Bassist Thomas Heltons compositions pull from free jazz, chamber music, minimalist experiments and prog rock. Hes the leader of the Torture Chamber Ensemble, but dont let the name put you off. Heltons music is strangely enticing, far from torture and accessible, despite that convoluted opening description. Selfish Shellfish, off Heltons Experimentations in Minimalism record, wouldnt have sounded out-of-place if it was inserted into John Luries insinuating Down by Law score.
Interestingly, the Torture Chamber Ensembles upcoming performances at DiverseWorks will contain a kind of cinematic element. The group will score, in a sense, a live painting by artist Greg Scott. Helton describes the music as textural and ambient two words which will most likely translate into the painting as well. With schemes this alluring, whats with the brutal band name? Helton isnt forthcoming. I just like the name Torture Chamber Ensemble, he says. Is it TORTURE, chamber ensemble? Or TORTURE CHAMBER, ensemble? I imagine I could stir up some hidden meaning (or not so hidden), but Ill the people decide what its about. 8 p.m. today and tomorrow. 1117 East Freeway. For information, call 713-223-8346 or visit www.diverseworks.org. Pay-what-you-want.
Fri., Jan. 25, 8 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 26, 8 p.m., 2008