CONCERT ONE:

Ghostbusters One of my interests as a composer is the way we experience sounds in three-dimensional space. In Ghostbusters four electric guitarists with mini-amps and effects boxes strapped to their bodies circulate through the concert hall, gently illuminating its acoustic properties and creating a web of echoing harmonies. A percussionist adds to the sonic texture by playing tuned flower pots, a sampler, and a bass drum played with coils made from old piano strings.

 

David Claman holds degrees from Wesleyan University where he studied the music of South India, from the University of Colorado, and from Princeton where he completed his Ph.D. in 2002. He is an adjunct professor at Lehman College CUNY in the Bronx. He received a fellowship from The American Institute of Indian Studies in 1998 and has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center. He has received commissions from The American Composers Forum, the Cygnus Ensemble, Tara Helen O’Connor, Noa Even, John McDonald and Tufts Univesity, and The New Millennium Ensemble. Recordings can be found on the Innova, Capstone and Bridge labels.

 

Sequitur VIII:

Sequitur is a series of compositions for solo instruments and live-electronics which are written for outstanding soloists. The aim is to create various pieces which uses the same computer program - the so-called Sequitur-Generator which is written in MaxMSP. It generates a complex 8-part canon from the instrument's live input as an accompaniment. Unlike traditional canons, the individual canonic layers do not enter at regular intervals but in a sort of acceleration which results in an increasing structural density. Moreover, the single canonic layers are getting gradually distorted - as if the were decaying. And at last, the 8 parts do not always play together, but are constantly cross-faded by using random operations, which results in every-changing and unforeseeable structural interactions where the canon can vary between 1 and 8 voices.

 

In other words: A strict and mechanical construction principle of the canon (hence the title Sequitur from the Latin word which translates into "it follows") is subversively excavated. This finally results in an unpredictable system that in fact uses the input of the soloist as its basic material but also shows an autonomous and secret behavior.

 

This dichotomy challenges the soloist who is performing a score, which consists of accurately notated musical actions, which are separated by fermatas. As the lengths of those fermatas is not indicated, the performer decides how long they lasts - according to output which the computer creates in real time.

 

Finally, the computer-generated canon structures run through a series of sound transformers (like ring modulator, harmonizer and pitch shifter) where the sonic shape of the sound can be altered. These processes can either be controlled by the instrumentalists themselves by employing external controllers like pedals, stomp buttons or MIDI faders, or by a second musician who operates the live electronics independently.

 

The title Sequitur advertently relates to the famous "Sequenze" of Luciano Berio. It is an attempt to write a series of pieces, which take advantage of the idiosyncratic instrumental possibilities - and confront them with a real-time sound processing environment that has its own life.

 

Karlheinz Essl: (b Vienna, 15 Aug 1960). Austrian composer, improviser and performer. He attended the Vienna Musikhochschule (1979--87), where he studied with Friedrich Cerha and Dieter Kaufmann, among others. He also studied musicology and art history at the University of Vienna (doctorate 1989; thesis published as Das Synthese-Denken bei Anton Webern, Tutzing 1991). Active as a double bassist until 1984, he played in chamber and experimental jazz ensembles. As a composer he has contributed to the Projekt 3 composition programming environment of Gottfried Michael Koenig at Utrecht and Arnheim (1988-89), which later transformed into his own Real Time Composition Library (RTC-lib) for Max/MSP/Jitter. Essl also served as composer-in-residence at the Darmstadt summer courses (1990-94) and completed a commission for IRCAM. Between 1995-2006 he taught Algorithmic Composition at the Studio for Advanced Music & Media Technology at the Bruckner University, Linz. Professor of composition for electro-acoustic and experimental music at the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts as of 2007.

 

Dazwischer

For electric guitar & live-electronic

(the title is a -nonexistant- comparative of the german word "dazwischen" - "between" and is meant to signify the position of the piece somewhere between a concert piece and an installation)

 

The length of a delay-line is bound to the intensity of the feedback resulting from an electric guitar lying on an amplifier. after a period of oscillation, the resulting feedback system settles into stable conditions.

 

At this point, the role of the musician is to destabilize the system again by slightly tuning down one of the strings (only the 3 lower strings are used, the others are muted). when the system has then stabilized again, the process continues. the piece ends, when all strings are hanging loose.

 

Hans W. Koch (*1962) studied music, history and physics from 1984-88 at the pedogical university of Weingarten/Wuerttbg. and from 1988-95 composition at the Cologne Cniversity of music with Johannes Fritsch. Besides the creation of open musical forms for various ensembles, often including live-electronic and interdisciplinary aspects, he develops installations in mixed media. Often the search for hidden aspects of everyday-tools leads to sounds and musical structures. This also extends to the use of computers as musical instruments in a rather physical manner. his artistic work brought him to many countries in Europe, Japan and the USA. In the spring 2007 he was visiting professor for composition and experimental sound practices at the California Institute of the Arts. More information in the internet: <www.hans-w-koch.net>.

 

This Is Not A Guitar is a performance-oriented composition that exploits the electric guitar as an instrument that is necessarily mediated by amplifiers, numerous processors that remain mysterious "black boxes" to the audience, and physically displaced speakers. Audiences have come to overlook the disembodiment of the resulting sound from the physical actions that create it. As this disembodiment spreads to other parts of musical experience, e.g., YouTube, Second Life, iPods, etc., audiences continue to become desensitized to the effects of mediation on live performance. Instead of assuming equality between live and mediated forms, this work highlights "liveness" and mediation as a new dimension in which musical structure, tension/release, and meaning can be built. All sounds heard come from the live guitarist during performance, but in many moments, the live act of playing is sliced away from the resulting sound and recombined with the sight of other live acts, establishing a counterpoint in this new dimension of musical expression.

