Classical Music Review

HOCKET explores the power of music through complex compositions

 The piano duo, HOCKET, composed of Sarah Gibson and Thomas Kotcheff, put their mastery on display for a composition residency recital performed at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia. What made this recital unique was that the works were written by contemporary composers from across the nation. The pieces abandoned the melody and harmony of classical music and instead experimented with tempo and tonality to provoke emotion. This spirit of experimentation coupled with HOCKET’s expertise leaves you with an experience that’s puzzling to the ears but stimulating for the brain.

The way HOCKET performed the music was fascinating to watch because it wasn’t just about performing the piece perfectly, but also interpreting the work in interesting ways. In Byrd/Cage, composed by Derek Tywoniuk, Gibson performed the song with her hands hanging in the air after hitting each note giving her movements this ghostly feeling. Meanwhile, Thomas manipulated the insides of the piano from pulling on the piano strings to hitting the strings with a small mallet. The haunting movements of Gibson and the piano manipulation of Kotcheff gave the work a melancholic vibe, fitting the nature of the piece which is meant to reflect about death.

Another piece worth highlighting is Slow the Light, composed by Jordan Nelson. This piece was intriguing because it played with the idea of resonance which means letting the note ring out after it has been played. There was a certain beauty to sitting back and listening as the note transformed from one pitch to another almost like witnessing a butterfly emerge from a cocoon.  More than any other piece, Gibson and Kotcheff were the most in sync here, not least of which because they each had their own piano positioned in a way to make direct eye contact. The connection shared between HOCKET through their call and response performance gave the piece a warm, loving atmosphere, which was not present in the other works.

If you’re the type of person that just wants to relax to music while sipping brandy and wearing a silk robe, then this concert is not going to be your cup of tea or brandy, so to speak. However, if you have an interest in the avant-garde? Then you will appreciate the craftsmanship of HOCKET’s performance and the intention of the many composers to push the medium of classical music.


Pop Music Review

Rising EDM star brings house shattering beats to Georgia Theatre

In a darkened room with the air scented by alcohol and vape smoke, a huddled mass of humanity congregated around the stage at the Georgia Theatre on Saturday, March 18. During the brief burst of light given off by the screens, you could see the jubilant faces of the huddled mass. The views varied from bros hugging each other to girls shaking their posteriors, a classy way to say assess, to hands waving in the air like they just don’t care.

Then TroyBoi from atop the stage, silhouetted by the lights behind him, increased the tempo of the beat until finally releasing that sweet, tasty bass drop. From there, the crowd went wild jumping up in unison and shouting out the name, TroyBoi. And to think, you probably spent that midnight snuggled up in bed.

It takes a great artist to warrant such a reaction from the crowd and TroyBoi is worthy of such admiration. TroyBoi creates electronic dance music, a genre of music that heavily features percussive instruments and is produced for dancing environments. TroyBoi differentiates himself from others by including musical influences such as hip-hop, trap music, and world music into his work calling it “My Style.”

This personal touch makes his music seem finely crafted and not just something a robot could produce. TroyBoi’s music is insanely rhythmic with electronic instruments in the foreground and a drum beat in the back with the occasional rap verse thrown into the mix. His music accomplishes the main goal of EDM, as EDM is not something you listen to, but something you dance to.

The entire experience felt communal as everyone was enraptured by the music and abandoned all their worries through dance. Even I had to put aside my nerdy, note taking persona for a second and engage in a dance battle with some toga wearing, frat bros. Nothing feels quite like standing on a dance floor as the speakers are blaring and the sound waves are moving through your body. For a brief second, you and the music become one and the same.

TroyBoi’s performance of the Mantra tour was an incredible adrenaline rush from start to finish. Now, I’m not one that frequently attends EDM concerts, so maybe that adrenaline rush came partly from the novelty of it all. However, I still can’t get over witnessing the crowd throw themselves at TroyBoi while he was delivering some of the freshest beats this side of the Milky Way. You would be hard-pressed to find a greater three-hour distraction from your troubles than this concert.