by Robert Leeper
Despite the wide variety of available instruments, a percussion concert can turn into droning monotony if the program is not carefully considered and presented. Fortunately, Sandbox Percussion, a Brooklyn-based percussion quartet, took this into account at their performance Saturday night at the DiMenna Center. The season opening concert of the Kettle Corn New Music series offered works ranging from the ambrosian atmosphere of the bowed vibraphone in Jonny Allen’s Interlude, to the militant rhythms of David Lang’s the so-called laws of nature, to a number of other rhythmically exploratory works.
The concert started with David T. Little’s Speak Softly (2003), which had the quartet hitting sticks on the ground, against each other and with beaters, creating wide palette of timbres and intricate cross-rhythms. Thomas Kotcheff’s Part and Parcel was a celebration of found objects, including pieces of wood and bottles. Percussive rolls on the bottles gave the impression of marbles streaming out of a bag; settled grooves were regularly interrupted by well-timed polyrhythmic additions, or starkly contrasted with sumptuous vibraphone chords.