line upon line percussion defies understood music conventions–and rules of sentence structure and grammar (hence their preference that their name appear in all lower case). The austin based-trio seek new ways for percussive instruments to advance contemporary art music through performing both new commissions and existing masterpieces. In the past they’ve won top prize for seeing times are not hidden at the 2011 Music in Architecture-Architecture in Music Symposium at the University of Texas at Austin. In 2013 line upon line gave the North American premiere of Hugues Dufourt’s limit breaking, Erewhon, which calls for the use of nearly 150 percussion instruments. Recently they’ve been preparing for a performance of Steve Reich’s minimalism masterpiece Drumming in celebration of the composer’s 80th birthday.
The piece features Reich’s trademark phase shifting technique, which two players, two machines, or a player and machine, play a single repeated pattern in unison while one player slowly changes tempo. Composed in between 1970 and 1971, Drumming begins with a perfectly simple beat that imperceptibly mutates into rhythmic patterns of baffling complexity. The sonic richness of Drumming allows listeners to find various patterns depending on what is focused on, producing a potentially novel experience upon each new listen.
line upon line percussion’s core group consisting of Matthew Teodori, Cullen Faulk and Adam Bedell performed the first part of Drumming in Studio 1A. Check it out at the bottom of the page and see the full performance at the Steve Reich mini-fest at one of their shows between May 19th-21st.