Posts Tagged 'electronic improv'

An Evening of Electronic Music at Ernestine M. Raclin school of the Arts, I.U.S.B.

I.U.S.B hosted an ear opening evening of electronic music in its Recital Hall on January 17th. The first half of the evening consisted of pre recorded completed compositions from students of the I.U.S.B. music program being played rather than performed. The second half was a live electronic group improvisation from I.U.S.B.’s long running Plato and the Western Tradition Ensemble. For fans of electronic music this was a welcome and rare diversion for the Michiana area. While this was not the most exciting music to watch, it did offer listeners a ticket to intriguing sonic dimensions seldom traveled around these parts. As someone who has appreciated electronic music my whole life, I didn’t hear anything earth shaking or innovative here. What I did hear though was some very creative composition, evocative musical interplay, and musicians who were unafraid to try new things. Overall it was a solid evening of music with a few stand out moments.

Two compositions that impressed from the first half of the evening were “Rasa” by Josh Bonham and “Learn to Reason” by Mike Nolan. Both had excellent use of exotic percussion and fit right into the decentralized poly cultural music of the 21st century. “Rasa” stood out particularly not only for its creative production but for its amazing viola work performed by the composer.

The second half of the evening picked up the pace a bit as three creative musicians performed together as Plato and the Western Tradition. Marie Fryar, Mike Nolan, and ensemble founder David Barton wove a sonic web of effortless spontaneous creation. The performance never turned into a raging fire but smoldered nicely as a variety of shimmering atmospheres came into being and then vanished into ether. A few of the synth voices sounded dated and trite, but overall the group succeeded in creating a fresh and unique if not overly adventurous or impassioned soundscape. Some densely packed passages did leave me wishing for more sonic breathing room. Too much harmonic speculation can leave the listener confined to the narrow space between being and becoming. Still it is unusual to see an electronic ensemble employing musical and technical theory this evolved this creatively. This was a stripped down version of the ensemble as certain members were unable to attend. Nevertheless the well executed performance left me wanting to see the group in full force.

For events like this that lack a dramatic performance aspect I usually close my eyes and drift off to inner realms to soak up hidden nuances of sound often obscured by vision. If I can lose myself in the space between the notes I consider the music successful. Overall I have to say this was a night with many of those enjoyable moments.