Sunday, March 21, 2004

Current Quartet will be different, and fun

By Janelle Gelfand
The Cincinnati Enquirer

One of the performances for InterMedia IV will be Current Quartet, an electro-acoustic ensemble, performing 8 p.m. Friday in the Contemporary Arts Center Performance Space. The group will perform an hour-long set, mixing unusual musical instruments, computers, songs and improvisation into one spontaneous event.

The players are Tony Franklin, jazz drummer-about-town; Paul Hogan, New York-based composer and pianist; Michael Barnhart, an electronic music composer who plays funk baritone sax; and Anthony Luensman, co-founder of Saw Theater and creator of sound installations for galleries and museums.

The Enquirer spoke to Luensman about what to expect.

What kind of performance is this?

We think of the set as one large composition with tunes within it. We're experimenting with the physical presence of sound - how sound reaches the listener, by subwoofer and a couple new technologies and also by how the sound is placed electronically.

How will you do it?

I'll be hanging these homemade subwoofers over the audience, so the sound will be right there, very full, for some of the pieces. Then, I have a device that aims the sound, so it will be moving through the audience. These are all experiments.

Cool, but what about the decibels?

We just control it. We won't blast people out of the room.

Is it only electronic sounds?

No, we play toy pianos, accordions, harmonicas, guitars, saxophones, drums and gadgets. It's just layered with electronics and live stuff. Another thing - there's actually some singing.

So, you have an opera singer, too?

Yes, if you saw the UnMuseum (sixth floor of the Contemporary Arts Center), there is a chandelier with a recording of an opera singer. That's Blythe Walker. She's going to join us on one of the songs, to a poem I wrote called "Conceived Untouched."

It sounds cutting-edge.

Not all of it is guaranteed to succeed, but we have fun.



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