There were 20 separate numbers on the program of the Entourage Music and Theatre Ensemble at the Marvin Theatre last night. But they were so unrelentingly psychedelic, so spaced out, that it wasn't long before one began to merge into another, and by the end the entire program seemed fused into a single sludgy mass of sound and pulse.
Led by Joe Clark, the Marylandbased ensemble, which includes piano, viola, saxophones, percussion and guitars, both acoustic and electric, has made numbers of recordings and national tours. As the name suggests, their work also involves multimedia aspects -- on this occasion they were joined by solo dancers Martha Moore and Ara Fitzgerald, as well as a trio from Washington's Dance Construction Company.
The Entourage music sounded something like a cross between the kind of astral rock that comes out of such European groups as Krafftwerk and Tangerine Dream, and the trance music of composers like Steve Reich and Phil Glass. Almost every piece was dominated by ostinato patterns and static harmonic fields, onto which were grafted ornate chant-like or plaintive melodic effusions.
The format didn't allow for much in the way of dance beyond extended doodles with an occasional arresting image -- The Dance Construction people, for emample, used a length of cloth now as a prayer rug, now as mummy-wrapping. All in all, it was an often tedious and sporadicaly diverting trip to lotus land.