Sunday, March 01, 2009

Cache and Carry

Cache-Flow Quartet/Instant Coffee @ The Red Room, Baltimore, MD
Saturday, February 28, 2009

Instant Coffee
M.C. Schmidt: hi-hat, percussion, synthesizer, sampler, voice, video
Jason Willett: sidrassi organs, amplified rubber band, percussion
Lisle Ellis: bass, electronics

Cache-Flow Quartet
Michael Muniak: feedback, electronics
Paul Neidhardt: feedback, electronics
Twig Harper: feedback, electronics
Drew Daniel: feedback, electronics

The debut performance of Instant Coffee offered up a heady brew. A blend of creative forces that collaboratively build music from different angles. M.C. Schmidt's restless switching between instruments and sonic choices providing a prodding through an ear-driven creation that allowed for humor, substance and contrast. The presence of Jason Willett's amplified rubber band and similarly elastic electronic source materials provided a tension between control and non-control simmering just within the overall texture. Lisle Ellis moved between balancing and complimenting these parts with his widely varied - yet focused - bass playing combined with his own electronic impulses. His responsive strumming would anchor a drone texture before taking a turn toward expansively free pizzicato or bowed lyrical lines against a broadly fluctuating backdrop.

M.C. Schmidt has a striking sensibility for seizing sonic choices from any given moment. The squeaking as he rotates on his seat is effectively folded into the overall sound and repeated with deliberate durational intent. A collection of metal pipes detached from a wind chime tossed and scattered upon the floor and hi hat takes on a prolonged and intentional clumsiness to soak up the sonic racket offered up. The theatre of the performance never becoming unhinged from the collaborative sound of the group. These three different personalities and musical histories finding a common territory of evolving textures. Instant Coffee has a good sound that keeps the ears steeped in its unexpected turns.

The Cache-Flow Quartet is experimental music in its purest sense. The chain of inputs sent between players being deliberately obscured - and manipulated by the audience over the course of the performance - to place the performers in a collaborative feedback loop of managed unpredictability. The sonic equivalent of a laboratory with beakers of strange concoctions boiling over as four mad scientists strain against the Jekyll and Hyde within their own improvisative instincts. The unpredictable signal flow swallowing up input from each and swirling into an attractive din of noise.

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