By Dean Christesen I am no expert on the genre of music that I witnessed tonight. I mostly keep to musical instruments that do not plug in to walls and that certainly do not involve complex wiring like what I saw this evening. However, I still enjoy listening to it, and tonight’s creative performance of […]
By Dean Christesen
I am no expert on the genre of music that I witnessed tonight. I mostly keep to musical instruments that do not plug in to walls and that certainly do not involve complex wiring like what I saw this evening. However, I still enjoy listening to it, and tonight’s creative performance of Mung Bean (Stephen Vitiello and Molly Berg) and guests at ADA Gallery was no exception.
Sound designer Stephen Vitiello and guitarist Michael Charboneau opened the show with a single piece consisting of Everlast-meets-Days-of-the-New nylon-stringed guitar manipulated by effects and samples. Singer-songwriter Linus followed with a lofty and clean tenor voice and softly strummed guitar.
Vitiello and multi-instrumentalist Molly Berg collaborated together behind a plastic table filled with effect pedals, microphones and patch cables. Berg’s single notes on nylon-stringed guitar opened the piece in intermittent delay and phase while Vitiello began a landscape of hushed noises behind her. A soundtrack of human voices, passing trains, and singing bowls filled the foreground while Vitiello embellished and reinforced the audio with sustained white noise, pitch bended drones, and the use of other field recordings.
As his hands turned knobs and made other adjustments out of the audience’s view, a clarinet stole our attention with the accompaniment of a classical guitar’s waltz. A minute went by before I moved my head to see around another listener and to my delight and surprise saw Berg playing the clarinet herself, her tone rich, her melody lugubrious. The woodwind was looped and phased while a flowing spring bubbled into our ears. The piece took a turn.
A peppy marching band was afar and a brightly whistled ditty was looped under a female’s spoken narrative. The piece shortly thereafter began to peel away its layers to expose a woman reciting human anatomy.
Berg’s role in the music is a visually clear one, as we know live music to mostly be. Vitiello’s role, on the other hand, is less obvious to those who are not accustomed to it. Equipped with a MacBook and a black hardware case, both opened away from the audience, his actions are unknown to me, yet his effect on the sound is undeniable.
Thanks to 804noise for getting word about the show out there.