Sunday, December 23, 2007

Pedals, Friction and Ritualized Improvisation

Janel Leppin/Anthony Pirog
Death in the Maze @ The Red Room, Baltimore, MD
December 22, 2007

Janel Leppin: cello, effects pedals
Anthony Pirog: guitar, effects pedals

Death in the Maze:
John Berndt: clarinet, percussion, inventions
Samuel Burt: clarinet, laptop, voice
Rose Hammer: alto saxophone, clarinet
Paul Neidhardt: percussion, frictions

With a juxtaposition of two different sides of improvisation these two sets of human inventiveness were a reminder and a celebration of the plurality of creative energy at work in the Mid-Atlantic. Each offered up some promising territories and avenues to explore.

Leppin and Pirog presented a structured, composed body of music for guitar and cello with generous helpings of effects pedals added into the sound. The often melodic, folk-inflected sound left plenty of room for filling in the details with spontaneity and forays into textures of noise. The duo from northern Virginia offered up a new twist on an Americana sound with an ear for variations in texture and density.

Death in the Maze followed up this light, buoyant sound with a darkness centered around ritual. With the lights turned out and only the illumination of candles many of the percussive frictions and invented instruments took on an other worldly mystery without the visibility to confirm each sound source. In this music the performers fused into a focused sound that often left sonic spaces unfilled.

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