Christ Church Cathedral played host recently to Australian finger-guitarist, Peter Millar. There was no programme list or notes and Millar was miced up to talk to people about his work and music.
He took the stage with a G’day, in a trendy floral patterned shirt, he went from tuning into a rhythmic tune easily and his style emerged as indie folk rather than classical. There was a great sense of open spaces and tranquillity in his work but it was a pity that in the sixth row I could not hear his introductions. At times he seemed ill-at-ease talking and he grinned a bit sheepishly at ends of tunes.
Other times he spent a fair amount of time tuning his amplified guitar and at times over-dubbed sounds as he used a variety of tuning settings.
His work came across as beautiful in that accidental way you hear unattributed snatches on a late-night radio. At times his work reminded me of the local work of Michael Shanahan/Mixile who produces intense and beautiful soundscapes of touring in Australia.
The richness of Millars work had me dreaming as in some Dreamtime and in the row in front of me, a deeply happy couple held hands and she wore a blue top with Aboriginal white dot shapes on it. The man caressed her fingers and knuckles and the music suited that sensuous mood.
Millar’s deeply personal music confused or confounded my expectations and I couldn’t find the connective thread or identity in Trainsong or a French or Celtic tune but I delighted in the way his fingers danced on the fretboard and the wonderful sense of wide open places and distant shores.