Comments on the Projekt Festival
From: William R. Schroeder (wschroed@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu)

I just returned from the Projekt Festival. I have one word of advice: do not miss Steve Roach, if you have any possibility of getting to see him live! If you know the TV show Babylon 5, I can summarize my reaction by saying it was "one hour of perfect beauty".

I'll expand briefly by making two points. First, some cynical streak in me was questioning on the drive up to Chicago (2 1/2 hours) whether a live appearance could be better than the CD's. Believe me, it is! All the layers of sound and all the subtleties within the layers come across in a way that I've never heard on a CD. And the piece he played -- one long piece consisting of several movements -- had even more complexity and nuance than he has on his most complex pieces. Did I say it loudly enough: do not miss this performance! The movements consist of several types of his signature tribal ambient, but there are also long stretches where he does more dark ambient, a la Magnificent Void. The transitions between movements were handled very smoothly.

Second, for aficianados, there are some new sounds in the mix that I don't remember ever hearing before. Something I can only describe as fragments of glass tinkling against one another without any identifiable pattern but with enormous emotional effect. Also, there were some words of poetry read by someone mixed in; I don't think it was his own voice. I thought it was done very effectively; he repeated the gesture later in the piece just to be sure you "caught it". He also worked in the digeradoo and various shakers very effectively. He called the evening to order with an extended piece on the digeradoo alone, a very effective way to do this amidst a mass of heavily laid back, beautifully garbed, goth folks. It got their attention.

Do not let weather, worldly limits or commitments, or anything else hold you back. Make sure you get to at least one of his performances. Unfortunately I missed the Tuesday night show because of "work commitments". This was a mistake!

- Bill Schroeder WEFT, Champaign Il.



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