The EAR Unit‘s activities assert, above all, that inventive new music can, if properly nurtured, maintain the power to pound the emotions and tickle the ear, sometimes simultaneously. Fred Rzewski’s 1971 Coming Together, the program‘s earliest piece, bore out that premise: an insistent work that knits phrases from a letter by an Attica Prison inmate (who would later be martyred) into a shattering instrumental background. So did the most recent, the 1998 Girlfriend by Bang-on-a-Can’s Julia Wolfe, an interweave of dirgelike instrumental music and horrifying sounds of traffic accidents. The crowd at LACMA that night was not as large as it should have been, but that‘s a constant problem at the museum, with its zero promotional budget. It’s a source of amazement and joy that these concerts -- and groups like the EAR Unit itself -- survive at all.