Archive for the ‘reviews’ Category

Get the new BSC album for a Tweet!

May 6, 2010

You read that right. The Boston Sound Collective’s new work “23% Bicycle and/or Ribbons of the Natural Order” is available now, for a Tweet. Just go here and submit your Tweet to be taken to the download page, where you will have a variety of formats available to you, and an option to donate.

Here’s more on the album from Bhob Rainey’s blog:

Bhob Rainey – Soprano Saxophone, Director
Greg Kelley – Trumpet
James Coleman – Theremin
Liz Tonne – Voice
Chris Cooper – Guitar and Electronics
Vic Rawlings – Cello and Electronics
Howard Stelzer – Tapes
Mike Bullock – Bass
Get this release for a Tweet!

23% Bicycle… captures the BSC shortly after an intense series of performances at the Phoneme Festival, a three-night event in Philadelphia featuring members of the band in a series of small groups followed by full BSC sets each evening. In one sense, the music is tight and controlled, maintaining a sustained tension as events peel from one to the next, not so much moving forward as revealing increasingly buried layers. But, from the very first sound, it is clear that everything teeters on chaos. The familiarity between the musicians is apparent, as is their willingness to undermine that familiarity, to send each other to unlit corners and map whatever sublime beauty or horror is found there. To say that the resulting music is dark is to miss its jubilance. It is complex and visceral, the work of an ensemble committed to both its refinement and unraveling.”

On the first couple of spins, this sounds like it’s going to be pretty rewarding to dig into. The surface is pretty moody overall, the sonic palette hearkening back to the golden era of European avant garde music, while deftly avoiding parody. Once your ears adjust to the sea of undulating sounds, you are drawn into an unfolding drama full of shifting colors and textures, with new combination’s and approaches continually emerging. Looking forward to getting closer to this one.

Okay, enough blabbing, go get it!

Cathnor Vignettes series, review 5, Burkhard Beins, Michael Thieke, & Luca Venitucci – “Roman Tics″

January 30, 2010

The role of titles in improvised music is an odd thing. It’s strange to use a form of titling better suited to song-craft, for something as ephemeral as free improvisation, but sometimes (like in the case of Ryu Hankil’s “Becoming Typewriter”) it can be brilliant and evocative. In the case of this record though, it’s cringe-worthy. While I understand the “connection to Rome” has something to do with the title, I really wish it was just called Romantics. That would have actually been evocative of what is contained here, and quite clever, where the bifurcation is tedious attempt to be clever at best.

Unfortunately, tedious is also a good description of the music presented here. It’s very difficult to be specific about why however, but I’ll try to make sense of it.

The personell for the recording is: Burkhard Beins: percussion, objects, zither, Michael Thieke: clarinet, zither, and Luca Venitucci: accordion, preparations. The music in general has the sheen of avant-garde music, which is why I think the word Romantic is apt. This may be because the of the entirely acoustic instrumentation, and overall, very traditional (for the avant-garde anyway) technique. Now, I happen to like a lot of avant-garde, but it is mysterious to me why someone would play like this now. Maybe I’m wrong to expect records made in this area to address the psychographic environment that surrounds them, and have fresh comment on it, but I do, and this record does not. At least not effectively in my opinion. There is just something old-fashioned about many of the sounds here.

My other major issue is that the playing here tends to be very episodic. This is a huge pet peeve of mine, and it’s a big part of the reason, I moved away from more “Musical” areas of improvisation in the first place. A constant battle in playing this kind of music, is maintaining the balance between playing with someone, and against them. If you only play with someone, the result can have a follow the leader effect. If you only play against them, things can sound disjointed, unexamined, and opportunities to coalesce effectively can be lost.

Here, the issue from me, is the creation of musical miniatures that become little structural traps along the way. When the players lock into one of these “grooves”, all I can think is, “how are they going to find their way out of this cul de sac?” Mostly, they don’t. Not satisfactorily anyway. More often than not the technique chosen is the “dead-stop” followed quickly by that’s i’ll refer to as the “foundational re-entry”, a technique, where a texture that can be played over is laid down to begin a new section.

So, what’s so wrong about all this?

If I find myself, so overly aware that this “miniature” is wearing thin and needs to go somewhere, or that that transition is being placed because of a dire need to keep propulsion in the music, then any spell the music can have over me is broken. I’m left feeling I’ve witnessed a group of people try and figure out a very difficult problem, and this is just not a desirable feeling.

