Things seem to have gotten very quiet on this side of the Bay, at least where “bleeding edge” activities are concerned. Only three of the “usual suspects” will be active as we approach Labor Day weekend; and one of them has already been given an advance heads-up announcement. That is the first concert in the Vernacular Visions series, which is being curated at the Center for New Music (C4NM) by Tania Chen. The series is named for a curated collection of found color photo slides managed by Justin Clifford Rhody, and each performance will involve live improvisation in response to the projection of a selection of those slides. As has already been described, this concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, September 4, at C4NM.
Given how few events are taking place, it is a bit of a pity that this will overlap with one of the more intriguing offerings to be presented at the Turquoise Yantra Grotto. The title of the program will be Righteous Intonation. It will involve two sets, both of which require departure from conventional equal-tempered tuning.
The first piece on the program will be the first four pieces in a six-composition collection for a piano with just intonation. The title of the collection is 6Primes, referring to the prime numbers in the ratios required to define intervals up to the thirteenth natural harmonic: 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, and 13. For those unfamiliar with these intervals, the thirteenth harmonic is the one responsible for the really spooky “off-key” sound that makes the opening fanfare of Benjamin Britten’s Opus 31 serenade, scored for tenor, horn, and strings, so arresting. It’s closest approximation in the equal-tempered system is the tritone, which lies almost exactly halfway between the augmented fourth and the diminished fifth in the just system.
The second set will, similarly, be performed by a gamelan also using just intonation, following the design of instruments built by Bill Colvig at Mills College. The players are Stephen Parris and Daniel Schmidt, who perform as the duo Gamelan Encinal. Turquoise Yantra Grotto events are basically house concerts located at 32 Turquoise Way (near Twin Peaks) with admission between $10 and $15.
The remaining event will be the regular Luggage Store Creative Music Series concert offered by Outsound Presents. This will follow the usual program design of two sets. The first set will present the duo of saxophonist Logan Hone and guitarist Greg Uhlmann. They will be followed by Shadow Revolutions, which is the duo of Sharkiface and Fletcher Pratt, whose jams are based on noisy horror soundtracks and deconstructed sound effects. (This concert was planned prior to announcement of the death of Wes Craven, but his memory will probably be acknowledged as part of the program.)
As usual, the concert will begin at 8 p.m. on Thursday, September 3. The venue continues to be the 509 Cultural Gallery at 509 Ellis Street, Admission will be on a sliding scale between $6 and $15.