The Score – Sounds Outside
In American Music in the Twentieth Century (Schirmer Books), composer and critic Kyle Gann asserts that "a creative culture is a triangle requiring three points: individual artists, a tradition to work within and against, and a public with an adequate amount of disposable attention." Gann’s triangle should also include low-cost, innovative venues that reach out beyond that small, stalwart public who frequents obscure, out-of-the-way clubs. The Monktail Creative Music Concern’s Sounds Outside concert series is a perfect example. Its central location—Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill—as well as all-points access, and price (free), abet the serendipitous, just stumbled-upon-it discovery so essential to acquainting everyone with the avant.
I enjoyed the first of this three-concert series—featuring Degenerate Art Ensemble, Sunship, Seattle Harmonic Voices, and figeater—on a bright, sunny afternoon in June. The crowd was just the right size, with enough people to make people-watching worthwhile yet scattered enough to leave space for stretching out on the grass and listening.
At first, I sat near the running water of the reservoir and listened at a distance; the turbulent hiss of running water, laughing children, the musicians onstage, and stray bits of nearby dialogue melded into a live musique concrète. Closer to the stage, the occasional (and thankfully remote) sirens and the chalky baritone sigh of airplanes aloft in the sky fit the music snugly.
The July installment of Sounds Outside features cellist, composer, and visual artist Paul Rucker; improvising pianist Gust Burns, who brings along his battered collection of tape recorders; the Orkestar Zirkonium, which clatters like the joyous Balkan brass bands of yore; and the rowdy, out-jazz Monktail big band ensemble, Non Grata. It should be a grand time.
Sounds Outside, Sat July 14, 2007, Cal Anderson Park, 1632 11th Ave, 684-4075, 2–8 pm, free.