Sunken Shoreline (2016, released 2021) captures a 2014 performance of climate-related tweets from around the world in realtime (#climatechange, #tarsands, #environment,fracking, #sustainable, among others), the year before the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) formed a “Charter for Sound” to emphasize sound as a critical signifier in environmental health. Mapping characteristics of these tweets to sonic parameters, users from around the world sound out a call for our climate. Here, an array of audio processing submerges these sonic voices under a technological deluge that suggests an Atlantian future should we choose to ignore the calls to action.
The competition awarded nine prizes in the areas of field recording, live performance, and sonification, and the competition “aims to discover and recognize new music and sound art focused on the theme of coastal futures.” Sunken Shoreline was one of two awarded in the Sonification category. Winners of the competition were from Norway/UK, Australia, Canada, Portugal, South Korea, and the US.
The sonic impact of radio on the Americana landscape is profound. Fireside chats, Radio theatre, Payola, DJs, drive-ins, elevator Musak, waiting room noise––the vast consumerism and reach of radio continues to this day. Yet, what happens when we smash two artists (Kenny G and Nickelback) together into one spectral stretched fantasy using the transmission medium that gave life to their careers? Are we doomed to phase out our history with background noise? Or are we undulating with the beat of cultural reclamation and signification? Sending us adrift inside the electrical coils of the radio, Lying in Fireflies Besides Brown Curls and other original compositions attempt to recount a personal connection to memory, lust, and the power of radio to receive a new transmission.
Relay of Memory was exhibited at the Edith Langley Barrett Art Gallery, Utica, NY. The exhibition was supported by funds from the Oregon Arts Commission.
Speed of Sound celebrates both the Centennial of the McIntire Department of Music at the University of Virginia (UVA) and the Bicentennial of the entire institution. I-Jen Fang, the Director of the UVA Percussion Ensemble, curated this album, showcasing UVA composers and performers. These include faculty, as well as alumni, graduate and undergraduate students, with all of the music created between 2014 and 2017.
Currents investigates the overlaps and gaps between noise and pattern; acoustic and electronic timbre; and live and fixed elements. Currents sounds out the intersections of our current electronic state while referencing its history. The piece was written for Tesla: Light, Sound, Color, a full stage production exploring the life and work of Serbian-American inventor, Nikola Tesla. Currents references Thomas Edison’s inefficient and noisy direct current (DC) electric motor and imagines the brilliant showmanship of Tesla and his revolutionary alternating current (AC) technology.
Distance-X is a digital musical instrument that consists of a hacked Gametrak, Nintendo Wiimote, and customized Kyma software. Music on Distance-X is all human-powered computer music. No tapes. No spacebar playback. Just body movements turned musical mutants.
Tesla: Light, Sound, Color is a 90-minute stage production with live physics demonstrations, digital animation, an original string and electronic musical score, and contemporary choreography. The project is the culmination of a 2016 Oregon Community Foundation Creative Heights award.
Hailed as a genius of the industrial age, Serbian immigrant Nikola Tesla continues to captivate the public with his electrical inventions that includes alternating current, contributions to radio transmission, the Tesla coil, as well as 280 other additional patents. The production brings Tesla’s enigmatic story to the stage by combining the science of his inventions with mixed media representations of his complex and tumultuous life. Harmonic Laboratory brings original artwork and broad collaborations together with content by Brad Garner, Jeremy Schropp, Jon Bellona, and John Park. Collaborators include: University of Oregon Physicist Stan Micklavzina, Delgani String Quartet, Eugene Ballet Company dancers, and visual artist Julia Oldham.
I composed six new original works for string octet (four violins, two violas, two cellos) and fixed electronics. One of the works, Currents, includes live Tesla Coils driven by MIDI messages. A second work, Broadcasting, uses FM transmitters to send audio to handheld radios carried by the eight dancers on stage.
Human-powered computer music. No tapes. No spacebar playback. Just body movements turned musical mutants.
DistanceX is a new digital musical instrument I’ve developed for live performance, specifically tailored for Kyma. The input controller consists of a hacked Gametrak, cut in half to leave a single 3D joystick fader, which is then strapped to the right arm. A Nintendo Wiimote provides additional button and accelerometer controls. In Study 1 (TCF4), a single 6.928 second audio sample serves as the material, a mid-range frequency oscillation that is controlled directly by the performer. Both Gametrak and Wiimote control analysis file parameters, and these controls shift slightly depending on varying control states. The performer has full command over each control state. The result is a choreographic relationship between performer and sound, a movement-based sonic composition wound within the boundaries of his own parametric kinesphere.
The performance was recorded at Virginia Tech on May 2, 2017. Thank you to Tanner Upthegrove for running sound and Charles Nichols for organizing the concert.