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UC San Diego's Department of Music

May 13, 2010
TELEMATICS REVIEW: A MUSICAL BRIDGE BETWEEN IRVINE AND SAN DIEGO



  After the stunning "Jazz TeleMotions" concert on May 12, one jazz musician in the audience proclaimed it a "landmark concert". Indeed, those who attended bassist Mark Dresser's intricate multimedia event in UCSD's Conrad Prebys Concert Hall were awed by the collaboration between musicians and artists at UC San Diego and at UC Irvine, connected by high-speed internet.

From a studio at UC Irvine, trombonist Michael Dessen's performance was sent to Prebys hall and projected on a sheer double-layer screen suspended behind Dresser and pianist Myra Melford. Dessen's ghostly presence completed the trio. The San Diego set was designed by Victoria Petrovich. In Irvine, video artist John Crawford deftly mixed images captured by cameras at both locations, and the resulting collage of hands, faces, fingers, and instruments was projected on the screen behind Dresser and Melford.

Despite the digital journey to San Diego, the sound of Dessen's trombone did not lag behind Melford and Dresser, and an excellent sound system (and crew) at UCSD blended Dessen's trombone seamlessly with the San Diego players.

Dresser, Melford and Dessen have performed together many times, and their intuitive empathy was obvious. The 70-minute concert consisted of four distinctive movements. Each musician's sound was broadened by the use of unconventional techniques, such as the percussive effects produced by Melford as she reached beneath the piano lid, or Dresser as he tapped and scraped his bass to conjure a range of primal effects,  shaping his sound with a volume pedal.

The concert was the latest of Dresser's Telematic productions, which often connect musicians in multiple locations around the world. It seems obvious that Dresser's innovative methodology points the way toward a near future where more and more artists will embrace emerging technologies.


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