Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Attending the GRM concert, I was a little apprehensive that it may have turned out to be one of those pretentious clunky noise performances that people pretend to “get” so as not to look stupid. Luckily, it was not. There were clunky noises, but they smoothed out and bounced off one another in really interesting, unpredictable combinations. Everything sounded very strange, but not unfamiliar at all. The performance was a recording in the dark, which suited the mood well. Dimming the lights meant it felt a lot less awkward to close ones eyes and imagine suitably warped images to accompany the noises, plus it minimised distractions to a pleasing level.

The GRM consisted of four pieces. Semaphores by Christian Zanesi, Still by Benjamin Thigpen, Reflets de notre societe crepusculaire by Pierre Alexandre Tremblay and Transmutations by Daniel Teruggi. I won’t pretend for a second to know a thing about music technology, but I could appreciate how intricate the formations of sounds were, and of course how they made me feel. The first thing that sprung to mind was “Oh gosh, it’s like LSD for ears.” As if someone was dripping raspberry sorbet on my cochlea, the quirkiness sent my head whizzing sideways with word and image association. At one point I was almost certain that I was about to have a sack of rice tipped down my back. The surround sound was out of this world, allowing noises to circle smoothly around the audience, which was very satisfying and polished.

Some of the sounds I Identified (to the best of my hearing) were waves, a didgeridoo, a door and an orchestra. The best experience by far was the elongated dropping of what sounded like marbles from a bag. The crystal quality of the noises provided something which felt too intelligent for my ears. The pieces fitted around each other well, and sent me into a much anticipated dreamlike trance. This being said, it was not easy listening. The second the audience were fooled into thinking they could drift off to enya-like melodies, a warped trumpet would jump in and demand that everyone sat upright and appreciated each second as a crucial aspect of a painstakingly original creation.

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