There are glimmers on this record though. Areas where the music does take hold, and begin to stake out a new landscape for itself. Areas where one does not know what will come next, and doesn’t care, because now feels so nice. Perhaps this is what’s so frustrating to me about this piece. Great moments like the one above dissolve into nothing, for seemingly no reason, and are then too quickly on to the next miniature.

Cathnor Vignettes series, review 4, Paul Abbott & Grundik Kasyansky – “green ribbon residue, in this case″

January 9, 2010

[Edit: Sorry, the original version of this sounded too flip, so I tweaked it a bit.]

Every sound, once unacceptable, is now acceptable in this current music. At least it seems that way. So how can we, standing at the edge of the aesthetic earth, possibly move forward?

I’m sure there is a way forward, or more specifically, a way to avoid stagnation, to continue to make fresh, exciting music. I think, in this area of music it is very important to constantly be challenging the status quo, the common gestures, the obvious movements, to say something about who, and where, and what we are. I think the most exciting records for me show signs of this, and the ones where I cannot see it never really get to the point of interest for me.

Listening to “green ribbon residue…” about 30 times over the past few months, has lead me ultimately to places it more in the latter camp than the former. It has some tasty ingredients, sure… copious stillness, pregnant silence, threads of keening feedback, crashes of percussion, electronics bursts and pulses, all deployed with an almost processional calmness, solemnity and poise. Sounds like it could be pretty good right? Well, in a lot of ways, I suppose it is. There are moments (few of them unfortunately) where the two players begin to build something together that points to more exciting territory. Had I seen this live I probably would have been riveted. On record however, there seems to be something achingly absent.

The familiar feedback is there, but for some reason it’s not enticing, or frightening, or even difficult, the hair-pin turns appear, but they just go back to that reservoir of silence that can be so readily dipped into. There are painterly gestures here and there, but they come off somehow awkward. It begins to feel like we are sort of playing “EAI” here. It seems like all of the hallmarks are here, but I just don’t feel like it’s getting to a place that will make it more than a reading in a style.

It could be tempting to say that the issue with this disc is that it is not really pushing things, that it’s not exactly groundbreaking, just ok. But, maybe the issue is different. Maybe this disc is merely too affirming of our current taste as a collective to truly move me.

Of course, maybe I’m just looking for something here that there was never intended to be. I don’t know, all I can really do is give you my impression. In this case, this disc is pleasant, and intriguing enough that it will get occasional revisitings, but as for how I feel about it now, it’s just ok.

Cathnor Vignettes series, review 3, Mark Wastell – “After Hours″

December 14, 2009

I’ve been meaning to post about Mark Wastell’s contribution to the Cathnor Vignettes series for a week or so now, and it’s really not gotten easier. If anything this post only exists because it has gotten easier to talk about how it has not gotten easier.

First, let’s talk about what we have here. A roughly 15 minute long composition of pre recorded tubular bells that consists of 15 or so odd strikes* at the bell, and their resultant (relatively) uninterrupted decay. Sometimes they are on one side of the stereo field or another, sometimes they overlap, but really that is all the variation beyond the lengths between the strikes that there is to hear here. So you can probably guess why this is a difficult review.

On one hand, I may have told you enough already so that you will know what side of the fence you are on in terms of you desire to hear this release. In some ways you could, if you’ve heard such material before, imagine what this may sound like with a fair degree of accuracy. On the other hand however, things may not be so simple. I am, as the tentativeness of this review may suggest, planted firmly on the fence.

The music on “After Hours” is so elemental that discussing it critically would be like discussing a photograph of rain on a windshield. The subject matter is beautiful, melancholy, and sublime by it’s very nature, and also in this case, exquisitely captured. At the same time though it is so elemental that it is almost mundane. I can certainly say that it did not provide more for me beyond a familiar (if sublime) beauty. Certainly I have comparable recordings of Tibetan singing bowls purchased from incense shops that bear the same beautiful, elemental quality. Which leads me to ask, why Mark Wastell, and why now? The music contained herein is undeniably beautiful, and that may be my only problem (if you could call it that).

Maybe it is merely ambient music to chill out to, or maybe Wastell is up to something more which I cannot yet detect. Maybe I should stop thinking about it so much and focus on Mr. Wastell’s simple words:

“After Hours; the work completed, time to contemplate.
After Hours; down time, relaxation after so much effort.
After Hours; pour the wine in celebration.”

* I’m not sure how exactly what actions are producing these sounds. It appears that the sounds are the results of strinking with a mallet, but it seems their envelopes have been altered via computer processing of some kind.

