Monday, November 3, 2008
Le Grnde Finale,' The Big Sur Experimentlal Music Festival 2003
"In the intoxication of conviviality in the carneval, music emerges as a kind of structure or shaping force- music becomes the very 'order of intimacy." --Ha Kim Bey
After five years in the making, this year's Big Sur Experimental festival felt like a little miracle. A DIY shamanic sound installation, accompanied by action paintings, contact improv dancers, and a film diary festival was a beautiful ruminative remedy to these not-so-beautiful times.
The music portion of the festival was organized around a variation of John Berndt's Sound/Shift concept, which is ideal for bringing musicians from different geographies, ideologies, and experience together with no aesthetic constraints other than that the music be wholly (holy?) improvised. In this way it is possible to discover the musical outer limits as a new common ground. At Big Sur this year there were over 90 musicians, none paid, with the equivalent of 80 different ensembles. This potentially was the largest grouping of free improvising musicians ever attempted in North America.