GIFT/DRAFT’s second 2017 performance, March 18

Gift Tapes logo Gift Tapes / DRAFTpresents:
Matt Carlson, Jeff Witscher, Jason E Anderson

Matt Carlson. Photo: Valerie Calano

Our second show of 2017 could prove to be one of this series’ least ‘accessible’ presentations, but that didn’t seem to deter people; there were many new faces and really large turnout!  I was extremely happy about this, as the quad setup and video projection made this one of my more complex setups at the Chapel.

Jason E Anderson. Video: Emily Pothast

After announcing the performance, I began my set (Jason E Anderson), mostly hidden behind a ridiculous amount of hardware hear, which was driven by a computer running Supercollider programmed to generate control voltages to automate a modular synth and send MIDI notes to Roland MKS-70 (which is the Twin Peaks synth in a box).  I won’t speak to how this was received, but it wasn’t as much of a train wreck as I thought it’d be!

Jeff Witscher’s performance probably hit the hardest, pushing the volume to the limits of what the space will allow.  His set contained both 100% synthetic tones and enhanced field recordings/foley sounds edging towards the artificial, played back via computer. What struck me the most was his use of space–dynamic gestures made of noisy textures and clean tones, but punctuated with varying moments of silence.  His accompanying video was very much coming out of Witscher’s visual repertoire: a sort of autobiographical view into his world through a collage of symbols captured to video from a phone… an odd blend of comedic and beautiful.

Matt Carlson. Video: Emily Pothast

Matt Carlson’s performance was a bewildering assault of a seemingly unlimited set of modular synth patches, punctuated by word fragments and presented in 4-channel quad surround sound.  This was synthetic maximalism taken to the next level.  Carlson performed his piece using a mic and a sampling keyboard setup (NI Kontakt, computer, midi keyboard), mapping each key to a massive array of custom modular synth patches and voice recordings.  Each of these sounds were then assigned to different locations throughout the speaker array.  Sounds glided and jumped from one place to the next, occasionally colliding in such a way that sentences seemed to form around you. It was impressive to listen to such large assortment of sounds and witness how they could form a specific logic together.

A special shoutout to: James Watkins for again running video and lights, to Robert (RM) Francis for managing the door and merch, to Steve Peters/Wayward Music Series for making the show possible, and to audience for pitching in on the cleanup!

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