 

Jeff Morris is an Assistant Lecturer in computer music and coordinator of technology facilities for the Department of Performance Studies at Texas A&M University. He has studied at the Florida State University and the University of North Texas, where he served on the staff of the Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia. Dr. Morris composes for traditional instruments, fixed electronic media, and interactive electronics. His works have been performed internationall and include multimedia works and collaborations with dance artists. Notable events include the eXtensible Toy Piano Pro ject, the Bonk Festival of New Music, Electronic Music Midwest, and the Ybor Festival of the Moving Image. He has also given presentations and performances at conferences including the International Computer Music Conference and International Society for Improvised Music.

 

CYCLIC MATH SHRED is a controlled improvisation in four parts created in the MAX/MSP environment incorporating two vernacular styles:  heavy metal and psychedelic rock and roll.  Rather than try to emulate these styles, the essence or remnants of the styles are incorporated rarefying the comic and the quasi-mystic elements of heavy metal and psychedelic rock respectively.

 

Chapman Welch received his M.M. in music composition and electronic music from the University of North Texas where he worked at the Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia (CEMI) from 2001 through 2006 and is currently serving as the support specialist for the Rice Electro-Acoustic Music Labs (REMLABS) at Rice University while pursuing his doctoral studies with Andrew May and Jon Christopher Nelson.  Other influential teachers include Joseph “Butch” Rovan, Cindy McTee, and Joseph Klein. He received his undergraduate degree in philosophy from Mississippi State University where he studied composition and jazz piano with Mark Applebaum and composition with Andrew May. Welch’s music has been presented at numerous festivals in the United States and abroad including the LaTex festival, June in Buffalo, SPARK, Hawaii International Conference for the Humanities, the Florida Electro-Acoustic Music Festival, ICMC 2004, and the 2004 and 2005 SEAMUS conferences.  Mr. Welch was also chosen as a finalist for the 2003 Bourges electroacoustic prize (Degree I).

 

Transit of Venus (for electric guitar with four virtual guitars): Back in June 2004 much of the world saw the planet Venus drift between the Earth and the face of the sun.  What a sight it was! This piece is inspired by the sense of scale, operational complexity and majesty of that event.

 

Matthew Malsky's (b. 1961) compositional style is characterized by its rhythmic vitality, dramatically crafted gestures, melodic angularity, and irony. His music has been described as economical and elegant in both its technical and intellectual rigor, and in the way cutting-edge electronics are fully integrated with live performance. Malsky's compositions speak with intensity, seriousness and an underlying inquisitiveness about the boundaries between a complex world and a searching interior voice. His compositions have been performed and acclaimed internationally at the Ultima Festival in Oslo, Norway, the Bytes of Art Festival @ Ylem in San Francisco, the En red 0-2000 Festival in Barcelona, the iChamber performing series at Arizona State University, national Society for Electro Acoustic Music-US conferences, the Australasian Computer Music Conference in Wellington, New Zealand, the International Computer Music Festival in Kobe, Japan, the Bowling Green New Music and Art Festival and others. His virtuosic compositions for acoustic instruments with live computer processing have attracted the interest of outstanding soloists including John Bruce Yeh (Chicago Symphony), Esther Lamneck (NYU), Frank Cox (c-squared), and Patti Monson (Sequitur). His second string quartet, Lacan, was recently premiered by the Penderecki String Quartet and will soon be recorded for release on the EMF Media label by the Boston-based quartet, QX.

 

Extended in All Directions: The relatively short history of the electric guitar has been extremely rich in sonic innovation.  This piece, a solo improvisation on the electric guitar with live electronic signal processing, draws on this history and attempts to bring something new to the repertoire.  The piece features an array of extended techniques for the instrument, including preparations and non-standard playing techniques (e.g. scraping strings with tools such as letter openers or files.  Another technique involves pouring drops of water into a container resting on the guitar strings.)  
    The electric guitar carries with it the baggage of the rock ‘guitar hero.’  I will make reference to some of these sounds and recontextualize them within this piece by juxtaposing and integrating these references with non-idiomatic improvisational music.  I aim to find connections between the sonic explorations of artists like Jimi Hendrix and trends in contemporary art music, to draw on the richness of popular traditions but to also subvert some of their assumptions.  Likewise, I will make references to the classical guitar tradition and recontextualize this sound within this setting. As well, by integrating idiomatic playing as another sound resource in the array of different sounds used in this piece, I challenge the divide between ‘music’ and ‘noise’ that is sometimes made even in avant-garde music.  ‘Music’ becomes another ‘noise.’

 

Sundar Subramanian, 28, is a Canadian composer and guitarist completing coursework for the PhD in music composition at SUNY Buffalo. He completed his undergraduate studies at Carleton University in Ottawa and his MA in composition at York University in Toronto, where for his thesis, he wrote a series of pieces that synthesize composition with improvisation, often by using elements of graphic notation.  


Sundar has worked extensively with extended techniques for the electric guitar, including alternate tunings, preparations, and effects pedals, and, most recently, real-time Max/MSP processing.  He has had works performed by performers including the Barton Workshop, Seth Josel, David Mott, Christina Petrowska-Quilico, the Madawaska String Quartet, and Arraymusic.  A highlight of his musical career was playing in the premiere of Glenn Branca’s 13th symphony Hallucination City in New York in the summer of 2001 (on the roof of the still-standing World Trade Centre).