Cathnor Vignettes series, review 2, Lee Patterson – “Egg Fry #2”

December 2, 2009

Just realized that’s a lot of commas in the title. Oh well.

This is the second installment of my review of the Cathnor vignettes series, and also, my second real review for this site (cue boos and general dismay). For those not worried about this prospect, my plan for reviews in general is to review whatever I feel like talking about whether new or old. I don’t have a huge philosophy behind that or anything, I am just occasionally struck by a record or label, and when I am, I hope to write about it here. In the case of this series, I just really like what Richard is doing with the label. It’s pretty cool to see someone step it up and take their passion for this music to the next level, and it’s great to be able to hear the recorded results.

Now to the review… Egg Fry #2, is a real treat, but for a few reasons, somewhat difficult to write about. Firstly, the sounds produced by the egg frying in the pan, sound almost like they are being made by an ensemble. There are many different sonic approaches, and different locations in the stereo field from which the sounds emerge. But there is no ensemble, and no instruments to pinpoint, thus it’s difficult to say, “i like when the _____ goes _____.” Not that that is the soul of a review, but you know…

The recording in general is really well done. Background noise never becomes intrusive, and the sounds by and large sound defined and transparent. (the nerd in me would love to know what setup Patterson used for this recording) Compositionally, this piece reminds me in certain ways of Jason Kahn’s recent (and wonderful) “Vanishing Point”, in that the overall shape of the piece is an accent from silence to fullness, and then a descent back to silence that is equally as carefully paced and just as long if not longer. I really like the psychological effect this produces, as it helps to focus my attention to detail throughout the end of the piece, until i am peeking through the silence at the end for the last few pops and sputters, like scraping a plate after a good meal.

The sounds presented here are a mix of (a very nice version of) what you’d expect, with a handful of surprises. There are a lot of images of musicians evoked for me here, and sometimes I can’t help my mind from imagining Axel Döerner somewhere in the mix. Or, Robin Hayward, or to a lesser extent Otomo Yoshihide and Martin Tetrault on turntables. The overall effect reminds me of older more laminal improv where players would find a space and remain in it for a while almost as if the were staking their claim to a space within an instantly emerging composition. Certain sounds are nearly ever present, which is quite alright by me, as in general due to (I imagine) the physics of what is taking place they are always changing slightly in what can almost sound like an investigatory manner. The pops, shuffles, splutters and whirs, dance around one in such a way however, as to never become too staid or boring. And occasionally we are treated to a blast or plonk that seems to come out of nowhere and upset the works at just the right moment.

An added bonus bonus to this disc is that it can benefit from being listened to both quite soft, and quite loud. Soft, it can blend so nicely with background sounds as to sort of enliven the ambience of your surroundings, yet still manages to draw you in. Loud, it can be an exciting noise-fest, and an engrossing and intense experience.

While always being open to hearing sound recordings of all kinds, I expected to find this disc interesting on the surface. After listening several times now though I am quite impressed by the level of complexity to explore below.

Great packaging too! 🙂

Cathnor Vignettes series, review 1, Hankil / Eubanks, 777

November 21, 2009

I recently purchased all six of the vignettes series from Cathnor, due to a really great deal Richard was running on the Cathnor site. Cathnor has been a really great addition to the group of small labels covering this area of music, and I think a fairly distinctive taste is starting to show through, which I look forward to seeing develop more in time.

The vignettes series is currently comprised of 6 3″ CDRs, in very nice oversized packaging. Giving them the feel of some kind of audio postcard. They really (especially if you have all six) feel great to hold in your hands, and the larger format is successful in getting you to the place of absorbing the artwork as part of the experience. I’d be psyched if at the end of the series, Richard released a box for them or something, as it would seem fitting (at least to me).

Though I do have all six vignettes, I thus far have only really begun to internalize 2, due to being without a way to rip the CDs onto (or play them on) my computer.

The first is Bryan Eubanks, Ryu Hankil – 777
I have been a strong proponent of the nascent Korean improvised music scene since I first laid ears on them. There is so much experimentation going on there, and it is so well documented thanks to Balloon n Needle, the Manual, and Dotolim, that it is impossible to ignore. One of my favorite things about this scene, is the predilection towards the use of raw untreated mechanical sounds. In my mind it’s a necessary confrontation to a music which can still at times have a bit too much reverence for virtuosic technique.

