INSTAGON/ECOMCON live 5/10/97 review by Chris Cobb
Kum Tai Laundrymat, San Francisco, CA
The May 10th show had some 30 people crowded into the laundromat on Chesnut
curious to see how these audio artists would perform in such a strange place.
Ecomcon of Sacramento played first. J. Truesdale set up a boombox as an
amplifier and had a group of 3 trashy old Casio synthesizers. He used these
to create waves of sound & then distorted & effected them as he went. The
crowd seemed intent on some grandiose performance
(there was a mood the audience seemed to have) but Truesdale kept it
lowbrow & straightforward.
Along with this dynamic, he seemed to be creating a longer piece which was
actually very interesting in the way he was altering the sounds.
Unfortunately there was a surprise skirmish as the laundromat owner
squeezed through the crowd and demanded that we all leave and never come
A kindly member of the crowd suggested we might go to the Ben & Jerry's Ice
Cream store nearby to finish, but we were turned away from B&J's because
though they were interested, they were just too busy to let it happen.
We (a veritable caravan of people) ended up in an apartment of the person
who suggested B&J's. She was kind enough to let Lob do his
INSTAGON FOUNDATION set.
As we packed ouselves into the living room Lob said a few words about just
letting something happen and then it being gone, thus the idea behind
Instagon. At this incarnation, Lob set up a rhythm with a vacum cleaner,
using the sucktion power & various objects to make sounds. He urged others
to make any sound they wanted & that was the show. The audience was
involved but none of them seemed to really listen to one another & so
created a very unorganized garble. People had fun though and his show was
punctuated by laughter. A good spirited crowd and an inclusive show.
Because l wasn't certain whether Lob was able to make it from L.A. for the
show, I had prepared a small sound piece for the show earlier that day. I
had gone to the Laundromat and while doing my actual laundry alone, I went
through the garbage. I was in luck! There was a paper cup and a plastic
cup. There was a bundle of newspaper tied with string. I unraveled the
string and took the threads of it and tied them together. I formed two
long threads. These I tied to the centers of each cup. I kept these & after
Lob was through, I did a short performance with the cups.
I found I didn't like the plastic cup much & while tugging it to make
sounds, the string broke. Then I took the paper cup and made the thread
taught by holding it down under my foot. I pulled my fingernails over the
thread & a fantastic & rather loud sound came out from it. Each place where
a knot was, a corresponding noise was made. I made variations on the sounds
until finally the string broke. That was the end of my peice.
- CHRIS COBB, audio experimentalist, San Francisco, CA
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