Sunday, October 8, 2017

Quatre (Mallarmé)



Quatre (Mallarmé) began as a movement of my musique concrète-inspired suite Portraits-Souvenir, a work-in-progress inspired by the French avant-garde and more obliquely various friends of mine in the arts. The original version of Quatre was built out of a field recording I made of toads and insects noisily croaking and chattering away after a Houston rainstorm. I edited and heavily processed the recording using tools in Ableton Live, my go-to digital audio workstation. Soprano, composer, and visual artist Misha Penton offered to improvise a vocal over the track, and chose for the text an excerpt from a poem by French symbolist poet Stéphane Mallarmé, whose words aligned nicely with the various subtexts of the suite. Not only did Misha record two different, wildly dramatic vocal performances, she also recorded herself reciting Mallarmé’s words in French. Other sounds became a part of the piece, including the ticking and chiming of my great grand mother’s antique clock, the furious pecking of typewriter keys, and an abrupt burst of drunken laughter. 

So the process was first composition, then improvisation over the composition, and finally composition of the improvisation to create a new composition, or something like that. To my ears, the timing of the sounds, singing and spoken words is both poetic and filmic, and could not have been realized in any way other than the trustful back and forth I enjoyed with Misha.

credits


released October 8, 2017 

Quatre (Mallarmé) 
Composed by Chris Becker and Misha Penton
Text by Stéphane Mallarmé from Le Phenomene Futur (A Phenomenon of the Future), 1875
English translation by Misha Penton
Vocals performed and recorded by Misha Penton
All other sounds recorded by Chris Becker
Mixed by Chris Becker
Mastered by Douglas Henderson

Friday, September 22, 2017

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Upcoming screenings of video works by Jil Guyon . . .


WIDOW_remix (trailer) from Jil Guyon on Vimeo.


WIDOW REMIX, my collaboration with director and performer Jil Guyon, has been selected for the Bideodromo International Film and Video Festival 2017 in Bilbao, Spain - Sept. 12-28 (Original score by Chris Becker; vocals by Helga Davis; cinematography by Valerie Barnes.)

I am also thrilled to have WIDOW | GHOSTS and WW screening with Experience Films at the 2017 Fayetteville International Film Festival. Original score for both films: Chris Becker and Cinematography: Valerie Barnes. Come see them at Stage Eighteen​ Sept 13th, 7-9 p.m. Visit Experiencefilms.net for more event details

Saturday, August 26, 2017

August 19 Performance of Recidivistas in Socrates Park, NYC

Photo by Reiko Yang
(Note: The copy below comes from Racoco's successful Kickstarter campaign.)

On August 19, New York-based Racoco Productions presented an outdoor performance of Recidivistas, choreography by Rachel Cohen and music by Chris Becker. Racoco's longtime collaborator Chris Becker composed the music when the piece was presented as trio for chashama's Oasis Festival in 2006.

The dancers: Janet Aisawa, Jessica Burstein (www.jessicasueburstein.com), Destiny Cabrales, Marianne Camarda, Maryanne Chaney, Rachel Cohen (racoco.org), Megan Curet, Rina Espiritu, Bianca Falco, Nicole Fuentes, Julia Gleich, Jenny Gram (www.thejgramproject.com), Eva Hansson, Holly Heidt (www.muliebrisdancetheatre.com), Delsa Heredia, Masumi Kishimoto, Nicole Lee, Mengying Lin, Kymberly Nolden, Zoe Padden, Dalma Sacasa, Meghan Schardt, Irene Siegel, Despina Stamos (tmdas.org), Mary Staub, Emily Winkler-Morey, and Rose Zingale  

Racoco fuses absurdist visuals, quixotic choreography, and raw materials, frequently collaborating with visual artists and composers. Choreographer and performer Rachel Cohen founded Racoco in 2003.

