The young people squat in a semicircle before you in twilight, like campers gathered to tell ghost stories. Crickets chirp. Suddenly the stillness shatters before a cacophony of nightmare noises, a Frankenstein"s medley of horrific themes. As it approaches crescendo, you hear glass shattering, and the wailing of Ö things. Total darkness and silence arrive abruptly. Then, you hear only a honking car horn, as if from an urban legend"s finale.
Welcome to Indy"s chamber music underground, a wondrous land where experimental music and theatre mate to produce a new form of life. You"ve just experienced Tim Perrine"s "Moon Babies Get Off My Car!" (with theremin obbligato by Nathan Blume), opening the Oct. 24 program of the Jordan College of Fine Arts Composers Orchestra. Directed by the mad Dr. Michael Schelle, JCFACO performed forbidden experiments in new music-most of it very new-at Butler"s Robertson Hall Chapel. JCFACO explored the outer limits of vocal sounds within instrumental works in James Mobberley"s "Unexpected Voices." They played fast and furious mind games for Adam Cotton"s "Schemascapes." Mr. Alex Amerman led beautifully in a little red dress. JCFACO"s program pamphlets warn that "you won"t know who to trustÖwhat to believeÖor where to turn." You couldn"t even trust audience applause, for it segued into Steve Reich"s "Clapping Music." Perrine and Tony Brock showed how humans made music back in the days when their only instruments were their bodies. Joseph Burrow"s "Inner Light" with Haicong Ni on piano and a more manly Amerman on trombone, and George Antheil"s "Berceuse" with Schelle on piano, were like a soothing "Ave Maria" countering the frenzied "Night On Bald Mountain"-ish fare of the evening"s fantasia. Perrine"s arrangement of Danny Elfman"s "This Is Halloween" (from Nightmare Before Christmas) boasted the 666 Festival Singers, a cavorting quintet cute as chipmunks. For Kirk Nurock"s "Puffgerostetermaismusik," JCFACO, instructed only to "follow the kernels," took direction from Ö a popcorn popper? Popcorn, unlike a human conductor, is legally edible and works cheap. This reviewer found the direction, while spirited, lacking salt. JCFACO"s next performance is Nov. 21, 8 p.m.; call 940-9231. FREE admission!