lattice chains

short video from the performance on June 3, 2018. the piece consists of 9-tone ‘chains’ which must be arranged in a harmonic lattice structure (this performance uses the (2,3), (3,5), and (5,7) planes—an x,y graph where each axis represents a harmonic ratio).

video by Ian Byers-Gamber

Sound House @LAX

A works-in-progress showing this weekend (Oct. 1 and 2) at Automata Arts as part of the Live Arts Exchange (LAX) festival. Follow the link for times.

SOUND HOUSE is a work-in-progress excerpt of a new work conceived and created by John Eagle, Janie Geiser and Cassia Streb. Sound House is a performance/installation centered on a series of tasks that shape the sound in the room. The tasks, based on a set of instructions, are enacted by a group of 8 artist/performers manipulating objects, controllers, microphones, speakers, walls, and wooden puppets. Their actions are specific and interdependent and emerge from several areas: the history of the Minuteman Missile project, bricklaying/construction, sound generation, time and its measurement, and object/task performance (the performance of the real).

Nine Bells

In June, I performed Tom Johnson’s Nine Bells, a nine movement piece which uses various patterns for the performer to walk through a 3×3 grid. The tuning system I employed placed the bells on a plane of harmonic space with one axis in fifths (3/2) and the other in pure major thirds (5/4). The image below shows my tuning scheme overlaid with Johnson’s hand drawing (first movement). This video shows the ninth movement, which has a triangular pattern that approximates a 45-45-90 triangle, which when reduced has sides of 1, 1, and √2. Using steps as the unit of measurement, Johnson represents this with a triangle of 5, 5, 7 (just short of 5√2). This movement uses only the 4 outer bells forming a square. As the triangle’s orientation changes, the exact dimensions remain intact while the resultant chord changes each time (a total of 4 possibilities).

Thanks to Janie Geiser and Automata for filming and hosting.

harmonic space diagram

ISQ Premiere

Isaura String Quartet will be premiering my piece “parallel lines (do not intersect)” on their final concert of their summer series. For the concert they asked 7 different LA composers to reimagine Blondie’s “Heart of Glass”. My piece, which borrows its name from Blondie’s album title, begins with a chorale, of sorts, in two separate 3-limit harmonic spaces (4ths, 5ths, and octaves)—a kind of harmonic parallelism. The concert will be followed by pie and drinks to celebrate the final concert.

Click here for more info and email to RSVP and receive directions to the location in Eagle Rock.

σ – a new piece by Todd Lerew

Todd Lerew is an artist whose work has interested me due to its focus on objects. This can mean the treatment of a traditional instrument as such (an object), or the pedestrian one (smoke alarms, road flares, megaphones, etc.). There is a utilitarian quality present throughout his work in which one can see anything and everything as potentially useful.

I approached Todd about releasing an album with FWD: rcrds and he came back with the idea of a piece where two recordings are played against each other. Besides appreciating the obvious potential for a recording in which a repeat-performance is almost impossible and the rejection of the idea of the recording as a “perfect version”, I grew more excited about the idea as I thought about the strict treatment of the recording as an object which would force the listener out of a passive role and into an active one. With the final product of two compact discs, the listener must decide on playback mechanisms, location, and timing (offset of recordings). All of these decisions are present in the usual playback experience, but are typically based on habit and convenience. In this case each element must be considered. And then, of course, the material must be considered as well. In the words of the composer: “The material on each disc – a recording of a clock ticking followed by a long tone – is apparently identical to that of the other disc when they are played individually or in succession; the contour of their divergence becomes evident only when they are played simultaneously.”

The piece is simply titled “σ”, which in statistics, represents a variable’s standard deviation. It is available for purchase directly from FWD: rcrds.

FWD: rcrds and new album

a long-overdue intro to a new project:

FWD: rcrds is a collaborative project started with Aaron Foster Bresley, a fellow composer based in NYC. The spawning idea is simple: not only to have a platform to share our own music and the music of other emerging artists, but to advance a dialogue, or at least more of a spotlight, between artists and listeners alike dealing with those foundational ideas in our music which are too often left unmentioned/undiscussed (to name just a few: the politics of composition/performance, the so-called ‘artifice’ of recording, just what do we mean by ‘silence’?, etc.).

Our debut release was a split of Bresley’s and my music. I recorded a version of two sections from my ‘incomplete polyrhythms’ piece, a catalog-style score consisting only of numbers—leaving the musical translation to be decided entirely by the performer(s). In this case I chose two of my favorite sections (2/1 and 3/3) and contrasted two simple conceptions of a rhythmic group (slow/fast, sparse/dense). Bresley’s piece for piano, sine tones, paper/saw, and field recording is too difficult for me to capture in words: well worth your time. I can’t say what is going on, but my mind is racing (in the best possible way) when listening to that piece.

You can stream and/or purchase the album here.

We quickly followed up that release with an album by Christoffer Schunk. If you have never heard his freakishly beautiful vocalizations (it’s hard to believe that almost all those voices are just one person), do it now.

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