Thursday, September 08, 2011

Briefly, wanted to comment on last evening's Rowe/Unami set.

Keith, during his stay here, had been referencing Philip Ball's "The Music Instinct" (a book coming at the love and desire for music from an evolutionary and neurobiological standpoint) quite a bit, particularly a passage where Ball posits that music is not acoustic, that it's constructed in the listener's mind. It wasn't entirely surprising, therefore, especially considering Unami's performance the previous night, that Rowe utilized the speech function of his Kindle and sent the introductory portion of the book through the house PA at Stone, the computerized voice adding an extra later of oddness by its frequent mispronunciations and routine mis-inflections of the text. He accompanied this by sparse scrabblings at his guitar neck and "writing" on a stone, as well as the odd, short radio capture.

In the meantime, Unami once again began constructing box towers this time a bit more stable by virtue of tucking in the ends and taping them. He did this in the same intent manner as he had before, eventually building an edifice that took up most of the left of the stage area and appeared vaguely threatening toward Rowe. With the text continuing, talking about aspects of music and pattern recognition, inevitably one began applying the words to Unami's activity, forming connections that seemed as apropos as they were clearly accidental. Quite marvelous.

After 40 or so minutes, Unami threaded some twine behind and betwixt his boxes, carrying the ends himself this time toward the entrance to The Stone at the rear of the audience space, exiting the room. From somewhere out on the street he slowly pulled the string, causing the towers to slowly topple. Again, there was something wonderful about seeing these structures shudder and move "by themselves", the cardboard squeaking against each other. They fell, one after another, the last narrowly missing Rowe's table, resulting in a delightfully bulky, awkward pile which, via continued tugs, continued to throb a bit, as though in death throes. Unami opened and closed the door several times, accentuating the scene, a dark tolling, perhaps, as Rowe slowly faded out the voice at a point the electronic reader was describing how the mind sorts and melds two melodic lines, such as violin and piano, into a structure that can be heard individually or dually.

It was a wonderful experience, very invigorating, one that will linger in this mind for quite some time.

Again, my camera was useless but Yuko posted some fine pics here, including some from the previous set of English (Joe Foster and Bonnie Jones) with Toshi Nakamura, which was fine (and utiltized David Kirby's sound system to great advantage, especially the sub-woofer) but not nearly as memorable.

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