One of my favorite purveyors of such sounds is Mr. Ryu Hankil. The seemingly gestureless, abstract clicks, whirs and metallic sputters of his clockworks create a world of music architecture, where micro compositions of small sounds become unique structures in a landscape. Tiny villages of sounds that one can live in for days, and still find mystery.

I was excited to hear that this outing paired Hankil and Brian Eubanks, as Eubanks back catalog bears some of my favorite releases in this area, his album “Anti-sex anti-wiretapping”, as half of GOD, is the favorite of what I’ve heard thus far.

So this was a big pairing for me, and I was really excited when my package from Richard, finally arrived. This was one of the first I listened to. The first and only piece on this disc starts out with some gentle small rattles from Hankil, and some nice textured static from Eubanks soon finds it’s way in and so the first two or so minutes of the piece are going along nicely. Hankil then switches up to a slightly different metallic texture, and Eubanks heads into a distant nineties ambient techno kind of bleeping, blooping thing. The quality of this sound is akin to something one may find on a “Techno Sound Effects of the Late Nineties” sample disc. I have to say this unfortunately sets the tone for much of the rest of the disc.

Now, I really was positive I was going to love this pairing, and I’m sure many others still will, but I have to say that Eubanks’ playing on this just does not go down well for me. If there are two things that I have no interest in hearing, one is the very transparent use of effects to create “ambience” or some sense of emotional/spiritual density, and two is thematic repetition. And Eubanks’ performance seems to be all about these things.

It’s not that he doesn’t do a good job, he does in many ways, but all I can hear are echos of Raster-Noton (and some less tasteful references) from 5-10 years ago. The question for me is, why rehash these specific sounds? Especially knowing what Eubanks is capable of. One of the things that makes the aforementioned GOD record a joy is the way in which effects are deployed in a somehow non-schlocky way, a very difficult feat seemingly pulled off with ease. But here, largely we hear what sound to these ears like the classic trappings of digital technology.

That all said, there is a lot about this record that still holds my interest. The brief moments where Eubanks eschews the ambient bloops for grainier, more tumultuous territory are really worth hearing. And Hankil, even in the midst of somewhat hostile environs, manages to pretty much play exactly what will add the right edge to stop things going into “Ambient Chillout volume 258” territory. It gives a clue as to the potential of this pairing which is imo, is just hinted at here.

It sucks to have to give this one a so-so review, as I really do want people to support Cathnor, but all in all, this one is not my cup of tea, though Hankil’s contributions I’m sure will keep me coming back, and perhaps I will at some point see through Eubanks’ playing, and find some hidden joy. If I do, I’ll be sure to report back here.

Stay tuned, I plan to review this whole series, and by far this is the one I’m most uncertain of.

Next up, Lee Patterson’s “Egg fry #2”.

Cage on Branca

August 1, 2009

I received  a message from a friend today, telling of a performance by Glenn Branca in new york that is to happen soon, and inquiring as to whether i’d like to attend. As I can’t stand not knowing precisely what I’m getting into (especially when in nyc) in terms of music, I looked it up. the piece turned out to be “Indeterminate Activity of Resultant Masses”. I searched around for clips, and found a boomkat listing for the album and was surprised to find that said album contained an apparently venomous audio critique by John Cage. After some more net digging I was about to find the audio clip on ubuweb (of course!) which I present to you here.

Now, in general, I side with cage based on what he says here about musical politics, but having not heard the complete work and in ignorance of Branca’s thesis, I won’t comment further (Momus does a great job of it here already) . Instead, I wanted to offer this piece up to those who have not heard it, as a piece of music in and of itself, as while listening to it I was continually moved and confounded by it from a purely musical standpoint (though I did appreciate the text). In a way it is almost as if Cage and his foil Wim Mertens are making a live textural improvisation with the sounds of the surrounding area.

There is such an odd tension about this whole back and forth. Notice the absolutely odd timing of each phrase, as if Cage himself planned them indeterminately. How cage leaves you to hang almost indefinitely between phrases as if it could be the end, or left only with his dry rhythmic chuckle that oft times goes on just beyond the comfort level. And what of his partner? Possibly the most patient person of all time! Waiting, endlessly, for his counterpart to unfold his idea, and never being a hinderance, not even for a second. Though his flemish accent is dry, he (in his relatively few appearances) nearly rivals Cage in his sensuous working of the english language. Both men talk as if they are savoring the feeling of each word in their mouth while forming it. A sound that has a pacing and tonality that for me recalls a quiet slow solo. There is something about listening to the sound of these two men talking that especially today was a great pleasure.

