Picture this: A phone call interrupts your Google search, then an email notification dings and, seconds later, in comes a status update. Welcome to the noisy echo of the everyday virtual universe. Luckily, local chamber group Chatter has found a way to dial it all back with a unique blend of visual art and music—a harmonic convergence that reminds us to find authentic connection with the present moment. Slow Down, Albuquerque: Finding Solace in Stillness in the Age of Twitter is a three-part music and art series that pulls participants into a sensory-filled reverie.
Slow Down, Albuquerque begins on Thursday, Aug. 15 at 6 p.m. in the Albuquerque Museum (2000 Mountain NW) when Chatter provides the tranquil soundtrack for the Museum’s exhibit, Changing Perceptions of the Western Landscape. The exhibit is comprised of pieces ranging from a model of the Grand Canyon sculpted from encyclopedias to a painting of the LA skyline partially engulfed in flames. An ensemble including Chatter’s strings, a celesta (a keyboard instrument that sounds a little like a glockenspiel) and 24 voices enhances the art and draws the audience into a lavish sensory experience. Free.
James Shields, associate artistic director of Chatter, birthed the entire idea of the Slow Down series while walking the city streets of Toronto and listening to Morton Feldman’s “Piano and String Quartet.” “I [had] kind of just reached a tipping point of never being in the moment,” says Shields. Yet, “to really connect with this music, you have to be in the moment.” Friday, Aug. 16 is a tribute to Shields’ aha moment and happens at the hip and Bowery-esque Kosmos performance space (1715 Fifth Street NW) at 7 p.m. Chatter will perform Feldman’s “Piano and String Quartet,” fusing strains of strings and keys with the ambiance of visual artist David Cudney’s themes of time, water and reflection in Kosmos’ 5G Gallery. Purchase tickets online at chatterchamber.org ($20 regular, $9 if you’re under 30).
Each installment of the series seeks to entice the senses with melodic tranquility. The finale of Slow Down, Albuquerque, also at the Kosmos, culminates during Chatter’s weekly music series (formerly known as the Church of Beethoven). Judith Gordon takes the stage on Sunday, Aug. 18 at 10 a.m. to perform Franz Schubert’s “Piano Sonata in B-flat.” Schubert's music is known for its melody, harmony and length—all characteristics that allow listeners to mindfully absorb each note. So if a break from daily distractions sounds good to you—and how could it not?—slow down, power down your devices and experience the soothing murmur of Chatter this weekend. Purchase tickets at the door ($15; $9 for under-30).