Ampersand (a concert series put together by WMBR and the List Visual Arts Center) held the inaugural concert of its soon-to-be monthly concert series this evening.
Luke Damrosch opened for Julia Kent. Damrosch combined pre-recorded sounds with live drum set and visual projection. The visual imagery traced the historical evolution of telephonic sound transmission, with instructional imagery translucently overlaying scenes of urbanity and nature: the intellectually analytical overlaid with the experiential. Damrosch’s performance blended the science of sound with the experience of sound art, keeping the audience engaged not only with the performance itself, but also with their own experience of listening.
There is something you should know about me – I love cello music and I adore looping artists. There’s just something about the simultaneous precision and creativity of creating and layering music live until it swells into something much larger than the single performer. Julia Kent’s music was paired with imagery of elegant spirals of smoke twisting backwards and forwards in time. Although the visuals were mesmerizing, I found it hard not to close my eyes sometimes in order to fully appreciate the rich layered tones of Kent’s music. Kent included some non-cello non-live elements of percussion into a few pieces, which I mostly found distracting and off putting, although the use of the tiny music box in the last number was a nice touch. I must say I did go into the concert wondering if there was room for two awesome looping cellists in my life (my favorite cellist is Zoe Keating), but I came out definitely convinced that there is. And with the 2 CDs I purchased tonight added to my collection, I will now have 4 albums by looping cellists on my iPhone. Although nothing can compare to experiencing a looping artist perform live, I highly recommend you check out Julia Kent’s music. Ampersand’s first monthly concert was definitely a success. I can’t wait to see who they have performing next month.