Suitably enough, the four-concert festival attached to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's "Made in California" exhibition ended with a Monday Evening Concerts homecoming. The California EAR Unit, raised on Southland soil, gave a performance linked to the festival and its own long-standing LACMA residency. It was an evening chockablock with premieres, local and global.
Unit players Amy Knoles and Robin Lorentz gave world premieres of their own very different pieces, both involving video. Lorentz's entrancingly spare "Blind Window" eschewed virtuosity, with its palette of wind sounds and desultory percussion complementing Angie Bray's black-and-white imagery of gently fluttering fabric. Knoles' "Squint" builds its rough, tumbling mesh of rhythmic phrases around imagery, in a video by Richard Hines and Knoles, of hypnotic slo-mo traffic.
The EAR Unit's Rand Steiger honors a late UC San Diego colleague with his "For Marnie Dilling"--in it Dorothy Stone's piccolo wandering ruefully through a house-of-mirrors backdrop of prerecorded flutes.
The ensemble's flexibility was neatly showcased in Nicholas Francis Chase's "Sp!t", the title's exclamation point justified by the work's brawling yet taut energy, "Rite of Spring"-meets-Metallica accents and smart use of a turntable. Steven Hoey's mercurial "Coloratura" brought out the group's gift for shifting gracefully between atmospheric passages and intricate coordination.