Plus, I've been avoiding all shows that don't come to me. Which means I hear from all the slightly obscure people who are doing great work, but who mean nothing to the vast majority of Iowa City. I could make up names for performers and print flyers and do as well. It doesn't help that I get zero help from local media, even to the extent of putting my events on their events calendar.
All that being said, I really loved the Greg Davis/Lullatone/E-Rock show. It would have cost me about the same to drive into Chicago and see them tonight and stay at a motel overnight as it did to put on this show, but that's show biz.
Greg's stuff is very interesting to me -- he does a lot of recording of live instruments and environmental sound and then incorporates them into digitally processed pieces. In his stuff you hear sounds as straight high fidelity recordings, and then reprocessed, repitched, glitched, etc. Natural sounds are mixed with synthetic sounds that echo them. It's all quite musical and lush too.
Lullatone's set was almost entirely (entirely) pieces done with sine waves. They have an all-white-keys feel. As an artistic method this works for the 20 minutes he played, but I don't think it's something to base a career on. One thing that he did by eschewing any sound design is focus attention on his compositions. If there's nothing about the sounds you use that draws attention to themselves, then they just become a medium through which the pure composition reaches the listener. Over the course of his set, a fair amount of drama developed in the pieces he played, in ways I can't quite explain. The video imagery -- animations done with paper cutouts and crayon drawings -- very much invoked a childish, almost mr rogers feeling.
E*Rock's pieces were more conventional than Greg or Lullatones -- he used percussion, for one thing. His stuff falls into that post-electro crunch beats and merry melodies camp of composition. Which may sound dismissive, which isn't what I intend here; his stuff was very composed, almost poppy, without a lot of outlandish sound design or chaotic business to distract the listener. His video included his face pasted on Optimus Prime, and a little animation of his head popping up and saying 'thank you'
Anyway, well worth checking out on tour the next couple weeks: