For its 20th edition, experimental Baltimore festival High Zero hits the road | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

For its 20th edition, experimental Baltimore festival High Zero hits the road 

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click to enlarge Jamal Moore

Jamal Moore

Stewart Mostofsky

High Zero is a festival of improvised and experimental music that made its debut in Baltimore in 1999. Created by the Red Room Collective, an artist-run organization that’s been holding concerts at Normal’s Books & Records in Charm City since 1996, High Zero is on a mission to confront both audiences and performers with situations they’ve never faced before. Every festival set features a new collaboration, and the combinations of sound, motion, and visual artists they introduced transgress stylistic, generational, cultural, and social boundaries. This year, for its 20th iteration, High Zero is hitting the road. A caravan of Baltimore-based artists—including longtime veterans such as electronic musician and Red Room founder John Berndt, Matmos electronicist M.C. Schmidt, and Ancestral Duo saxophonist Jamal Moore—will travel to Chicago one weekend, New York the next, and return home at the end of September. In each city, they’ll play with a number of local musicians; in Chicago, the list of collaborators includes vocalist Carol Genetti, clarinet and piano player Angel Bat Dawid, and instrument inventor Eric Leonardson. Music like this comes with no guarantees, but you can be sure that over the course of the festival you’ll encounter something pretty noisy, something pretty queer (in every sense of the word), something pretty fearless—and maybe something that no one’s ever heard before.   v

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