Review & Photos: Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Transpersonal Orchestra; Musician’s Union Hall, 2/10/13
February 12, 2013
Written by Todd Wanerman
The Outside Presents musicians’ collective has for several years been quietly acting as one of the city’s sole promoters of experimental music: jazz; electronic; and otherwise. They run two music series: the Luggage Store New Music Series, “most” Thursday nights at the gallery of the same name on Market; and the Static Illusion Methodical Madness Music Series (aka SIMMS Series) alternate Sundays at the Musicians’ Union Hall, and anonymously fronted studio space on 9th street and Mission.
This is community music – where you pay a donation into the cash box and partake from the coffee urn that is aroma-ting the room. There is not a tap on site.
We tightrope along the back aisle of folding chairs early into Ai Ai‘s set. They cover a wide but cohesive range of guitar and electric piano-driven explorations.
The sound is rooted in the hard driving classic out jazz of the late 60′s and 70′s, as evidenced by their exciting cover of Andrew Hill. But guitarist Karl Evangelista incorporates post rock elements and textures as well as power chords and solos from classic rock.
The occasional vocal by Rei Scampavia Evangelista adds to this band’s taut, energetic appeal.
Saxophonist Aaron Bennett leads his multi-piece Transpersonal Orchestra through long, down-tempo mood pieces by holding up photocopied numbers corresponding to loose movements. He presumably exercises different timing of the transitions based on the individual performance.
The individual members of the orchestra – bass, cello, violin, accordion, trombone, trumpet and piano – all show command and talent. The group excels when the compositions call for soloing.
Bennett himself, in particular, can blow on the soprano sax. The overall effect is of an agitated but muted soundtrack to a modern day film noir.