Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"Widow" screens at [FAT] Arts & Fashion Week, Toronto April 24, 2014

"Widow" will screen April 24, 2014, during Toronto's Arts and Fashion week. The video was enthusiastically well-received at February's Dance on Camera Film Festival (NYC) and I'm very pleased its being screened again this year. "Widow" will also be part of an upcoming "Dance On Camera" tour, a streaming compilation of films screened at art institutions and universities.

"Widow" was created by filmmaker, performer and visual artist Jil Guyon and features a nearly continuous score I created out of my own collection of sounds and samples along with performances on percussion and analog electronics by SPIKE the percussionist and vocals by Lainie Diamond.

Jil offered clear ideas as to what she needed the music to do moment to moment, and the resulting score is one of my favorite things I've ever done. I am a huge fan of avant-garde films and have improvised several times to works by Maya Deren, Kenneth Anger, and Ron Rice to name just a few. I feel I shine when I'm working with filmmakers who push the medium in decidedly unconventional directions.

I asked Douglas Henderson to master two versions of the soundtrack, one for computer speakers and one for the typical movie-theater sound system. I was unable to attend the screening at the Dance on Camera Film Festival but look forward to hearing and seeing "Widow" in a theater one day in the future!

Created and performed by Jil Guyon
Cinematography: Valerie Barnes
Original Score: Chris Becker
Electronics and percussion: SPIKE the percussionist
Vocals: Lainie Diamond

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Return of Composer Talk!

We're back! Hsin-Jung Tsai and Chris Becker host another edition of Composer Talk this Saturday, March 29, 2PM to 4PM CT.

This time around, we'll be playing tracks from Viv Corringham's latest release "Walking" which is sort of an aural diary of walks she takes with a partner - on foot - before revisiting and recording the same journey and overdubbing her own vocalizing and other sounds, excerpts from Lynn Wright's dark and powerful score "I Would" which was created for NYC choreographer Rachel Cohen, and new music for strings by Valeria Jonard.

Just music and talk, you know, no big whoop.

Composer talks streams LIVE at and on HD radio on 90.1 HD-2.

We hope you can tune in. Thank you for supporting new music.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Jil Guyon's "Widow" with original music by Chris Becker screens February 4 at Dance On Camera 2014

2014 Dance on Camera


Created and performed by Jil Guyon
Cinematography: Valerie Barnes
Original Score: Chris Becker
Electronics and percussion: SPIKE the percussionist | Vocals: Lainie Diamond

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Walter Reade Theater
165 West 65th St., NYC

Tuesday, February 4
3:00pm: How Like An Angel (46m) with Widow (12m)
5:00pm: Free Panel Discussion: Meet the Artist with Jonathan Demme
6:00pm: Story/Time 3D (70m) with panel discussion (40m)
9:00pm: Closing NIght – Paul Taylor: Creative Domain (82m)

Tickets: $13.00 (single event)

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Excerpt from "Widow." Created and performed by Jil Guyon. Original score by Chris Becker.

Excerpt from "Widow" (video-performance) from Jil Guyon on Vimeo.

Created and performed by Jil Guyon
Cinematography by Valerie Barnes
Original Score by Chris Becker
Electronics and percussion: SPIKE the percussionist
Vocals: Lainie Diamond

"'Widow' is the film version of a solo movement-based performance featuring an iconic, enigmatic woman encapsulated in a stark, futuristic environment. With an intense interiority the nameless woman gradually reveals the evolving mystery of her psychological condition through suspenseful stillness, sharp gestures and emotional extremes. Precisely choreographed gestures merge with layered costume, music and sound to create a shifting tableau of surreal images evocative of personal loss and the struggle for transcendence." - Jil Guyon

"Widow" will screen February 4, 2014, at 3PM, at the Dance On Camera Film Festival, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Walter Reade Theater.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

November 28, 2013: Current collaborations

Artist Jil Guyon
I just completed a score for a video called "Widow" created and starring Jil Guyon, whose work includes visual as well as performance art. Jil and I worked very closely to shape the music to compliment stark and mysterious performance captured in the video, and her suggestions and direction throughout proved to be invaluable to me as a composer.

The music includes several realtime performances on Kaoss pad, gongs, djembe, and drum kit all played by SPIKE the percussionist, and vocals by Lainie Diamond, who channeled a performance that draws equally on her classical technique and a more theatrical, blues-inflected kind of delivery one hears from the mouths of singers like PJ Harvey. The final score is an organic and very detailed hybrid of industrial and ambient music, with extended periods of tension, slowly developed crescendos, and sudden explosions of sound. I'm very proud of this one.

"Widow" will be screened in January at Lincoln Center's 2014 "Dance On Camera" film festival. More information about that screening will post as the date approaches.

One note: I think it's kind of amazing how social media is allowing artists across the globe to collaborate in ways that were just not possible in the age before the Internet.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Two reviews of The Rite Of Summer

Photo of The Rite Of Summer by Steve Patlan
"Set to a stunningly reimagined version of Stravinsky’s score by laptop musician Chris Becker, The Rite of Summer celebrates the steamy season through which Houstonians are now suffering. Artistic Director Rebecca French’s choreography is inspired by Nijinsky’s movements but becomes its own beautiful beast." Alese Pickering reviewing "The Rite Of Summer" for Houstonia.

We had a great run of "The Rite Of Summer" which featured choreography and direction by Rebecca French, projected images by Varina Rush and my re-imagined / remixed version of Igor Stravinsky's iconic "The Rite Of Spring." I should also mention the beautiful lighting by Edgar Guajardo which you can see in the photo above of the show's opening tableau.

"The Rite Of Summer" received two glowing reviews, one from Houstonia and one from Houston Press. I was very pleased that both reviewers made room to mention the show's music.

The week leading up to the show, Rebecca, choreographer Sophia Torres (whose Psophonia Dance Company shared the bill performing their own work "Infinite Shapes") and myself headed over to KUHA FM to be interviewed by Bob Stevenson for The Front Row.

And finally, if you'd like to download my score for "The Rite Of Summer," which features drum, cymbals and percussion performances by Richard Cholakian, some heavy breathing by vocalist extraordinaire Alexandra Marculewicz Adshead, and a couple of singing gibbons recorded by composer Doren Bernard, I've posted the entire work in six files over at Bandcamp.

What an amazing weekend! Working with Rebecca and the whole team at FrenetiCore was a pleasure!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Tune in to "Composer Talk" Saturday, August 24, 2PM to 4PM CT at

Tune in Saturday, August 24, 2 PM to 4 PM CT to “Composer Talk” with your hosts Chris Becker and Hsin-Jung Tsai.

On this edition of “Composer Talk” we’ll be playing and discussing selections from Pat Metheny’s recent recording “Tap: John Zorn’s Book of Angels," Ayelet Rose Gottlieb's "Mayim Rabim," an evocative song cycle based on texts from the erotic Biblical love poems Song of Songs, new music from Taiwan, and who knows what else?

"Composer Talk" is the red headed stepchild of Scordatura, the Houston area’s source for new directions in contemporary classical music and sound.

"Composer Talk" streams live at in high definition at 90.1 HD-2.