 

Push - John Fitz Rogers
(solo electric guitar)

My collaboration with John Fitz Rogers is a perfect example of the old adage “be careful what you wish for...…”.  When John was first forming ideas about Push he asked if I had any general requests for the piece and I foolishly asked him to make it fast and virtuosic.  A request he obviously took as a challenge.  When I received the first draft of this wonderfully aggressive assault, I was astonished by the shear number of black dots.  John confided that this was the most he ever had to work to compose five and a half minutes of music to which I responded comfortingly that this was the most I ever had to work to play five and a half minutes of music.
-Michael Nicolella

grey angel
- Christopher DeLaurenti
(electric guitar and pre-recorded sound)

grey angel
reflects my interest in updating the musician-plus-tape genre of
electroacoustic music by distorting and blurring the perceptible distinction between what is 'live' and prerecorded, two categories which are ultimately meaningless to a truly attentive and absorbed listener. Through the use of deeply reductive materials, I intended the score of grey angel to foster imaginative, out-of-the-box interpretation and improvisation with electronics.
-Christopher DeLaurenti


GRAB IT! (for electric guitar and boombox)was originally composed for tenor saxophone and boombox, is heard here in an arrangement for electric guitar. Growing up in the Netherlands during the sixties with blues, jazz and rock, American music had a strong impact on my own music. In my opinion, the roots of all these different musical styles can be found in the American language, in the spoken word.  I think that language is one of the origins of music.  The more emotional the spoken word, the more it starts ‘singing and becomes ‘music.

In GRAB IT! I tried to explore the ‘no-man’s-land’ between language and music. I selected voice samples from life-sentenced prisoners. Their world, on the fringe of society, with its heartbreaking verbal assaults moved me deeply and inspired me to write the piece. The rough vital sound of these shouting men formed a perfect unity with the harsh and powerful sound of the tenor sax (or in this case, electric guitar). GRAB IT! is a kind of duet, a ‘duel
if you like: The guitar competes unisono with a  perpetual range of syllables, words and sentences. The meaning of the lyrics becomes gradually clear during the piece, as well as the hopeless situation for the prisoners, where suicide is not uncommon: “He tied one end around the pipe, and he hung himself. So he went out the back door rapped up in a green sheet with a tag on his toe....You lose everything!” In a way death row is a metaphor for life here. Yet the piece is not just sad, but can also be understood as a ‘memento vivere’. Life is worth living: Grab it!
-Jacob Ter Veldhuis

 

Michael Nicolella is recognized as one of America's most innovative classical guitarists. He has received wide critical acclaim for his performances, recordings and compositions. Classical Guitar magazine recently referred to him as ½one of the contemporary guitars most gifted stars…; while the Washington Post stated “Since the passing of Andres Segovia the guitar world has needed an advocate... perhaps Michael Nicolella is that person”.

A uniquely eclectic and versatile artist, Michael blurs the lines between musical styles and disciplines. He is part of a growing trend in classical music to revitalize the role of the composer/performer. As a concert artist he frequently programs his own works for guitar in solo, chamber and orchestral settings. His latest orchestral work, "Ten Years Passed," for electric guitar and orchestra, was premiered in 2007 by the Northwest Symphony Orchestra. Known for his creative programming, he has introduced electric guitar into his "classical" programs and extended the repertoire and audience of his instrument not only with his own compositions and transcriptions, but also by premiering and commissioning works by some of today's most exciting emerging composers.

His most recent recording, "Shard,"
features his composition for classical guitar and orchestra, "Guitar Concerto," along with music by Reich, Carter, ter Veldhuis, DeLaurenti, Mesler and Kohl.   It is the stylistic follow up to Nicolella's critically acclaimed release of contemporary music for classical and electric guitar entitled Push. In Gramophone John Duarte called Push a display of stunning technical skill and unfailing musicality over a very broad spectrum"; while Shard was described in a recent issue of Frets magazine as “an exciting textbook on how to honor the classical tradition and kick it in the ass at the same time”.

 

 

CONCERT TWO:

 

Electro-acoustic Improvisation

Outof Time (Energy is Form) is an electro-acoustic improvisation (for Electric Guitar, Drums, Lap-Top and Real-Time 3D Graphics) structured in time by the consideration of “energy” as a formal device.  Electric guitar and acoustic drums provide the primary sound sources for real-time computer driven processing and analysis-based re-synthesis.  Almost all of the resultant multi-layered electronic sound is derived from these two sound sources in real-time via custom software created by the composer in Max/MSP.  In addition, other carefully prepared samples provide the performers with catalysts for interaction over the course of the improvisation.  The composite sound also provides control data (after sonic-analysis and mapping) for real-time visual graphics manipulation in another custom software system (created by the composer) utilizing the Jitter OpenGL framework.

 

Brian Knoth is a composer/musician and digital media artist/researcher specializing in the use of sound, moving image and new interfaces.  His work explores cross-sensory dynamics and computer mediated interaction.  This work is realized in several formats including installation, fixed media audiovisual composition, and live performance.  He is currently a graduate student studying Computer Music and Multimedia Composition at Brown University.

 

R. A. Fish started playing drums in 1961 and studied with Alan Dawson at the Berklee College of Music. He has performed with Perry Robinson (10 time Downbeat Critics' Poll winning jazz clarinetist), Mary Travers of PP and M, the Drifters, Reeve Little, John Payne, The Puosette-Dart Band, Chet Baker, Victor Assis Brasil, as well as pianist/composer Michael Harrison in collaboration with Rumi scholar Sharam T. Shiva.  He has recorded two CDs for Lyrichord Discs <www.lyrichord.com>.

 

 

Book of Sins     was started in 1999 as a work-in-progress piece. The idea was that through performances the pieces develop and change - unlike a fixed composition that only is being played good or not so good. The final set will be seven pieces for electric guitar (or multiple guitars) and live-electronics, each one titled after one of the ‘7 deadly sins’ and a famous erotic and rule-breaking, and therefore political, book. Book of Sins refers to the electric guitar as the revolutionary instrument of the second half of the 20th century. The electric guitar (players) broke many rules and committed therefore many ‘musical sins’. It became an expression and icon of sexual and political liberation since it entered the main stage in the 1950s (replacing the saxophone), combining (loud) political expression with hedonism. Each piece exists in its written form in a state of ‘quantum flux’, allowing for an infinite, but limited number of realizations. And only a performance determinates its momentary ‘gestalt’, which will be different again in the next performance. Therefore the work-in-progress character - although sometimes it would’ve been easier to just write a version down to be played…
 
The just-intonation tuning of the guitar is an ideal, which as soon as the first note is being played is being ‘dirty-fied’. So again the illusion of a ‘state-of-paradise’ is being destroyed by the sin of playing and the search for knowledge and self-knowledge. But again as in quantum theory, the ideal state, although theoretical there, is for us humans non-existent, because we only experience ‘observed’ reality. This is not music about semantics, or gestures, it is not about emotions, nor does it tell a story, it simply wants to exist and grow. Dedicated to Seth Josel.