Of course, one cannot speak of this “piece” without mentioning the third of it’s stars. The background noise. For whatever reason it sounds pleasingly in tune with both voices. It is a multilayered din, with the occasional clang, snatch of passing chatter, or bus sound, but the real star is the persistent short tone that repeats in the near background. Also somewhat in turn with the other sounds it provides a strange meter that seems to break up the rest of the parts into some form of process that I do not understand, but thoroughly enjoy. It is so insistent that it is almost maddening, and yet it’s imperfection keeps it standing just on the brink of annoyance without falling over. In a way it sounds like a Radu Malfatti solo sped up in it’s odd spacing and timbre.

An excellent listen, and if only for this recording, I am glad that the Branca piece exists, and that cage Attended, and that Wim recorded.

The continued evolution of this blog | Some recent inspiration

July 3, 2009

This blog started out initially with an idea, but no real plan. And as I’ve carried on, things have changed and the initial idea, no longer really suits me. I think about this blog all the time. It seems every weekend almost, I plan to write but I hardly do. I’m less interested in some of what I used to do, and more interested in other things. I’m busier. I got promoted at my job, and my wife and I bought a new house and moved into it. All the time though, I think of this blog and how I can post better and more often.

A perceived need to continue on in the initial spirit of this blog is one of the things that made it so hard to come back. For one, almost every post in the past contained something I had recently recorded. While I still plan on dropping the occasional random recording on here, my focus in recording has gotten much more specific. I have also slowed down in my production/collection of new gadgets for reasons I have addressed before. This can no longer really be the blog of random happy sounds that it used to be.

While it seems like I may have stopped doing a bunch of things (and this is true) my musical pursuits have gained in other ways. I have become interested in a lot of new music and have been seeing some great shows. I have also met some new people whose ideas have influenced mine for the better (I hope). Since I’ve been gone a while, here’s a little list of the things that have been on/in my mind for the past few months.

The Watchful Ear – This is the blog of Richard Pinnell. A far more ambitious blogger than myself, he writes about music every day, and his blog is something I come back to almost as often. Richard has the fortune of finding himself sat right on top (or perhaps just to the side) of one of the most fertile improvised music communities anywhere these days. And he writes about it in such wonderfully thoughtful detail, it makes me want to catch the first plane to London. He also does a ton of reviews. Over the last few months he has saved me a bunch of money, as due to the quality and quantity of his reviews, there is no real reason to purchase the WIRE anymore (ok, I’m kinda joking). Really, I think his blog is one of the things people in the future will look back on, and say wow thank God for that.

Dotolim – Dotolim is (from what I understand) and improvised music series in Seoul,  Korea. It is organized by Jin Sangtae and seems to take place about once a month. It features mainly musicians from Seoul, but there are occasionally guests from Japan and the states. The best thing (for someone not based in Seoul) is that they video record, almost every set, and they are available on youtube. In a grenre of music that seems for some reason relatively distant from the benefits of modern internet technology, this is a real treat.

The format is relatively simple. Each night there are 2 – 3 sets featuring different combinations of players, and occasional solos. Since the Seoul scene is relatively small there are a few recurring players, and it has been interesting seeing how there approach changes with different partners or playing devices. Overall a great window into a scene that is very exciting right now.

Philly Sound Forum – PSF is an improvised and experimental music series that takes place in Philadelphia and is curated by Jesse Kudler and Ian Fraser. We had talked on occasion about how there were opportunities for very exciting musicians to play Philadelphia, that were not being taken advantage of by some of the other music series in the area. And how there were some smaller scenes in the surrounding areas that were worth attention as well, and yet not getting much. So Jesse and Ian got together to just do it themselves, and thus far it has been great. Based on some inspiration from dotolim, they also have made an effort to put as much documentary content about each show on the website that they can, and there is some excellent music and video offered there for free. I’m always looking forward to new PSF show announcements.

Another thing we have been discussing is some form of improvised music workshop, which hopefully will come to pass within the next few months. While we are still working out the details, I will say that the general idea is to 1) allow more opportunities for improvising musicians in the area to play 2) to open communication between musicians in the area and encourage dialogs that will help us hone our craft. 3) ?????…. we are still figuring it out, but keep coming back, I will be posting about it as it takes shape.

I could go on here, but I’ve already run on longer than I wanted to. I will continue in the next month of this blog to highlight things that have made an impact on me. They may just be mentions and urls, and they may be full reviews. More in a while…

So Do You Think the Future of Music is Dead?

