David Helpling & Jon Jenkins: Treasure Live Performance Review, Berkeley, CA Oct '08

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Dez 24 2008, 10h34



This show review is from late October '08 in Berkeley, CA USA. This was a very rare event thus far for the musical tandem of Jon Jenkins and David Helpling (and Mathew Stewart live), performing under the name Treasure. (David Helpling & Jon Jenkins)

Before I say anything else, let me just put this out there that this was the best ambient space performance I have ever been to. My only serious critique is there seemed to be barely 25 paid in attendance to witness the masterpiece performance.

If not for a chance spotting of a bulletin on myspace, I would not have caught wind this event was occurring. Right in my own geographic location, I would have been extremely bummed had I learned about this event after the fact.

I am on Spotted Peccary's mailing list and never received a broadcast that this show was happening, which they did when Erik Wøllo was in town briefly a few years ago. I know the record label is not necessarily responsible for promoting events or even kept in the loop by the artist. It would be nice though if they did.

The venue was a Buddhist community center that hosts classes and a yoga studio in Berkeley, California called Rudramandir. Though this place is a lot more spacious and authentic in that regard than one may imagine. I've been in some pretty bare yoga studios myself, this was not one of them.

I’ll give credit where it is due. Lloyd Barde set this gig up.



Right from the get go, we were treated to professional graphics on a widescreen, impressive on all fronts. The visuals were high resolution, high tech deep space, NASA quality, better than Jacques Cousteau could have ever dreamed ice floes, nature in abundance. I am sure you can catch clips or all of it on a Treasure podcast @ Deep Exile

Once the music engaged the audience, the familiar, powerful sound of both artists quickly fused into a production quality experience. There may have been hitches along the way but these guys know their gear and quickly sorted it out.

As for David Helpling, live as a guitarist, he plays with soul. He's an animated performer and knows his queues, excellent technique, polished. There's depth and power, resonance to his loops and samples. In fact their entire effects database is impressive and they did not miss a beat. Even the minor flaws fit right in if they dared venture into ad hoc performance.

Matthew Stewart played the role of pro, as solid drummers of his class always do. I don’t know what it is with some drummers, they just know what to do and adapt accordingly. I’m not familiar with Matt’s background but it was obvious he is a skilled skinsman.

The Treasure unit pulled out most of the catalog from their latest CD, along with select tunes from Jenkins and Helpling solo releases. The lengthy performance can be encapsulated by a full dose of their distinctive and powerful sound. Lloyd pulled out the stops with a great lights show. The artists were mingling with the crowd during intermission, personalizing the experience. I’d say the show was a success.

As a huge fan of this style of music, I am grateful to have been part of it. The problem facing ambient music in general is promotion is so hard for these one of a kind, often quickly planned and executed gigs. I really do hope David Helpling & Jon Jenkins take their show on the road. It would be appropriate for a wider scale audience. I think they have the set and the chops to do that successfully should they choose to do so.

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