LOS ANGELES TIMES
Friday, May 3, 2002 - MUSIC REVIEW: Spirits of the Electronic World
The California EAR Unit investigates the sounds machines make in a loud, fresh program.
By MARK SWED, Times Staff Writer
.... The most ambitious piece was a premiere by Laetitia Sonami, an Oakland-based composer who has been picking up prestigious prizes lately (she just won this year's Herb Alpert Award in Music). "A Blind Ride" modifies sounds apparently hidden in electronic documents and spreadsheets, over which the musicians improvise. Variously placed lightbulbs illuminate the stage in brief bursts. Who knows quite what she was up to on the darkened stage--framed by four glowing blue dots of lights from the loudspeakers--with her homemade "lady's glove," full of embedded sensors that let her control sound and the lightbulbs. Still, Sonami's electronic, computer-document-derived noises revealed a fascinating papery texture that was not just satisfyingly visceral, but, at least to one writer not always happily glued to his machine, downright comforting. The ensemble played mostly floating fragments that made a beautiful fit with the rustling, swirling electronics.