The Orlando Weekly’s Review of Midaregami

I wanted to post this review of the Tangled Bell Ensemble‘s performance of Midaregami here as I am very proud of that piece and it is a stellar review.

This Little Underground: Jim Ivy’s Tangled Bell Ensemble debuts at the In-Between Series

Jim Ivy's Tangled Bell Ensemble at the In-Between Series - ASHLEY BELANGER

The local rule is that if Jim Ivy is involved, it’s gonna be weird or smart, often both.

Jim Ivy's Tangled Bell Ensemble at the In-Between Series - ASHLEY BELANGER

The Tangled Bell Ensemble

For the consistently intriguing music monthly the In-Between Series, he rolled out a rather grand conceptual experiment with the debut of his Tangled Bell Ensemble (May 18, Gallery at Avalon Island). Using the early 20th century poetry work of Japanese author Akiko Yosano as impetus, the idea of the performance – titled “Midaregami (Tangled Hair)” – was to explore orchestrating heterogeneity into concert. To do that, he assembled a cast of 11 members – the biggest to perform the series yet – from an intentionally wide spectrum of musical backgrounds. Many of them looked and sounded like more classical players, but musicians I recognized from my usual beat included members of weirdo acts like Moon Jelly and Happy Valley. The resulting body was a small orchestra expanded with guitar, piano, accordion, voice and modern drum kit. At its head was Ivy pulling double duty as conductor and player on his trademark sax.

Jim Ivy's Tangled Bell Ensemble at the In-Between Series - ASHLEY BELANGER

Andrew Toth, A.J. Herring, Steven Head, and Evan Shafran 

Jim Ivy's Tangled Bell Ensemble at the In-Between Series - ASHLEY BELANGER

Anna Wallace

Sonically, the four-act journey was a tapestry of music and word (English and Japanese) that slithered from mystery to beauty to excitingly unchained bedlam at the end of the second act. Though structure and arc formed the program’s narrative, the individual pieces were composed loosely to allow some placed pockets of improvisation, moments that seemed to make Ivy beam with the most joy and that at some point engaged each and every player. Further testament to the extemporaneous spirit of the performance was the fact that the first time the entire ensemble was in the same room together was about 40 minutes before the show. Though the end was an interesting, fully in-the-moment display in itself, this was a demonstration of the art of process and spontaneity. As such, the result was adventure not recital, and it was an experience of unfolding, evolving tension.

by Bao Le-Huu

photos by Ashley Belanger

 

Spring Forward

A quick note on a pair of shows coming up in the next week:

Dels in a boxThe Delusionaires make a (seemingly) triumphant return to one of our favorite stomps from the good ol’ days, The Emerald Bar in St. Petersburg. It’s been many a year since we’ve walked through that beer-stained doorway and can’t wait to swill our fill alongside St. Pete’s finest. Don’t know if anyone we knew then still works there, but I’m sure whoever is serving will do The Emerald proud. We’ll be there Saturday, March 8 along with The Intoxicators and Crippled Masters. It’ll be epic, if not downright terrifying.

Milton_bradley_portraitThe next afternoon, Sunday, March 9 at 2pm, has me still in St. Pete, this time at the main library for New Music on a Sunday Afternoon, presented by The New Music Conflagration, Inc. This will be the final performance of Milton Bradley, a game piece I created for the 2012 CageFest in Jacksonville. Although this is the fifth or sixth performance of the piece, it is the first time I will present it on Florida’s west coast. Joining me in the quartet will be Kris Gruda on guitar, electronics and voice, A.J. Herring on trombone, guitar and alto saxophone, and Elizabeth A. Baker on piano, theremin, and an as yet unnamed third instrument. You can read more about the game piece here.

Hope to see all of you on the dreamy shores (or side streets) of St. Pete.