Sunday, October 20, 2013

Tim Hecker & Christopher Bissonnette Immersound_SEA at Chapel Performance Space: Nov 8 | Morton Subotnick & Lillevan perform "From Silver Apples of the Moon to a Sky of Cloudless Sulphur" at Town Hall: Nov 9

What will likely be some of the music/live highlights of the year, the second weekend in November features performances by Canada's electronics and electric guitar noise sculptor, Tim Hecker and mid-Century early electronic composer Morton Subotnick. Both making 'immersion' the focus of their live actualizations, more than just a conceptual statement of intent with the work, they will both feature live multi-channel surround sound mixes of their works. The host for Seattle's Christopher Bissonnette and Tim Hecker installment in the Immersound series, Montreal's Shibui-Oto collective will be presenting the night's work in 6.1 surround, their philosophy of designing experiential spaces and environs described in the Immersound mission statement. This approach will particularly benefit Tim Hecker's newest, "Virgins" realized with a larger ensemble of performers, including Iceland's Ben Frost over the course of multiple recording sessions, it's a torrential, squall of mangled, multitude of disembodied instrumental voices, which should be made that much more outstanding in a multi-channel context.

Of even greater cultural and historic significance, Morton Subotnick's contribution to early electronic music, almost exclusively for/with the Buchla Electronic Musical Instrument designed by Don Buchla for the San Francisco Tape Music Center was cemented with his seminal 1967 piece "Silver Apples of the Moon" and later pieces like 1978's, "A Sky of Cloudless Sulfur". The exception to much electronic music at the time, which was predominantly composed from Musique Concrete tape-manipulated sounds and Sine-wave generators, Subotnick was among the first to work in the real of pure electronic sounds. For deeper reading on the context, time and technology, RBMA's Key Tracks feature by Subotnick himself goes some way to describe the projection of future forms and and the invention of the technology of their creation at San Francisco Tape Music Center and contemporaries at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center. For Seattle's performance at Town Hall he presents the same hybrid of these two works as seen at Unsound Festival in 2011. A multimedia collaboration with media artist Lillevan "From Silver Apples of the Moon to a Sky of Cloudless Sulphur" was not only a highlight of that year's festival, but I'd say up there somewhere in the totality of my personal experience with live audio-visual performance. Both immersive and environmental as well as bracingly dynamic and visceral, it is one of those rare synergies of sound and image that create a complete sensory experience, one that's as 'of it's time' as it is startlingly contemporary. Photo credit: Adam Kissick