Category Archives: New Edge Music

Music of Cody Brookshire featured in Eyedrum’s fourth Composer’s Series concert

by Mark Gresham | 28 DEC 2016

Composer Cody Brookshire in festive seasonal attire.

Composer Cody Brookshire in festive seasonal attire.

On Friday, December 23, as many people wee rushing to finish last-minute holiday shopping runs, Eyedrum Arts & Music Gallery hosted a concert of music by composer Cody Brookshire for the fourth installment of its recently established Composer’s Concert Series.

In advance of Brookshire’s music was a set by electric guitarists Justin Tolan and Se’nam Palmer, who traded a few looping, effects-laden solo numbers back and forth then played a final duo, after which came a brief intermission.

Brookshire introduced his part of the program, decked out in casual attire for the occasion in a red t-shirt and Santa Claus hat replete with leopard-spotted fur lining – appropriate given both the event date and Eyedrum’s signature hyper-informal environment.

First up among Brookshire’s six featured compositions was Kindlemusik, a momentum-driven piece for marimba duo, performed by Ethan Strickland and Olivia Kieffer (who also curates the Composer’s Series). Electronic music on stereophonic fixed media followed: three selections from Harmonic Meditations: I. Siddhartha, III. We Could Live Forever Tonight and V. Wasting All My Precious Time.

Although similar in style and character to many contemporary compositions for unaccompanied flute, Brookshire’s Whispers, Secrets and Codes is nonetheless a respectable contribution to the genre, ably performed in this instance by flutist Matthieu Clavé.

Trumpeter Victoria Bethel performs From Afar, Drawing Near.

Trumpeter Victoria Bethel performs “From Afar, Drawing Near.”

Most interesting among the evening’s offerings was From Afar, Drawing Near, for trumpet and electronics, performed by trumpeter Victoria Bethel. Spatial effects involving the performer turning left and right while playing, and the extended use of a Harmon mute in the beginning, gave this piece a menacing character, like a siren in the midst of an air-raid warning-inspired texture, including the thunderous sounds of drones. Electronic elements were also affected by the GPS location of the composer’s cell phone.

One more electronic work was next on tap: META11UR6Y, based on manipulation of pre-recorded screaming “metal riffs” on electric guitars. On the one hand, it mentally connected back with Tolan and Palmer’s opening set, but also took the the listener out into a conceptually fragmented world of great sonic contrasts, with fortissimo clips often coming in bursts to interrupt vague background textures.

The concert closed with Triple Helix, another work for multiple marimbas – in this case a trio (as the title implies). It was performed by Lineage Percussion – Wesley Sumpter, Lauren Floyd and Trevor Barroero. The performers used headphones and a click track to coordinate the piece, which Brookshire described succinctly as “a web of multiple tempos.”

A bit of good news for concerts like this one, Eyedrum itself appears to have cleaned up its act in the literal sense over past months. The space far, far less junk-and-trash riddled than experienced on previous visits, though it is still lacking in decent, sufficient lighting by which performers can both see and be seen. Even so, things are clearly in a process of improving for the small performance space at 88 Forsyth Street. •

Fractured Atlas LogoThis post was made possible in part by funds from Fractured Atlas. Donations supporting the Fractured Atlas “Mark Gresham” project may be made online by clicking the linked logo on the right. Fractured Atlas is a 501(c)(3) public charity; all donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Sonic Generator concert at MOCA-GA engages with 5 solos and an ensemble finale

by Mark Gresham | 26 MAY 2016, Atlanta, GA

Sonic Generator performs “ACDC” by Michael Gordon.

Sonic Generator performs “ACDC” by Michael Gordon. (credit: Mark Gresham)

Georgia Tech-based new music ensemble Sonic Generator presented a free concert on Monday evening in the downstairs gallery of the Museum of Contemporary Art–Georgia (MOCA-GA). The program consisted of five works for solo musicians then concluded with a work played the whole ensemble.

The show kicked off with flutist Jessica Peek Sherwood performing “It” (2012) by Dutch avant-garde composer Jacob TV (Jacob ter Veldhuis). Like many of his works, Jacob TV built “It” around samples of the human voice, in this case based on a 1928 newsreel of Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan. The accompanying soundtrack and video consisted primarily of the voices and images of Helen and Ann, fragmented into sentences, words and syllables. In its climactic concluding moments, Sherwood spoke breathlessly between her played notes, Keller’s final word of the film’s dialogue: “I… am… not… dumb… now!”

