The second house concert I have attended in the past two weeks, this show had a more intimate feel, taking place in a small living room in Bushwick. Mara Mayer, who has hosted the series since November 2011, was again responsible for organizing an interesting evening of music. The second set featured a trio of Lathan Hardy (alto sax, bass clarinet, vocals, other instruments & objects), Flin Van Hemmen (percussion, other objects), and Sean Ali (bass, mallets, other objects). The space itself was cozy and nicely adorned.
The music was entirely improvisatory. These three musicians have certainly played together a lot over the past few years: it was evident in the ease with which they communicated and interacted. It was diffuse and eclectic music and, by nature, had many potential pit falls along the way. But these three players managed to avoid letting their thin and stretched improvisations from disintegrating into nothingness and rather, created something interesting, even profound.
Digging into the abyssal nether regions of their instruments, they drew out sounds and textures that they wove together into a shifting tapestry that grew as sedimentary layers of sound were placed one upon another. There was no hesitation in their efforts. The one hour-long piece they performed began outside of the commonly accepted sense of musical time: with zippers, velcro, with drum stands, and the attachment of cymbals, all contributing to the formation of music as they set up the musical space. This was an example of something that many avant garde-ists have thought to try, but rarely is something like this carried out such that it creates something whole (one might see a successful resemblance in Bright Eyes‘ “The Big Picture”).
From myriad minimal sounds there grew a central rhythm, first prodded patiently by Ali, and soon maintained by the boisterous swaying of Hardy, who, in many ways, carried on the traditional role of a bass in the combo. There were moments of stark beauty, especially when the musicians hit the bedrock of deep, dark, earthy sounds. Hardy’s brief foray with his bass clarinet was certainly one of the highlights because it fit the overall mood so well. The music oscillated and swung around its inner rhythm, pulsating in the dim lighting of the room, growing and shrinking in its force right up until the climax of the piece at which point the deep murkiness coalesced into Hardy’s whale song.
Hardy, Van Hemmen, and Ali are three musicians who are not content to take that which is easily grasped, but instead are really searching, exploring, and delving into the depths of themselves and their instruments. While they thrived in the intimate setting of the house concert, we may hope that they find a larger stage soon, to exhibit their contributions to the growing creative music scene here in Brooklyn.