Today’s episodes on WNHH radio dive headfirst into the world of contemporary poetry, teach listeners a few new camera tricks, explore interracial dating, and debate the merits of drinking on and off the job.
Now entering its second decade of existence, the New Haven Improvisers Collective has become an anchor in the Elm City’s music scene, drawing in newer musicians and providing a home for devotees of improvised music. It has also spawned several smaller ensembles. One of these is Electronhic. And its second release — NHIC’s 11th — finds the group both digging deeper into the musical language it has developed and broadening its sensibilities. Bob Gorry, who has been NHIC’s guiding spirit from the beginning, called Reaching Out “adventurous, exploratory,” and “accessible.” He’s right.
“Wal-Mart,” the last song on Elison Jackson’s newest release, Silver Sounds: Hallucinations, holds its breath for a minute and 17 seconds. First there’s a just a warm organ, like you might hear in a little church, or a funeral home. Then a sound that takes a few seconds to identify as a cello, played simply. Then Sam Perduta’s voice, as plaintive as it’s ever been. “Saw God in a Wal-Mart,” he sings. “Saw Death on the avenue / When you kissed Sister Mary / you just did what you had to do.”
“Earth is crammed with heaven,” the verse ends. “What on earth you want to go there for?”
Then there’s a hiss from the cymbal, and the guitars and drums crash in, stately and expansive. The song widens until the end, even when the arrangement falls back to just the cello and organ that started it all. They seem much bigger than they did before.
In press materials for the album Otis Was a Polar Bear, percussionist, composer, and bandleader Allison Miller mentions pushing her sextet Boom Tic Boom toward a more playful, childlike state, in part inspired by the birth of her child. The group’s performance on Friday night at Firehouse 12, in support of this album, demonstrated this playfulness in many forms, as each member of the band showed a different interpretation of this principle in music that was unafraid of emotion, but anchored by grooves throughout.
Taking in the sounds of Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps and Arms & Voices as a mist began to fall over Whalley Avenue, pint-sized Westvillian Ava Kimbro and her mom Marjorie made a decision: stick it out, at least until Ava could get a big, blooming flower painted on her face. After all, this was their third Westville Artwalk, and they weren’t going to be that easily deterred. They inched toward the front of the line, where face artist Lauren Wilson was hard at work with her palettes, brushes, and stencils.