Chamber Cartel makes strong showng with new music by Myers, Neal and Adams

by Mark Gresham | 10 Mar 2014

Dynamic Duo: Chamber Cartel's Amy O'Dell and Caleb Herron. (photo credit: Mark Gresham)

Dynamic Duo: Chamber Cartel’s Amy O’Dell and Caleb Herron.
(photo credit: Mark Gresham)

On Sunday evening, Chamber Cartel, one of the increasingly impactful forces in Atlanta’s “new edge” contemporary music scene, performed at Erikson Clock (aka Nelson Street Art Gallery) in the artsy Castleberry Hill district just southwest of downtown.

As they did with their previous concert there on February 15, the Cartel brought forth notable repertoire by a well-established composer that had not previously been performed in Atlanta, “Four Thousand Holes” (2010) by John Luther Adams. There were also two world premieres by younger composers of rising reputation: “…But I’m doing it anyway” by Boston-based guitarist Aaron Jay Myers and “Keys” by Atlanta native Adam Scott Neal.

Chamber Cartel often assembles a handful or so of performers for is shows, but this time the entire was performed by the duo of pianist Amy O’Dell and percussionist Caleb Herron. Offstage, lurking in the dark to one side, percussionist Victor Pons controlled and mixed necessary electronic sounds. Myers was present and spoke briefly before his piece, which was up first on the program.

The performance was one of Chamber Cartel’s strongest offerings to date, engaging and holding the attention throughout. One of the rare pluses for an alternative venue like Erikson Clock was the choice to rent a good grand piano, rather than accept a lesser rental instrument or a resident castaway. Expensive, surely, but in this case the non-compromise empowered O’Dell, who also played a toy piano, a melodica and a small, hand-held cluster of old door keys.

Chamber Cartel will perform all of the music again on Saturday, March 15, as part of the second annual Contemporary Music Festival at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where Neal is currently a PhD Fellow.