hearing hearing – Video Release of Charlie Sdraulig’s ‘few’

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

‘No sweeter sound than my own name’ – First Workshop

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

Prattle & Babble – Arriving at ‘urtext’

“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. [1]

After the 14-minute tidal wave of multi-tracked cellos, the silence became pregnant with possibility…

Continue reading

Luke Nickel and a Live Archive – An Excerpt from My First Performance of ‘[factory]’

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.

beauty acts by relaxing the solids of the whole system producing an inward sense of melting and langour

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

Continue reading