Don’t be intimidated by the website description that calls the High Zero Festival’s “the premier festival of Improvised, Experimental music on the East Coast.”

To be sure, the gathering does celebrate some of the tight-knit experimental music world’s most innovative artists, who come from as close as Charm City and as far as Norway and Germany. Each of the 22 participants in this year’s 21st annual festival carry their peculiar talents through four nights of spontaneously generated, category-defining music. Organizers similarly generate the final concert’s sets at random, with 15 performers split into four groups.

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Despite perception. participating artists insist that they seek not to alienate listeners with incomprehensible noise, but to invite them into a special shared experience.

“[My performance] can strike [some] people as unmusical, and I would encourage those people to try to listen to it as they would birdsong, waves crashing, trains, etc., rather than music, and see if they like it better,” guitarist Owen Gardner wrote in an email.

The never-before-seen-or-played works aren’t the only novel part of the High Zero Festival, which takes place Sept. 19-22 at the Baltimore Theatre Project in Mid-Town Belvedere. The artists’ unique instruments, ranging from inventively altered common ones (double bass, violin, etc.) to reconfigured devices (guitar pedals’ circuit boards), promise to pique audience’s curiosity beyond the sounds they emit. Here are five such instruments, with comments from the artists using them, that promise to shift your perception of what’s musically possible.

If you go

Find a new vibration when the 21st annual High Zero Festival commences at 8:30 p.m., Sept. 19-22. All concerts take place at the Baltimore Theatre Project, 45 W. Preston St. If this list inspires you to create, check out the annual High Jinx parade at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, also at the Baltimore Theatre Project. Purchase tickets, ranging from $10 to $16 per night (or $40-42 for a full festival pass), at highzero.org.

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