Performance Review (Pauline Oliveros, Doug Van Nort, David Arner)

Last night, I attended a performance at Roulette featuring Pauline Oliveros, one of the “godmothers” of experimental music, educator, and founder of the Deep Listening Institute, pianist and percussionist; David Arner, and electronic musician Doug Van Nort. Between the soft glow of magenta light, ornate architecture of the concert space, and perfect placement of speakers; the space was only inviting an amazing multi-dimensional experience of sound. Four pieces were played; the pieces by Arner and Oliveros enhanced and expanded with Doug Van Nort’s electronic manipulations. A piano line played fowards by Arner was within moments reversed and played back with a haunting delay. Oliveros’ cartoonish sounds played from her digital accordion were swept from one speaker to the next, seemlessly, circulating around the room and dissolving somewhere in the center. Sound began to feel like it was hovering over the audience in an invisible but metaphysical space, creating a sort of spiritual lifting. I caught myself numerous times looking up, expecting to see a sparkling cloud of tones and timbres floating over me, but quickly remembered that the image of form was only a product of the thick spatialization the reverberant room created. There was a playful response amongst the elder crowd that attended; perhaps the experience of unexpected electronic manipulation to be a foreign phenomenon. The feeling of magic resonated through the room; both a surprise in the possibilities of this new collaboration and utmost respect for the great innovations of these musicians over the years. I left the concert being physically stimulated and intellectually satisfied.

About Jenn Grossman

Jenn is a sound artist/experimental musician based in NYC. Her work deals with the space between the seen and the felt, the auditory and the physical, reminding us that perception is active and layered.
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