Matt Davignon/Hugh Behm-Steinberg duo and Bill Walker, Luggage Store Gallery

Today we review the February 8 concert at the Luggage Store Gallery, featuring poetry, music and virtuosic guitar. The evening opened with the music-and-poetry duo of Matt Davignon and Hugh Behm-Steinberg.


[Photo: PeterBKaars.com.]

I had seen them perform together before, and it was interesting to see how the collaboration has evolved since then. The structure has become more abstract, moving from a poetry reading accompanied by live electronics to an electronic-music duo using Behm-Steinberg’s words and voice as the sound source. Snippets of poetry were transformed through the many pedals, wires and other bits of electronics into percussive loops, slowly undulating sustained sounds, and other elements.

There still were places where the words and phrases remained intelligible amidst the electronic sounds, particularly at the beginnings of pieces. I thought it was good to have this in order to stay connected to the idea that there was poetry involved and that it wasn’t just an electronic improvisation duo. Having just performed there the week before in a poetry-and-music duo, it is quite tempting to compare our respective performances. Pitta of the Mind took a more traditional approach to the use of words, preserving the structure of the poetry and practice of reading alongside a variety of electronic sounds and stage performance, while the Davignon/Behm-Steinberg duo took a more abstract approach blending words and music into a single soundscape.

The next set featured a solo performance by Bill Walker on guitars and electronics. He brought a variety of electric and lap-steel guitars and array of electronics for looping and other effects.


[Photo: PeterBKaars.com.]

His guitar-playing was itself virtuosic, easily moving between different styles and playing and textures ranging from long drones to fast-moving percussive sounds. His use of looping allowed him to build up more complex layers with different textures. The lap-steel guitar sections, which included a visually interesting custom-built instrument, were haunting without resorting to some of the instrument’s cliches. It was an impressive display of both instrument technique and coordination of electronics, and was quite a beautiful performance overall.

During his performance, Walker played compositions in tribute to his father, as well as to Kim Flint, who was very active in the looping and electronic-music communities, and the founder of Loopers Delight. There were also moments of humor in his set, such as a piece based on samples of Mr. T.

Overall, this was another strong performance in the Thursday-night series at the Luggage Store Gallery, and I was glad I braved a downpour to go see it.

Share

2 Responses to “Matt Davignon/Hugh Behm-Steinberg duo and Bill Walker, Luggage Store Gallery”

  1. Kitty Says:

    Poetry and music – what can be betters. :)

  2. Tillie and Georgia Says:

    Good that you enjoyed the performances :)
    Also good that you could compare your duo set with the
    one here.
    Yup, it sometimes is worth braving bad weather for good fun!