Hydrophonium: a tuned jar of water fitted with a submerged microphone. Described by its inventor, Danishta Rivero of Voicehandler, as an “electroacoustic percussion instrument,” this unusual device can be played in a number of ways. For example, it can be struck with a mallet, or bubbles can be blown into it through a straw. The resultant sounds are then processed through a variety of electronic effects.
You can, however, catch her and other adventurous musicians on both familiar and bizarre instruments at the fourth annual installment of The Roost, a concert series devoted to emergent music.
For musicians such as Rivero, who operate outside of the normal commercial conduits, finding a congenial place to perform can present a challenge. Mark Weaver—a composer, tubaist and didgeridoo player—started the series specifically to provide a place where adventurous music can find its audience.
Operated on a shoestring budget, the series has stayed “humble,” as Weaver puts it. He’s kept costs to a bare minimum, paying musicians from the gate. It’s typically not much of a payday for them, especially if they’ve traveled in from another state, but Weaver notes that finding a receptive venue has made the economics acceptable for the players.
Weaver notes that the series gives all these artists the freedom to explore new territory. “Some things are germinating. Some things are possibly happening for the first time at The Roost,” he says. A number of groups use the series to produce a new composition or to experiment with their approach. The quartet Slumgum, for example, will play in all the duo combinations that its members can form.
The 2012 series includes everything from free jazz to electronically manipulated pop. Whatever the style, one thing is pretty much certain: The music will stretch your ears and your imagination.
(Emily Hay, Brad Dutz and Motoko Honda)
Andrew Lamb Trio
(with Ben Wright and Dave Wayne)
Baptism via saxophone
(Mark Whitecage, Rozanne Levine, Mary Rose and Joseph Salack)
Textured sonic divagations
(Jacob Felix Heule and Danishta Rivero)
Nontraditional ethereocarnal songs
(Matt Norman and Al Faaet)
Dynamic ear remodeling
(Jon Armstrong, Rory Cowal, David Tranchina and Trevor Anderies)
Mainstream jazz for extraterrestrials
(Sarah-Jane Moody and Jeremy Bleich)
Claude Debussy, James Joyce and Alanis Morissette meet at the circus ...
Rich Halley 4
(with Michael Vlatkovich, Clyde Reed and Carson Halley)
Looking at the roots from the jazz tree’s upper branches