The Gatherings Concert SeriesPresents
First Night OutRoycee Martin, David Rose,
The Tangent Project & Chuck van Zyl
Saturday 17 May 2008 8:00pmSt. Mary's Hamilton Village
|First Night Out by The Gatherings Concert Series on 17 May 2008 is funded by the non-profit corporation CIMA of PA|
The Tangent Project
Chuck van Zyl
First Night Out - The Gatherings Concert Series, 17 May 2008
Saturday May 17, 2008 was a very special night for the culture of ambient/space/electronic music in Philadelphia. The Gatherings Concert Series presented "First Night Out" in the reverbereverent space of St. Mary's. This was the scene celebrating itself. And what a celebration!
Under Chuck van Zyl's able leadership, The Gatherings concert series strives to balance a high-art level of consistency and quality with the risk-taking and experimentation necessary to move the art forward. While musicians have journeyed from around the world to conjure their creations within the magical energy of The Gatherings audience, this evening was proof that that audience itself possesses ample talent. Maybe that accounts for kind of synergy that makes "best concert I ever played" a common reaction from performers.
First up was David Rose. He played a series of beautifully haunting melodies on a variety of Native American flutes. His tones were pure and clear, enhanced with a touch of echo and reverb, filling the natural acoustics of the space with images of desert canyons and a billion stars against a clear black sky.
Next was an impressive set from The Tangent Project. The lineup of Jeff Coulter (synths) and Harrison McKay (guitar) delivered sequencer-driven spacemusic with more than a nod to the classics of the genre. Yet it never stooped to cliche. Coulter's sequences were fresh with a continuing forward motion, while synth pads and extended guitar tones intertwined to create lush and satisfying textures. The music melded effectively with Mike Hunter's live digital imagery manipulations.
Intermission was an opportunity for the audience to mingle and catch up. The regulars and season-ticket holders were out in force. It was nice to see a healthy contingent from that alternate focus of spacemusic in the region - Bridgeton, NJ.
After the break it was literally the first night out for Roycee Martin on solo touch guitar. With a background playing commercial music on electric bass, it was not surprising that he favored the low strings. Deep groaning loops showed what the subwoofer could do and built a foundation on which Martin's tasteful swells and simple melodic fragments could play out.
Appropriately the best was saved for last. Chuck van Zyl played an eerie, emotional set that featured not only his trademark mastery of synth timbres, but also his skills as a photographer of rare vision. Over the last several years van Zyl has developed a personal photographic style based on extreme wide-angle infrared images of 19th century cemetery statuary. As the set unfolded a series of these photographs were projected, each as striking as the next. The music van Zyl composed perfectly matched the feel of the images. There was plenty of room to savor each gorgeously sculpted tone. Never thin, yet always uncluttered, sumptuous minor key drones and spare melodies sonically complimented images of somber statues aglow with light against dark skies. There was a palpable sense of both the nearness and finality of death and the delicate preciousness of life.
As the final notes faded away, it was time to ponder what had just transpired. The purpose of artistic creation is to transport, transcend and transform, and this concert was successful on all counts. Even more special is that a vibrant community of creative artists and their supporters proved that, if you want the ultimate ambient/space/electronic music experience, you have to come to Philadelphia.
by Art Cohen Musician/Engineer 20 May 2008
Concert Photos by Jeff Towne
First Night Out at The Gatherings Concert Series on 17 May 2008 is funded by CIMA of PA (The Corporation for Innovative Music and Arts of Pennsylvania), the all-volunteer, non-profit organization responsible for organizing and producing The Gatherings Concert Series. The basic mission of CIMA of PA is to bring innovative music concerts to the public and further the advancement of this artform.
For more about CIMA of PA, please access the Mission Statement
For more about Roycee Martin, access the:|
For more about David Rose, access the:
For more about The Tangent Project, please access the:
For more about Mike Hunter and Ombient Art, please access the:
For More about Chuck van Zyl, access the:
The Gatherings Concert Series is presented by the all-volunteer staff of The Corporation for Innovative Music and Arts of Pennsylvania