The ongoing new-music series Ear Heart Music had its final show of 2012 at Roulette last Tuesday with a program by piano/percussion quartet Yarn/Wire, playing a pair of premieres inspired by the cold, dark landscape of the winter solstice. In her opening remarks, Ear Heart Music Artistic Director Amelia Lukas prepped us for the quiet, glacial pace of the program. "Relax, and go with it," she said. "As much as we're afraid of the dark, all good ideas are born there."
Davi∂ Brynjar Franzson's Negotiation of Context began hauntingly with Laura Berger and Ning Yu playing inside their pianos while Ian Antonio and Russell Greenberg plucked strings suspended above their bass drums. The alien, almost amusical sounds brought to mind George Crumb's far-out piano music. (Crumb's "A Little Suite for Christmas, A.D. 1979" should be on any self-respecting gourmand's holiday playlist.) In the end, Franzson may have succeeded in his goal of exploring sounds in various contexts, but fell short of making any kind of coherent musical statement.
Cenk Ergün's Solus was even more subdued, using bowed piano strings and vibes to create an ethereal soundscape, almost Feldman-like in its slowness. Which, I suppose, is not unlike winter itself.
The next Ear Heart Music show on Jan. 15 features Lukas' own Trio Kavak with the Claremont Trio, along with visual artist Kevork Mourad executing live painting onstage. Tickets and info available on Roulette's website.