Music, Went There

Went There: Duck That 11/18/17 @ The Washington Street Art Center


It wouldn’t be unreasonable of you to think that a band that involves duck calls, unconventionally played saxophones, and a punny name might be something of a novelty act. There is one member who rubs a microphone against various doo-dads on a table. There are effect pedals. “It’s a performance!” you might say, “a unique experience.”

But DUCK THAT—reappearing one rainy November evening after a long hibernation– is no novelty act.

DUCK THAT is a performance, as well as a unique experience, but is also a sincerely weird and beautiful revelation about sound. Four humans summon forth an unusual palate of noises that sensually massage an anatine pleasure out of the auditory experience. There is a hum, there is skittering, time is wiggling. There is a crackle of reed vibration, some creeping, keening feedback, metal bowls rolling around, shimmering.

Now, a spontaneous chuckle passes through the crowd. Thin strands of fungal webbing ripple beneath the surface of the earth. There is human breath, human voice. Angela is hurling D batteries at an empty chair, which land violently.

Sometimes there are persuasive anti-climaxes. A shower of saxophone reeds, clattering and rippling and frizzling into digital feedback. There are horns at various levels of absurdity, honking and humming and keening.  DUCK THAT achieves a genuine quacking transcendence, and their performance is a blessing from the absurd, benevolent universe.

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