Southwest Smorgasbord
SXSW 2009 - Thursday Recap

New Music Exchange


For several years now, Gabriel Prokofiev - yes, he is Serge's grandson - has hosted a monthly in London's East End called Nonclassical ,which gives that city's nascent new music community a down-to-earth venue where you can grab a pint and listen to some classical-electronic remixes in between live performances. So, on his way to SXSW this week, it only made sense for Prokofiev to bring his venture to LPR, our town's leading boite for new music. The tables were all pushed to the center, leaving about 1/3 of the floor open for people to stand, sit, lie down, or whatever.

Unfortunately, the night didn't live up to hopeful expectations. They started 20 minutes late because of technical difficulties, and the set changes took much longer than they should have. Prokofiev's mic manner ("Let's get it up for...") was painfully awkward, and his remixes often set an odd mood. Most problematic was the music, which - with the exception of Sam Solomon's blazing percussion solos - bore a striking resemblance to bathwater. Pretty, comforting - and not really all that interesting  (though the young, 3/4 female Elysian Quartet was certainly easy to look at.)

Fortunately, the Brits were joined by local new music group NOW ensemble, who sounded like the next generation of Bang on a Can All-Stars, playing music by Marc Dancigers, Judd Greenstein and Jason Treuting. Maybe i'm chauvinist, but if the Brits can learn to write such complex, emotionally weighty music, they might really be on to something. (More pics below.)

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