Drift was a three day event of sound art and acoustic ecology across Glasgow. Drift was poorly publicized, coming across at by accident as we do. We knew Kaffe Matthews was playing but did not know anything past the inclusion in the CCA booklet, which did not detail the scope of the season, and unfortunately we had other plans for the rest of the weekend.
The CCA is Glasgow’s Center For Contemporary Arts and the last time re:mote induction team were here was for Baustelle, a season of German electronica. This time we are here for Kaffe Matthews, another experiment for us as we know little about her. Our interest is motivated by reading of her work with artists like Pan Sonic and Kingsuk Biswas (of Beduoin Ascent). And it is a curiosity which is rewarded.
According to the Drift booklet Kaffe uses a series of microphones, attached to various objects or placed in the street. This is how she collects the sounds she processes into layering and varying soundscapes using her midi-violin and live sampling software. As one would expect from that no performance is the same and each is specific to the environment of that event.
The CCA is currently residing in the McLellan Galleries – which allows it access to a large, domed gallery space. Kaffe sits in the center of the room with her violin, laptop, knobs and levers. In circles round her are chairs for the audience with speakers placed round the axis of the outer circle. This means that we surround our performer tonight, as her sound surrounds us. A performance which perhaps is better suited musically to solitary appreciation follows, and as such many close their eyes. But with the rise and falls and shift in sound from speaker to speaker it is clear that the level of sound to be appreciated can only be done so in an environment and set up like this one.