Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Night of Experimental Music, live @ Bard Hall 10/30/2010

What we have here today is an extremely rare live recording, one you certainly will not find anywhere else. Three sets, two very brief and one rather long, recorded live at a pre-Halloween show in Bard Hall at Bard College in front of a crowd of about twenty.

The first set is a solo piece by Colin White using amplified metal, tape, and feedback. Warm, humming feedback washes over piercing squeaks and rough, buzzing reverberation as white noise wavers and builds over rhythmic metallic clanking and lowing reverb. A perfect pre-Halloween set, this sounds like some surrealist horror soundtrack.

Next is Michael Foster on saxophone and occasionally gasping, wordless vocals, and Leila Bordreuil on cello. The two instruments dance in and out of one another, sometime complementing each other in an offkilter kind of harmony, other times dueling and spinning off in contrary directions. There are moments of furious build and manic intensity and others of slow, minimal meandering. Fans of the previous post on this blog will find more to love here as this delves into the realm of frenetic free jazz and even swings, in a delightfully surprsisng take, into traditional jazz for a moment. A very cool and altogether too short piece.

The concert ends with a trio of amazing musicians: The great Greg kelley on trumpet, Vic Rawlings on prepared cello and electronics, and Ryan Jewell on percussion and various strange noise producing implements. Clocking in at over half an hour, this was an incredible set. Imagine a field recording from inside some alien, wheezing, decaying factory and you'll start to get a feel for what this piece sounds like. Kelley uses a damper and a small, thin sheet of metal to emit from his trumpet a rattling hum or plays with the mouthpiece removed to create a breathy, moaning gasp. Jewell uses an oyster fork and a piece of Plexiglas placed flush upon the cloth covered and contact miced surface of a snare drum to create a sharp, piercing squeak, places a long metal tine vertically against the same drum and rubs it rhythmically to create a wavering reverberation, and swings a heavily rosined bow through the air in a dense whoosh. The prepared cello of Rawlings buzzes strangely in the background and his electronics build a underlying haze of crumbling static and machinelike rumblings. Other sounds abound: Strange gasps like steam valves venting air, distant hums like generators quietly chugging away, gravely rattles like cogs spinning, hollow clanks like pipes faintly rattling. One feels as though one has found one's way into the belly of some strange machine. It's an incredibly minimal piece but it's eerie and bizarre and really wonderful, especially considering the acoustic nature of most of the sounds which somehow sound so unnatural (in the best possible way).


Many thanks to Goro for taping this show!

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