Entries tagged with “LiveMusic”.


AMM at the Old Church

Going through my archive of concert ephemera (see previous post) I found the booklet they handed out at the sole AMM show I was able to attend. I scanned this and put it online (click on the pics to see the original scans) and I have to say it’s a nice addition to my memories of this show.  I sent this short review of the show to the Zorn-List the day after the show:

I saw AMM at the Old Church in Portland OR, Wednesday April 11th.
This was my first time seeing AMM, and I really only have just begun
listening to them (thanks to this list for this introduction!). The
Old Church was a great place, with beautiful stained glass and a
stunning painted pipe organ (alas that never got played with) Only a
few reference lights were on in the church, otherwise it was quite
dark. The acoustics were great and the audience was very respectful.

I found the show to unbelievably hypnotic and entrancing. They played
with layers of sound, and moments of absolute silence. The ability
these guys have to entice these sounds of their instruments was
really unparalleled. I loved how Keith Rowes’s guitar just seems on
the edge of chaos at all times, and he bows and taps and gently
evokes waves of sound out of it. The way he could bow the whammy bar,
while just touching the strings or gently brushing the eBow over
them–incredible Then the radio…often just added white noise, then
the random bits of dialog or music. I thought there was a decent
amount of radio used during the show, more than on most of the
recordings I have heard.

Prevost’s percussion work was really unlike any other I have heard.
He really is adding a lot more sounds and tonalities, and is
completely unconcerned with rhythmic grounding. His gear included a
snare, a huge bass drum laying flat on the floor, a couple of other
drums and a good dozen cymbals and a gong. He also had lots of loose
cymbals or cymbals with handles. He bowed symbols, he played with the
squawks of his chair, he did this fantastic thing where he would
balance a medium sized cymbal on the snare and would bow the
cymbal….incredible. He would take the loose cymbals and he would
set them on the huge bass drum and then play the drum or bow the
cymbals. The bass drum would add extra amplification and
reverberation. This also worked to great effect when he would place
a bunch of his sticks on the bass drum and then play it with mallets.

John Tilbury played a normal (baby? ) grand piano and had a metal bar
that he used to damp the strings. At times he would use it like a
slide while he plucked the strings, or leave it laying one the
strings while he played. He also bowed the strings. He played a lot
of sparse notes and chords. At one point he go up and walked off.
During a quieter moment you realized that he was playing a piano in a
choir room or something next door. This sparse John Cage-esque piano
just coming out of nowhere, that would disappear as the others got
louder was fantastic. The relatively “normal” sounds of the piano had
a wonderful grounding or contrasting effect to the other players.
Which is a stunning occurrence considering how sparse, non-melodic
and nearly aleatoric his playing was.

The show ended with Rowe fading out static/white noise over a period
of about 5min. They played about 1’15” total. The audience managed to
wait out the full fadeout at the end, until he had switched off his
stuff before applauding.

This was one of the best shows I have seen. The music was utterly
captivating, and was entirely engrossing to watch these guys play. If
you closed your eyes though, it was like being in a dream world. I
had driven a long ways to get to this show and was plenty tired, but
listening with my eyes closed, I really had that just before sleep
feel. Sounds were hard to spatially place, and would often drive my
eyes open to try to see just what was making that sound. The way the
three of them played together, totally synched, no solos is so far
beyond most avant shows I have seen.

 

AMM at the Old Church inside

John Tilbury

Flyer for a John Tilbury solo performance in Vancouver

For the longest time I relentlessly saved all manners of ephemera – ticket stubs, theater bills, promotional flyers, concert programs and the like. I amassed piles of these papers which for a time I organized in hanging files, then folders then just stacks of paper. Periodically some of it would get sorted and discarded.  I held onto these items because they were aide memoirs – physical manifestations of memories. I found myself burdened by all this material and became highly selective of what I kept and a lot more merciless in my discards. But there was a bunch of material from what I think was kind of a golden age of music in Seattle.

