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.