Student performances shake up Shack-a-Thon

Jessica Vogt

Student artists Doug Detrick and BLOB!, Kelly Shaw Willman and Bryan Teoh performed last Saturday night at Shack-a-Thon.
Far from your ordinary artists, these students combine jazz, electronics and the power of the spoken word into what could be classified as musical sculpture. Incorporating many elements of funk, rock, jazz, poetry, a gritty electronic backdrop and even Moroccan music, BLOB!, Willman and Teoh have an extremely unique and appealing sound.
“If I had to call it something, I’d call it a postmodern meltdown,” said senior trumpet performance major and BLOB! creator Doug Detrick. “I want it to be fun and danceable but also a bit studious. I guess you could call it academic party music.”
The atmosphere surrounding the performance at the fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity was just that – fun and laid back, but definitely with purpose. Students couldn’t help but move to the groove of the music.
Detrick composed the 45 minutes of repertoire currently in the band’s stock, including the relaxed and slower “Amalgamation Nation” and the heavy drum and bass setting of Kelly Shaw Willman’s poem, “Of Him, of Her, of Perception.” Both pieces were backed by the ambient electronics and guitar of Bryan Teoh.
Willman and Teoh performed together following their performances with the Detrick band. Willman, who writes her own poetry, combines the qualities of the voice with words and music. Her resonant voice and directness commands a presence on stage. She calls her art an “experiment or choreographed event with poetry as performance.”
Willman had heard Teoh play before but had not collaborated with him prior to the event. The duo did little rehearsal but instead engaged in inconstant dialogue by e-mail, discussing their independent work.
“It was an experience of learning how your medium can intertwine with their medium,” Willman commented.
Willman plans to design her own major here at Lawrence, likely titled something similar to “the voice as an art form.” She is currently working on a project that will incorporate poetry, voice aesthetics, electronic sounds and recorded interviews that she has been collecting for the past few years.
Detrick and BLOB! are looking to perform one last time later this year before he graduates in June and goes on to attend graduate school at the University of Oregon.
Look for more information going up soon around campus.