Sunday, May 25, 2008

Are Friends Electric?

(photo by Chris Becker)

June 1st, 2008 at 6pm I'm performing with Roald Hoffman, Rachel Cohen (choreography) and her dancers Katie Brack and Kelly Kocinski, Kenny Greenberg (neon art), and Clare Dunn (neon art) as part of Roald's ongoing "Entertaining Science" series that presents scientific questions in a cabaret styled format. We're calling our program "Illuminate Me." We'll be investigating wave particle duality.

I'll be performing live on laptop and Kaoss pad. As with much of my laptop music, the bulk of the sound material comes from recordings I've made using a hand held tape recorder as well as in my home studio. There are several recordings of friends and co-workers responding to a few sort of scientific questions (I don't want to give too much away here...) which I will be cuing and processing in the performance along with samples of some of the musicians I collaborate with including Lynn Wright, Jeremiah Hosea, and Peg Simone.

There's something very powerful about recording your own material for later sampling. I strongly suggest composers who work with laptops in performance to explore this if they haven't already. It is a way for you the composer to create a distinct gesture in your music. The human voice too - as a prerecorded source for material - is also in my experience very underused in much of the "laptop" gigs I've attended here in NYC.

For this gig, I was inspired (or reminded at some point) by some of my favorite electronic and ambient artists including Bill Laswell, Brian Eno (of course), and Depeche Mode (especially Black Celebration and Music For The Masses), definitely Cabaret Voltaire as well as more recent artists like Underworld and M.I.A. The collaging of voices on Pink Floyd's seminal recording Dark Side Of The Moon has also been a point of reference, along with countless "dub" mixes that pioneered so much of what we take for granted in popular (as well as "non-pop") music.

The wonderful composer Carl Stone is another artist I have to mention as a source for inspiration in my so-called "laptop" music. AND let me not forget to mention Michael Veal's incredible book Dub which is as important a book about contemporary music as anything else I've read or heard about this year.

Hope to see you at the show. Rachel and her dancers are always a pleasure to work with. Kenny and Clare's neon sculptures will turn the cafe into another Bladerunner-esque world. And Roald will, in addition to offering a short lecture, will be reading some of his poetry which is wonderful. We'll have fun.

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