DVD Review

Third Coast Percussion - John Cage: Works for Percussion 2 by Doyle Armbrust

The Works for Percussion 2 reminds us just how undeniably groovy John Cage’s percussion canon can be. In “Third Construction,” 3CP moves beyond precision to nimbly demonstrate the mesmerizing quality of Cage’s rotating rhythmic structure. David Skidmore breaks into an ecstatic, double-fisted kashishi breakdown, as Peter Martin shoots blasts from a conch shell.

The apex is reached in the final four tracks, “Living Room Music.” Filmed within the red steel rib-cage of the Ruth Ford House in Aurora, the local quartet of Skidmore, Martin, Robert Dillon and Owen Clayton Condon strike floor lamps, handrails and walls with spoons, spatulas and hands. Martin taps out a rhythm of bleeps on a laptop’s space bar. For these details, opt for the DVD package over the CD-only version. Artfully captured on video and masterfully performed by 3CP, the sophomore album deserves an emphatic water-gong crash of approval.

- Doyle Armbrust

published in Time Out Chicago on June 21st, 2012

Esa-Pekka Salonen LA Variations DVD by Doyle Armbrust

At a time when an HD camera can be had for less than $200, it’s perplexing that DVDs are still being produced with subpar visual clarity. Fortunately for the Medici Arts’ Salonen: L.A. Variations, Sibelius: Symphony No. 5, the sparkling content more than compensates for flat, slightly bluish-tinted video that makes conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen look as if he’s just come from a chemical peel.

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