by Andrew Frisicano
DOWNLOAD: So Percussion New Amsterdam/BAM Next Wave Podcast (MP3)
So Percussion @ Brooklyn Masonic Temple in December '08 (more by Zach Stern)
The four members of So Percussion do not seem themselves as mere drummers. Instead they are explorers of sound: some exotic, others everyday, some invented, and others found. Their newest work, Imaginary City, is a multi-layered meditation on the American urban landscape, which combines the sound explorations of So Percussion's original compositions with the video art of Jenise Treuting and the theater direction of Rinde Eckert. These different artistic media do no exist discretely, but rather as a fluid exchange of sound, image, and gesture, all of which will be brought to life in the BAM Harvey Theater on October 14-17 as part of the BAM Next Wave Festival.That introduction is from the podcast, put together by New Amersterdam Records, linked above. In it, So Percussion and BAM Executive Producer Joseph Melillo discuss Imaginary City's inspiration - curiously, the cities of Brooklyn, Helena, Burlington Cleveland, Denver and Houston - and the musical structures gained from them.
Imaginary City was actually premiered in one of those cities, Helena, Montana, on October 2nd. Before that, the group performed the piece as a work-in-progress - one of those shows was August 28th at Kasser Theater at Montclair State University in New Jersey and an excerpt of that performance is posted below. From the clip, you get a glimpse at the variety of instruments and sound-objects used in the piece (not only those played in the video, but those littering the stage as well) and a taste of its narrative thrust.
Imaginary City runs October 14th through Saturday, October 17th. Tickets are on sale (with some prime seats still available for each night).
Imaginary City is just one of the programs in BAM's Next Wave Fest - each of which mixes music and visuals in a unique way. The shows coming up include singer and composer Meredith Monk's Songs of Ascension (Oct 21-25), The Long Count with by National members Bryce and Aaron Dessner and lots of indie-rock-world guests(Oct 28/30/31), and the US premiere of Philip Glass's Kepler (Nov 18/20/21).
So Percussion video is below...