My most recent regret of 2004 was the poor attendance at Neal Meyer's performance of his Gradus in early December. Meyer allowed seemingly eternal silences and ambient sounds (distant piano practice, murmuring voices several floors up, the crackle and pop of cooling spotlights) to shape a brave and often arresting solo piano concert. I tend to forget that when two alluring avant gigs occur on the same night--Ken Vandermark led an all-star quartet at Gallery 1412-- audiences tend to make the safer bet. I also wish more people had turned up for Jack Wright's visit in November; this master saxophonist enthralled the small crowd, which consisted mostly of in-the-know musicians.

Another regret: the DJ Spooky/Seattle Chamber Players gig back in May. DJ Spooky's solo set was good, but his collaboration with the SCP yielded the usual result of outside musicians trying to "go classical," namely clumsy, tepid, unimaginative writing for traditional acoustic instruments like the violin and clarinet. Nonclassical composers planning to cross over must do their homework. If you won't venture into bold territory discovered by courageous composers such as Xenakis, Lachenmann, Ligeti, Crumb, and Kagel, then stay outta my ears.

I still kick myself for (my lame excuses and) missing several highly praised shows including ICP Orchestra at OtB (bad cold), Chris Mann at Jack Straw (in NYC), Diamanda Galás in Portland (too tired to drive three hours), Colin Potter at Electric Heavyland (30 minutes late), and Burnt Sugar at Lo_Fi (band ended early).

I'm still glum about the closing of Polestar Music Gallery, but my final regret is that my "Farewell Polestar" piece didn't emphasize that experimental music and sound art is still happening there every week, albeit under new management and a new name, Gallery 1412. CHRISTOPHER DeLAURENTI

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