Sonic Frontiers Presents Holland Hopson and Justin Peake

I’m excited to perform next week as part of the Sonic Frontiers season. I plan to play a set of pieces for banjo and electronics drawing from the material on Post & Beam, adding a few new twists, and hopefully including one or two “sound bug” pieces from my Radicans project.

Also on the bill is Justin Peake, a New Orleans based percussionist/composer known for his work as Beautiful Bells. Justin is a Tuscaloosa native, so this will be a homecoming performance for him.

I think it’s going to be a great night!

Thursday March 7 2013 at 7:30pm
Bama Theatre Greensboro Room
600 Greensboro Ave.
Tuscaloosa AL
Admission is Free.

Justin Peake – Workshop at Badabum Atelier from Michelle Ettlin on Vimeo.

ASAC Videos: Pump Organ and No Mule

Thanks to Eric Hardiman for shooting and posting videos from Saturday’s Albany Sonic Arts Collective show.

This is the premiere of a soon-to-be-titled work built around the idea of treating a fader box as a set of pump organ pedals, rather than simple position sensors. Using Cycling ’74’s Max I can control the organ sounds with a variety of gestures: “pumping” the faders makes the sounds louder, rhythmic motion creates harmonics, sudden and abrupt changes add distortion and bite. The samples that appear at 5:30 are from a 2010 recording session with choreographer Jill Sigman (previous story here).

(Start at 1:32 to skip the embarrassing banter and the hopeless yet obligatory banjo tuning…)

“No Mule” is another brand-new tune. The rhythmic chopping effect is a kind of slow-motion walk through a live sample of the banjo. I add a few more live samples beginning at about 4:00 and get into full-on Steve Reich mode by 6:00.

Science Fair Video

Cycling ’74 has posted a new video from the Science Fair they hosted as part of the recent Expo ’74 event in Brooklyn. I show off my extended banjo instrument (along with my unashamedly geeky enthusiasm). My segment runs from 2:16-3:13, but watch the whole thing and marvel at the wonderful, strange things people do with Max (and their own geeky enthusiasms). Other videos in the series can be found here.

And a big shout out to Eric Prust who built the fine fretless banjo (minus the electronics) in the video.

Fencepost

This month’s score from Post & Beam is Fencepost. This is the last song I wrote for the record and has become the sleeper hit of the release.

Download the score as a pdf file: fencepost.pdf
Download the score as a Lilypond .ly file: fencepost.ly

Notes on Fencepost

  • The cFCFAb tuning is one I came to after trying a more standard minor (fCFAbC) or sawmill (cFCFG) tuning. I use a Pythagorean temperament based on F which doesn’t change the tuning of the C’s and F’s very much, but makes the Ab significantly flatter than an equal-tempered Ab.
  • The whooshing, windy sound throughout (heard prominently during the intro) is generated by walking on a pair of foot pedals, almost the way you would pump an old pump organ. (You can see this motion in the video.)
  • While recording, I kept missing the foot pedals and accidentally stepping on a mic stand instead. I decided to embrace the resulting bass drum thumps and include them in the piece.
  • Yet another song with bird imagery (YASWBI).

Atlantic Center for the Arts Concert Videos

Videos from this spring’s residency with David Behrman at the Atlantic Center for the Arts are now online. All the videos from the “Live Listening Party” concert we presented can be seen here, including beautiful work by David Bessler, Klara Schilliger and Valerian Maly, Laura Cetilia, Matt Sargent, David Behrman, Zachary Fairbrother (also performing Valerian Maly’s Electric Guitar II) and Nomi Epstein. To close the concert we all performed together as The New Smyrna Beach Weather Report All-Star Free Will Gospel Choir.

Below are the videos of my solo performances.

This version of “Blackjack David” served as the basis of the performance with Matthew Carefully heard here.

The audio recording of “Everyone Looks to the Sky” was previously posted here.

Shadow Theatre of Anaphoria

Kraig Grady has posted some entrancing videos from the Shadow Theatre of Anaphoria. I love the traditional shadow puppet forms with the decidedly contemporary lighting effects–and Grady’s non-equal tempered tunings are a delight to hear.

Jill Sigman/thinkdance improvisation

This time last week I had the pleasure of working with choreographer Jill Sigman/thinkdance and videographer Peter Shapiro who were artists-in-residence at EMPAC. I recorded some sounds of the objects and materials Jill was working with and then improvised with the samples, my fretless banjo, and vocalist/composer Kristin Norderval (remotely via Skype). Peter has posted some raw footage from our sessions.

improv1 from ps on Vimeo.

improv2 from ps on Vimeo.

I look forward to seeing how this project continues to take shape.

More Wichita Mind Control

Jason Cosco was kind enough to post a video of me performing Wichita Mind Control for bent electronics with MaxMSP at the Upstate Artist’s Guild Gallery last April. This was the premiere performance of the piece. Though my pieces often changes incrementally (or sometimes substantially) as I continue to perform them, this first shot at WMC still feels definitive to me.

Here’s audio of the same performance (previously posted here)

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Wichita Mind Control – Estate Capital

Faust Show Videos

I’m finally putting some videos online from the Faust/Century Plants/Holland Hopson show at Proctors. A few can currently be found at YouTube and Vimeo, with another clip or two to arrive soon. These are definitely “performance documentation” videos. If you want to bring your 3-camera HD setup and skills to my next show, feel free to drop me a line!

Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down

Born in the Desert

Born in the Desert from Holland Hopson on Vimeo.

Wichita Mind Control – Estate Capital

Wichita Mind Control – Estate Capital from Holland Hopson on Vimeo.