Day 4: Laptops / Lasers

Your correspondent cut things early last night, returning to bed at the reasonable hour of 0200 in hopes of nipping the MUTEK cold in the bud…and preparing for the Serious Party on Saturday night.

I left the main stage right after Archie Pelago finished their sax / mixer / ‘cello live set, with each performer rocking a laptop as well.  I’m a huge fan of these cats, even though they could maybe used a dash less saxophone and a slightly cleaner mix.  What they do have, in spades, is danceability, passion, all sorts of tempos and powerful magic.  

Before that, I had ducked into Audion at Metropolis, on the back of an overheard recommendation that “it’s this year’s ISAM”.  The cat who told me that was basically right:  same team, same impressive  projection mapping, same sort of geometric shapes.  The usual throbbing Audion techno was on the menu musically – the entire show maybe needed to later in the night, however, or maybe even on the darker main stage, rather than than being presented to the hungry-for-kickdrums crowd at Metropolis.

Of course, the reason that I was not in awe of the Audion show is that right before that I was at Robert Henke’s Lumiere, for which words fail me.  Lumiere is just a Monolake show with lasers, which is like saying that sex is just a biochemical process for reproduction.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better relationship between music and visuals, to say nothing of the quality of the music and the mind-boggling impact of the lasers.  Sell your house, fly to Germany, and see this show.

Phew.  So that was the night.  Earlier in the day, I caught Holly Herdon’s talk, covering laptop performance, privacy issues, ‘internet concrete’, her Ph.D work at Stanford, politics and electronic music, and so on.  I basically can’t say enough good things about Herndon:  she’s a monster on all levels.

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