Treefort 2015: 208 Ensemble Finds Beauty Amid Chaos

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"This next song we're gonna play, it's a song by Beck. But it doesn't sound like Beck at all."—Jake Saunders, 208 Ensemble - BEN SCHULTZ
  • Ben Schultz
  • "This next song we're gonna play, it's a song by Beck. But it doesn't sound like Beck at all."—Jake Saunders, 208 Ensemble

While local chillwave group Shades played the Rose Room, and Astoria, Ore.-based dance-pop band Holiday Friends played Neurolux, the 208 Ensemble gave Treefort-goers a quiet, introspective moment at The District on March 27.

While the various spare pieces had enough pretty tunes and rousing riffs to please most pop fans, the overarching idea of 208 Ensemble's set didn't become clear until the final two compositions. The first, by renowned composer John Cage, was "Radio Music"—featuring eight radios as instruments—which came with a projection explaining that the piece was composed "around the concept that society was awash in a diversity of sounds broadcast by radio throughout the day." The second, by 208 member Missy Mazzoli, was the tense, yearning "Magic With Everyday Objects," prefaced by a note explaining that the piece was "about finding beauty and rapture in the midst of chaos, and about acknowledging the chaos that lies just beneath the surface of beauty."

That could describe Treefort fairly well, too.