In the 20th century, composers embraced decay. Not the cultural decay alleged by various polemics declaring the "end of music" that hounded Beethoven, Berlioz, and Wagner in the 19th century, but sonic decay: The dissolution, deterioration, and disintegration of sound itself became a means of discovery and, ironically, creation.
Recording technology enables the exploration and mechanization of decay by filtering and repeated layering. Piled on top of each other, sounds abrade and partially erase each other into something new. Jim Haynes encapsulates his own approach to decay succinctly: "I rust things."
In his installation Every Island Fled Away and the Mountains Could not Be Found, the Bay Area–based artist juxtaposes five wall-mounted sets of four-by-four panels against a buffet of wine glasses filled with rusty water. The panels feast on rust. One set suggests a trail of smeared, brandy-colored chromosomes smudged with carbonized fingerprints; my favorite panels hint at a gold-painted Klimt gone wrong, a forgery betrayed by polluting bits of ocher and amber.
Arrayed on four pedestals, the wine glasses sit atop speaker cones, smothering crackles into the quiet fizzing chatter of a Geiger counter, another sign of (radioactive) decay. Haynes calibrated the volume masterfully. The vibrations gently disturb the innards of each glass. Translucent flakes, particles of rust, and plain old dirt move slowly, slightly. Yet to hear the sound fully, you must peer into the glasses themselves. Otherwise the sound only mumbles.
While rust obviously denotes decay, more detrimental forces work secretly. As the installation ages, the speaker cones, weary of such unusual weight, will wear out, slowly changing the sound.
Every Island Fled Away and the Mountains Could not Be Found runs through Oct 26 at Jack Straw Productions, 4261 Roosevelt Way NE, 634-0919, Mon–Fri 9 am–6 pm, free.
This quartet, led by trumpeter and Garfield Jazz alum Josh Deutsch, rarely stray from the straight-ahead but nonetheless sound fresh. Tula's, 2214 Second Ave, 443-4221, 8 pm—midnight, $8.
OLYMPIC MUSIC FESTIVAL
Held just outside Quilcene on the Olympic peninsula, this festival features chamber music in a rustic barn. After weeks and weeks of Mozart, Beethoven, and Dvorák, it's time for an all-Brahms program. On the docket: the Sonata for Cello and Piano, no. 2, op. 99; the Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, no. 2, op. 120; and the Trio for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano, op. 114. See olympicmusicfestival.org for directions. Also Sun Sept 2 at 2 pm. The Barn, Center Road outside of Quilcene, 527-8839, 2 pm, $10—$24.
I don't agree with other jazz freaks that slick fusion groups like the Yellowjackets destroy, damage, or otherwise demean jazz. Instead, I'm fascinated by the amnesia emanating from these eminently skilled musicians; the innovations of the 1960s—free jazz, anarchic electronics, and hopscotch eclecticism—barely reverberate, a remote distress signal squelched by funky bass lines, impassioned sax leads, and synth washes. The Triple Door, 216 Union St, 838-4333, 7 (all ages) and 9:30 pm (21+), $20 adv/$23 DOS.
THE SUFFERING FUCKHEADS
Percolating chord comping by Hammond organist Ron Weinstein anchors this brash, bratty, swinging outfit. Guest vocalists C. T. (Suicide Jack), Brad Mowen (the Accüsed, and the cringingly named Master Musicians of Bukkake), and Billy Joe Huels (the Dusty 45s) join drummer Mike Peterson, saxophonist Craig Flory, and trumpeter Tom Marriott. Owl 'N Thistle, 808 Post Ave, 621-7777, 9 pm, free.
Circa A.D. 530, St. Benedict prescribed music and manual labor as an antidote to the excesses of monasticism (self-flagellation, standing on a pillar year after year, vermiform mortification, etc.). Benedict outlined seven offices to be spoken and sung. Compline, the last holy office of the day, is sung after dinner, hence the late Sunday start time. St Mark's Cathedral, 1245 10th Ave E, 323-0300, 9:30 pm, free.
JIM KNAPP ORCHESTRA
Why do so many top-drawer musicians gravitate to this jazz orchestra? Knapp's charts swing while skirting the usual clichés of big-band jazz. Indeed, the presence of flutist Paul Taub, French hornist Tom Varner, and Chris Stover on bass trombone testifies to Knapp's open ear for new sonorities. Seattle Drum School, 12510 15th Ave NE, 364-8815, 8 pm, $5/$10.
A legendary composer who has scored countless movies (including the landmark Les Parapluies de Cherbourg), Legrand also cowrote schlocky-yet-sophisticated standards (such as "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?" and "The Windmills of Your Mind"), as well as collaborated with a slew of jazz greats, most notably Miles Davis. Here, the pianist and occasional vocalist surveys his extensive oeuvre in a classic trio format with bassist David Finck and Lewis Nash on drums. Also Wed Sept 5 at 7:30 pm. Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave, 441-9729, 7:30 pm, $28.50.