Over the past decade, musicians Matt Samolis and Peter Warren have created intense, mesmerizing drones as BOWED METAL. As that moniker indicates, the duo generate their warmly textural, harmonically rich music by bowing a variety of cymbals, rods, and other metallic objects. About a year ago, however, Samolis decided to create a larger group, a kind of expanded sister project called the METAL & GLASS ENSEMBLE (www.myspace.com/metalandglass). Again, the name gives away the group’s MO: in addition to an array of cymbals, bowls, gongs, and bells, they play specially tuned glasses, adding the oneiric effect of the drone — think of the æthereal hum generated by rubbing a moistened finger along the rim of a crystal water glass writ large and systematized.
The ensemble itself has a rotating membership, with a core group of metal and glass players (Samolis, Thadd Comstock, Heather Townsend, and Ricardo Donoso) joined by different constellations of musicians for each performance. In their Third Life Studio concert this Saturday, May 31, that core will be augmented by a violinist, a cellist, and a percussionist, and they’ll be accompanying the experimental dance troupe Bodydrama.
This ever-modulating line-up gives every concert a slightly different dynamic, though the music is always structured around extended, acoustic drones. But as Samolis explains, Metal & Glass are not making milquetoast, chill-out music. “We do think of our music as having a meditative quality, but we’re not a bunch of New Agers. Meditative is great, but it’s got to be interesting, it’s got to be artistically substantial. We strive to have a meditative effect on our audiences, but not at the cost of being creative or expressive.”
METAL & GLASS ENSEMBLE with BODYDRAMA + DENNIS MOSER + QFWFQ | Third Life Studio, 33 Union Square, Somerville | May 31 at 8 pm | 617.628.0916 or thirdlifestudio.com.