On Saturday, April 9, Harper Hall held a guest recital by The Arvay/Younglove Duo. The duo, made up of Brandon Arvay on percussion and Matthew Younglove on saxophone, presented a night of contemporary music that constantly demanded the attention of the audience. The duo played an interesting set of music that kept the audience guessing what would happen next.
To start off the night, Arvay and Younglove each played a solo piece. Arvay performed a piece titled “The Taos Hum,” composed by Steven Snowden. He played four timpani while an eerie electronic track played in the background. The track was a constant hum accompanied by an assortment of rattling noises. Arvay began with brushes, and as the intensity of the piece grew, he switched to mallets. Toward the end of the piece, the sounds of a music box filled the hall as the song turned nightmarish. The electronics complemented Arvay well and provided for an entrancing performance.
During “Release,” by John Fitz Rogers, Younglove joined Arvay on stage, with Arvay now on marimba. The song had a spirit of adventure to it. Midway through, the marimba played a jungle-like rhythm, accompanied by an exotic and crying saxophone melody. The marimba often hovered on two notes while the saxophone played a complex and meandering part.
After a brief intermission, the duo played their last two pieces on saxophone and drum set. “Axamer Folio,” by Eric Wubbels, incorporated free improvisation and free jazz. The piece contained many short movements; a favorite movement of mine was one in which Arvay spoke in an improvised rhythm, while simultaneously playing a drum beat that lined up perfectly with his speech. Other movements had a wild and circus-like feeling that was both odd and invigorating.
The duo ended the night with “Nucleus” by Alex Mincek. The piece contained many contrasting parts, beginning with a nearly silent call-and-response section. Soon enough, the quietness erupted into a loud section, which Younglove described as a combination of heavy metal and funk. This description turned out to be very accurate, and the upbeat and funky section was an audience favorite. Often, huge drum hits were reduced to the quietest and breathiest sounds of the saxophone. The combination of drum set and saxophone created an exciting and unique atmosphere in Harper Hall.
The Arvay/Younglove Duo played an intriguing set of contemporary music. Younglove ended the night by thanking the audience and speaking briefly about contemporary music, saying,“if it doesn’t get heard, it doesn’t matter.” Fans of this genre were delighted to see it performed so well by the duo.