Sonic Research Underground

Friday, September 9, 2011

Experimental music micro-cultures fly beneath the radar in nearly every US city—functioning as hidden incubators or underground sonic research labs for aesthetics and technology. The outcomes almost universally bubble up to the surface, popularized by more mainstream acts. Performances happen in tiny clubs, non-profit galleries, people's houses, bookstores, and on college campuses. This has been the fertile ground for generations from which experimental music artists and audiences have evolved.

Evelyn's Café will open at 7 PM with a full menu of meals, snacks, and beverages as well as a selection of wines. Service continues between sets and after the event.

This show kicks off our fall events, featuring:

Micah Silver

Keith Fullerton Whitman is a composer and performer obsessed with electronic music—from its midcentury origins in Europe to its contemporary worldwide incarnation as “digital music.”

Currently, he is working toward implementing a complete system for live performance of improvised electronic music that incorporates elements from nearly every era: a reel-to-reel tape machine, a selection of small jury-rigged/circuit-bent battery powered sound producing boxes, an analog modular synthesizer, an early home computer, and a contemporary computer running a custom built Max-MSP based modular system that both controls these elements and acts as a central conduit into which their sounds are captured, processed, and then diffused to up to eight separate channels/speakers/amplifiers.

Whitman is also composing a piece for Egyptian Oud, Serge, and Doepfer analog modular synthesizers and computer control/processing. It is his first through-composed long-form work.

Fat Worm of Error is a “rock” band that collectively writes and performs songs that use nonmusical sound, structural constraints, and open improvisational passages in a layered and confounding manner. In performance, they channel “fun” with equally confusing props and costumes, often comprised of readymade materials that further illustrate specific aspects of the songs or imbue them with some totemic logic.

The quintet formed in 2002 and have released recordings on a variety of labels, including Load and Ecstatic Peace!, and have performed in various venues throughout the US and Europe. They have participated in such avant-garde interdisciplinary festivals as Gladtree (Amherst, MA, 2004 and 2007), Dramarama (Hasselt, Belgium, 2006), No Fun (Brooklyn, 2006), Transmodern (Baltimore, 2007), and Sonic Celluloid 8 (Evanston, IL, 2010), where they debuted 17 compositions to accompany the videos of machine-sculptor Arthur Ganson. In 2009, during their weeklong residency at De Player, in Rotterdam, Netherlands, they performed a new version of their long-form narrative opera Poor Sap to accompany the release of a limited edition record.

Chris Cooper – guitar, electronics
Jess Goddard – vocals, keyboards, electronics
Donny Shaw – bass, electronics, tapes
Tim Sheldon – guitar, keyboard, electronics
Neil Young, Cloaca – drums, tapes, electronics

David Shively performs as a soloist and chamber musician throughout North America and Europe, working in media ranging from traditional percussion to Hungarian cimbalom to analog electronic systems and feedback. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is co-artistic director of Either/Or, curating its programs and festivals in New York City and elsewhere. He also is a regular guest with groups such as Mark Morris Dance Group; NYNME; GNOM, Baden; Collegium Novum Zürich; and ICE. Recent solo engagements include at Dia:Beacon, Mostly Mozart, Performa 09, the American Academy in Rome, and Other Minds. He has recorded for Mode, New World, Starkland, Tzadik, XI, and others, and has performed numerous works for film, sound installation, and radio broadcast.

At EMPAC, Shively performs portions of his recent Feed: for Max Neuhaus (a Dia:Beacon commission): reconstructions and reinterpretations of Neuhaus’ seminal performing work from the late 1960s, a period that marked his radical transition from concert percussionist to sound/installation artist. Included in this version are realizations of works by John Cage/Max Neuhaus, Cage, and Morton Feldman, among them Fontana Mix: Feed (by some accounts the first work of true live electronic music).

Caboladies is an experimental electronic duo piloted by Chris Bush and Eric Lanham. The group formed in Lexington, Kentucky sometime around 2006 in response to a vibrant experimental music community that featured the similarly out-minded groups Hair Police, Warmer Milks, and Auk Theatre. The group's initial output focused on the hallucinatory effects of sustained tones, buried harmonics, and degraded digitalia; a pastoral hyperstasis that would only implode as years progressed. In 2009, the duo relocated to Chicago and began to develop a more varied live approach of collapsed grid stratagem and gestural electronics. The initial stages of this stylistic evolution are captured on the Live Anywhere LP, a session recorded live on air for Chicago’s WHPK 88.5. Lanham’s relocation to South Carolina brought with it a development of various solo projects for the duo. Flower Man is the project alias of Chris Bush, featuring a light-hearted blend of radiophonic antics and synthesizer song craft. Lanham’s Carl Calm and Palmetto Moon Electronics Group monikers alternate between pointillist techno and abstract machine talk. Summer 2011 will see the release of the next Caboladies LP on Students of Decay, titled Renewable Destination.

Caboladies has prepared four new sonic designs for the performance at EMPAC. Each of the predetermined sonic frameworks opts for a middle ground between digital and analog design, rhythm and instance, space and clutter. Book-ended by two long-form group pieces will be two solos, one from each of the group.

Graham Lambkin formed his first band, The Shadow Ring, in Folkestone, a small town in Kent, England, when he was 19. The band built a passionate fan base because of its sui generis approach, blending elements of folk, noise, cracked electronics, and surrealist poetry, while radically changing the overall formula with each release. A decade of increasingly skewed and inspired work culminated in 2003’s I'm Some Songs, constructed long distance, as Lambkin had relocated to the US in 1998. Over the last few years, Lambkin has primarily worked under his own name, releasing two solo records (Salmon Run and Softly Softly Copy Copy), two hardcover books featuring his writing and drawings (Dumb Answer to Miracles and Dripping Junk), and has become more active with his own Kye label, releasing his own work as well as documenting artists like Moniek Darge and Vanessa Rossetto.

Jason Lescalleet has built a compelling discography over the past decade. He uses reel-to-reel tape decks to explore the textures of low fidelity analog sounds and the natural phenomena of old tape and obsolete technology. He is one of a growing list of master producer/musicians whose skill lies as much in reworking, assembling, and mastering the material available as in creating it (or helping to create it) in the first place. Lescalleet’s fantastic live performances have wowed crowds in NYC, Detroit, Chicago, and Boston in various combinations over the course of 2010.

Lambkin and Lescalleet have recorded two duo CDs for the American Erstwhile label: The Breadwinner (2008) and Air Supply (2010).

Studio 2
September 9, 2011, 8PM

EMPAC 2011-2012 presentations, residencies, and commissions are supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts (with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; additional funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation, and the Boeing Company Charitable Trust), and the New York State Council for the Arts. Special thanks to the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts for support of artist commissions.

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
NEFA - New England Foundation for the Arts
State of the Arts - NYSCA