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andrewcsmith on 09/24/2010 at 11:00AM

Miguel Frasconi, playing glasses

Photo by Marty Sohl

Miguel Frasconi oscillates between two modes of operation on his instruments: he'll coax unstable tones out of different glass objects, grab a sheet of metal and drop it on the ground. Frasconi performed with conceptual artist and sound sculptor Z'EV last June, and we've got his first improvisation below.

Frasconi's work brings to mind a further exploration of early ideas by John Cage, particularly in Cage's piece "Water Walk," performed on the TV show I Have A Secret in 1960. Yet, while Cage was insistent on composing each moment—carrying a stopwatch and timing his movements—Frasconi seems to be coming at the process from a free-improvisation standpoint. 

As far-reaching as much free improvisation is, instrumentalists are still very much in the majority. Frasconi's challenge, then, is to achieve the flow of an instrumentalist (or an electronic musician like Aki Onda or Ikue Mori) using his own nontraditional techniques. The result of his intimacy with these instruments—just as happens with any truly virtuosic player—is that multiple layers emerge, and different, sometimes contradictory, aspects of the sound occur simultaneously. Check out a video of his performance after the jump.


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