Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Bleeding Edge: Soundwave ((7)) Will Bring a Four-Set Program to Grace Cathedral

Yesterday’s return of The Bleeding Edge included mention of the Soundwave ((7)) Biennial and its use of the California Academy of Sciences for one of its cutting-edge approaches to the intersection of the performance of music with architecture. A much more ambitious exercise in this domain will take place at the end of this month and therefore deserves a heads-up in advance. This will be a three-hour program of four sets entitled Sounding Bodies: Embodied Architectures. Presented in collaboration with the Ghiberti Foundation, it will mark the very first partnership between Soundwave and Grace Cathedral. While the primary focus will be on exploring and exploiting the acoustic properties of the space (which often undermine more conventional approaches to performing music), the contributing artists will also address factors such as the play of light and movement through the space, including attending to the labyrinth on the floor for which Grace is so well known:

The Grace Cathedral labyrinth in the context of the sanctuary space (courtesy of Joe Lasqo)

The title of the first set will be “Sacred Resonant Spaces: Grace Cathedral.” It will be a solo performance by Gabriel Gold, who combines vocalization with hand-held metallic percussion instruments. Through both of these media, Gold’s performance will amount to an exploration of the resonant properties of the space and the use of those properties to guide his own improvisations.

The second set, entitled “ONA” (Polish for “she”), will bring instrumentalist and composer Agnes Szelag together with dancer Amy Lewis. Szelag is adept on multiple acoustic and electronic instruments; and, as a composer, she is interested in how improvisation can converge with composition. In a somewhat parallel manner, Lewis is interested in choreography as a medium for both narratives and unemotional abstract patterns. As a duo their objective will be to draw our attention from the surrounding physical structure and focus on the architecture of the body and the female form.

The third set will be a solo performance by Kadet Kuhne entitled “Sedimentary Noise.” This piece was inspired by Samuel Beckett’s two-act play Happy Days, in which Winnie, the major character (who has almost all of the lines) is gradually engulfed by a mound of earth. Beckett’s vision, which is both ironic and frightening, has been translated in “Sedimentary Noise” into a subject being slowly buried by a sequence of layers (sediments) of sand within a tall transparent cylinder. A gas mask provides the subject with a way to breathe and avoid suffocation.

The final set will present a diverse and multitalented ensemble organized by Joe Lasqo, who, as usual will play piano, objects, and software installed on his laptop. This set does not have a title, but its unifying theme will be the Grace labyrinth as a pattern that emerges in both Western and Eastern cultures. The other members of the ensemble will be (in alphabetical order of their last names, Jorge Bachmann (electronics), Nan Busse (dance and construction), David Hatt (the Grace Cathedral organ), Maxxareddu (artificial intelligence software and architecture), and Bill Thibault (images).

This performance will begin at 7 p.m. on July 29 and run for about three hours. Grace Cathedral is located at the top of Nob Hill at 1100 California Street. General admission will be $20 with a $15 discount for students and seniors providing proof with identification. Tickets may be purchased in advance through an Eventbrite event page.

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