowing people so inclined to dance in far more space than in amongst the crowd. The atmosphere built as they began to mix the soothing tones with a more upbeat (rather than ‘Offbeat’) electronic sound. The merging of electronic beats with the hang drums increasingly evoked associations with Bonobo’s ‘Cirrus’ and Four Tet’s ‘Lush’. The balcony acting as the perfect vantage point over the room, to see how the energy of the room instantly mirrored the energy of Hang Massive.
Nearing the end of the gig came a lengthy heartfelt message from the duo as they took the time to thank the audience to their support and share both their concerns about the state of the world and an attempt to fill the room with an air of optimism. Beginning with a reflection on the deep chasms that divide our world, Cudd went on ask everyone to ‘spread the attitude of gratitude’, to choose to recognise the beauty of each individual in the hope of creating a ripple effect that will infect the whole universe in galvanising a fair and flourishing society. Following Cudd’s speech which galvanised a slightly cult-like optimism in the room, they launched into ‘Once Again’ – the music video of which reached 100 million viewers worldwide. The performance ended on a highly positive and energised note, displaying the diversity of their music and encouraging everyone to meet them after, maybe for us to share the attitude of gratitude with them.
Image: via Wikimedia