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Booed Music

What’s up with avant-garde and experimental

Photo: Chris Cogburn, License: N/A

Chris Cogburn

Holland Hopson


Last month, local violinist and composer Liz Meredith released a self-titled LP featuring two luxuriant, sidelong immersions into subtly shifting moods. Surprisingly, it’s her first proper solo outing and it features two pieces she’s been working over the past decade. This debut is surprising only because it feels like Meredith has become a versatile presence in local avant music, plying her string brio in High Zero/Red Room lineups and delivering hypnotic solo sets—surely she’s set sound to wax sometime before? Turns out she hasn’t, instead spending the last decade impressively honing her skills and ideas: She studied viola with the Kronos Quartet’s Hank Dutt and composition with Fred Frith, the British guitarist who put the wiggy beauty and gnarled thrusts into Henry Cow, the Art Bears, and Naked City. Well, her patience has paid off. Liz Meredith is a gorgeous plunge into a plaintive mood, a place where rising and falling electronic textures and drawn-out viola lines cast soothing shadow plays on the brain. The glistening Side B clings to the ears the longest, the sound of a slow, cinematic fade-out that takes nearly 20 minutes to move from a tight close-up to a widescreen vista, every increment recalibrating the emotional kick of the image being branded on the mind’s eye. Meredith plays a solo set at 2640 Space Nov. 18 along with fellow local electronic artists Jason Sloan and Erik Spangler and New Yorker Carver Audain. Visit redemmas.org/2640 for more details.

Speaking of 2640 Space, on Nov. 17 at the collectively-run Charles Village hub, a new contemporary music ensemble debuts. Newprism—founded by composer/pianist Robert A. Baker, who teaches music at Towson University and Anne Arundel Community College, and featuring performers from the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area—plays a CD-release show for Sharp Edges, featuring Baker’s solo and chamber works, with a concert that includes Morton Feldman’s excruciatingly gentle “Projection 2.” Visit newprismensemble.com for more details.

Finally, it’s just a great week for contemporary sounds. On Nov. 15 the Red Room at Normal’s Books and Records welcomes a tripleheader of noggin-knocking: Holland Hopson marries electronic rhythm kicks to banjo finger-picks, locally based improviser Khristian Weeks consistently impresses with his playful sonic assemblages, and D.C. drum-and-guitar duo Weed Tree pulls rock apart at the seams. Visit redroom.org for more information.

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