Speakers and listeners

Odd Couple at the Speaker Project; Ouest at Open Sound
By SUSANNA BOLLE  |  November 18, 2008

With the three-day Brainwaves festival in town, you'd think there'd be little room for anything else this week. But as is often the case, there's plenty going on outside Arlington.

The Speaker Project exhibit by JUAN ÁNGEL CHÁVEZ at MassArt's Paine Gallery winds down this week. Over the past few months, the large speaker sculpture has been the site for a variety of different performances, from dance parties to sound-art shows. On November 20, DJ GHOSTDAD of MoFo Radio on WZBC and sound artist BENJAMIN NELSON will take over the space. It's an unusual pairing, a funk-and-bass-loving DJ and a noise musician, but they swear it'll make perfect sense. The show will consist of two solo sets and a cross-pollinating collaboration that they say will involve liberal use of relaxation tapes and new-age records. Pillows and/or yoga mats are recommended.

At this Saturday's edition of the Open Sound series at Third Life in Somerville, the drone and improv trio OUEST (Brendan Murray, Howard Stelzer, Jay Sullivan) will perform two extended "mega" sets. Ouest's music is full of warm, grainy textures and hazy static. Very little happens over the course of a Ouest performance; Stelzer has said that the goal of the project is to "create a sound that is devoid of human hands or specific gestures." To that end, various sonic elements (a gentle crackle, the murky outline of a melodic phrase) are often simply set in mesmerizing motion by the players and then left alone. Trust me, it's far, far more engaging in practice than it reads on paper.

DJ GHOSTDAD & BENJAMIN NELSON | Stephen D. Paine Gallery, Massachusetts College of Art, 621 Huntington Ave, Boston | November 20: 6-9 pm | free | 617.879.7333 or MassArt.edu | OUEST + YAEL BAT SHIMON w/KAREN BRAY | Third Life Studio, 33 Union Square, Somerville | November 22 at 8 pm | $7 | www.opensound.org

Related: Unsettling business, Photos: Exposures, Exposures, More more >
  Topics: Music Features , massArt, Third Life Studio, Juan Ángel Chávez,  More more >
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