 

Ulrich Krieger is a composer, performer, improviser and experimental rock musician.
 
He calls his style of working ‘acoustic electronics’, using sounds, that appear to be electronic, but are produced on acoustic instruments and then sometimes treated electronically, blurring the borders between the fields. Krieger transcribed Lou Reed's (in)famous Metal Machine Music for chamber ensemble, and works with groups like Text of Light (with Lee Ranaldo and Alan Licht) and zerfall–gebiete (with Thomas Koner) in the nirvana between experimental rock, ambient, noise and contemporary composition.
 
Born 1962, in Freiburg, Germany, he lived in Berlin from 1983-2007 with longer residencies in the USA and Italy between 1991-97. In September 2007 he moved to California, where he is professor for composition and experimental sound practice at the 'California Institute for the Arts'. He studied classical saxophone, composition, electronic music and musicology at the Manhattan School of Music (NYC), the UniversitĢt der Künste (Berlin) and the Freie UniversitĢt (Berlin), as well as pursuing independent studies and research in the didjeridu and Australian Aboriginal music and culture.
 
Krieger has worked with Lou Reed, Lee Ranaldo, Phill Niblock, David First, Thomas Köner, Alan Licht, Michiko Hirayama, Witold Szalonek, Mario Bertoncini, Miriam Marbe, Seth Josel, Zbigniew Karkowski, Merzbow, zeitkratzer and many others performing in Europe, North-America, Asia and Australia.
 
His works are being performed by the California EAR Unit, zeitkratzer, KontraTrio, Soldier String Quartet, Wandelweiser Ensemble, Ensemble UnitedBerlin and many others.
 
Krieger received grants from the German DAAD program, the Darmstadter Summer Courses for New Music, the city of Berlin and many others and was a Composer-In-Residence at Villa Aurora (Los Angeles), Villa Serpentara (Rome), German Research Centre Venice (Italy), University of East Anglia (England), the City of Bologna (Italy) and the Music Centre North Queensland (Australia). He has released over 50 CDs of his original compositions, improvisations, with his groups and as a collaborator with many musicians. 

 

Transmission for electric guitar and live electronics was commissioned by ELISION and is dedicated to Daryl Buckley. Its main point of departure is a system of composed movements across the guitar which generate changing harmonic fields: this “fabric” is used to produce the notated materials, by diverse means of compositorial derivation, and also the sound-materials played out of the computer (in the second, fourth and last of the six sections), which are derived from a recording of the “fabric”. The processes of derivation (of transmission of the original “message”) continue during live performance: the compositional process by means of improvisational playing which emerges from “lacunae” in the score of the fourth section, and the technological process by means of live electronic processing of the guitar throughout. The original “fabric” underlies the entire performance as if it were a deep archaeological stratum, whose transmission to the surface of the music proceeds through distortions, elucidations, losses and reconstructions, and so forth.

 

Another point of departure was an attempt to reconceive the electric guitar itself, neither as an expanded (or impoverished, depending on one’s point of view) version of its “classical” forebear, nor as a medium for effecting a fashion-conscious fusion with its familiar contemporary vocabulary. transmission uses a “hybrid” instrument equipped with both “electric” and “acoustic” outputs, and uses playing techniques related to both of the above traditions as well as (probably most importantly) what Derek Bailey calls “non-idiomatic improvisation” (to which I would prefer the term “radically idiomatic”). Each of the six sections embodies a different angle of view on the instrument itself (as well as on the aforementioned compositional material, which in the end comes to the same thing); each also uses a different relationship between the instrument and its electronic “environment”, which in each case involves notated parts for one or more footpedals, affecting such dimensions as pitch-shifting and timbral modulation as well as volume.

 

The original guitar timbres were devised in collaboration with Daryl Buckley; the electronic sounds are performed using the LiSa sampling software developed by Frank Baldé at STEIM in Amsterdam. The first complete performance was given by Daryl Buckley and the composer in Oldenburg in August 2000.

 

Richard Barrett, born in Swansea in 1959, studied composition principally with Peter Wiegold. He taught electronic composition and performance in the Institute of Sonology in The Hague from 1996 to 2001; during 2001-02 he was a guest of the DAAD Berlin Artists’ Programme, remaining in Berlin until 2006 when he became a professor at Brunel University in London.
 
His work encompasses both composition and improvisation, ranging from chamber music to innovative uses of live electronics and collaborations with visual artists. Recent projects include NO
, commissioned by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and premiered in February 2005 at the Barbican Hall in London, conducted by Tadaaki Otaka, the ensemble pieces Melos and Island, both premiered by the Elision ensemble in November 2006 and both part of CONSTRUCTION, a two-hour work for voices, ensemble and electronics currently in progress. Current commissions also include new works for the London Sinfonietta and for the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.
 
Richard Barrett also continues his twenty-two-year collaboration with Paul Obermayer in the electronic duo FURT and performs regularly with vocalist Ute Wassermann, saxophonist Evan Parker, cellist Arne Deforce and numerous ensembles from both compositional and improvisational areas, including the vocal/instrumental/electronic octet fORCH which he and Paul Obermayer formed in 2005. His work as composer and performer is documented on over 20 CDs, including four discs devoted to his compositions and seven by FURT. 

 

Seth Josel is active as a soloist, chamber music partner, ensemble player and as an improviser. His instrumental versatility, as well as his ability to adapt rapidly to the ever-shifting musical climate around him, makes him one of the most sought after guitarists in the New Art Music arena.

