Floating with Hank Lazer in a Drunken Boat

I had the privilege of working with poet Hank Lazer this summer on three sonic realizations on his poem “N27P51” that are now available in issue 22 of the literary journal Drunken Boat.

These works began last spring with recordings of Hank’s students reading phrases from his poem. This summer I edited the recordings, processed them beyond recognition, added more sounds, used the shape of each line from the poem to guide electronic improvisations, and otherwise had a great time designing sounds in the studio. Hank reigned it all in and helped me shape the material into three sections.

Check out the journal for a reproduction of Hank’s visual poetry, or listen to all the audio from the issue below (including a piece by Pauline Oliveros).

Naturesongs at RPI

I’ll be playing saxophone as part of an ensemble performing James Tenney’s “Swell Piece #2 – for Pauline Oliveros.” A440, all the way. Looks like a great program.

Tuesday, April 10 4pm Free!
Naturesongs
Rensselaer Contemporary Music Ensemble
EMPAC
Troy NY

Favorite Music from 2011

My residency with David Behrman at the Atlantic Center for the Arts was an important part of 2011 and its effects trickled into the rest of (and best of) the year. I heard some great recordings as a result of the residency, namely:

Various Artists: Music for Merce (box set)
A massive collection that celebrates the musical legacy of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Great work by Christian Wolff, Pauline Oliveros, Takehisa Kosugi, Maryanne Amacher, John King, David Behrman and especially David Tudor. It’s astounding (and initially a little frustrating) that even with 10 CDs, many of the pieces are presented as excerpts. But hearing applause at the end of the live recordings reminds me that the pieces often lasted until the dance was over, and then they were over, too.

Ensemble vocal de Girokastër: Albanie – Polyphonies Vocales du Pays Lab
Mesmerizing choral music from Albania.

Otherwise, 2011 was the year of some exceptional music by many of my musician friends. Their work easily stands up against many of the releases from more established labels. In some cases, the work appears on established labels. In any case, the distinction between DIY and “signed artist” seems increasingly irrelevant. So I’m not hesitant to trumpet this work at all. I’m more concerned about leaving out some deserving recordings simply because there’s so much new material to consider. If we’re friends (I hope we are) and I don’t mention your work below, it’s probably because I haven’t listened to it yet. We’re still friends–I can’t wait to finally catch up on what you did in 2011 and hear what’s to come in 2012.

The Black Drumset: The Black Drumset
The crunchiest breakfast cereal.

Brent Fariss: Four Environments…Collapsing
Spooky action at a distance.

Matt Weston: The Last of the Six-Cylinders
A richly textured and surprisingly elegant electrified junkyard.

Jefferson Pitcher: Now the Deer
The quiet surface of a deep deep pool.

Bob Gluck / Joe Giardullo / Christopher Dean Sullivan: Something Quiet
My favorite kind of heterophony.

Here are a few other recordings that left their mark on my ears this year.

  • Various Artists: Music of Indonesia (multiple volumes) Daedalus Books has these on sale. I bought them all.
  • Michael Nyman: Decay Music
  • King Creosote and John Hopkins: Diamond Mine
  • Various Artists: The Friends of Old Time Music (box set)
  • Little Richard: The Georgia Peach
  • Kepler Quartet: Ben Johnston: String Quartets Nos. 2, 3, 4 & 9
  • Laura Viers: July Flame
  • Dave Douglas: Keystone

ASAC Presents Ben Miller/Doug Van Nort Duo, Barn Owl and Shape Shifting Shepherds

Ben Miller

Doug Van Nort

Albany Sonic Arts Presents Ben Miller/Doug Van Nort Duo, Barn Owl and Shape Shifting Shepherds

Saturday May 1 @ 8pm
Upstate Artists Guild
247 Lark St.
Albany NY
$5 suggested donation

More about the artists after the break.

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Awards Abound

Just read on NewMusicBox about awards to some (now even more) distinguished colleagues. Congratulations to Erik Carlson, John King and Pauline Oliveros.

Erik Carlson – Area C – has recently received a MacColl Johnson Fellowship from The Rhode Island Foundation.

John King is the recipient of an Alpert Award.

And finally, Columbia University School of the Arts is presenting Pauline Oliveros the William Schuman Award.

Yes, it’s been awhile since I caught up with NewMusicBox, but this still seems like an awards bonanza. A kind of alternate universe Grammys.

Tele-Morphosis

I’ll be playing soprano sax in another telematic performance on Thursday August 28 @ 2:00pm. This one is part of the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC) in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It’s an improvisation called Tele-Morphosis directed by Pauline Oliveros that features performers from Stanford, CA; Troy, NY; and Belfast, Northern Ireland all connected together in real-time. I haven’t seen any info re: streaming of the performance, but if I do I’ll certainly post a link.