sotl/splinter group/ SPECTRA
november 07th, 2002
Iíve spent the last two nights being kicked on my butt by two separate encounters with experimental/ambient/drone performances.
Tuesday night I saw stars of the lid at the Empty Bottle. It was spectacular. This is going to sound ridiculous, but I really appreciate their controlled manner, or I guess, subtlety. I know youíre thinking, *duh*- but really, I like the floating, seamless quality of their pieces.
Wednesday night I went to splinter group studios (the first Wednesday of every month, Leavit at Grand) to see my friend Peter (tiny hairs) play with his trio: LoRoSa. The lineup is Peter Rosenbloom on violin, Jason Soliday on keyboard, and Ernst Karel* on trumpet/electronics contraption. The trumpet contraption is what made me really excited about them. He has a practice mute on with a microphone in it, which goes to a big box of filters and whatnot, that are essentially a synthesizer (this may not be an accurate description. Anyone who knows is invited to leave a comment with corrections). The result is beautiful, and Iíve been overusing this word lately, but itís a very organic sound. By organic I mean a natural progression or development of the sound itself - which would make sense because the origin is a trumpet. Natural meaning I can hear that the sound isnít programmed or controlled by a computer…it comes from a person, and their lungs, and that creates a different quality. A subtle quality, maybe, but like I said, I dig subtlety.
The other group I really liked from the evening was TV Pow. Three guys, three laptops, and some equipment I couldnít identify from behind and was too chicken to ask about. I bought their cd, and Iím listening to it at work, and itís quite up my alley. During their performance there were two moments that really moved me. The first was a layering of bells, or bell sounds. I think there was some kind of unidentifiable screech over it, too. Iíve been really obsessed with bell sounds lately and it made me excited to hear someone else working with them. Maybe at some point in the future I will talk about my bell sounds idea, but Iím running short of time today. The second part I enjoyed was a quiet passage with what felt like nighttime emptyish road sounds, with a railroad crossing bell in the distance. The road sounded wet, and the few cars were a nice punctuation to the small bell. This was quickly broken by some louder screechy stuff, and I wished they would have developed that feeling a bit more, but I wasnít at all disappointed. I was talking to Peter on the way home and I was telling him how specialized, or particular my tastes in this kind of music are. I lean towards people who use natural sounds…or organic sounding synthesized sounds. And, I like it when dynamic shifts are used wisely. A surprise can be effective, but can also become annoying and off-putting if used too often or at the wrong moments. I realize fully that this is the musician in me talking, and these people arenít necessarily concerned with the musicality of their pieces, but I guess thatís what Iím saying as far as my preferences go. I tend to go for the pieces that, whether accidental or not, have a compositional quality that is in some way musical. I guess Iím taking great liberties with the word musical, but I think you might know what I mean. If not, please leave a comment, and we can start the discussion.
p.s. I’ve been trying to get some *working* links for you to either SPECTRA or splinter group, but nothing seems to be working out for me. If you can find anything working, please let me know so I can post it. firstname.lastname@example.org
*Peter just told me this is his real name. not Ernst Long. but, we still could have our wires crossed. somebody help us. please. we are very confused people. by nature.