At ISSUE last night

Dafna Naphtali opened the show by sending clicks around ISSUE‘s in-house installation of  15 speakers installed by Stephan Moore.  She used a wii-mote, pointing at her laptop screen and clicking, and the sounds swirled around our heads, sometimes faster, sometimes slower.  It was a good introduction to what came next, where she added bell tones and other pleasant sounds to the clicking, creating an aural atmosphere of peace.  Then she built the energy as she brought in more expansive sounds, added bent and altered recorded notes sung by her sextet, and sang notes and syllables herself into her mike.  Finally, all hell (or all heaven?) broke loose as she really opened up and neo-scatted, repeatedly sampling herself and playing herself back in faster or slower iterations, creating layers of singing on singing, sending the sound around the room from speaker to speaker, adding higher and higher and then soothing lower notes until finally it faded down, like coming off a bender, and she looked out at the audience and broke the trance.  Very cool!

After a brief intermission, the incredible Bora Yoon sat down in the front of the room and Luke DuBois sat down in the back of the room.  As Bora began to play, sometimes singing tones into her mic, sometimes breathing or shh-ing, and making use of the speakers and their locations to increase the texture of her performance, Luke provided the visuals projected behind her.  The combination of the audio and visual performance was mesmerizing, at one point calling to mind cracking forest fires, at another showing a shadowy portrait of Bora in tonal pointillism.

LISA is lucky to have already enjoyed a presentation by Luke DuBois and I’m hoping that we’ll include Dafna and Bora this fall.  We also got a sneak peek of sound artist Kaffe Matthews’ sound bed, an installation that lets the participants climb into a bed in a box and be totally immersed in hums, clicks and almost unbearable (in an attention-getting, boundary-pushing way) drones.  And we got two seconds to say hi to ISSUE’s hardworking development director Michelle Amador.   Thanks to ISSUE for creating such an important experimental space.