An academically trained clarinetist, van Bergen has chosen to abandon the rigid milieu of traditional harmony, melody, and rhythm for the open-ended exploration of Sound, a concept formally introduced by Roscoe Mitchell on his groundbreaking debut of the same name back in 1966. Some 30 years later, van Bergen's focus on the quality and elasticity of an instrument's timbre might not yield the same degree of novelty as similar investigations during the heyday of the '60s avant-garde, but as evident on Comite Imaginaire, van Bergen's latest collaboration with fellow reed players Wolfgang Fuchs and Hans Koch, there is no shortage of interesting material. The artist applies his commanding technique to a vast range of wind instruments, from contrabass clarinet to tenor sax, to invoke the bellows, honks, hums, creaks, shrieks, and general eructations of contemporary urban noise. It's more musical than you might expect, which is a very scary thought.
-- Sam Prestianni
Peter van Bergen performs on Monday, July 28, at 8 p.m. at the Luggage Store, 1007 Market. $5-10 donation at the door; call (510) 597-1769. Van Bergen also appears on Tuesday, July 29 (with bassist Morgan Guberman and drummer Andrew Borger), at 8:15 p.m. at the Yellow Room, 2424 East 11th St., Oakland. $5 donation; call (510) 261-6916.