Sunday, December 16, 2007

Shelton from the Storm

Aram Shelton & Ensemble Concertante @ The Red Room, Baltimore, MD
December 15, 2007

Aram Shelton: alto saxophone, laptop, electronics

Kate Porter: cello
Dan Conrad: veena bambina
Catherine Pancake: percussion

With a "severe weather warning" in effect overnight for a storm that never quite materialized it was a hearty crew that forged ahead with an evening of creative music within the chilly confines of the Red Room. While the air conveyed the sonic disturbance it also carried a crisp bite in sharp contrast to the warmth of interactive sound.

Aram Shelton uses his alto saxophone as an acoustic input for his live processing rig. And it's a processing he affects with an array of pedals mapped that allow him to keep the sample playback fresh and unpredictable. The equal parts of percussive keypads and instrument tone in the sound makes for a large and engaging sound.

The trio of Porter, Conrad and Pancake is a responsive unit that fills the air with a moderately loud sound. Porter frequently explored the upper range of her instrument while Conrad filled in the bass with the rubbery shifting tones of the veena bambina. Catherine Pancake would take turns at establishing and extracting a pulse from the sound without laboring upon it, allowing for patterns to dissolve and reappear in the mix. The full quartet of Shelton plus trio at the end of the last set was a natural, interactive force with subtle contributions from the electronics rig.

No comments: