The third performance in the Alabama Symphony Orchestra’s Sound Edge festival took place Sunday, Feb. 12 at Saturn in Avondale.
The event was called “Artikulation: Graphic Scores of the Avant-Garde,” and featured an ensemble performing experimental works composed using non-traditional methods.
The performing ensemble consisted of 19 performers drawn from Birmingham’s experimental music scene, and represented an experimental tradition in Birmingham music reaching back to the 1970s.
The performance began with the full ensemble performing the first of several selections from British composer Cordelius Cardew’s “Treatise.” A performance form the same piece by a smaller ensemble followed.
Next, Brad Davis and Janet Simpson performed three pieces by composer John Cage (Nos. 21, 33, and 56 from Cage’s “Songbooks”) using synthesizer and voice.
James Fahy and Davey Williams followed with another selection from “Treatise” played with guitar and sound loops.
Davis, Williams, Amber Locke and Sam Hermann then played an untitled original score by Davis on synthesizer, guitar, voice and percussion.
Two films were then presented representing compositions by György Ligeti (Artikulation, for which the performance was named) and George Crumb (“Spiral Galaxy).
The full ensemble reconvened to perform two final selections from Cardew’s “Treatise.” After this, Fahy and Daniel Farris closed the performance by reproducing Brian Eno’s “Discrete Music” using a synthesizer set to loop indefinitely. The two performers set the loop in play and left the stage, leaving the final selection to repeat until after the audience’s exit.
The Sound Edge Festival will continue Wednesday, Feb. 15 with a performance by Future Elevators at the Syndicate Lounge. The festival runs through Saturday, Feb. 18.
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