January 6, 2008

Hahaha, made you groan! Ok, so this is kind of ridiculous, but I had to do it for the sake of… well, ridiculousness! A friend of mine turned me on to the above video the other day (1st part of like a 5 or so part series). It’s an interview with Mike Patton from like ’92 or something. It is HYSTERICAL! It goes something like this… Interviewer asks dumb question, Patton gives dumb answer in between bites of a really gross looking sandwich. It’s brilliant! At one point (after Patton says a series of really disparaging things about the state of music today) the interviewer asks if Patton thinks the future of music is dead. 

I’m just going to let you stew in the brilliance of the question for a moment…  

aaaaand we’re back. So Patton then gives one of the best answers to that question I think possible. Anyway, I was laughing my head off. So for some reason this exchange inspired me to make the following rip off of “It’s Gonna Rain” with the question and response. If you can actually listen to this whole track you deserve an award. I have to say though, if you do… at about the 3 minute mark your brain will start doing really weird things with you perception of time, it’s quite strange. Anyway, here it is… 

The worst thing about music…

Christian Marclay’s “Ensemble” at the ICA

November 17, 2007


I recently had the pleasure of seeing and hearing the sound installation “Ensemble” curated by Christian Marclay. Here’s the rundown from the ICA:

The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) is pleased to present “Ensemble,” a group exhibition of works that make sound, guest curated by artist and musician Christian Marclay. Marclay has been selected as the inaugural curator of the Katherine Stein Sachs CW’69 and Keith L. Sachs W’67 Guest Curator Program, a new initiative designed to bring outside points of view to ICA. Marclay is a leading figure in the worlds of performance, visual art and experimental music.

Likening his approach to that of a composer, Marclay has chosen a variety of sculpture and installations based on their sound quality and compatibility to sonically inhabit the same large first floor gallery. Visitors are invited to interact with some of the works, others are triggered by motion detectors, or set on timers. The installation will create an ambient sound environment, intermittently producing a wide range of sounds, from the very quiet notes of a music box to the loud ringing of a bronze bell. They have been selected so that they can share the same resonant space and interact like the various instruments of a musical ensemble. It will include iconic works by artists such as Harry Bertoia, Yoko Ono, and Michelangelo Pistoletto, as well as new works by the current generation.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect based on the description, these kinds of things can take a myriad of shapes, but what was in my mind wound up being fairly close in nature to what i experienced at the show. This is a very dynamic sound landscape. Almost unrelenting at times. During some of the denser moments it’s almost claustrophobic due to the resonance of the space. As the descritpion says, pieces range from very quiet to very loud. While this was sometimes interesting, I found the louder pieces to be almost oppressive at times and they were in general the least thought out, volume seeming to be a concept in and of itself. While there is certainly something to be said on both sides of this arguement, I felt that the quiet pieces were so much more powerful and so much more enjoyable that the loud ones, and unfortunately kept getting drowned out.

This however did not hamper my enjoyment very much at all, and there were moments when it was quiet enough to hear all of the small stuff, which for the most part was a real treat. My absolute favorite of all the exhibits, was also one of the simplest. A pool, filled with dishes and bowls that was being “stirred” constantly by a compressor.


The resultant sound is as delicate and wonderfully aimless as windchimes, but with an almost gamelan-like sound. I could have sat and listened to this for hours. In fact, part of my wants to build a replica of it for my house. Smaller of course.

Other pieces of notice were; a tongue drum table which was shaped like and acoustic guitar body and had 5 seperately tuned sets of tonuges (I want this for my dining room… in my dreams), a set of three metronomes, set to different timings (mini Steve Reich), and a system of dangling bits of china, agitated by spinning record players.


Aside from some overly loud sounds (why a siren?) and some pieces that were either broken or too hard to figure out to keep interest, it was a really wonderful show. It was great just to be in a gallery full of clamor afterall, considering most art shows sonically have the same quality as funerals. It was exciting and envigorating to be so immersed in such an experience of sound, and to just walk around and hear the “mix” of sounds shift as you went.

The show runs through december (more details on the ICA site) so if you are near philly you should certainly go. If you are not and you can’t, you are in luck, as I recorded a walkthrough of the space for you to hear. I have to appologize for the sound quality as there is some hiss in the background… I was having problems with my MD that day. For the most part all of the talking has been cut out, so it is basically a theater of sound for you to sink in to. I like the recording very much, I hope you will too.

– Ensemble