I recently performed Luke Nickel’s [factory] for the first time during a house concert. Luke’s piece is part of a ‘live archive’ project in which I receive information from Mira Benjamin (one of the archives) about a collection of scores within [factory]. Here is a short video excerpt from my somewhat manic performance wherein I obsessively trace the outline of my hand overtop hands in a book on the history of palmistry.
During this portion of my performance, the film My Dinner with Andre was hovering in the back of my mind.
I recently performed Charlie Sdraulig’s few as part of a house concert hosted by David Pocknee and I. Leading up to the concert I wrote about the preparation process and my initial approach towards staging a public performance of an inherently private piece. What follows is a reflection on my first realization of the piece.
Before reading on, I suggest taking two minutes to listen to an excerpt of few recorded in a semi-anechoic chamber for an idea of the piece’s sound world. A recording of the live performance was not made.
few was programmed in the second set of the evening and performed immediately after I performed my listening/sing-along piece, urtext (with live imitative vocal stylings by me alongside recordings of Amanda DeBore Bartlett performing Various Terrains and Sean Dowgray imitatively playing percussion overtop sounds of infants curated from youtube). More information on Continue reading
Rodrigo Constanzo and Angela Guyton recently came around to mine and David Pocknee’s cellar to make music videos for Everything. Everything at Once. Once (3). David and I worked with dynamic lighting and apathy, while Rod laid down some groovy music and Ang got us to wander around barefooted. The videos are calftastic.
Read what Rod has to say about this portion of the series here.
My favorite take:
I’m co-hosting a house concert and am preparing pieces for performance by Jessie Marino, Luke Nickel, David Pocknee, Charlie Sdraulig and myself. While I’ve been working on Charlie Sdraulig’s few (for solo voice) I’ve been getting an itch to reflect on the preparation process. The following is an attempt to work out some of the tangled connections of associations twisting around in my head as I engage with the piece. My plan is to write about the piece as new ideas and thoughts emerge.
I’ll let Charlie’s description of the piece set the scene:
few is for a person listening and responding to the sonic environment around them. Responses include: breath filtered through a variety of mouth shapes as well as tongue clicks, hums and whistles. These barely externalised sounds are an almost imperceptible trace of concentrated perceptual effort. There is often only a risk of these sounds being produced and then heard.
In October of 2014, cellist Seth Woods and I conducted an exploratory workshop for a new collaborative work: beauty acts by relaxing the solids of the whole system producing an inward sense of melting and languor. Here is a short video from our workshop:
deviser / performer: Seth Woods
deviser / invisible performer / composer: Michael Baldwin
camera operator: Daniel Porteli
sound assistance: Beavan Flanagan
A little over a year ago I began working on disintegration, for saxophone trio, and started exploring a few new notational avenues (or at least new for me). In the end the notation ended up rather opaque and non-representative of the sonic landscape I had in mind for the work. With other projects on my plate, I decided to chalk it up to a learning experience and move on. However, a year later, I decided to revisit the piece. Upon revisiting the work, and having worked with this particular notational interest in other works since, it set in just how opaque the notation was and spurred my desire to re-notate the work. Here I will provide a brief “case study” of disintegration, highlighting the different stages of the re-notation process as a way of showing the notation’s evolution from its original state to its current notational manifestation.
Annotated sample of the original score (click to enlarge):
The bottom stave represents the pitch content and, to a lesser extent, the general fingering sequence for the performer. This stave is the most “traditional” of the three staves and acts as a point of stability that gets obscured (or disintegrates) due to the other two staves’ operations. The next stave up is the air-quality stave. Moving from bottom to top, the air to pitch ratio increases from marginal air mixture to the point of almost pure air and no pitch, with a rest indicating pure pitch with no air mixture. Finally, the last stave indicates the performer’s mouth-placement on the reed and the amount of pressure to apply to the reed (the dynamics in the quotation marks). Again, the rest indicates no physical action and a return to the normal mouth-placement/pressure for the given pitch. Moving from bottom to top, the mouth moves from the tip of the reed to a fully swallowed position. Continue reading