On the latest release from electronic wizard Lisa Bella Donna, titled Mourning Light, the forward-thinking musician is captured live at The Vanderelli Room / Art Gallery. This performance was a special one as Lisa Bella Donna improvised on a Mellotron & Moog as artist AJ Vanderelli painted inside a 20ft clear plastic room, painting from the inside out. This was recorded in front a live audience in April of this year, the first live performance for Bella Donna since pre-Covid.
It’s a riveting, mind-expanding set as music flows from the ether as Vanderelli created art in-the-moment “filled with evocation and a phantasmagoria of emotions and metaphysical impressions. Pure, unfiltered, instant- composition.” Projects like Mourning Light are what creativity and unfiltered artistic expression are all about, and Behind The Sky has made it possible for us to experience it as well.
The live performance was captured in two 90-minute sets at The Vanderelli Room/Art Gallery. What makes up Mourning Light is the second set of the evening. Artist AJ Vanderelli and Lisa Bella Donna have collaborated in the past, and this performance here feels like two huge creative forces coming together, feeling where the other is going. Like two minds coming together as one. It’s a powerful statement.
Musically I’m reminded heavily of those early Tangerine Dream shows in Europe. Setting up in old cobblestone churches in the German and French countryside, Froese and company would blow minds in ancient houses of worship. Taking flight with Moogs and Mellotrons, the audience zoned out into their own internal worlds. Lisa Bella Donna uses subtlety like a tool, building landscapes and worlds live, in front of mesmerized eyes and ears. “Mourning Light Pt I & II”, “Mourning Light Pt III”, and “Mourning Light Pt IV” flow like low clouds, rolling and painting the sky with ethereal visions.
I would imagine a live video recording would have been a nice companion for the album, but I don’t think watching this on the big screen would quite convey the excitement and electricity that was emanating from inside that gallery. Being there and experiencing this performance in real time would be the only way you could truly appreciate these two artists buidling sound and vision together in unison; feeding off the energy and the unknown of pulling art literally out of thin air.
Fortunately, we have Mourning Light to help us experience the sound aspect. Put on headphones and just float a bit.
‘Mourning Light’ is available now via Behind The Sky. It’s available digitally or in Limited Edition Gatefold Digipak CD. Buy it here.