Quarantine Concert, 7/31/20
I listened to the first three fifths of The Quarantine Concerts online on 7/31/20. It's a concert series based in Chicago, created by Experimental Sound Studio. Here's a blurb from the website: "The Quarantine Concerts are a collaborative endeavor meant to provide artists a space to share their work and continue to earn a living during this time when most live performance opportunities have been cancelled due to COVID-19. We believe in the necessity of art during difficult moments like these, and feel fortunate to live in a time when loss of mobility does not have to mean loss of community. " That night was curated by San Francisco-based musician and former Music Director at KUSF, The Consortionist. Also known as the guy who slept down the hall from me for twelve years, my brother Howard. The first artist was cellist and composer Clarice Jensen, performing from New York. The room was very dark. She was playing her cello and operating effects and looping pedals at her feet. Another mixing board was on the table in front of her, also a large glass of red wine. The closed door behind her had a strip of bright white light spilling through the base, a spooky, Kubrick touch. The music was fascinating, dreamy and atmospheric with just enough activity to keep it moving forward. I didn't quite know what I was hearing, which is a welcome experience in itself. I didn't know what was live, what was prerecorded, what was reprocessed, what was not. I shared this thought with Howard, who thought that nothing was prerecorded, that she was setting and reprocessing loops live.
Here's a Tiny Desk Concert she did with Carolina Eyck in 2018. Eyck performs first, Jensen is later.
The second artist was Tyler Holmes, performing in someone's back yard in Oakland. What a treat to see that 5:30 PM California sunlight after the interior New York murkiness of Jensen's environment. The music was similarly sunny, catchy, groovy. There were four people performing: a lead singer on the right, someone mixing from a table in the middle, a backup singer sitting on a stool in the front, and bass player in the back. The singer on the right was the only person not wearing a mask. I didn't know which (if any) of these people was Tyler Holmes, and a Google search was futile. I didn't find the music particularly satisfying, honestly, and was less impressed with the lead singer (Howard confirmed this was Tyler Holmes). But the general groove was delightful and it was a welcome change in flavor from Jensen. The third artist was Keisuke Nakagoshi from San Francisco, and another delicious and complete change in character. Nakagoshi played a solo piano arrangement of the Ravel string quartet. Total heaven! The camera was set up so you only saw his hands and forearms, and a dull reflection of his torso from the inside of the raised keyboard lid. He was wearing a flannel shirt, and I know from experience that you need your flannel in San Francisco in July. He played with just the right feeling for Ravel, ravishing and voluptuous, but just a trifle chilly. Not exactly reticent, not exactly erotic. There were two more artists on the bill, Ahmedou Ahmed Lowla from Mauritania (!) and Richard Youngs from Scotland. But I was tired and had to go to bed!