Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Collective Ears

The Emergency String Xtet/The Spirit Moves Us @ Studio 1510, Oakland, CA
Sunday, May 10, 2009

Emergency String Xtet:
Angela Hsu: violin
Adria Otte: violin
Leif Shackleford: viola
Doug Carroll: cello
Bob Marsh: cello
Tony Dryer: double bass

The Spirit Moves Us:
Jim Ryan: flute, saxophones, kalimba
Bob Marsh: cello
Spirit: percussion

Assembling a group of musicians and turning them loose in a free context quickly reveals the ears involved. The larger the ensemble, the more ripples in the texture each pair of ears brings to the overall sound. With the Emergency String Xtet, a sextet of strings turned their ears toward a collective realization with beautiful results. The small room adding a proximity to an intoxicating live sound rich with overtone and timbral variance expanded by the extended techniques of Tony Dryer's bass. The bass often set the overall sound in motion with a large gesture that dissipated through the ensemble.

With The Spirit Moves Us, it is indeed Spirit operating at the core of the trio sound with a drum kit assembled from undersized drum heads and a roto-tom. The percussive bed providing an inviting texture for free improvising flights. Jim Ryan occupied a layer near the top end of this sound while Bob Marsh added electronic processing to his cello for a sound woven tightly to the Spirit driven fabric.

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