by Andreas Hager
Photo credit: Greg Kessler
This weekend, The Joshua Light Show appeared at NYU’s Skirball Center, with each evening pairing a different set of musicians. Friday evening featured two concerts, the first by minimalist composer Terry Riley and his son, guitarist Gyan Riley. Known as one of the founding fathers of minimalism, the elder Riley’s work in tonal exploration has led him in a multitude of cultural directions. Riffing on themes that spanned from baroque to jazz and from Eastern to alien, the duo improvised a mesmerizing journey through the abstract.
The light show tied the concert together, using a wide range of techniques to create images that delineated and reacted to the music. The colors were deeply saturated, far more visceral than any projections I’d seen before. The result was like a live remix of the opening sequence of Fantasia, and never felt like the digital mindlessness of the iTunes visualizer.
The evening's second concert featured Lou Reed, John Zorn, Bill Laswell, and Milford Graves. Their slow, casual entrance belied the onslaught of sound they were about to unleash; after a melancholy saxophone solo, the quartet sprang into action.