Published Sep 19, 2014There was something humbling being in the presence of 81-year-old Morton Subotnick as he took the stage during the opening New Forms Festival showcase in the Omnimax Theatre. The shuffling crowd quickly calmed themselves and Subotnick began teasing the speakers with cricketing sounds that crawled from one side of the room to the other. Soon, more layers would enter until chaotic washes of audio filled the space with disarray.
It became clear early on how perfect a venue it was for the intricacies of this style of performance. Subotnick's environments were complex, scattered and only rarely exhibiting a semblance of order. He was always active on his desk, reaching from one end to the other, eagerly bringing new elements into the mix like a mad scientist. While this led to the odd inconsistency, with sounds occasionally jumping out abnormally high in the mix and despite two small interruptions from an over-eager sound technician, it was hardly enough to take away from the brilliance on display.