 

During the five-year period 2002-07 he premiered over 40 compositions spanning various genres and contexts.

 

During the past five seasons he has performed as a soloist with the Hilversum Radio Orchestra, the Radio Chamber Orchestra Hilversum, the Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin, the Stuttgart Radio Symphony, the Southwest German Radio Orchestra and the Ensemble musikFabrik; as well, he was a guest performer with several major European ensembles and orchestras, including KNM Berlin and Ensemble SurPlus of Freiburg as well as the DSO Berlin under the direction of Kent Nagano.

 

With colleagues Wiek Hijmans, Patricio Wang and Mark Haanstra from Amsterdam, he is co-founder of the quartet, Catch, which, in 2007, gave a week-long workshop at Princeton University in addition to appearing as part of the "concertino" in the U.S.-premiere of Steve Mackey's "Dreamhouse" with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. Catch had a featured slot in September '07 at the second "Output" festival in Amsterdam.

 

In recent year Seth Josel has been a welcome guest on University and College campuses for his stimulating and diverse presentations regarding New Art Music.

 

A number of recording projects are in the works, including Peter Ablinger's magnus opus for electric guitar "33-127", which is now in preparation on Mode Records. Also in preparation is a recital of electric guitar music for New World Records with works by Beglarian, Curran, Dramm, Fiday, T. Johnson and Matamoros

 

(Re)Bound

 

GreyCode Kevin Patton (guitar+electronics), Butch Rovan (clarinet+electronics) and Frederick Kennedy (percussion) form the experimental jazz trio GrayCode. They explore the physicality of sound through layered rhythmic patters, complex sound collage, and computer manipulation of their instruments. At the heart of GrayCode's practice is the extension of their instruments through custom sensor systems that track performance gestures  to control real-time sound synthesis and audio processing.

 

GrayCode's unique musical style weaves composed sections with improvisation to explore less common aspects of musical sound such as timbre and bizarre instrumental techniques. This approach creates atmospheric sound worlds that oscillate between quiet serenity and aggressive chaos. GrayCode deconstructs musical textures to reveal hidden structures and often generates wild patterns in an unrelenting pursuit of new approaches to musical expression.

 

 

SilentMovies is an attempt to explore and confront some of the possible relationships / interdependencies between visual and sonic perception.  In collaboration with a variety of moving image artists, this performance piece complicates visual engagement through performed / improvised sound.  In a sense, Silent Movies plays with the live soundtrack idea, but from a somewhat different vantage point.  Or maybe it is an inversion; a visual accompaniment to an improvised sonic landscape?  For this performance, I will use a hybrid extended electric guitar / computer performance system, which allows me to explore extended playing techniques and sonic transformations provided by sensor controlled interactive digital signal processing.  For tonight's performance, the moving image composition is by Mark Domino (fieldform.com).

 

Thomas Ciufo is an improviser, sound / media artist, and researcher working primarily in the areas of electroacoustic improvisational performance and hybrid instrument / interactive systems design.  He has been active for many years in the areas of composition, performance, installation, audio and video work, as well as music / technology education, and is currently serving as artist-in-residence in arts and technology at Smith College.  Recent and ongoing sound works include, three meditations, for prepared piano and computer, the series, sonic improvisations #N, and eighth nerve, an improvisational piece for prepared electric guitar and computer.  Recent performances include off-ICMC in Barcelona, Visione Sonoras in Mexico City, the SPARK festival in Minneapolis, the International Society for Improvised Music inaugural conference in Ann Arbor, the NWEAMO Festival in Boulder, and the Enaction in Arts conference in Grenoble.

 

 

DitherGuitar Quartet: Taylor Levine, James Moore, Josh Lopes, Simon Kafka, guitars. Dither = A quartet that explores the sonic possibilities of electric guitars manipulated through a galaxy of stomp-boxes, cables, amps and more. Individual members have more experience in jazz, others in classical, others in rock. Dither collides these disparate sensibilities to attempt a coexistence that challenges us, and hopefully, our audiences. The guitar works of Fred Frith, which inspired our formation, are regularly performed at our concerts along with original compositions, commissions, arrangements and improvisations. Dither had their debut concert at John Zorn’s experimental music venue The Stone (NY). Since then, their performances have brought them to a number of venues including The Tank (Eat It Festival), The Rattlestick Theater and William Paterson University (NJ).

 

Taylor Levine is a guitarist in the NYC area. He is the co-founder/co-director of Kyklos, a fantastically raucous sextet and the founder of Dither. He also performs regularly with the new-music/rock band Newspeak and Yes is a World, which just finished their recent tour and recording project of Ted Hearne’s Katrina Ballads.

 

He has worked with Meredith Monk, Theo Bleckmann, Ridge Theater, The New York Soundpainting Orchestra, Newband (A Harry Partch Ensemble), Bang on a Can, including the UK production of The Carbon Copy Building, the Obie-winning opera co-composed by Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe, and with the Dutch dance company Emio Greco | PC in a new work which will premiere at the Holland Dance Festival in June of 2008. Recent events include a series of performances of Harry Partch’s Delusion of the Fury with Newband at the New York Japan Society and an Artist In Residence at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. His performances have opened him to an international community, which includes the United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands and France.

 

Taylor also pursues an active role as an educator in the NYC area. He studied at The Manhattan School of Music and The Amsterdam Conservatory. Taylor currently resides in Brooklyn, with a wonderful community garden for a backyard.

 

Joshua Lopes, a citizen of New Jersey is establishing himself as a guitarist, bassist, composer and educator.  Graduating cum laude from William Paterson University with a Bachelor's degree in jazz studies, Joshua studied guitar with Gene Bertoncini and Paul Meyers and composition with John Link and Kevin Norton. 

 

Joshua has been commissioned to write pieces ranging from solo vibraphone to big band suites. He is the bassist for the Brooklyn based experimental sextet Kyklos and guitarist/composer for Tell the Audient Void, a mean-spirited jazz-fusion quartet.

