(Update: You don’t need to know much French to appreciate the tour photos on Lê Quan Ninh‘s blog. He and Doneda had quite the day going from Berkeley to Stanford up to San Francisco — he’s posted pictures of all three cities and the belowmentioned sfSound event. Cool stuff.)
And they were loud! I’d heard both of them in a variety of contexts, but maybe because I’d just been sampling the CD from The International Nothing, I was in the mind of expecting quiet, calm interplay. Nope.
Quan used a bass drum as a platform, creating sounds with an army of objects — a rolled-around pine cone, or the ends of drumsticks rubbed along the top, or a rock lightly scraped against the tuning pegs. He started the set by blowing viciously through a cymbal hole onto the drum surface, a big stormy sound.
Doneda got into some subtle long tones here and there but also used his saxes for brash, raspy declarations. A lot of listeners probably had trouble placing the saxophone amid the din. It was cool.
The first hour of the show was devoted to the sfSound Microfestival of New and Experimenal Music, a three-day set of shows that includes some visitors from Europe and from elsewhere in the U.S. It starts tonight, as noted here.
In addition to the live set, we played CDs from other artists at the festival, interspersed with Kyle Bruckmann explaining the whole concept. Doneda and Lê also talked about how they met up musically in communist Poland in 1986, noting that the cheesecake there was so much better than what one can find elsewhere. Doneda declared their second, shorter improv to be titled “Cheesecake Forever,” and so it was.