Sunday, March 09, 2008

Three Times After Now

After Now: Nothing you've heard before @ The Red Room, Baltimore, MD
Saturday, March 8, 2008

Medium - Mark A. Lackey
Mark A. Lackey: voice

embodied - Mark A. Lackey
Duo Mare + boom box
Jee Young Rachel Choe: flute
Akiko Sumi: guitar

Sacred Words In Dead Languages - Mark A. Lackey
Catherine Wong: clarinet
Devin Adams: alto saxophone
Daniel Miller: trumpet
David DeDionisio: guitar
Iain Roush: guitar
Mark A. Lackey: electric guitar
Doug Perry: vibraphone

Accretion - Samuel Burt
Jamie Schneider: oboe
Sally Sarles: viola
Cameron Raecke: viola
Nathan Bontrager: cello

[im] possibilities - C. R. Kasprzyk
Shodekeh: human beatboxer
Jeremiah Baker: soprano saxophone
C.R. Kasprzyk: laptop

Staring At The Sun - Andrew Cole
pre-rendered 4-channel fixed media

Nearo - Andrew Cole
Kristin Bacchiocchi-Stewart: flute
Jamie Schneider: oboe
Marc Edwards: guitar
Sally Sarles: viola
Domenica Romagni: cello

Housed within Normal's Books and Records, the pre-concert atmosphere outside the Red Room was colored by live chamber ensembles working in some last-minute rehearsal in the odd spaces between book shelves and magazine racks. I was just thinking that the Normal's sound system was sounding much better than I'd remembered it before rounding the corner of the fiction stacks to find my pathway blocked by violists and guitarists. The heady, languid harmonies being a perfect compliment in a jungle of ideas one could easily imagine a Henry Brant spatial composition filling every corner of a bookstore with such music.

The third presentation of the After Now collective turned toward a more introspective set of works in sharp contrast to the more dramatic-oriented experience of their second outing. This was particularly true of the quiet spaces plumbed by Mark Lackey's Sacred Words In Dead Languages and Samuel Burt's Accretion. Lackey's use of muting of the guitars, the plunger mute on the trumpet and the manual operation of the revolving discs within the vibraphone's resonant tubes provided an acute unity to Sacred Words while Burt explored a consistent set of intervals and dynamic timbral shifts with sustained tones for Accretion.

In Medium, Mark Lackey delivered a text on the use of lab mice to test the possible link between cell phone frequencies and cancer as he performed against a delay of his own voice channeled through a low-fidelity chain of cell phones. The appropriation of carrier networks as performance instrument managed to avoid a sense of gimmick through a combination of brevity and well-rehearsed, almost casual delivery.

Mark Lackey's embodied and C.R. Kasprzyk's [im]possibilities each explored the insertion point of crafted beats of contemporary commercial musics within classical traditions with mixed results. In embodied the bursts of groove and accompaniment emanating from the boom box managed to graft an unusual thread into the compositional logic of the piece. With [im]possibilities the beat boxer, soprano saxophone and laptop coexisted within a temporal space with few nods toward cohesive design or perceptible interplay between parts.

If there is a singular aesthetic quality to the wide-ranging After Now collective of composers it is a creative drive to shuffle the deck of tradition to place technology, chamber music and present-day vernacular musics in the age of portable, downloadable genre-mashing sensibilities into a sonic space that has yet to be discovered. I look forward to hearing what hand is dealt in their fourth concert.

1 comment:

marklackeydotnet said...

Thanks, Devin!

As always, I appreciate your engaged listening and thoughtful blogging.

The audio and video recordings of the entire concert are now available at afternow.org and you might also be interested in the program notes you will find there.

Thanks again, and best wishes.

Mark A. Lackey