Critters Buggin

Critters Buggin Concert flyer

In the late 90s though the early aughts there was what I thought at the time an actual creative development in jazz.  It was a sort of post-downtown movement brought about by the relocation of Wayne Horvitz and Bill Frisell interacting with local luminaries who had been raised on electronica, hip-hop and grunge. They played out music with a dance beat, or with hard rocking energy or unexpected world music influences. This all faded away by around 2005 or so with a number of the principles moving to NYC, LA and other places and through a number of others getting sucked into Jam-Band-ish fusions, dumbing down the music to simpler rhythms, less out passages and instead of the unexpected became all too predictable.

Mad Tea Party

The Mad Tea Party weekly event

For a while though it was a musical renaissance where I was seeing shows 2-3 nights a week and were even the most regular events were constantly dosed with the unanticipated as Skerik might drop in at 1am or Reggie Watts might join in for some vocal freestylin as an unannounced guest. By the time this scene had fizzled out my interest had shifted to forms of improvisation that was driven by experimentation but also my drive for the collection of ephemera was waning. So I’ve scanned and uploaded my archive of concert flyers that I’ve held onto and there is a good sampling from that short creative period in Seattle and then a number of more random things.

The whole archive, which I’ll add to if anymore turns up can be found on Flickr here:
Concert Ephemera

I caught this duo at Gallery1412 tonight. The show was quite similar to their duo set documented on the Amplify 2002 Box
set. It started off pretty mellow, with bleats and blasts from Lehn and
denser digital segments of sound from Schmickler. These increase in
frequency and density and eventually headed toward a dense wall of
noise, with Lehn’s analog squiggles, outbursts and staticy washes mixed
in. This was pretty much the pattern over the next 40 minutes or so.
They’d go from loud washes of sounds, to lower volume sparser stuff.
There were several points where one could feel the bass cut through
ones body. The loud segments did seem louder each time culminating in a
Lehn freakout of epic proportions. The piece ended with Lehn solo,
fading out with the skronks, squiggles and bleats as it began.

There was an enthusiastic response from the 30-35 strong crowd and
they conferred briefly and then did a second piece. This one stayed
almost exclusively in mellower territory, with Schmickler producing a
dense drone that Lehn played on top of. The volume stayed lowed with
only one short segment where Lehn turned it up a bit. This all in all
was the more interesting piece to me, shorter, less predictable more
intricate. Once again Shimckler faded himself out and the set ended
with Lehn dropping in slowly fading bursts of static.

Polestar Music Galleries 2nd Anniversary Shows

I managed to catch a couple of shows from our local out music venue’s 2nd anniversary series. The two I saw were Kaffe Matthews solo on May 14th and Anne LeBaron, Wolfgang Fuchs and Torsten Muller & Ronit Kirchman the following night. I then went on vacation thus the delay in this posting.

Polestar is a tiny shotgun style store front space. They are able to get two columns of 3 chairs with a aisle in the middle. Maybe 10-15 rows of these. Up front is generally a small stage and a small PA. It is the best place to see music in Seattle though– no smoking, no talking, no bar and decent acoustics. People go there to see shows and attention to the music. The fine folkswho run the venue are in touch with several different creative music scenes and the bookings are quite diverse. Otomo Yoshihide, Eddie Prévost, Wayne Horvitz, Briggan Kraus, Carla Kihlstedt , John Butcher, Jessica Lurie, Wally Shoup, Fred Frith and many, many others have played here. Check out the list of past performances. Anyway just a bit about the venue to set the scene.

Kaffe Matthews was set up in the round with her quadraphonic sound system. She had a Powerbook, mixer, theremin and a midi controller. She began with a single pure tone, generated by the theremin I believe. She then proceeded to manipulate the very response of the room, layering samples of this tone in conjunction with new tones. At one point she raises a level on her mixing board and radio emanates. Clearly taken aback, a smile breaks out on her face and she goes with it. About 5
from the venue are 3 radio masts and clearly they were infiltrating her electronics. She proceeded to work this radio (which was primarily jazz singing) into the piece often to great effect. Over the course of an hour-fifteen or so Kaffe worked these materials into dense washes of feedback or spare hisses occasionally letting everything stop to simple amplifier hum. Really engaging, I truly wish we could have moved about the room, as the sound would change just by moving your head. She describes this performance as live room sculpting and I think that is an accurate description.

After the performance there was a little reception. Kaffe kindly explained her gear, software and process to those who asked. This was the case in both nights I went and was a welcome addition to nights of good music.