“Balcony of the Sea” performs freely improvised music tonight

A collaboration featuring Jesse Lee, Blake McGee, Tiger Robison and John Wilhelm will continue the University of Wyoming Department of Music’s Faculty Recital series tonight at 8 p.m. in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts recital hall.

“Balcony of the Sea” will be a freely improvised performance. Lee (tape loop), Robison (electric bass) and Wilhelm (synth and electric guitar), will perform separate duos with McGee, clarinetist of thirty years, and all four musicians will collaborate for the final set of the night.

“Freely improvised music is a performance style in which no pre-composed music is used,” McGee said. “The musicians will be reacting to each other to create musical gestures and textures during the performance without adhering to any specific musical forms or conventions.”

No stranger to this performance style Wilhelm, former UW music student and current UW Operations audio engineer, has been playing the guitar for over 15 years and will be playing his guitar and a keyboard-based analog synthesizer for the performance.

“My interest in playing highly effected, free improvised music began in college and has influenced my work in other musical settings,” Wilhelm said. “I like to compare this kind of music to a musical sand box, a place to play and explore sound and my instrument, where the stakes are low and there are no consequences for experimenting.”

In addition to playing a variety of clarinets, ringleader of “Balcony of the Sea,” McGee, will be adding a loop pedal, a digital effects processor and a modified Atari 2600 game console to his part of the performance.

“The sounds will at times be abstract and uncomfortable and other times serene, melodic, rhythmic, and always unexpected… even by the performers,” McGee said.

McGee and Wilhelm have performed “free” several times together and the two have been joined by percussionist, Lee before as well. The only stranger to the group is Music Education faculty, Robison, but that does not concern the musicians.

“That’s one of the amazing things about this kind of music making, one can build a long relationship with other musicians and play time and time again, or you can sit down and discover music with someone you’ve never met before,” Wilhelm said.

“Balcony of the Sea” will begin tonight at 8 p.m. in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts recital hall. The performance is free and open to the public.


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