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andrewcsmith on 12/04/2009 at 10:41AM

2009, evoking 1979

Connie Beckley performing Sound Split (1976)

To imagine the difficulty of imagining what a snapshot of the New Music New York series at the Kitchen in 1979 might be imagined as, begin by listening to these excerpts from last night's performance. But more than he sonic differences--flutes, trumpets, and voices or voice and tape recorder or solo piano--the differences were in the performances.

Connie Beckley, whose piece for voice and tape recorders is featured here, recorded these vocal loops while walking down the aisle, after which she placed the looping cassette players around the room and (eventually) turned them off one by one. "Blue" Gene Tyranny, who performed in many different contexts with everyone from the Once crew to pop to the Kitchen in 1979, presented both a duet for dancers with tape (featuring the voice of Harvey Milk, serving as a reminder to the New York Senate) and a solo piano performance. Peter Kotik's work with a text from Gertrude Stein began with relatively classical instruments and positions. In no time, though, the musical parts drifted apart--three of his compositions were being performed simultaneously--and floated back and forth among one another.

All of this is to illustrate that even after cutting out three different excerpts from a three-night concert series meant to represent the Kitchen in 1979, there isn't much of a stylistic thread to follow. But then again, the concerts weren't exactly specific in their implied content; New Music New York tells three things, none of which were disproven (well, aside from the "new" part this time around). 

Which is to say, if you really want the full experience--mobile tape recorders and all--your best bet is to show up at ISSUE Project Room tonight and tomorrow night, for the rest of the festival. Check issueprojectroom.org or darmstadtnewmusic.org for the full details.

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