The organ, the laptop, and 'Digital Loom'

Mason Bates fuses techno-ambient effects to symphonic elements

The SF Symphony's awesome-looking American Mavericks festival -- which will present a "wild side" of contemporary and modernist classical works not often heard on a Davies Hall scale (Meredith Monk! Jessye Norman singing John Cage!) -- kicks off next week with a host of edgy aural goodies. 

And this Sun/4, in a kind of pre-fest wallop, Quebecoise organist Isabelle Demers will take advantage of the enormous Davies pipes to play a number of neat pieces, including one by SF's electronic-adventurous Mason Bates, entitled "Digital Loom," (hear a sample here). "Digital Loom," from 2009, embodies Bates' signature fusion of techno-ambient effects, often laptop generated, with symphonic elements to create something not quite Sci-Fi, not quite rave, not quite Stravinsky at his most cosmic-colorful, but all quite cool.

The Symphony has featured Bates before, you could spot him with his laptop in the midst of the players on one particular brain-tickling, multi-media occasion, generating drum patterns and swoops and swooshes for his major piece "The B-Sides" in 209. He also DJs around town as DJ Masonic, and hosts his occasional dancefloor-meets-classical party with young conductor Benjamin Schwarz, Mercury Soul.

It will be a total treat to hear the super-dextrous Demers take on "Digital Loom" on a Sunday afternoon (partly to see how she actually performs it), in the midst of an ambitious program that also includes Bach, Prokofiev, Henry Martin, and Rachel Laurin. Organ and electronica fanatics unite!


Sun/4, 3 p.m., $20-$30

Davies Symphony Hall

201 Van Ness, SF

Complete event details here

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