Review: Sharif Sehnaoui + Adam Golebiewski – Meet The Dragon

Wrenched hard. We begin with the sound of surfaces and strings pulled taut – hoisted up, stretched out, left hanging in cruel postures and quivering with muscular fatigue. I barely recognise these shapes as instruments. Instead, I see wood panels splintered and snapped; guitar strings spilling like hair; hands and bows scrambling over surfaces as if they’re trying to salvage something valuable from within the mess. Even when this improvisation settles down, the duo remain rabidly enthused by the possibilities of tactile connection. Beater against drum skin. Metal on glass. Fingers on wood. Palms on tabletops. Rhythm and musical tone emerge by accident, and neither Golebiewski nor Sehnaoui stop to acknowledge them or build upon them. Instead, they continue to rumble and tinkle and tap, pursuing not the generation of music, but the aural illumination of raw material and performative energy.

I’ve yet to cite the actual instruments in use here. I’m not convinced that it’s important. I can tell you Golebiewski utilises percussion and “selected objects”, while Sehnaoui is on acoustic guitar, yet seldom do I hear these entities in their conventional totality. There’s something rather formal to the manner in which we usually interact with these instruments. The guitar perched up on the knee and lightly pinned by the forearm. The drums tapped from a distance, and only in particular places. Meet The Dragon seeks an intimacy beyond this stifled visceral engagement – it smothers and punctures and rubs, awakening the sonorosity of every surface (not just those that explicitly request it), always teetering upon that brink between bringing these objects to life and tearing them apart.