Recently seen and heard -- sorry, no pics, because, well, you know...
Saturday, 20 January
Sound Art @ Chelsea Art Museum -- with Soundbook One (Jen Stock, laptop, composer; Mark Dancigers, guitar; Koven Smith, drums), Corey Dargel with Jim Altieri on violin, guitarist Evan Drummond performing Ingram Marshall's Soe-Pa, and Tristan Perich's 1-Bit Music.
A pre-Varèse afternoon hit, curated by Jen Stock, who presented some new music for her reconfigured SoundBook One ensemble. While the gallery's boomy acoustics made it difficult to hear the sampled voices she was triggering, I was very happy to hear the new direction Jen's taken in her music, which seems to be a more authentic reflection of her current musical interests.
At the end of Corey and Jim's set, I finally got to hear them do their hit tune from this fall's American Composers Orchestra show, "All The Notes And Rhythms I've Ever Loved." Jim's playing also brought out some very different facets of the songs from Less Famous Than You, and nicely complimented Corey's as-yet unreleased odes to the Virgin Mary (like the incisive "100% Abstinence").
To be perfectly honest, I hadn't heard any of Ingram Marshall's stuff before Sunday. Soe-Pa is a three-part piece for acoustic guitar plus delay and loop pedals. (All of the intricate delay/loop stuff is meticulously notated on a second staff in the score.) It's a captivating and hypnotic work, especially the beautiful second movement, which would not sound all that out of place on a Radiohead record. I'm definitely going to be checking out more of Marshall's stuff.
1-Bit Music is very cool object -- a simple electrical circuit built into a CD jewel case. You plug the headphones directly into the jewel case, and can listen to any of 11 different ultra lo-fi electro "glitch/dance" grooves. For concert performances, Tristan Perich hooks up the jewel case to the PA and plays live drumkit along with the programmed grooves. While I wasn't much impressed with Perich's drumming, the 1-bit grooves by themselves were pretty neat.
Sunday, 21 January
Buffalo Collision @ Tonic -- Tim Berne, Mat Maneri, Ethan Iverson, Dave King.
While I'm somewhat disappointed this band -- making their first-ever performance together last Sunday -- didn't call themselves "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo," this was a very fun improv gig, which went through a great variety of textures and densities and featured lots of really sensitive listening from everyone involved. With drums but no bass, Ethan had free rein on the piano's low register, laying it down or taking it away at will -- though I especially liked the bits where Mat Maneri's viola ended up on the bottom, with everyone else splayed out above. The final piece had Tim, Mat, and Dave jumping off from an oblique reference to Petrouchka (supplied by Ethan, ntach), which was also pretty cool. (Oh, and thanks to Ethan for inviting me to this hit.)
Tuesday, 23 January
Last night, Lindsay and I made it (by the skin of our teeth) to the final night of Dan Trujillo's play Talk of the Walk-Up, which was being workshopped at Manhattan Theatre Source. This was a night of weird connections -- we were invited by director (and Parabasis proprietor) Isaac Butler, who some time ago recognized Lindsay (from her blog photo) on the subway and introduced himself to the two of us. Before Talk of the Walk-Up began its three-night run, Isaac asked me if he could use some Secret Society tunes ("Tranist" and "Flux in a Box") as pre-show and intermission music. Of course, I was honored and grateful to be asked, and I'm even more honored and grateful now that I've seen the production, which was a total blast.
The dialogue is in what Trujillo calls "freestyle verse" -- meaning it mostly rhymes. Having seen some godawful Molière productions in my day, I think I have some small appreciation of just how difficult it is for actors to pull off rhyming dialog without driving the audience bugfuck insane within the first five minutes, but cast of Talk of the Walk-Up made the rhymes feel natural -- even the most outré couplets were funny but not distracting.
As it turns out, one of the cast members was Mac Rogers, who by day works for immigration lawyer Amanda Gillespie. Mac and Amanda handled my incredibly stressful and convoluted (but ultimately successful, praise be) O-1 Visa application this spring/summer/fall, with Mac bearing most of the brunt of my anxiety over the USCIS's inexplicable slowness in processing my case. "Have you heard anything today? No? Not yet? How about... now? Okay... NOW???"). I had no idea Mac would be in the cast (or that he was even an actor, since he never mentioned it) until Isaac emailed me a few days ago to say "You'll never believe this, but... "
Also in the audience was TACTUS pianist David Hanlon, who I mentioned in my review of the Reich Whitney blowout. I learned that David and Isaac have been buddies since, like, elementary school. Also that David is playing on Michael Gordon's Decasia, which I'm planning on hitting tomorrow.
After the play, I went down to Tonic again to hopefully catch the tail end of Kneebody's set. I only managed to hear the last 1.5 tunes, but the band is always a good time and the place was packed. BTW, the band has a new live CD out on Colortone.