Bethany Ryker is a writer and musician living in Brooklyn. Her radio program, the "Stochastic Hit Parade, airs weekly on WFMU. She is currently completing a masters thesis at The New School for Social Research on the aesthetics of mechanical music in the digital age.
Unwittingly, guitarist Nels Cline has become the single degree of separation between the bi-polar musical personalities of Lydia Lunch and Blue Man Group. He appeared prominently this summer in Europe and New York as part of the "punishing musicality" behind Lunch in the "Audience as Willing Victim" tour, only a few weeks after the release of Blue Man Groups enhanced CD The Complex (Atlantic), on which he makes several guitar cameos. But while he may be a self-described musical chameleon, Cline does more than just change color while bouncing between settings like Lunchs blood-red verbal slayings and the PR-friendly bemusement played up by those funny blue men: He draws on decades of genre-crossing experience, and hes informed enough about whats "out there" to stay loyal to his own musical proclivities.
The crank on the side of a wind-up toy or a music box is not just a mechanical device that sets things in motion; it is a generator of suspense.
Under the glow of a suspended upside-down pink drumset, and next to a hanging spiral of pulsating speakers, a mélange of glass objects, inflated balloons, and electronics come to life as Miguel Frasconi, Ricardo Arias, and Keiko Uenishi begin to perform.