On paper, the June 17 concert presented by the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice, part of the institute’s annual week of new music training, festivities, and shenanigans, made some piece-to-piece local connections but seemed more miscellaneous on a global scale. In performance, though, a theme kept peeking around the edges.
Neil Young Cloaca is an irrepressible showman. Bromp Treb is an opportunity for him to apply that carnival-barker enthusiasm to a table full of mismatched gear. Cloaca circled the table, triggering highly distorted samples while playing up theatrical befuddlement, as if he was trying to decipher a recalcitrant machine—or defuse an eccentric bomb.
Meredith Monk: Piano Songs, a new compilation performed by Ursula Oppens and Bruce Brubaker, features music that finds expressive possibilities in the act of moderating between extremes. Old and new, traditional and experimental, memory and transformation–within all those competing forces, Monk’s music seems to hover at a point of balance.
Matthew Ritchie, currently in the midst of an 18-month stint as the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston’s artist-in-residence, presented his collaborative piece Monstrance/Remonstrance with an impressive group of collaborators including Shara Worden, Bryce Dessner, Evan Ziporyn, and David Sheppard.