Friday, March 09, 2007

Haiku Week, Day 2

Screech of angry owls
Under old wooden rafters
Disorients me

Tonight we went to hear some very interesting musical performances at the Central Market Annexe, which is a cool old set of renovated colonial-era buildings with nice wooden rafters. No owls though. The owls are like totally a metaphor for the musicians we heard. Two of the performers were playing their laptops. Here’s the website of one of them. I’m not sure how they did it, but they were sort of looping and reverberating all sorts of recordings and sounds to make a kind of sonic collage. One guy played an electric guitar with a set of screwdrivers.

Unfortunately, while I am all for artistic experimentation, these very interesting concepts often sounded, in execution, like a thousand smoke alarms going off at once while a million kittens were being thrown into the world’s largest blender. For some reason all the acts tended toward high-pitched shrieking feedback tones that physically hurt my ears. Note to free-form jazz musicians and laptop sound pioneers: less high-pitched squealing, please. You can experiment all you want with muffled thumps or dull clicks, really. I’ll sit there for hours enthralled by muffled thumps. Make muffled thumps your main focus. Not ultra-high squeals. Anything but squeals.

However, while I was being tortured by many of the the sounds I was actually very interested in the intensity and obvious creativity the musicians brought to making noise. And who am I, I thought, to judge these guys’ experimental music? I wondered if I were up there deliberately trying not to make sounds that sounded like normal music, what I’d come up with. So I was interested, entranced, bored, confused, excited, physically pained, shamed and made contemplative all within the space of a few minutes. Not bad for a free concert, and I’m glad we were invited.

1 comment:

mairin said...

I hear you, Alex! We were often treated to many forms of experimental music uch as this in the subways of New York, and rarely did it ever sound like anything that I'd want to listen to for more than 3 minutes....still, I always gave them money because, like you said, you gotta respect them for making it in the first place!