 

Simon Kafka was born in San Diego, California and began playing guitar at the age of ten. After attending the San Diego School for Creative and Performing Arts for six years, he became a student of The Manhattan School of Music where he received his Bachelors Degree in Jazz Performance in 2005.

 

Simon has played and studied with some of the most prestigious musicians in the world today. These artists include Christian McBride, George Coleman, Barney Kessell, Benny Green, Chris Rosenberg, Geoff Keezer, Peter Bernstein, Eric Alexander and Russell Mallone among others. He received a full scholarship invitation to the Jazz Aspen Snowmass music academy in the summers of 2004 and 2005 where he had the opportunity to perform a live concert for National Public Radio with his jazz/rock collective "The East West Quintet," who recently signed on with Sounden Records. Look for their first full-length album in the spring of ‘08.

 

James Moore is a versatile classical guitarist with many musical personalities. Performing on a wide variety of acoustic and electric guitars, banjos, and homemade instruments, James combines the sensitivity and lyricism from his classical training with a healthy dose of improvisation, theatrics and experimentation.

 

James's solo and chamber performances have brought him to concert halls and experimental music venues across the country, including shows with the Merkin Hall Ear Department Series, Northwestern University, Santa Cruz New Music Works, D'Addario Strings, The Connecticut Classical Guitar Society, Manhattan School of Music's TACTUS ensemble, Newspeak, Anti-Social Music, and the Bang on a Can Summer Festival. As an orchestral guitarist, James has performed with Ridge Theater Productions' run of Michael Gordon's Decasia, The Julliard School's "New Music/New Dance" and FOCUS! Festivals, and the Bang on a Can Marathon. In addition to collaborating with gifted musicians and composers from his own generation, James has worked with many of today's leading artists, including David Lang, Steve Reich, Ingram Marshall, and Meredith Monk.

 

James is the guitarist for Mohair Timewarp, a pop-art-concept ensemble. James's experimental band "Passenger Fish" has been actively performing in and around New York, while preparing for their opera. Their opera will premier at the Flea Theater's Music with a View series early next year.

 

James grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, received is BA in guitar performance and electronic music from The University of California, Santa Cruz, and his MM in guitar performance from the Yale School of Music. His primary teachers have been Mesut Özgen and Benjamin Verdery. He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.

 

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Butch Rovan (reeds + live electronics ) is a composer and performer on the faculty of the Department of Music at Brown University, where he co-directs MEME (Multimedia & Electronic Music Experiments @ Brown) and the Ph.D. program in Computer Music and Multimedia. Prior to joining Brown he directed CEMI, the Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia, at the University of North Texas, and was a compositeur en recherche with the Real-Time Systems Team at the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM) in Paris.

 

Rovan has received prizes from the Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition, the Berlin Transmediale International Media Arts Festival, and his work has been performed throughout Europe and the United States.

 

Rovan’s research includes new sensor hardware design and wireless microcontroller systems. His research into gestural control and interactivity has been featured in Electronic Musician, IRCAM’s journal Resonance, Computer Music Journal, the Japanese magazine SoundArts and is featured on the CDROM "Trends in Gestural Control of Music", published by IRCAM (2000). More of his work can be seen at http://www.soundidea.org.

 

Kevin Patton (guitar + live electronics ) is a composer, guitarist, and experimental sound performer who explores the increasingly nebulous borderlands between humans and machines in performance. The integration of interactive electronic music and machine improvisation into traditional performance contexts is at the center of his practice. The Wire magazine described Kevin as genre bending: "Guitar based free playing morphs into feedback avalanches, or vice versa, and labels like jazz, noise, or rock become meaningless." (The WIRE, 11/4/05) Kevin often performs his own work in both instrumental improvisation and interactive chamber music and has performed in Europe, Japan, and throughout North America. The Aphasia Project, a multi-media performance art duet with visual artist Carmen Montoya, integrates video, interactive and generative environments, and performance art in both a concert and installation setting. "The audio and video components of Aphasia Project from intertwined frameworks for interpretation. Mutually dependent on each other for meaning, the sounds and visuals of Aphasia Project pieces form a semiotic synergy that comes alive in performance" (The WIRE, 11/4/05) Kevin's music and ideas have been presented at the Electronic Music Studies (EMS) International conference in Beijing, China, and the Visiones Sonoras festival in Morelia, Mexico, among many. See http://lajunkielovegun.com/KevinPatton for more information.

 

Originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, drummer and sound designer Frederick Kennedy now makes his home in New York City. In the last few years, Fred has completed tours to France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Ecuador, Canada, the Southwestern United States, and California. Fred is fortunate to have had the opportunity to perform with many fantastic artists, including David Krakauer, Tim Hagans, JD Walter, Bobby Shew, Sheryl Bailey, Joe LoCascio, Lynn Seaton, Dan Haerle, Philip Glass, Iva Bitova, and Andrew D’Angelo. Fred has also worked extensively collaborating with theatre and dance artists on such projects as Tiger’s Heart (97), The Secret Place (02), Trout Stanley (04), and Brighter Than the Light of the Sun (05), for which Fred received a Robert Merrit Award for Best Sound Design.

 

As a regular collaborator with New York video artist Pierre St-Jacques, Fred has also written, recorded and edited numerous scores for video, including Clouds and Raindrops (04), featured at the Bronx Museum of Art in April of 2004, Token of My Affection (04), which has been shown in Tokyo and New York, and Project for a Grey Dress (06). Recent projects include the Suite Unraveling, a group blending elements of minimalist chamber music, free jazz, and indie rock; and Randal, a quartet that Fred co-leads with Norwegian guitarist Jostein Gulbrandsen. For more information, visit http://www.fredkennedy.org.

