Tuesday, October 02, 2007

High Zero 2007: Concert 2

High Zero Festival of Experimental Improvised Music - Concert 2
September 28, 2007 @ Theatre Project, Baltimore, MD

Solo set:
Asimina Chremos: movement

Set one:
Chiara Giovando: voice, violin, electronics
Sofia Jernberg: voice
Kyp Malone: guitar, voice
Donna Parker: sound (processed feedback)

Set two:
Jaap Blonk: voice, electronics
Dan Breen: strings, percussion, electronics
John Dierker: reeds
Stewart Mostofsky: electronics, strings

Set three:
Peter Blasser: inventions, strings
Chris Heenan: contrabass clarinet, alto saxophone
Matthias Kaul: percussion, hurdy-gurdy
ID M Theft Able: mouth, frictions, textures

Set four:
Sofia Jernberg: voice
Melissa Moore: field recordings, electronics
Marina Rosenfeld: turntables, electronics

The High Zero Festival generated plenty of evidence and documentation as each action and sonic preceding was carefully recorded and photographed for posterity. There were CDs available from High Zeros past available in the lobby beside a laptop displaying a slide show of photographs from the previous evening's performance and there was even a portfolio of sketches drawn by a particularly talented artist within the audience. John Berndt even brought his portable recorder to many of the High Jinx street performances around town. It was both amusing and deliberately consistent that the unaccompanied solo dance performance of Asimina Chremos was also being recorded as the microphones captured the feet hitting the floor, the odd grunt exhaled from an energetically physical display and the scattered coughs, sneezes and creaks from a shifting audience.

The theatrical antics and instigations of spark plug percussionist Dan Breen could hardly be fully captured or contained within the second group set as his whimsically confrontational approach toward group improvisation made for a particularly unpredictable creative disturbance. Breen made extensive use of saws. Starting with a course bowing. Later he substituted his sticks with a pair of saws as the heavy handled ends of a pair of saws were haphazardly applied toward the drum kit. It wasn't long before he performed the saw's more utilitarian function as he cut one of Stewart Mostofsky's shoes in half. Also contained with the Breen toolbox was a winding stretch of PCV pipe with a mouthpiece that he performed as a peculiar match and forceful challenge to John Dierker's bass clarinet.

The first group set was my first introduction to the feedback technique of Donna Parker and her willingness to both shape the smooth sonic timbral qualities of microphone on speaker and dive headlong past the pain threshold of piercing loudness. I was struck by Kyp Malone's ability to find his own territory within this unusual soundscape with a layer of guitar and delay.

Marina Rosenfeld is unlike anything I've heard from a turntable artist. Her involvement with High Zero only whet the appetite for her unique sonic sensibility. Another fleeting and enchanting presence in this festival was the voice of Sofia Jernberg and the hauntingly deliberate approach to weaving utterance into some particularly intense noise studies.

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