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Live Reviews

Line Space Line Festival of Improvised Music 2004: Making It Up As They Go Along

By Published: June 2, 2004
Brian Eubanks, reeds; Chris Forsyth, electric guitar; Joseph Hammer, tape loop; Rich West, drum set.

Eubanks cued an electronic device, and West tapped the Glockenspiel. Crackles from Forsyth collided with Hammer’s offspeed loops. West contributed uncannily perfect support from his prepared drum set. Pedal altered guitar faded in and out, Forsyth rocking on a pedal. Eubanks focused on high keening shrieks on soprano, penetrating the thick sounding loops. West flashed lightning all over his drum set, while Eubanks absorbs the guitar and tape overload noise and reinterprets it. It ended with Eubanks blowing air at Hammer’s hum and hiss.

Pt 2 opens with West smacking a drum burst, and smearing wrong speed loops. Forsyth let his fingers do the flying over distorted voices talking and singing like wind dreams. Eubanks played small beautiful parts with tape noise and guitar parts.

Karen Elaine Bakunin, viola; Harris Eisenstadt, drum set, percussion; Sara Schoenbeck, bassoon, Kevin Uehlinger, piano.

The final set of the Festival had all the earmarks of an event. Originally slated Eric Sbar called off, replace by Sara Schoenbeck. Schoenbeck missed an earlier scheduled performance when the Santa Barbara Symphony called over the weekend, and without being introduced, she received a warm welcome from the crowd. Bakunin returned, and making his Festival 2004 debut, Harris Eisenstadt handled percussion. From their simultaneous launch to the finish, they argued the need for seat belts at improvised concerts. Schoenbeck, Bakunin, and Uehlinger spontaneously created musical statements, and echoed, answered, finished each other’s thoughts. Eisenstadt’s mobile percussion approach kept him in the conversation. Schoenbeck briefly soloed before Eisenstadt joined on sticks and hands. Eisenstadt’s duet with Bakunin saw him flying at the speed of her imaginings. An electrifying exchange between Schoenbeck and Bakunin had the virtuosos taking turns leading. Uehlinger provided driving dramatic low work, and Eisenstadt’s drum work brought Schoenbeck and Bakunin into the heat of it with sweeps and precision.

For their final excursion, Eisenstadt supported the sketches Uehlinger created. As Eisenstadt gets down with hand and stick, Bakunin released another shower of music ending in long tones. Uehlinger’s abrupt strikes elicit abrupt strikes from Bakunin. As the piece softened into silence, Sara faded in long tones, answered by Bakunin. The ensemble hit a comfortable fluency and faded.

Once again, the Festival existed through generosity, cooperation, and dedicated hard work. If the program left an unanswered question, it was why no Bakunin/Schoenbeck/Stackpole trio performance? But that small quibble aside, having logged two good years, the Line Space Line Festival of Improvised Music threatens to become a sorely needed free music cultural institution.

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