To confront a person with his shadow is to show him his own light. Once one has experienced a few times what it is like to stand judgingly between the opposites, one begins to understand what is meant by the Self. Anyone who perceives his shadow and his light simultaneously sees himself from two sides and thus gets in the middle.   - Carl Jung

Self/Echo is a new a capella work by Invenio director Gian Slater that explores the nature of solitude through solos, duos and group pieces. The compositions reflect ideas about those inner voices and shadows that simmer below the surface of consciousness and become amplified in times of physical or emotional isolation. Self/Echo traces one soul moving between bodies, sometimes alone, sometimes between the shadow and light – perceiving itself from two sides.

Slater employs a more experimental compositional style in this work, with a heavy emphasis on the voice as a primal sound, using a wide palate of colours and textures. In between the layered compositions are improvised sections that allow the ensemble to explore the depths of these sounds and the great vulnerability and risk in going somewhere new. As a result, lines between cultivated, sophisticated sound and primal, animalistic sound are blurred and new possibilities and modes of expression emerge.

The theatrical focus in Self/Echo acts as both a primer to the artistic concept behind the work as well as the gravity, momentum and flow between and behind musical ideas.  The darkness of this work is evident in the music itself but becomes more mysterious, atmospheric and persuasive with the movement, costuming and lighting.

The work premiered in December 2012 over two sold out nights in Melbourne and received a 5-star review in The Age.  The cast of Self/Echo included Slater, as well as four of the most respected emerging vocalists on the Melbourne Improvised and contemporary music scene, making for a very strong and passionate, yet exposing and vulnerable vocal performance.

2012 Cast

Gian Slater

Louisa Rankin

Tom Barton

Georgie Darvidis

Helen Catanchin


‘….Self/Echo was a stark work, drawing on theatrical devices for visual impact..with striking counterpoint lines that created the effect of an echo or shadow of the self and took the audience into a brave new world of vocal artistry…’  The Age, 2012