Violinist Helen Hwaya Kim played the first two of John Harbison’s “Four Songs of Solitude” (1985), his only work for unaccompanied violin. The first was gentle and flowing in demeanor, the second paired a simple folk-like melody with a more athletic second motif. Cellist Brad Ritchie performed Steve Reich’s “Cello Counterpoint” (2003), a challenging work notable for its exceedingly tight, fast-paced rhythmic figures, in its version for live solo cello and a soundtrack of seven pre-recorded cellos.

Pianist Tim Whitehead performed “Shadows” (2015) by Atlanta composer Jason Freeman, involving an interactive computer-based score, with Whitehead reading it from the screen, which changed in response to Whitehead’s playing. Each of its four movements explored the interaction from a different perspective. Clarinetist Ted Gurch followed with “It Goes Without Saying” (2007) by Nico Muhly, which felt astonishingly organic despite the more electronic character of its accompanying soundtrack.

The concert concluded with the sole ensemble piece, “ACDC” (1996) by Michael Gordon, one of the founders of Bang-On-A-Can, in which the vivid interplay of polyrhythms was the predominant feature. Taken all together, the concert was consistently indicative of the ensemble’s penchant for high-quality performances. It made for an engaging evening.

Fractured Atlas LogoThis post was made possible in part by funds from Fractured Atlas. Donations supporting the Fractured Atlas “Mark Gresham” project may be made online by clicking the linked logo on the right. Fractured Atlas is a 501(c)(3) public charity; all donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Maker’s Dozen: Percussionist Stuart Gerber sparks new music scene with performances, teaching [ArtsATL]

by Mark Gresham | 19 Mar 2015

Gerber in Lugo, Italy, for the world premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s “Heaven’s Door” (“Himmels-Tür”). (Photo by Alain Taquet)

Percussionist Stuart Gerber is one of Atlanta’s most skilled and influential musicians. One of the original cofounders of new music ensemble Bent Frequency, Gerber is…

Preview: Bent Frequency, CORE join forces for “on love” Valentine’s treat at Callanwolde [ArtsATL]

by Mark Gresham | 11 Feb 2015

Decatur’s CORE Performance Company and Bent Frequency offer their unique take on Valentine’s Day.

This weekend, the dance artists of CORE Performance Company and musicians of Bent Frequency will perform a new collaborative work, on love, at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center …

Review: Sonic Generator revisits the old, brings in the new in Terminal West concert [ArtsATL]

by Mark Gresham | 6 Feb 2015

Violinist Helen Kim with Sonic Generator at Terminal West. (Photo by Mark Gresham)

On Wednesday, high-tech new music ensemble Sonic Generator performed the first concert of their season at Terminal West, the über-hip 7,000-square-foot music and special events …

Review: Bent Frequency, accordionist Zöllner pay tribute to the new music of Mexico [ArtsATL]

by Mark Gresham | 27 Jan 2015

Guitarist Dieter Hennings was a featured musician. (Concert photos by Dot Paul)

On Saturday night, new music ensemble Bent Frequency performed a concert at Kopleff Recital Hall with three featured guests: composer-conductor Juan Trigos, guitarist Dieter Hennings …

Review: Bent Frequency hosts Spektral Quartet for dazzling concert of avant-garde music [ArtsATL]

by Mark Gresham | 5 Dec 2014

Chicago’s Spektral Quartet made their Atlanta debut. (Photo by Mark Gresham)

A concert of music entirely by living composers took place Wednesday evening at Erikson Clock on Nelson Street in Atlanta’s Castleberry Hill district. Atlanta-based contemporary …

Review: Caleb Herron is going, going, “gonged” in Georgia Perimeter solo percussion recital [ArtsATL]

by Mark Gresham | 20 Nov 2014

Caleb Herron stepped outside the Chamber Cartel for a solo performance. (Photo by Mark Gresham)

On Tuesday evening, percussionist Caleb Herron, who is the founding artistic director of new music ensemble Chamber Cartel, performed a solo recital that primarily focused …

Preview: Terminus Ensemble performs fourth season opener, then heads off on a different track [ArtsATL]

by Mark Gresham | 15 Oct 2014

A Terminus performance from earlier this year at the Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church. (Photo courtesy Terminus Ensemble of Contemporary Music)

With the imposition of lockout still in full force and the arrival of federal mediation into the fray of labor negotiations, the musicians of the …