Every week this column highlights a performance that merits your attention, but this time I'm stumped: Two very worthy gigs coincide on the same night.

On Friday, March 4, On the Boards kick off their "Music Matters" weekend with composer Mikel Rouse, best known for the talk-show/opera Dennis Cleveland. Rouse premieres Music for Minorities, a haunting solo show that ducks and darts amid a web of prerecorded guitars inspired by the Delta blues.

That same night, Eric Ostrowski, one-half of longtime noise duo Noggin, debuts his new solo CD/DVD, E (Gritty Kitty). Ostrowski screens some of his hand-painted 16mm films, including "Golden Daisy" and "Mango Ceylon," which erupt with lurid, refulgent colors. Splendidly sped-up, spasticated solo violin rounds out the second set.

The rest of the weekend is crowded but not clogged: Grisha Coleman unveils The Desert, an immersive, artificial ecosystem which integrates sound, sensors, and robotics that generate, respond to, and modify the environment. On Sunday, March 6, saxophonist Skerik (Syncopated Taint Septet, Black Frames), teams up with instrument inventor Troy Swanson for Sound Installation Part 1, an improvised surround-sound installation through which live instrumentalists play into a "bizarre array" of 12 speakers scattered around Gallery 1412. CHRISTOPHER DeLAURENTI

Mikel Rouse performs Fri Mar 4 and Sun Mar 6 (On the Boards, 100 W Roy St, 217-9888), 8 pm, $18.

Catch Eric Ostrowski Fri Mar 4 and Sound Installation Part 1 Sun Mar 6 (Gallery 1412, 1412 18th Ave at E Union St, 322-1533), 8 pm, $5-$15 sliding scale donation.

The Desert runs Sat Mar 5 at 2 pm and 6 pm as well as Sun Mar 6 at 5 pm (On the Boards Studio Theater, 100 W Roy St, 217-9888), $10.

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