Thursday, September 8, 2011

Accidental Music Festival

The Accidental Music Festival will feature 10 nights of concerts, lectures and films celebrating creativity in music. The festival was started by Christopher Belt. He asked to use the space at Urban ReThink and it just happened that The Civic Minded Five, another music group had scheduled concerts the same week. He said to Patrick Green, "It's like an accidental music festival." The name stuck. On the second day of the festival, I stopped into Urban ReThink to see Jason Kahn and Bryan Eubanks perform.

I arrived sweaty after a full day of painting the Mennello Museum Mural. I waved to Pat Green in his office and headed straight to the bathroom. Opening the men's room door, I was startled to see two young women. The woman directly in front of me had her shirt off, wearing a black satin bra. She shouted raising her hand up. Time slowed down. I responded, "Whoops, sorry!" as the door slammed shut. I sat on a small stack of chairs in the hall which shifted awkwardly under my weight. I waited for a while, then I decided they might need privacy, so I went to grab a beer.

The instruments were a huge tangle of wires. Jason sat behind mixing boards, coils, contact microphones, and a sound recorder that played back ambient sounds of the room. A synthesizer processed and modulated sounds, creating feedback loops. Bryan who built many of his instrument components, used guitar effects pedals, a master mixer to mix sources like radio frequencies, ambient room noise and sound clips he randomly collected over the years. He used Super glider,a computer program, to generate sound. All the sounds were generated live in real time.

Initially the sounds generated reminded me of the THX sound system audio played at the start of movies. Brian described their music as a collaborative structure with both players seeking a balance to fill it out. The music generated was unpredictable. Both musicians sought control but the form was complicated by movements or unexpected shifts. This would knock the musician out of the ring, out of control, as he adjusted. Lisa Bates shouted out, "Just like in life!" Jason agreed feeling their music corresponds to the vast barrage of information generated by social networks today. The music was completely intuitive with balance and disruption. It is not your typical acoustic sound. The sound generated inspired me to attack the drawing aggressively my hand moving in syncopation to the changing, unpredictable modulations.

Two young college girls inspected my sketch. One was an artist herself. She did a pencil sketch of Bryan during the performance and gave it to him. The artist seemed annoyed at me, but her friend was enthusiastic and affable. I told her about Urban Sketchers and said she should take a look at the sight. I wondered if these were the women I had interrupted in the bathroom. I couldn't be sure. In shock, I forgot to look at her face. The Accidental Music Festival will continue through September 13th. Admission to all the events is free but donations are accepted.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at


Speakeasy, that's who. said...

Something about this one I like a lot - that whole "attacking the sketch aggressively" thing works for this.

Thor said...

The beer helped as well!