Rob and I went to an incredible electro-acoustic ambient music concert last night featuring pianist Sakamoto and guitarist and renowned electronic musician, Fennesz. They played pieces from their new album, “Cendre.” The free concert took place at the World Financial Center Winter Garden. The venue was a large domed arena with tall fake palm trees in the court yard. There were hundreds of people sitting in the dark room listening and watching the abstract video projection in the background. It was a great open space for such spacious music.
I haven’t been to many concerts that bordered on ambient or “new-age.” I felt that it was kind of like a sonic bath. I loved watching Sakamoto relate to his piano sounds. Somehow, sound became more lucid and took a life of its own with the electronics.
Rob and I walked up to the second floor to listen to their last encore. To our surprise, the glass window on the second floor overlooked ground zero. I haven’t been there since 9/11. This image really heightened the musical experience. To see the large hole in the ground with sleeping construction equipment in it made the music seem even more calm and peaceful. As I was leaving the concert, I thought how this music must have such a different effect on people in New York than in Bloomington, IN. The sounds that we hear everyday in New York tend to be noises of construction, cars, trains, yelling people, etc. In Bloomington the sounds we hear are birds, lightning bugs, frat boys, bad 80’s music blasting from fraternity houses. It wasn’t until then I realized the necessity of listening to peaceful music. When we walked out of the venue, we heard construction workers with a jackhammer. It was such a sad palette-cleanser for our ears.