2004 SCI Region 6 Conference Review

February 4, 2004

A Review of Concert 8 from SCI Region 6 — 2004 
submitted by Jay C. Batzner

The 1 PM concert featured electronic and electroacoustic music. Per Bloland’s Thingvellir, for trumpet and amplified resonating piano, was the only piece that did not use pre-recorded sounds. Rob Alley, the performer, projected into a microphone which fed the resonating piano strings. The end result was an eerie and moody piece. The piano’s layer of harmony was akin to hearing chant sung in a huge cathedral. Cool piece.

Snow of Ages, by Chin-Chin Chen, explored the sound of three instruments: woodblock, gong, and windchimes. Each movement subjected one sound to a series of spatialized and fleeting gestures. There was very little manipulation of these sound objects, so the source of the sounds was always apparent.

Matthew Cureton’s Reposes of the Soul, a four-movement tape piece, sustained a lonely and introspective mood throughout each movement. The primary focus of the piece was timbral and gestural development and each movement took a slightly different spin on the source materials. The pieces were different from each other yet clearly connected to the whole.

Per Bloland was up again with The Wonderful Delight of Profound Ineptitude (winning the “Best Title” Award in my book). The opening sound world was highly synthesized and manipulated. Gradually the gestures transitioned into and out of recognizeable objects. All of the sounds used were highly kinetic and mobile and Per built these textures into lucious moments of cacophony. The work seemlessly journied into ambient neighborhood sounds and once again exploded into cacophony and an abrupt cadence. In a word: woo-hoo! (or is that two words?)

Memories Among Us by Timothy Miller was a brief work filled with sparkling energy. Two primary forces fought for supremecy. Eventually the swirling vorticees and incessent tappings decided to cohabitant the piece.

Mark Snyder’s Horse “dropped the funk bomb” on the SCI crowd. The rumbles and squeaks of manipulated rocking horse sounds made a great counterpoint to the bass sax’s long sweeping lines. A great groove emerged in the recorded part and the bass sax quickly intercepted and joined in. A fun piece that invigorates my desire to write for bass sax! Put a bass sax with Stuart Hinds’ overtone singing and we’d have a musical force that could, well, it would be pretty cool.

The finale of the concert was Douglas O’Grady’s Canticle. This tighty focused piece manipulated vocal and vocal-like timbres until a full-fledged independent line soared above punctuating sweeps in the accompaning texture. Hearing the vocal line descend into gutteral sounds was a delight. A great piece on a wonderfully engaging concert!


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