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Open Water Festival 2012
January 12-14, Halifax

Innovations in music happen in attics and basements, garages and private studios, even cabins in the remote wilderness. Those creations are later unveiled at festivals like Open Waters.

This strange and beautiful multi-nightfestival is the musical equivalent of ArtBasel, a cultural highlight for modernworks. For twenty bucks, audiences get two hours of rogue music.

Andrew Reed Miller began last night’s set by doing things to his solo double bass thatseemed, well, unnatural. Accompanied by his MacBook, a video projection screen and several mouth instruments, he performed his new original work called ‘L-EDGY’.“This is serious music,” the guy behind me said loudly after the applause ended. And he nailed it.

Next came Sanctuary, a trio inspired by Gregorian chant music from the 900s, and then Spanner, a Newfoundland trio whose percussionist, Rob Power, played an astonishing array of bells, gongs and chimes along with his giant timpani while his fellow bandmates freestyled gorgeously.

5 Flavours (whose saxophonist Paul Cram is also the festival organizer) improvised for a goodwhile and ZOKUGAKU wrapped up the night with a plethora of samples. Notes and bars set free from sheet music and scores are a joy to behold.

The breathtaking creative risks continue Saturday night. ~ Megan Power

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