Photo by Reiko Yang

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Support Racoco Productions Aug 19 Performance in Socrates Park



One of the many things I learned from working with choreographer Rachel Cohen is that when it comes to composing for dance, anything goes and dancers feed on sound(s). One of my and Rachel's first collaborations, "Recidivistas," will be performed in Socrates Park (NYC) Aug 19 with 30 (!) dancers, all planted in flower pots. You can help realize this extraordinary event by visiting Racoco's Kickstarter campaign >> http://kck.st/2vklI77

Here's a little more about the upcoming performance and the campaign:

A one-of-a-kind happening, Busby Berkeley meets garden flash mob meets Alice in Wonderland! On Saturday, August 19, at 4pm, Racoco, an unusual dance-theater company, will perform the piece excerpted in the video above with 30 dancers, planted in soil in oversized flower pots, outdoors at Socrates Sculpture Park (invited by Julia Gleich and Jason Andrew of Norte Maar to participate in their amazing annual Dance at Socrates event - visit http://nortemaar.org/projects/dance-at-socrates-2017/). We'll also create a short edited film from the rehearsal, setup, and performance footage from Steven Speliotis's 2 cameras, a Go Pro attached to a dancer, and an overhead drone camera!

We're in rehearsals now, have ordered the pots and the soil, and are putting together the costumes. Racoco's longtime collaborator Chris Becker composed the wonderful music when we originally created the trio for chashama's Oasis Festival in 2006!

Your contributions will pay the 30 dancers what they deserve, the composer royalties, the videographers' fee, and cover the costs of the video editing, pots and soil, renting a van to get everything to Socrates--and doing the laundry after the show!

Meet our dancers: 

Janet Aisawa, Jessica Burstein (www.jessicasueburstein.com), Destiny Cabrales, Marianne Camarda, Maryanne Chaney, Rachel Cohen (racoco.org), Megan Curet, Lily Davis, Rina Espiritu, Bianca Falco, Nicole Fuentes, Julia Gleich, Jenny Gram (www.thejgramproject.com), Eva Hansson, Holly Heidt (www.muliebrisdancetheatre.com), Delsa Heredia, Masumi Kishimoto, Nicole Lee, Mengying Lin, Dale Nathaniel, Kymberly Nolden, Zoe Padden, Dalma Sacasa, Meghan Schardt, Irene Siegel, Despina Stamos (tmdas.org), Mary Staub, Emily Winkler-Morey, and Rose Zingale  

Racoco fuses absurdist visuals, quixotic choreography, and raw materials, frequently collaborating with visual artists and composers. Choreographer and performer Rachel Cohen founded Racoco in 2003. Visit our website: www.racoco.org

Risks and challenges

The only thing that could stop us now is a hurricane - we plan to perform rain or shine. It is very difficult to coordinate the schedules of 30 people but we've found wonderful dancers excited to do the project who have been willing to commit the time, and dance in dirt! Racoco's projects always have many moving parts, strange props, and complicated logistics, and we are always proud of the result.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Widow | Ghosts Screening at Resort Wear VS Couture Millinery Fashion Event, NYC

Jil Guyon in Widow | Ghosts

Resort Wear VS Couture Millinery | Fashion Event
Screening of Widow|Ghosts 
[Video direction by Jil Guyonwith Valerie Barnes/Cinematography and Chris Becker/Original Sound]
Holy Apostles Gallery
296 9th Avenue, near 28th St., NYC
This Friday, June 16
6:00 to 9:00 PM

8:00 PM fashion show: CHUCHU NY & PomPom Bikini Line

Tickets: $20

ALL PROCEEDS DONATED TO END CHILD TRAFFICKING!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

New Collaboration-in-Progress with Racoco Productions, May 14th at The Construction Company

Choreographer Rachel Cohen and friend. (Photo by Leighton Edmondson.)

Choreographer Rachel Cohen, mastermind behind the impossible-to-define dance/theater company Racoco Productions, will present a new work-in-progress Sunday, May 14th, at 3:00 p.m. at The Construction Company, 184 Eldridge Street (at Rivington), New York, NY. The piece, entitled -overt, features Cohen, an air dancer (see above), filmmaker Leighton Edmondson, free cotton candy, and music by yours truly. Also on the program are Laura Shapiro, Beth Leonard, and Bob Eisen. Admission is $10.

Wish I could be there! I smile whenever I look at this photo.

For more about Cohen and our past collaborations, read my interview with Rachel here.