The sense of crowded isolation is stretched to its breaking point in Grand Central Station. At the intersection that gives way to the Seven, the Green Line and the Time Square Shuttle, strangers jostle and politely shove one another on their way to work. Rush hour turns the keys, pulling on the violin strings until, Snap.
The tension broke under Lorenzo Lorca’s electric violin.
A swath of the crowd stopped. Listened. They didn’t push. They merely stood, cell phones in hand, recording the musical balancing act the man in all black built.
His instrument is less of a violin itself, and more of an allusion to one. Frets, strings, a chin rest, check; but in place of the warm wood body, there was a distinct absence, as though the violin was constructed with air.
At its base, a jack tethered Lorca to his amp, which pumped out not only a lithe sprint of music, but its accompaniment as well.
While Lorca was able to balance a certain flair (literally: he would pause and let a note hang, while his violin, vertical, balanced on his shoulder) I came away thinking that for all his showmanship, I wish he had put some more thought into costuming.
It’s a bias I openly claim: my introduction to the electric violin was through steampunk music and I automatically match the sound to the aesthetic; however, black cargo pants and a black t-shirt are so plain as to be inconsistent with the style of his performance.
Music Under New York, as a public venue and accessibility project is hit and miss, but Lorenzo Lorca struck a chord.