Lucie Vítková and Joe Snape, CNMAT

Today we look at a recent concert at the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT) featuring two very different solo performances. Both explored subtle details in sound, but in very different ways.

The first performance featured Lucie Vítková, a visiting artist from the Czech Republic. She primarily played accordion, but also included harmonica and voice.

Lucie Vítková

This was not your typical accordion or harmonica performance, or even a typical avant-garde performance with this instruments. Her playing was soft and exquisitely subtle. Once could hear the subtle changes in tone from the bellows, and the percussive effects of the instrument’s mechanics. She brought a similar slow-moving attention to detail to the pieces with harmonica. The most impressive part of the performance combined long accordion tones with voice, producing very strong difference tones. Once could hear the resulting fundamentals inside one’s ear, which is a pretty amazing effect to hear live.

The second set featured Tired Music by Joe Snape for cassette and electronics.


In a darkened room, Snape manipulated long quiet sounds from cassette recordings and computer-based signal processing. Some were deliberately monotonous, but others provided punctuated detail, including a section of spoken word. As with Vítková’s performance, the sound moved slowly, but more enveloping coming from the multichannel speaker system instead of a single point.

Overall, a different set of sounds, certainly quieter, than what I have been attending of late. I am glad I was able to visit CNMAT to catch this show.