NTWNTF show and new audio

by nathanbontrager

Thanks to those who came out to support Not the Wind Not the Flag and Broadcloth on Wednesday evening at Audubon Strings.  I really enjoyed NTWNTF’s performance, particularly the variety of sounds they were able to produce despite using a sparser instrumentation than normal judging from their myspace tracks:  http://www.myspace.com/notthewindnottheflag.

It seemed to me that of the numerous sonic events happening that evening, two general categories dominated:  microtonal harmonies and consciously unstable rhythm.  Certainly microtonal harmonies were present in our second Broadcloth piece which specifically called for them and, in turn, likely influenced our improvising.  NTWNTF frequently used microtonal relationship as well but with quite different methods; bending drum heads with fingers, further exploiting the “out of tuneness” of the mbira with delay and other digital effects, and various guitar bending techniques.  “Consciously unstable rhythm” is my way of trying to describe the great space between straight-ahead, riff-based jamming and non-rhythmic cacophony where an ensemble can play with a general sense of pulse and, at times, subdivision without ever locking in to the same motive or stressing the same beats.  It is this kind of organic yet bounded playing that makes improvised music, for me, a very rich experience.  Thanks, NTWNTF, for adding to New Haven’s musical culture.

NTWNTF (hirsute version)

I have also added a new recording to the Media page.  This is a performance I did of Luciano Berio’s Sequenza XVI for Cello on a T.E.M.P.O. concert at the University of Maryland a few years ago.  If you look a few posts back I wrote a bit about the piece and the cellist for whom it was written, Rohan de Saram.