Line Space Line Festival of Improvised Music 2004: Making It Up As They Go Along
The final set of the evening found four laptops sharing the stage with six sound sculptors. Looney played prepared piano, and the combined effect of Hammers’ loops and DJ Ultraviolet’s samples injected a dreamlike quality to the charged landscape generated by the technicians. In the end, the colliding sound, samples, and loops dissolved into a swirling mist.
Chris Heenan, reeds; Dana Reason, piano; Karen Stackpole, percussion; Rachel Thompson, violin; Ben Wright, double bass.
The quintet opened with Reason gently plucking the high strings on the piano. Heenan joined her with soft blowing on the contrabass clarinet, while Stackpole coaxed tones from large gongs in her exquisite collection by precisely stroking their surface with the head of a stick. Her uncanny abilities with gongs and cymbals lit up each ensemble in which she participated. By jolting the large rack holding her many percussion devices she contributed sound. Bassist Wright dug in with his bow, later tapping the strings. After a group pause, Thompson broke the silence creating a squeaky door effect on violin. Stackpole got playful with muted bells, answered by Reason’s prepared piano tones. Stackpole again stroked gongs into singing. After another silent interlude, Reason picked high strings. Following rapid cymbal work by Stackpole, Wright and Heenan perked up. Rubbing his hand on the belly of the bass for sound, Wright worked into a spirited duet with Reason, that ended in silence, again broken by Dana, who ended it with silence.
With material muting his strings, New Mexico’s Wright ground and tapped a vigorous intro that swept Heenan in on alto. Stackpole bowed small cymbals, extracting rare tones, with Thompson scraping strings. Reason got busy on piano, and Stackpole attacked small muted bells.
Jason Mears, Bb clarinet, alto saxophone; DJ Ultraviolet, turntables; Noah Phillips, electric guitar; Kevin Uehlinger, piano.
This set marked the festival return of two participants in the maiden voyage, Festival 2003, reedman Jason Mears and electronic guitarist Noah Phillips. Mears knows how to sing on whatever horn he blows, and Phillips paints from a large sonic palette. With DJ Ultraviolet’s encyclopedic sound library and Anthony Braxton alum Kevin Uehlinger exploring the piano, this one time only quartet exploded, burned brightly, and quit. Beginning with Ultraviolet’s tweeting bird sounds, Mears joined the flock with avian alto. Phillips buzzed from behind his effects boxes, and DJ UV found a classical woodwind track to skew the band. As Uehlinger roamed the piano, Mears moved through multiphonics to bouncing startling runs off the woodwind record. Blessed with big ears, Mears never gets lost. Uehlinger and Phillips scraped their strings with very different effect, and Mears switched to clarinet. DJ UV pushed his fellows into frenzy with loud sound and noise cuts.
Part two opened with Noah’s discordant chords answered by Ultraviolet’s rippling sounds. Mears decided he had a lot to say on alto and told it. Uehlinger urged him on with dazzling runs of his own, sparring instantly. Phillips shifted from sound researcher to guitar technique technician, while Mears spun buckets of gold. A festival highlight, they left the crowd begging for more.
Eric Barber, tenor & soprano sax; Jessica Catron, cello; Hendrik Greidanus, double bass; Dana Reason, piano.
Another dynamic quartet, these four left no doubt we’d hit cruising altitude. Hendrik and Blue Mitt member Catron launched an attractive bowing duo. As Catron switched to pluck, Barber bathed the crowd in a warm opening run. Dr. Dana Reason entered with a light touch, as Catron took to tapping her bow, and dangling chain on her bridge. Barber continued fashioning a strong statement on tenor, and Greidanus kept bowing dexterous basslines. Barber sketched some solo sax, switched to soprano and adopted the more subdued mood of the others. Reason’s meditative wondering came to dominate, and the trio lay out to shine a light on her musings.
Initiating the second performance with his foot on the accelerator, Barber rode the soprano. Greidanus made athletic bass work his signature and signed his name all over this one. Catron matches Greidanus, then they switched to bows. Barber blew grounded tuneful full bodied soprano.
Their final entry featured tenor honks and long tones, plucked piano high strings, and multiphonics from Barber. The viols bowed ambiantly.
Kyle Bruckmann, oboe, english horn; Stephen Finn, percussion; Joseph Hammer, tape loops; Scott Rosenberg, reeds; Sam Hoyt, trumpet.