Review: “Sound Worlds: the Sonification of the Japanese Garden” at GSU

February 2, 2017

(Originally appeared on ArtsAtl.)

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Bent Frequency’s January 20 program, Sound Worlds: the Sonification of the Japanese Garden, presented four works representing “music informed and inspired by the design elements, proportions, and aesthetics of the Japanese Garden.”

“The GSU ensemble collaborated with Berlin-based sound artist Michael Fowler to conceive and execute the program, which included two of Fowler’s works. Despite the thematic unity of the evening’s pieces, a performative distinction exists: Fowler’s pieces all centered on computer-based manipulations, while John Cage’s “Ryoanji” (1983) and Toshio Hosokawa‘s “Vertical Time Study II” (1993–1994) are both scored for live performers only. Despite the adventurous, often experimental music that Bent Frequency explores, the computer-generated aspects of the evening were what fell flat, tending to deliver novelty over compositional strength. But another way, the looser, more improvisational works seemed less like a planned garden and more like an overgrown plot hedged by urban space.”

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