Last night Aram Shelton brought the full force of his Tonal Masher performance to Second Act for the final concert in the Experimental Music Showcase being hosted there. Having helped wrap up that two-week series, he apparently has plenty of energy to spare. At the end of this month he will take that energy to the Center for New Music (C4NM) for an evening curated by fellow saxophonist Jon Raskin.
This will be a two-set evening. The first set will feature Raskin and Shelton performing as a duo. If Shelton has assumed the persona Tonal Masher for his alto saxophone work, Raskin will perform with his baritone saxophone under the name Bari Blaster. Both players will have their work enhanced through advanced technology.
In Shelton’s case this involves custom-made software coded in Max/MSP. In addition Shelton’s approach is particularly focused on the resonant characteristics of his instrument. Thus, he does not play his saxophone as a wind instrument. Instead, as can be seen in the video above, he removes both the reed and the mouthpiece and holds his instrument in his lap. He then induces resonant feedback produced by a combination of microphone position and unconventional fingerings of his instrument’s keys.
For his part Raskin uses hardware from Chimera Synthesis (which went out of business in 2011). He plays its synthesized sounds through his baritone saxophone, using the instrument as an amplification device, both with and without the mouthpiece. He uses both his voice and his reed to alter those synthesized sounds. Like Shelton, he uses a microphone to pick up sounds based on the resonant qualities of his instrument. Performing together, Shelton and Raskin aspire to shed light on innovative ways in which the saxophone can be used. They are describing this encounter as “a no rules event.”
The second set will consist of solo electronic pieces created and performed by John Bischoff. If both Shelton and Raskin will use the resonant properties of their physical instruments as a point of departure, Bischoff will do the same with features of the electronic medium. He will use an analog circuit of his own design, through which he can exploit features of analog hardware that do not necessarily arise in the digital domain. These include different forms of white and colored noise, tonal edge effects, sounds resulting from imperfections in both the circuit and physical controls, idiosyncratic transition effects, digital shading, and non-linear response characteristics. The analog device provides input to computer software that performs real-time analysis and second-order synthesis. The pieces that Bischoff will perform will include “Circuit Combine,” “Visibility Prelude,” and “Surface Effect.”
This concert will take place on Friday, August 28, at 8 p.m. Tickets will be $15 for general admission and $10 for C4NM members. Tickets will be available only at the door. C4NM is located at 55 Taylor Street, about half a block north of where Golden Gate Avenue meets Market Street.