Maybe it was the economy or maybe it was a curatorial decision, but the 11th annual High Zero Festival in Baltimore, Md. didn’t have the “star power” of previous years. There was no Tony Conrad or Joe McPhee, but in a city with a solid bed of new music practitioners — organized by the keen ears of the High Zero organization — you really couldn’t ask for a more creative line-up.
As always, High Zero puts local Baltimore musicians, artists and dancers on the same stage as international veterans to completely improvise “new music,” a rather loose term for sound with little connection to established forms. As a recent set of a CDs documenting the festival’s 11 years reveals, High Zero Festival is the premier showcase for spontaneous sound.