Archive for the “Sound Art” Category

Pyramid and Michelle Yom at Labotanica (Houston, TX)

This Friday, October 1st at 7pm, Michelle Yom will present her sound performance installation Back To Imagined Spaces at Houston’s alternative arts and music venue Labotanica located at 2316 Elgin Street. This is a part of Labotanica’s ongoing Hear/Her/Ear series spotlighting women in experimental music.

I got a chance to hear Michelle last month in a solo vocal set at Avant-Garden where she recorded and looped her singing in real time to additively build a series of haunting chorales. Michelle is perhaps best known as a flautist with a strong classical technique and the skills and imagination of a great improviser. Her flute and drums duo Doggebi features Michelle with drummer Spike The Percussionist – a musician I name checked in my Houston Mixtape #3: The Epicenter Of Noise – freely and (almost) breathlessly improvising music that is somehow stark yet filled with a minutiae of details.

Back To Imagined Spaces imagines the human body as a collection of cells that sing and are heard in a “self-imposed timeless space” contained within the pyramid Michelle has constructed inside Labotanica. Regarding the music she will perform, Michelle writes: “The first set is a series of staccato vocalizations with syllables from the mantra, Asato Ma Sad Gamaya, processed through seven delays. The second set will be a live performance of tonal pieces titled Heart, Ears, Kidney, and Stomach, also using vocal sounds. The pieces are intended to capture a version of imaginary but prudent sounds, much like taking a microscope and focusing the lens into singing, living cells.”

Also on Friday’s program are performances by artist, vocalist and electronic composer Melanie Jamison and Labotanica’s tireless curator, visual and sound artist Ayanna Jolivet McCloud.

There is a $5 cover charge for the show. All proceeds go to the musicians. Michelle Yom’s installation will be up October 1st through October 9th, 2010.

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Back last December the New York Times highlighted the Stanford Mobile Phone Orchestra. The first link goes to the NYT video of the ensemble, but here’s a nicely quiet work from the actual concert:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBo4JH-CPPM[/youtube]

But that’s not quite the earliest reference to this new ‘instrument’ and kind of ensemble. Michigan actually brought their own Mobile Phone Ensemble to last November’s SEAMUS proceedings,  and there’s a video of (admittedly much less musical) a group of London tech geeks taking on the theme from Dr. Who much earlier in the year, at the Yahoo Open Hack Day.

Not that you need the halls of academia to get this creative; here’s the Hong Kong band RedNoon taking right to the subway:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blWtj2kvxBg[/youtube]

Just a few weeks after the NYT feature with Stanford, CNN got into the act, also in Hong Kong, interviewing my composer-pal Samson Young about his own iPhone Orchestra. Samson, a Princeton grad student, put together his own performance at the January Hong Kong/Shenzhen Biennale. This one’s my personal favorite:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rD5I3-pQqM[/youtube]

It may seem very queer, but it’s here — get used to it!

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…Or maybe 100? Then I’d be well on my way to doing what sound artist Douglas Henderson has planned at Peirogi Gallery’s BOILER space in Williamsburg, NY the start of next month (only not nearly so well as I think he’s conceived). But if I can’t be there, maybe YOU would like to pick up a tool and contribute? S21′s roving composer in the street, Chris Becker has both the news and an interview with Henderson:

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On November 7th and 8th, at Peirogi Gallery’s BOILER space in Williamsburg, NY, I will be participating as a head carpenter in a performance of composer Douglas Henderson’s Music for 100 Carpenters.  Doug is looking for volunteers to perform this 30-minute piece.  If you are interested in performing, can hammer a nail, and are available on Saturday, Nov. 7 and/or Sunday Nov. 8 , 6:00pm – 9:00pm for the performance and orientation, please RSVP to:  100carpenters@googlemail.com

Doug’s work straddles a line between the categories of music, sculpture, and dance and theater.  He has presented works at the Whitney Museum at Altria, Dance Theater Workshop, and PS122 in New York and at Inventionen and daadgalerie in Berlin, among many others.  He describes Music for 100 Carpenters as “a theatrical surround-sound music performance, enlisting 100 skilled and unskilled trades people.  Prying at Stockhausen’s convolution of rhythm and timbre, 100 hammers, 100 blocks of wood and some 10,000 nails of varying sizes are brought to bear in a real-time, real-world articulation of complex computer synthesis.  Under the guidance of job supervisors, thousands of hammer blows become waves of tonal murmur, threaded with rustlings of nails and occasional snarls of righteous indignation.  The performers are organized into work crews with lists of tasks and closely timed schedules, and arranged in a circle around the audience.  Toolbelts, sweat and lunchboxes are part of the score.”

I interviewed Doug to discuss Music for 100 Carpenters, his other works, as well as his current life in Berlin, Germany.  The interview is posted on my blog at beckermusic.blogspot.com/2009/10/interview-with-douglas-henderson.html

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A worthy gig for any of you, and honest labor to boot. If you’re near, bring your gear!

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