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Gerald Carpenter: UCSB’s CREATE to Present Kaffe Matthews Live

Guest composer will perform an evening of electronic music on Thursday

As part of the Primavera Festival, the UCSB Center for Research in Electronic Art Technology (CREATE) will present guest composer Kaffe Matthews in an evening of electronic music at 8 p.m. Thursday in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall.

Kaffe Matthews at TAPS in 2010.
Kaffe Matthews at TAPS in 2010. (Miyako Narita photo)

Matthews was born in Essex, England. She lives and works in London.

According to the Primavera Festival website: “Since 1990, she has been making and performing new electro-acoustic music worldwide with a variety of things and places such as violin, theremin, Scottish weather, desert stretched wires, NASA scientists, melting ice in Quebec and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Currently she is researching 3D composition for outdoor enjoyment through Hammerhead sharks in Galapagos and sustainable vibratory interface design with ‘music for bodies.’

“Acknowledged as a pioneer in the field of electronic improvisation and live composition, Kaffe has released six solo CDs on the label Annette Works. … Her present projects are with Mandy McIntosh to make a flexible sonic intervention for a star-gazing shelter in the Galloway Forest, and climate change activist fan band The Gluts. Recently back to the stage after four years making sonic furniture works, Kaffe will have her long-awaited seventh solo release out on Annette Works winter 2010-11.”

I have been listening to Matthews’ work on the Annette Works website, and I’m pretty sure I could sit through an entire evening of it. In fact, I like it. Most of it is rather soothing.

I can see just how live electronic improvisation could get from what Laurie Anderson does to what Matthews does — not as a linear evolution, but as a pursuit, in one or two directions, of the possibilities opened up by the performers of Anderson’s generation.

Yet Matthews’ success — in terms of CD sales, burgeoning fan base and lucrative grants — can never serve as a model for others, except in the broadest way.

“You’re all individuals!” Brian Graham Chapman tells his mob of followers. “We’re all individuals!” the mob chants back in unison. “You’ve got to work things out for yourselves!” Chapman pleads. “Tell us more!” the would-be base cries.

Sorry, I recommend you go and hear Matthews for yourselves.

Tickets are $15 for general admission and $7 for students, and will be sold at door.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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