If bands, ensembles, orchestras and other musical groups could be animals, Ogni Suono, the two-person saxophone partnership made up of Noa Even and Phil Pierick, would likely be a dolphin: playful, sleek, constant and dynamic. They displayed this character in a performance in Harper Hall on Sunday, Oct. 4. The group is dolphin-esque in more ways than one; their music, mostly pieces they’ve commissioned themselves, can be screeching, dissonant and violent to the senses—again, much like a dolphin.
Neither Even nor Pierick seemed the type to coax such horrifying yet intriguing melodies and textures from their instruments. Neither particularly tall, both clad in large thick spectacles and with Pierick sporting sideburns that seemed straight out of the Gilded Age, one would expect them to play music perhaps more quaint, or at the very least, more traditional.
However, that was not the case, not even a little. While several of their pieces had a sense of beauty about them—the hilariously named “Dart: Don’t Be His Shadow” and “Roya”—other pieces, such as “From This Point On” seemed explicitly designed to test the listener’s patience and their hearing. They were primarily made up of enormous drones and high-pitched squawks that called to mind a horrible accident at a shipyard.
Even and Pierick take their name from a piece by James Bunch called “Ogni Suono Come Un Essere Viviente,” which translates to “Every Sound Like a Living Being.” Since their shortened form for their name is “Every Sound,” it is unfair to say that their music is ugly or wrong. Indeed, the idea of every sound is very much the point of their work, with the clacking of the keys against the body of the saxophone, the breaths taken before plowing into the fields of sound, even the whistle of the reed as air comes out instead of music.
Over the course of 90 minutes, it felt indeed as if we were drawn into every living sound, an odyssey across how many bizarre sounds a saxophone could make, which turned out to be nearly limitless. Only once did they use non-sax instruments, and that was for “From This Point On,” which simply may have been an off performance.
Even if that was the case, Ogni Suono is still a group worth taking very seriously. While their music may proudly be “not for everyone,” this is something that should be celebrated. Even if one does not enjoy some of their pieces, the mere act of witnessing them is an expansion of consciousness worth reckoning. Every sound matters. Every sound should swim through the listener at one point, like a pod of dolphins splashing across the ocean’s surface.