This Saturday, June10, 2017 I am participating for the sixth time in Northern Spark. The project I’m directing is called Un:heard Resonance. Also involved are artists Mike Hodnick AKA Kindohm (music), Chris LeBlanc (visuals), Lucas Melchior AKA MKR (music), and Aaron Marx (design). I’m am also fortunate to have the help of several student / former student volunteers inlcuding: Mike Brooks, Mike Miller, Meg Gauthier, and Justin Maki. The piece will be performed at the Weisman Art Museum from 8:59pm to 5:26am. Yes, that is eight hours and twenty-seven minutes!
The piece is comprised of a series of electronic sonatas composed in real time with micro-sonic signals crowdsourced from the audience. A variety of microphones and sensors will be used to capture rarely heard vibrations emitted by geological, biological, and technological processes. Three movements chronicle the stages of the planet’s evolution: Geology, Biology, and Technology. The project will bring awareness to sonic activity rarely experienced within the environments we live in and exploit. The combination of micro-sonics and accompaniment will non-verbally stress hidden geological processes, the fragility and jeopardy of the ecosystem as it faces climate change, and the rapid, global expansion of technology.
It will also imply that technology may eventually replace the geological and biological states of the world. A precedent for this idea resides in the concept of “Computronium” theorized by Norman Margolus and Tommaso Toffoli at MIT, a hypothetical state of matter that would yield the most efficient and powerful atomic arrangement for computer processing. The Geology and Biology sonatas represent the first two sequential stages in the evolution of the planet, while Technology suggests the dystopian possibility of the world becoming a giant computer that no longer supports life as we know it.
Northern Spark attracts more than 100,000 visitors to experience hundreds of interactive art, music, and performance projects throughout the Nuit Blanche. This year the overall theme is Climate Chaos | People Rising. All the projects will be shown along the “Green Line”, a light rail line that stretches from downtown Minneapolis to downtown St. Paul, Minnesota.
I composed this track and performed it live while limiting myself to using three electronic instruments: Novation Circuit, PreenFM2, and a Moog Sub 37. Afterward I added a recording of a Tibetan tingsha bell that I captured using a matched pair of Rode NT5 condensers. The instruments were sequenced using the Squarp Pyramid, which might technically be considered a fourth instrument, but it is not a sound source.
I just had a listen to these videos of Keston and Westdal with Graham O’Brien on drums at Nublu in New York, Feb 7, 2009. The eight year old recordings were shot by my mate, Benjamin Montag, who is responsible for the majority of the art and design work for Unearthed Music, including the art on my new solo album, Isosceles.
I was using the Nublu house Rhodes, which I repaired earlier that night replacing a couple of broken tines and tuning a few notes. I brought along a laptop and interface to live-loop the Rhodes and send a click track to Graham. I borrowed the Korg MS2000 from Simone Giuliani. You may also notice distortion on the Rhodes at about 6:47. For that I brought along my BOSS DF-2 Super Distortion & Feedbacker pedal, which I have been using on Rhodes since the ’90s.
Since I had the laptop to loop the Rhodes in Ableton Live I ended up a few nice phrases that I ended up posting here on Audiocookbook. For example, in one post I shared a nice phrase and discussed my repair job before the gig and another includes a field recording inside a taxi on the way to the show. Checkout a few archival recordings from the gig below:
In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock for the last few weeks (I wouldn’t blame you if you were), the Walker Art Center is currently neck deep in a months long series of exhibitions and performances celebrating the life and work of choreographer Merce Cunningham. Merce Cunningham: Common Time includes a series of dance pieces in the Perlman Gallery with live musicians and former Merce Cunningham dancers. I have the privilege of performing on March 30, 2017 with Graham O’Brien for one of these ten Walker Cunningham events.
Cunningham and longtime partner/composer John Cage were renowned for their legendary collaborations with the most significant experimental musicians of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Join us to celebrate this remarkable legacy over two historic evenings with a festival of music and sound performances curated by composer/guitarist John King. Featured with King are electronic music pioneer and longtime Merce Cunningham Dance Company associate David Behrman, contemporary classical composer Christian Wolff, and composer/performers Joan La Barbara, Fast Forward, Ikue Mori, George Lewis, Zeena Parkins, and Radiohead’s Philip Selway with London multi-instrumentalist Quinta. Each evening consists of a separate set of solo, duo, ensemble, and landmark works, concluding with a collectively made real-time composition.
Visit the Walker Art Center to get tickets for one or both nights of music. I for one am thrilled to be a part of this series and look forward to participating as an audience member and a performer.
The International Festival and Conference on Sound in the Arts, Science and Technology (ISSTA 2017) is currently calling for works and papers to be presented at the Dundalk Institute of Technology, Ireland this September. Acceptable works include performances, installations, and workshops from makers, creators, performers, thinkers and researchers. The range of perspectives are broad and fascinating including: new creative approaches using self-designed or hacked controllers, communities and maker spaces/hackspaces, open culture and creative technologies to name a few.
ISSTA aims to bring together practitioners integrating fields of music, art, sound, science and technology. Our events serve musicians, researchers, scientists, engineers and artists by promoting sound within the arts, science and technology, within Irish and international communities. Since 2010 ISSTA has hosted an annual conference, gathering researchers from around the globe to present papers, installations, concerts and workshops. This year we are running our annual conference and festival at Dundalk Institute of Technology with Peter Kirn and Dr. Theresa Dillon as keynote speakers.