Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Shuffled Quartet, Aurograph and Cornelius Cardew

On Thursday or Friday last, I got an invite on facebook to an event that sounded really promising. The invite was from Shawn Hansen, whom I've seen play a few times before. He was also the one who organized the Mind Over Mirrors show that I (half-)wrote about sometime ago. So I knew it would be something good. Then I noticed Helen Gillet was one of the members of the New Orleans based Shuffled Quartet, who along with KC's Aurograph were going to interpret these "graphic scores". I had seen Helen play a most excellent improv set along with a couple of European musicians back in 2012. My interest was piqued even more now.

I still had no idea who Cornelius Cardew was, or what a graphic score was either, for that matter. Now this all happened when I was stuck at home sick, so I naturally went on a wiki/youtube binge. Read up all about this amazing avant-garde musician turned communist and his graphical scores. Watched scores of videos of his masterwork Treatise, all of which were unique and a lot of which were quite awesome. By the time I was done, I knew I was going to this show, cold and flu be damned!

I went, I saw, and I was conquered.

Rather than me going on about what I saw, why don't I shut up for once and let the music do the talking. Enjoy!

The first set of original works by Shuffled Quartet

Part of Shuffled Quartet and Aurograph's interpretation of Treatise (only part of because I ran out of space on my memory card, which I really should've thought to empty out before the show)

For the curious, the number of fingers they hold up after switching slides indicates the number of minutes that particular slide will be played for. I have a number of questions still about whether they decided this time per slide beforehand (I'm guessing not), if they had set rules among themselves on how the different graphical elements of the score would be interpreted (my guess is yes), if they rehearsed part or all of it before, and I could go on. Maybe someday I'll muster up the courage to actually go talk to musicians after a show and ask. Or maybe it's best to let the magic be.

Thank you to both bands, and the Artspace, and everyone who made this happen. And special thanks again to Shawn for the invite.

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