Good sound artists don't do things halfway. Cheryl Leonard was interested in the Antarctic, so she went to the Antarctic. She collected field recordings of penguins, seals, birds, ice, storms. She made instruments of penguin bones, limpet shells, ice, rocks. (Here's an example of how you do such a thing: Jam two penguin bones into driftwood, amplify it with a hydrophone, pull a violin bow across it slowly and christen it "The Bone Slug.") Back at home, she took both her field recordings and her natural-object instruments and created compositions. All well and good: This is music that is inspired by and created from and even sounds like some astonishing source material (the Antarctic). Still, Leonard wasn't finished; she got a band together and started playing the work live. At a show in S.F. in April, A.L. Dentel, Cliff Neighbors, Felix Macnee, and Leonard sat hunched around the stage, which looked like the scene of a chaotic science project involving wiring and bones (which it was), and played works with titles like "Brash Ice," "Greater Than 20 Knots," and "Point 8 Ice," with live video of their manipulations projected overhead. For the finale, they played icicles, which dripped bloop into amplified beakers and petri dishes. Leonard performs and lectures at "Animosity in the Illuminated Forest,"
part of the Soundwave ((4)) Festival, which takes place in a scarily perfect setting: a gallery shimmering with the environmentally themed art.
Sat., July 31, 8 p.m., 2010