Interview: Graham’s O’Brien’s Drum Controller Video Series

Drum Controller - Graham O'Brien

Graham O’Brien is an exceptional and inventive drummer, composer, and producer. It has been my privilege to play with him at dozens shows and on at least five separate projects over the last eight years. His latest solo endeavor is a series of five videos titled Drum Controller. Graham had discussed his goals for the project with me, but when I saw/heard the videos I was immediately impressed. I wanted to know more about how he was able to trigger these beautiful and complex electro-acoustic arrangements without touching anything other than his minimal kit of kick, two snares, high hats, and a ride.

Note: Graham will be performing music with his Drum Controller setup and Thomas Nordlund on guitar at Honey in Minneapolis this Sunday, June 5, 2017. Read on for the interrview and a look at his video series. Continue reading

J. Anthony Allen on Art + Music + Technology

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J. Anthony Allen is a fascinating artist with whom I have the honor being a colleague and collaborator. J was recently interviewed by Darwin Grosse for his podcast Art + Music + Technology. Give it a listen to learn more about J’s background, artistic direction, and projects at large.

In addition to the podcast J also will be releasing a remix album titled Conic Arias of which I played a part by remixing the track Time Givers from Aniscorcia. The album comes out April 5th, but you can hear it now on SoundCloud:

Ostracon and Chris LeBlanc Featured at #L2L, Feb 10, 2016

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My eletroacoustic duet, Ostracon in collaboration with Graham O’Brien on drums, is performing at the Landmark to Lowertown series hosted by the American Composers Forum. Chris LeBlanc will be joining us with his modular, analog, video synthesis system running through a wall of vintage 22″ CRT monitors. Our performance starts at noon at the Bedlam Theatre in St. Paul.

The Forum is pleased to announce its second season of Landmark to Lowertown, a program where new music sees the light of day in downtown St. Paul. In starting a new tradition, this season’s composer/performers are awardees of the Minnesota Emerging Composer Award (MECA) from ACF and generously funded by the Jerome Foundation, an award that highlights artists in Jazz/Improvisation, Electronic, and World music.

Ostracon is in the process of finishing our 2nd album. There’s no scheduled release date as of yet, but the recordings have been made and editing is underway. Expect more announcements about the album within the next couple of months. For now we will be pleased to see you at the Bedlam on February 10, 2016!

Video: 70 Crowdsourced Scores Performed in 9 Hours

On June 13, 2015 I collaborated with a team of nine students and nine musicians on a project I directed for Northern Spark, an annual, all-night, art festival In Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. We titled the project, Instant Composer: Mad-libbed Music and the intent was to engage the audience into instantly writing musical compositions for an ensemble of improvising musicians.

I discussed the concept here in-depth and also announced the project last June. I had no idea what to expect, but was thrilled with the outcome. Around 115 crowdsourced scores were entered into a database via our mobile application. During the nine hour performance we interpreted nearly 70 of those pieces for the audience.

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This video should give you a sense of what went on that night, but no media can fully represent an event like this. I can say that it wouldn’t have happened without the student collaborators, our collective of excellent musicians, the Northern Spark organizers, Art Institutes Minnesota, and the hundreds of people in our audience willing to engage in the process. Please see the video for the full project credits.

Art + Music + Technology

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Recently I had the honor and pleasure of having a discussion with Darwin Grosse for his podcast Art + Music + Technology. If you’re not familiar with his interviews I suggest that you check out his program. Darwin’s straight forward conversations with a broad range of media artists seem to fill a void that no other programs do. It’s hard to single out any of the programs specifically because they are all entertaining (and educational), but some of my favorites (sorted alphabetically) include:

Brian Crabtree
Richard Devine
R. Luke DuBois
Mark Henrickson
Andrew Kilpatrick
Keith McMillen
Ali Momeni
Pauline Oliveros
Gregory Taylor
David Zicarelli