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LISTENING SESSION:

 

Mark Cooley                       

Recomposition #4 represents an ongoing interest in exploring and building precarious musical structures over the borders that define and differentiate diverse cultures of music making. The goal is not to rationalize contradictions or to seek out universal threads with which to mend the rifts, tensions and conflicts that exist between divergent practices. The goal is to subdue compositional desires for stability, continuity and predictable points of entry in favor variability,

 

Mark Cooley is an artist and educator whose work generally explores aesthetics of Interdisciplinarity, deconstruction and juxtaposition. Mark’s work has been exhibited, screened and performed internationally at venues and events such as Exit Art, NY; NWEAMO Festival, San Diego; SEAMUS National Conference, Salt Lake City; MediaLabMadrid, Madrid; Anthology Film Archives, NY; and many others. In 2004 Mark’s Recomposition #4 appeared on Electroshock Presents: "Electroacoustic Music. Vol. IX. Mark is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Visual Technology at George Mason University.

 

 

Wes DeMarco                    

Nautilus and Rejoinder

No acoustic instruments were harmed in the making of this recording.  It consists of MIDI guitar (cello, strings, percussion) and digital construction (piano, strings, drums) driving virtual instruments.  The one exception is the electric guitar in Rejoinder which is, surprisingly enough, electric guitar.  Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar; today often enough it just may turn out to be a digital simulacrum.

 

I had been working several evenings on a chromatic melody that would expand and contract gently to swim in and out of the spiraling chord progression from which Nautilus finds its name.  I was trying hard to make it a pretty melody…trying rather too hard, perhaps, and getting frustrated.  At one point, in a bit of a fit, I isolated the electric guitar and piano tracks and in a very few minutes mangled these as one might twist and compress and stretch a soft clay figure into something other than a figure (using Celemony’s Melodyne, which is usually used for pitch and time “correction”).  I liked it.  Sustaining a mischievous spirit, in a few more hours I added the strings to this Rejoinder, then the next evening added the drums and copy/pasted a few emergent motifs to provide some continuity and emphases.  Voila!  Instant musical Gehryism.

 

Wes DeMarco (PhD, Vanderbilt University) currently serves as Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Clark.  Wes’ philosophical work has been called “bold and exciting,” “genuinely creative,” and “extraordinarily rich.”  His musical ritual for many years consisted of hours of solitary free improvisation, striving to be unaffected while secretly prey to a Keith Jarrett fantasy.  Wes had never been a performer, though he was seen a few times in public in the early 80s, tangled in a web of cables fixed to early ARP and Roland guitar synthesizers and an excess of other devices, lost in his own world just as he had trained himself to be, and playing too fast for most to enjoy.  He is musically illiterate, has no repertoire, and had no training or coursework in music theory or practice after Mrs. Reynold’s grade-school recorder class (for which he thanks her).  Two collections of his works, Shelf Life and Invisible Children, have been privately circulated.  Wes is married to May Sim, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Holy Cross (organ, cello).  They have two children, Aris (violin) and Ambrose (cello).  He is currently, as they say, ‘out of practice.’

 

Many thanks to David and especially to Matt for allowing me to share in the festivities!

 

Nolan Stolz                         

Guitar and Newspaper (for Juan Gris) was composed in 2005 in Future Music Oregon, the electronic music studios at the University of Oregon. The source material includes crumbling, ripping, and turning of newspaper pages and guitar samples that were recorded by John Miner in the studios of the Tributary Record Label in Las Vegas, NV. The inspiration for the piece came from the 1925 painting by cubist Juan Gris, also titled Guitar and Newspaper. Much of the melodic and harmonic material in the guitar samples comes from Tell a Vision, the 2005 release from Art Rock Circus, the band that Miner and Stolz both have composed for, recorded and performed with. Using the program Kyma, Stolz created a piece that integrates the sounds of the newspaper and the guitar in such a way that is analogous to Gris’s cubist distorted visual interpretation of a guitar and a newspaper. As of February 2008, Guitar and Newspaper has been presented at Dartmouth College, the 2007 Electroacoustic Juke Joint at Delta State University (Cleveland, MS), University of Oregon, Downtown Initiative for the Visual Arts (Eugene, OR), and was premiered at a Eugene Composers Collective concert.

 

Nolan Stolz (b. 1981, Milwaukee, WI) is a composer, musician and teacher. His music has been performed in Europe, Canada and throughout the United States, including performances by the Matrix Music Collaborators and the Fireworks Ensemble, both New York City-based groups. His music has been programmed at festivals such as the Electroacoustic Juke Joint, Oregon Bach Festival, Music Today Festival, Las Vegas Music Festival and the Las Vegas International New Music Festival. In 2007, Stolz was awarded 2nd prize in the New Zealand Association of Organists International Composition Competition for his solo organ piece Ascension to a Memory.
Stolz teaches at Three Rivers Community College in Norwich, CT and at The Hartt School, where he is pursuing a doctorate in composition and theory, studying composition with Larry Alan Smith and electronic music with Robert Carl. He holds degrees from the University of Oregon and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His previous composition teachers include Virko Baley, David Crumb and Robert Kyr.
Stolz is also active as a drum set performer and studio musician in both the rock and jazz idioms. He appears on several commercial recordings, one which includes jazz greats Ron Carter, Phil Woods, Monty Alexander and several others.
A list of works, discography and sound samples are available at www.nolanstolz.com.

Peter Terry                          

A Sky of Almost Infinite Shadow is a meditation on the dome of the sky as distorted by both the lens and the imagination.  It is inspired by the Sphaera Mundi of the Middle Ages. This model of the universe places the earth as a tiny spot in the center, surrounded by the sea, the air, and a ring of fire, then a sphere that "bears" the moon, and other spheres, like layers of an onion, each bearing planets, stars and everything beyond.  In my view, the first sphere is the sphere of the eye, enclosed by the sphere of the mind, which is neither limited to, nor particularly interested in mere reality, but creates its own universe unattached to any other sphere of reference.

