Rodney Alan Greenblat Electronic Music and Poetry
Rodney Alan Greenblat alone on a stage at the Avalon Lounge, paper in hand, his Moog synthesizer, and laptop with prerecorded samplings were waiting for manipulation. His music set mixed the literal with subliminal sounds of reality, childlike noise, and catchy melody to create compositions of surprise and humor with thoughtfulness and depth.
It was a delightful mix of interpretations, from a field recording of noise in the walls of a trendy Montreal hotel to the movement of centipedes called Scutigera, their creepy crawling expressed in delicate percussion much like the way roaches scramble when lights get turned on. While in yet another piece, he combined guttural chants with temple sounds, signifying the traditions of ancient civilizations.
Reading poetry with small samplings of electronic sound creates the foundation and acts as an anticipatory set that encourages engagement. He informed me that format was new. I liked it; it gives the listener a window into the artist's intention and leaves room for contextual layers.
The beauty of his inspiration is the combination of his unique perspective being a visual artist working in many modalities. His electronic music composition and poetry are yet another outlet for his creativity; the addition of his 15-year Zen meditation practice is essential to his thinking and interpretive sound. I love how he combines the teachings of breathing in and out and just being in the moment with the bombardment of pop culture references such as anti-paranoia air freshener, iPhone 14, or Cheerios.
One of my favorites was "Self Doubt," self-deprecating humor about performance anxiety. He read, / Who knows when the show will end /not soon enough / poop, bonk, whop, honk, bleep, and fart sounds spew to the beat to emphasize the futile and sometimes hilarious nature of the mind.
In the piece Box With Tubes, the music mimics the rudimentary sound of machines with robotic wonder slapping things together in what seems like a random order, much like a Rube Goldberg contraption or Hal in 2001 Space Odyssey of a robot gone mad.
The tune Chip Cookie, /chocolate cup cookies / sprout legs and march to the mouth of Nirvana / creates marching out-of-step bongo-like repetition to a fullness of discordant sound to reach what is unobtainable.
The joyful, funny, and contemplative set showed an artist's passion and unique way of listening to the world around him and expressing that in music.
Scoring a Cool Mix with opener Roman Angelos
Roman Angelos' set gave me a permanent smile and a chill vibe. He played Jazz guitar, keyboard, and synthesizer mixed with prerecorded sound and live looping.
It sounded like a memorable time warp of a specific era of retro appreciation. I was either at an ice skating rink, elevator, or in an Italian movie. Roman's song titles, such as The Underwater Supermarket and The Aimless Aquanaut, lend to the cool factor. His pompadour was a bonus. Music placement supervisors should be on the lookout.
Roman Angelos is the solo project of multi-instrumentalist and producer Rich Bennett.