Depending on your choice of what you attended at this year’s festival, the collective experience of High Zero was nothing short of interesting. As a newcomer to the festival, I was intrigued by the chaos and merit that each performance held. From various workshops with the likes of percussionist Gino Robair from San Francisco, to the experimental improvisational moves of Baltimore native Rose Hammer Burt, it was difficult to decide if I should in fact, keep my eyes open or closed.
But that was the lure of this improvisational festival, the ability to stimulate each sense in what felt like an unstructured environment, which could never be experienced again. And within that environment, freedom flourished, and more so with my eyes closed was I able to appreciate the brilliance of tossing such talented people on stage together, with the simple instruction: Play.
It’s difficult to describe High Zero in simplistic terms, as mesmerizing as it was, I was left with the feeling that I understood each performance’s progression before me, when at the same time I left each event entirely confused. But perhaps that is the beauty of High Zero, it forced me to think further away from the notion that each performance was “noise,” and instead was a rather awesome insight into the creative brain power behind improvisational music.