 

The score to Shadow is composed entirely of processed electric guitar.  The 3D animation was created in Bryce.

 

The Los Angeles Times describes Peter Terry as a composer with a “prodigious ability to write virtuosic melodic lines and ostinatos.” Journal SEAMUS writes, "Terry has developed an individual style, both as a composer and a performer, for the electronic wind instrument. He is a master in creating and performing in this medium." Peter is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship in composition, two Composition awards from the ASCAP Foundation and honors from the Austin Open Theater.  Peter Terry's music has been performed on prestigious festivals, concert series, and in alternative galleries and concert halls throughout the United States, Asia and Europe. His teachers include Christopher Rouse, William Kraft and Russell Pinkston, and he has served on the faculties of the University of Texas at Austin, Cal-State-LA, Bowling Green University and Bluffton University. He is recorded on the Cambria CD-1089, SIMPLE REQUESTS and has a solo CD of his electronic and acoustic works on Cambria CD-1103 "A HALO of DARK STARS", performed by his ensemble, Electro-Metamorphosis.  A video and multi-media artist, Dr. Terry is Associate Professor of IT and music at Bluffton University, Bluffton, Ohio. As JOURNAL SEAMUS states, "Terry has clearly integrated technology into his creative life, expanding concepts of performance, composition, and system design and blurring the lines between them.

 

 

PAPER SESSION:

Thomas Ciufo   

Rethinking Virtuosity: Computer-Mediated Performance & Extended Instruments

 

This presentation will explore some of the ways that current and emerging technologies can be used to enable or redefine musical performance practice.  Many artists are pursuing a musical practice that combines the roles of composer, system / instrument designer, and performer / improviser.  In addition to integrating these often overlapping roles, it is also possible to use computation and interactive systems to refashion the very nature of performance practice, and more specifically, redefine the concept of virtuosity.  Many practitioners feel that their musical intuition and ideas are more developed than their physical skills or instrumental technique.  Granted, some of this could be reduced by long term, single- minded devotion to one specific instrumental practice regiment, but for many musicians, no amount of practicing can make up for their physical limitations.  Many current artists share the idealistic notion that somehow, we should be able to focus our energy on the higher-level conceptual aspects of music/sound making, and use the available technology to reduce some of the physical constraints and manage the low-level necessities. This is not laziness or naive 'better living through technology' rhetoric.  The history of instrument building and musical performance has followed a path of developing better, more expressive, easier to play instruments using available technologies.  In acoustic instrument design, this has been a relatively slow evolution and is usually a refinement of an existing instrument or performance practice, rather than a total paradigm shift.  I am following this evolution using computer technology, but the opportunity to radically redefine the composer- performer-instrument relationship is unprecedented.  This involves designing performance systems that reflect our own aesthetic and conceptual orientation towards music making, and encoding in the software / hardware the features and functionality that are important to us as composer / performers. One clear advantage of designing systems for our own use is the opportunity to design for our particular strengths, and around certain weaknesses.  Ideally, this allows one to sidestep or redefine some of the more problematic aspects of traditional virtuosic performance, or at least reorient some of the particular physical concerns.  This is an idealistic notion, given that most mediated instruments introduce their own unique performance demands.  The untold hours of practicing an acoustic instrument are often substituted for a similar numbers of hours designing, building, programming, and learning to play a mediated instrument. This presentation will explore these complex and compelling concerns, using various personal performance projects as examples.  The eighth nerve performance system, a computer enhanced hybrid electric guitar will be discussed and demonstrated.

 

Jeff Morris

The Maturation of Electronic Instruments as Posthuman Computation Instrument

Like artists in the early twentieth century responding to industrialization, we are led to find ways to reconcile our humanity with the posthuman and hyperreal media.  One approach taken by sound artists to reconcile their humanity with the machinehood of their tools is to use these tools as artistic instruments themselves, especially in the form of feedback systems.  This includes works by David Tudor, Alvin Lucier, Nicolas Collins, and Augustino Di Scipio. My approach has been to incorporate digital systems in electracoustic feedback loops in such a way that the recursive processing causes the software to "resonate" as well, not in the form of Larsen tones (the common squeal of an open microphone), but in new timbres and textures that illuminate the character of digital processes.  From small stimuli, the voice of the computer emerges, and the stimulus---the human element---erodes.  These systems sonify the process of computation instead of merely displaying the result of it. Form can be created independently of content, resulting in something that is a unique blend of the human and computerized performers.  Inspired by the work of computer scientist Stephen Wolfram and his associates, I have come to think of these systems as computation instruments, in which sound is an artifact of a digital process in action---not the final result of a completed process seeking a fixed solution.

 

In performances with my feedback system, Tappatappatappa, I stand holding a small speaker (used as an input to the computer), stimulate it tapping or stroking, and aim it in the direction of certain resonant modes of the performance space.  The performer sculpts the resulting sound, guiding it toward certain qualities, instead of dictating exact results.  The resonant responses of the room create an almost tactile sense of the critical positions and angles that are required to excite each resonant mode.

 

The experience of these developments has led me to believe that embracing chaotic elements will enable electronic tools to mature in their own right and become as robust in application and deep in sensation as acoustic instruments. Non-linearity in acoustic instruments gives them their character, detail, natural sound, and, while increasingly understood, still must in some areas still be approached only with experimentation and experience.  Whereas in acoustic instruments, the challenge is to bring order to naturally chaotic systems, with electronic instruments, in order to achieve the same level of depth, we must find approaches to bringing chaotic elements to the excessive order of the digital computer.

 

Kevin Patton    

The TaurEx: A Sensor Modified Electric Guitar
This is an explanation of the how the TaurEx sensor guitar functions and the motivations for building it. The TaurEx provides an interface for effects control that takes advantage of the kinematics of guitar playing. More than controlling traditional guitar effects, the TaurEx is also a gestural controller for synthesis and an improvisational tool.