On September 5th I saw a concert featuring the band Earth People. This experimental duo performed on the second floor of the Cato Center for the Arts, in a show sponsored by the New Music Collective. Overall, I am fairly neutral towards the show. On the one hand, the artists took a lot of risks, playing very experimental music. I appreciate their ingenuity and attempt to make music out of objects like pencils and barrels, or screeching pre-recorded voices. Regardless of my admiration of their style of choice, the music itself was not to my liking. Although the pencil-tapping demonstration was interesting, it lasted 15 minutes, way beyond the audience’s attention span. Also, after one segment in which an amplified cello and harsh digital sounds clashed for at least 10 minutes, I cannot say I walked away confident that I would hear again.
As with any art event, there exist some parallels between my experience and the event that I went to. For example, before the event, I had no prior knowledge or education about experimental music. Perhaps, had New Music Collective been proactive about educating the public about contemporary music, they would have had a better turn out and a more engaged audience. On the positive side, the event clicked well with the organization’s mission-an important part of any organization. In keeping with their mission to develop “a community around contemporary music in the South Carolina Lowcountry,” the event was small and had a close-knit, communal feel. They also strive to have “accessible dialogue” between the audience and the artist, which held true during this event. We were able to go up to the performers after the show and ask them questions. We also picked up on the band’s internal banter, since we weren’t more than 10 feet from where they played.
In the end, I recommend this event to my peers. Although the main-stream application of Earth People’s music is questionable, something this wacky and experimental is a must for those interested in different takes on music.