Saw Kaffe Matthews on the 19th, at the fine Millvale Industrial Theater. I’m not sure what the other dates on her tour are, but it’s well worth checking out her shows if she’s playing anywhere near you. She uses a (Mac-based) sampler to recontextualize and layer the sounds from her violin and from the performance space. The performance was fascinating, consisting often of long drones that picked up additional resonances and changed (and even stopped) on a dime, creating a new space for listening. It’s always interesting to listen to someone who obviously has chops, but isn’t much interested in displaying them. She seemed much more interested in investigating the violin as a sound source and investigating the sampler. (You’re probably thinking “Violin + processing gear= Laurie Anderson,” but you’d be wrong–Matthews is much more interested in sound than in language or stories, at least in the way Anderson is.)
The only downside to the evening was that the first part of her set was troubled by a bad connection between her violin and the board; it was like a picket fence obscuring the view of open land, but she went a good way toward incorporating it. Eventually, it stopped cropping up, giving us a clearer view. Her “CD Bea” gives a suggestion of what it’s like live, although I liked the rumination-on-a-particular-evening feel to her live performance.