Sunday, January 30, 2011

Music: itsnotyouitsme at The Stone on December 2, 2010

itsnotyouitsme comprises Caleb Burhans and Grey McMurray on violin and guitar with lots of wires and electronic doo-dads. This night, they played an hour of ambient chamber music, accompanied by singer Theo Bleckmann and bassist Skuli Sverrisson at a strange and wonderful little venue called The Stone, a stripped-down, music-only (that is, no bar, no t-shirts, no ticket processing fees) venue spearheaded by experimentalist John Zorn.

When I describe the experience as ambient chamber music, I mean less that their sound is a combination of "ambient" and "chamber" genres, and more that the music they made generated an enclosed, vibrating space, a warm womb of sound that cradled themselves with their small audience, as if twins in a shared amniotic sac (though we were perhaps 20 persons all together, we were as if two bodies, curling together). And as a mother's womb protects her developing seed from the exterior world, while feeding it transmuted information from that dark, cold place, so the musicians caught the sounds penetrating The Stone (an ambulance's siren, the honking of horns), and seamlessly (clairvoyant mages of sound that they are) made those sounds an essential aspect of the music, weaving them into the melting pulses of Theo's mouthings, Caleb's pluckings, Grey and Skuli's detailed working of strings.

For an hour, we drifted deeply into our shared self, emerging with blinking eyes as if from a salty, red bath, in which we swam with gills, sliding into and out of each other.

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