The Guardian festival blog: Sandbox Percussion / Astrid review – virtuosos bring the fun of the fairground | Music

The vibe for this year’s Vale of Glamorgan festival – celebrating its 50th anniversary – has been celebratory and upbeat, with Sandbox Percussion reinforcing the feelgood factor in their exuberant St David’s Hall concert. The virtuosic New York quartet play from memory, so attuned to each other that it all becomes performance art, utterly mesmerising to watch.

Jason Treuting’s Extremes was an introduction to their slick coordination, four around a single bass drum, two peeling off to play metal pipes, but Charlie Peck’s Synthetic Twin by contrast used two specially constructed instruments. Electronic sounds were triggered by finger pressure with infrared sensors interpreting hand movements to alter those sounds. With such gestures guiding the ears to the aural patterns, we listened transfixed.

Steve Reich, festival patron this year, was represented by his Mallet Quartet, characteristic Reichian rhythmic propulsion…


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