Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Todd Reynolds at Le Poisson Rouge: 3/6/11

Todd Reynolds
I knew nothing of Todd Reynolds when I walked into Le Poisson Rouge tonight. I wasn't sure if I was going to be bored to death or have the very last fiber of my being split in half by disjointed ambient noise. What I received, however, was something completely unexpected. I was gently nudged awake into the well orchestrated composition of a singular violin, whose sound was filtered through a computer, which was looped, which was then played back, while the original violin played a different tune. The end result was an entire string and rhythm section of an orchestra being performed by a single human being. There were splashes of electronic drums to contrast the high pitch squeals of the sometimes joyous and other times mournful fiddle. Todd was a laid back man considering the sounds he created. He joked around with the crowd and even managed quite a few chuckles from his clever casual banter. His attitude, for me, made his music even more accessible.

Todd Reynolds, as far as I'm concerned- without any knowledge of instrumental compositions- was a total success. He put me at ease with one smile and had me at the edge of my seat while he played. His passion for the music turned on and off like a bipolar switch. It was an expertly designed and interesting concert.

Todd's playfulness was further amplified when he invited a random person from the audience to do a little improv music with him. What happened next, piqued my interest beyond belief. As the young man, who we learned was named Trevor took to the stage, Todd unveiled an odd looking white box covered in shallow round-edged square buttons. Todd smiled and asked Trevor if he had any musical experience. When Trevor responded with a "Yes", Todd smiled and said something along the lines of "Well, forget it!" and then asked if Trevor had ever played with a Lite Brite as a kid and likened the instrument to one (at the phrase Lite Brite, an entire generation gasped in nostalgic glee). 

What happened next, was remarkable. Trevor was instructed to hit a button on the little white box (we later learned it was called a "Menome"). The single button instantly lit up while a sequence at the top began to blink and strum notes that sounded a lot like violin chords. An improv jam of sorts commenced with Trevor playing on the little white contraption while Todd switched between plucking his violin like a ukulele & a more  traditional stance of playing. It was so interesting, light hearted, fun... and it actually SOUNDED GREAT!

I may have entered a stranger to Todd Reynolds and his unique sound, but I left, a fan.      

This is a 15 second blip from a song titled "Crossroads"
which was my favorite track of the night.

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