I always applaud music organizations that program concerts full of fresh pieces by young composers. Thus, though they may have overshot the mark a bit by programming no less than eleven pieces on Friday, I give due credit to NYC-based Quiet City for an ambitious, eclectic performance of new music.

The evening began with “No Hipster Hats” for trumpet and tape by Adam Cuthbért, who also performed. Using Ableton Live and a controller, Cuthbért created a layered, ambient electronic piece by looping and manipulating the sounds he made with his trumpet. Highly coordinated in his frequent moves between the controller and the trumpet, the visual effect created an interesting cognitive dissonance with the Eno-esque music.

Stand out pieces on the program included “pppppppppppppppp” by Matthew Hough, an open instrumentation work performed here on keyboard, sax, cello and violin. As can be gleaned from the title, the piece hovered on the edge of silence, the performers’ extremely quiet gestures sounding akin to a hurried, whispered conversation, drawing you in to hear its secrets.

Drake Andersen‘s “Four Boughs” for voice, flute, guitar and percussion was a sparse piece whose individual instrumental parts were loosely organized around a text called “The Mirror” by Analicia Sotelo. As each performer interpreted their part the audience experienced differing perspectives of each one’s interaction with the others. Hence, as the composer put it, the piece is like looking up into the boughs of a tree: “the shapes scatter and the sunlight reaches the eye by different lines.”

“Variations on Control” for Pierrot ensemble and percussion by Luke Schwartz explored the tension between the influence of the past over the present, and of the composer over the performer. Determinate music represented the past and the composer, while freer moments in which only parameters were given represented the present, and the performer’s influence over the “here and now.”

While crazy lengthy, the concert did serve as a reminder to me of just how much experimental music is being made in New York City; and its performance in a small blackbox in Queens reminded me just how underground (often quite literally) this music lives its life.