New York Musings

There was a good hour of arranging gear on stage, I think, before I noticed that the floor was actually a pool of dark water.  If you’ve been to Galapagos Art Space, on the banks of the East River in Brooklyn, then maybe you were also surprised to notice that between the stage and the bar is a pool, over which the audience sits at tables situated on metal islets.  Joe and I were there to play a concert in collaboration (of sorts) with the kinetic sculptor Arthur Ganson.  We shared the bill with pianist Oni Buchanan and trombone quartet Guidonian Hand – each of us playing to the accompaniment of Arthur’s remarkable mechanic sculptures.  There was some trial and error in figuring how best to show off these machines to the audience.  As Joe and I waited to soundcheck, Arthur set up his machines a few feet away – actually this one.  A video doesn’t quite do it justice:  seen up close, the sheer number and variety of moving parts is astounding.

This machine accompanied our arrangements of two works by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt – Fratres and Spiegel im Spiegel – for electric guitar duo.  These pieces represent a new development for us, and we’re very excited about them – they’ll definitely find their way onto future programs.  Before that were arrangements of Francis Poulenc’s Mouvements Perpetuels and Satie’s Crooked Dances, and piece by Steve Reich called Nagoya Guitars.  In keeping with the spirit of our mechanical stagemates, all the music played with the idea of perpetual motion, here frantically, there with austerity.  All told, a totally enjoyable night!  Our thanks to Arthur, Oni, and Guidonian, to the Ariel Artists folks for bringing it all together, and to Galapagos for their expertise and free drink tickets.

-Jamie

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