I’m very happy to be able to share my recent recording of Charlie Sdraulig’s 2013 vocal solo, few. I’ve written about this piece on a couple of occasions, and for some background on my work with it you can read here and here.
Towards the end of April, Charlie asked me if I would be interested in performing few again at a house concert in London. I agreed and had a chance to go to work directly with Charlie on the realization. With my earlier work on the piece, I was concerned with exploding the ambiguities of the piece, especially with respect to how many ways I could simultaneously articulate elements of intimacy, privacy, inner perception, and the general implications of a sound world that derived from, but almost barely contributed to, an aural environment. At the time, I was trying to completely open up the work – to find my interpretation of the work and the way its intentions resonated with not only my own ways of thinking about sound and performance, but the personal knowledge I had accrued through friendship with Charlie about his own relationship to sound and music. I was trying to find myself through the musical exploration, coming to terms with how I hear and listen to space. Continue reading
This is a short exploration into ‘slow singing’ using the song Michael Row the Boat Ashore. A recording of me singing this song at a relatively normal speed has been temporally stretched/smeared using a digital audio editing program and then listened to while making this recording. For some time now a part of my compositional and performance practice has involved imitating (or re-mediating) various forms of digital distortions and art.e.facts, of which slowing down and stretching audio and visual material has been a significant interest. Here, my approach towards using and imitating the stretched recording departs slightly from my previous practices in that the digitally stretched audio acts not as a strict reference that I attempt to reproduce as accurately as possible, but instead acts as a template from which I can situate myself in the sonic/temporal world created by the digital artefact. The result is that I am both aware of and beholden to the recording to some degree, but am also able to exercise a greater amount of performative agency, quasi-improvisationally responding and reacting to the sounds as I listen.
I recently met with Beavan Flanagan to begin exploring and recording sounds for a new vocal piece being composed for me titled no sweeter sound than my own name. During our meeting we experimented with recording the interior sounds of my throat with a piezoelectric contact microphone. We began by catagorizing a few different types of sounds based on the physical mechanisms involved in production. These categories included breath sounds, glottally restricted sounds, and hummed sounds. These sounds were chosen because they are all possible to produce with my mouth closed and, with practice, no external facial movement (resulting in an ambiguous identification of my self as a subjective/objective being).
After spending some time recording those sounds, we decided to do a short improvisation that would act as a catch-all, possibly uncovering other sounds we may have missed by focusing exclusively on physical categories of production. The following video is taken from the short improvisation portion of our workshop.
more information on this project can be found @ the project’s hub
“Do the languages of the adult retain anything of the infinitely varied babble from which they emerged? If they did, then it would be only an echo, since where there are languages, the infant’s prattle has long ago vanished, at least in the form it once had in the mouth of the child who could not yet speak. It would be only an echo, of another speech and of something other than speech: an echolalia, which guarded the memory of the indistinct and immemorial babble that, in being lost, allowed all languages to be.”
Daniel Heller-Roazen. Echolalias: On the Forgetting of Language. New York: Zone Books, 2005. 11-12.
In late November of 2014 during the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, I had the pleasure of hosting friend, fellow composer/collaborator, and all around good guy Louis d’Heudieres. Louis arrived in Huddersfield well before the concert we planned to attend that evening and after a quick lunch we decided to engage in some attentive listening – a practice that I had been developing every other morning the previous three months with my flatmate, David Pocknee. In search for that elusive piece of music that is truly striking, captivating, and nearly paralyzing, I decided to play for Louis a recording of the very first piece of music I played for David when I moved in a few months prior – Shift, by the utterly mind-boggling (in the best sense possible!) composer/cellist, Franklin Cox. 
After the 14-minute tidal wave of multi-tracked cellos, the silence became pregnant with possibility…
I’m performing in London this Saturday for the return of WEISSLICH @ Hundred Years Gallery.
For a sampling of last year’s WEISSLICH watch this video made by curator/composer Louis d’Heudieres:
As part of WEISSLICH 2 I’ll be reprising my performance/listening-piece urtext which I’ve been performing around Huddersfield recently. The premiere performance was given last December at Huddersfield’s newly establish concert series, Soni[k]ab organized by BaconJam Collective (Eleanor Cully & Stephen Harvey). In preparation for my performance in London I also performed urtext at a recent house concert that I’ve been writing about in previous. blog. entries. Continue reading
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