Monday, April 16, 2007
Friday evening, went out to Issue Project Room with Jon and Yuko, met up with the Voltage Spooks. For inexcusable reasons, I hadn't been to this space before. Located on the Gowanus Canal (the Venice of Brooklyn), a squat silo-like structure with the circular performing space on the second floor, maybe 30 feet in diameter; very cool. Unfortunately, it seems likely they'll be moving this summer. The trio (Rowe, Rick Reed & Mike Haleta) did three brief solo pieces then a trio set. Haleta threw up a dense wall of sound from his PC, almost featureless, something like an Ad Reinhardt painting. It's one of those things that, the more you listen to it the more detail your mind constructs; whether that detail is more your construction than the musician's is another issue, though I'm not certain that matters. In any case, after being initially a little bored, I gradually got into it. Reed, operating a 1971 Synthis (sp?) synthesizer tended toward dreamier, more tonal washes. It was OK, but I need more grit in the mix. Rowe, no slight intended to the other fellows, is just on a different plane. Very spare, very thoughtful; well, you know the story. Consistently engrossing.
This was the first time the trio had played together as such and it showed a bit. A good blend of sounds, the rough 'n' tumble, the sweet and the thoughtful that worked very well at different moments though they had a tough time finding an endpoint. But good overall.
Drove to Philly on Saturday, first time I'd ever set foot in the city! Ambled about in serarch of food for a while, settling for some burgers in a desultory place. The show was in the gallery of the Slought Foundation, a space near UPenn. Walking through the neighborhood after finding parking, I realized I've likely never seen an actual fraternity house before and there seemed to be thousands of them here. Complete with big porches, beer-guzzling galoots and vacuous females! Just like a crappy Hollywood flick, very weird. Met a whole host of excellent Philly folk, giving one great hope that much good music will flourish there, including this September's ErstQuake fest. Great to meet you, Jesse, Tim, Dustin, Matt, Chandan, Mike. The panel discussion before the show seemed to go over very well; odd for me but sorta fun.
Same structure as the previous evening. Haleta did almost exactly the same piece as before; not sure of the rationale but, again, I was reasonably happy picking out my own patterns. The gallery had a camera obscura installation and, in the dark, its projected image, an upside down stream of water from a faucet, played on a nearby wall, offering some fine counterpoint. Keith played next, again...well, just really, really good. Rick had some equipment trouble and by the time everything was sorted out, they merged his solo set with the trio's. This one was much more concise than Brooklyn's, really well paced. Favorite moment was when Rick began generating a tone that was just too sweet and, absolutely immediately (perhaps coincidentally) Keith found a radio broadcast where a woman was saying, "...a change of direction". It worked perfectly both musically, tempering the sweetness, and conceptually.
A fine late dinner and conversation (White Dog--wonderful restaurant/bar) then a lengthy drive back in the heavy rain.
Marmite tasting the next afternoon (see description at Jazz Corner), listened to Keith's "The Room" (ooh, baby....) then out to the rescheduled gig at the Velez Cultural Center. Pretty chaotic there, looked for a while like the whole shebang might not get off the ground but eventually things were set aright. Only a trio set as there were time limitations. This was much more like I would have expected from them, very steady state and restrained throughout (both of the earlier sets were much lumpier), really nice, Rowe once again providing the necessary granularity and itchiness.
They're on to gigs in Princeton, Dartmouth, Boston--maybe one other? Check' em out if you can.
Richard Pinnell, after something of a hiatus, has begun posting with astonishing regularity on his blog here. Very interesting entry on a Scottish painter previously unknown to me, Callum Innes, whose work looks pretty fantastic from what I see there.
Acquired over the weekend:
John Tilbury - Plays Samuel Beckett (Matchless)
David Tudor - Music for Piano (RZ)
Bonnie Jones - Vines (emr)
William Hutson - Little Darling (emr)
The Sealed Knot - (Confront Performance series)
Katsura Yamauchi - Sax Solo (Salmo Sax)
Katsura Yamauchi - Patiruma (Salmo Sax)
Otomo Yoshihide - Prisoner (Headz)
Matt Mitchell - vapor squint, antique chromatic (Scrapple)