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Feb 182014

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I’m torn. Thursday, February 20th features at least two must-see events in Nashville, and they overlap.

At 5:30 p.m., the swanky new art space Oz will host the very first “Thursday Night Things,” a series of art collaborations. This one features the immensely-talented musician Chancellor Warhol performing his new album in its entirety and collaborating with Theatre Intangible and Circuit Benders’ Ball participant Benton C. Bainbridge and filmmaker and Fort Houston founding member Jonathan Kingsbury. What will it be like? Since Jonathan runs a photo-booth company and Benton has been prototyping a video portraits system, I expect it may involve portraits of the audience. But who knows? What I do know is it’s your only chance to see Benton Bainbridge in the foreseeable future. Now that he’s moved back in New York City, he’s busy making art, directing music videos and vj-ing at One Step Beyond at the American Museum of Natural History.

“Thursday Night Things” is scheduled to run until 7:45 p.m., which means you’ll have to choose between it and the 7 p.m. screening of Bruce Baillie: Cinema of the Senses at Third Man Records’ The Light & Sound Machine. This is heartbreaking because series director James Cathcart called the retrospective “perhaps the program I’ve been most proud to present.” More from the press release: “Despite having been a cornerstone of the emerging cinematic avant-garde of the 1960’s—as well as a co-founder of Canyon Cinema and the San Francisco Cinematheque—Bruce Baillie has escaped recognition from all but the most committed film enthusiasts and scholars. His oft-imitated, rarely paralleled style of sensuous, nature-tethered cinema has inspired generations of filmmakers, most recently 2010 Palme d’Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul. This program presents seven of Baillie’s rarely screened masterpieces from his most fruitful period.” Film Comment columnist Chuck Stephens will introduce the show.

As if the choice isn’t hard enough, you also have Greg Bryant, Paul Horton and Justin Cromer performing at F Scotts and Body of Light, French Lips, Dr. Jungle Cat and Commitment Bells performing at The East Room.

Oh Nashville, sometimes I hate you. But I love you. But I hate you. But I love you…

Jun 212013
Still from a/v synth performance at Transcinema, 1999, Benton C. Bainbridge

Still from a/v synth performance at Transcinema, 1999, Benton C. Bainbridge

Here’s episode 104: Adventure Bomb: Projecting, a revised and expanded edition of the set I performed at Soundcrawl in collaboration with Benton-C Bainbridge’s live video projection mapping (“Fast-mapping”). Recorded at Brick Factory Nashville. Best experienced through headphones.

Adventure Bomb is my experimental “scoop & loop” solo project.  “Scoop & loop” is a performance-style that involves scooping out sections of recordings and looping them live … basically, audio juggling.

Benton-C Bainbridge is a media artist based in The Bronx, working with custom systems of his own design. Benton has presented immersive environments, screenings, installations and live performances across five continents, collaborating with scores of artists around the world. He even has a Wikipedia page! (Someone should add this collaboration!)

Soundcrawl is a sound art and new media organization led by Kyle Baker presenting works by the best and brightest new media artists and composers in a unique “opt in” gallery format.

“Projecting” is comprised of:

  • Interviews with Soundcrawl attendees. As they listened to Soundcrawl “sound art” selections via headphones, they were asked to describe what they were hearing. The central idea to this experiment was seeing if I could “map” their descriptions onto the music I was generating live.
  • Snippets of live musical performances occurring at Soundcrawl 2012.
  • Instruments performed by Adventure Bomb live, including a Casio Sk-1 keyboard, circuit-bent toys and various effects.
  • Sound effects and field recordings from Freesound.org. Freesound aims to create a huge collaborative database of audio snippets, samples, recordings, bleeps, etc … released under Creative Commons licenses that allow their reuse. Listeners are encouraged to donate to Freesound.

The interviewees (in order of appearance):

  • Lesley Beeman
  • Unknown (Let me know if you can identify this person)
  • Antonia Oakes
  • Joe Nolan
  • Tony Youngblood
  • Ilana Morgan
  • Ryan Hogan
  • Unknown (Let me know if you can identify this person)

The 2012 Soundcrawl performers sampled (in alphabetical order):

  • Jason Fick
  • Timothy Harenda
  • Ilana Morgan
  • Adam Vidiksis
  • Sally Williams
  • Mark Zanter

Freesound.org collaborators and the names of the samples used:

Big thanks to the participants and to the Freesound artists! Thanks for listening!

Mar 232013

Blair Vortex VORTEX and the Bad Boy! George Antheil's restored Ballet mécanique

I’m going to call it. The April 7th Blair School of Music event VORTEX and the Bad Boy! will be the most ambitious, satisfying, and important Nashville event of 2013. People will talk about it for years. Those who miss it will regret it for years.

How can I be so sure about that?

Well, for starters:

  • Blair Percussion VORTEX director Michael Holland organized last year’s John Cage Centennial, the most important event of 2012.  This lobby musicircus featured over 75 performers, and that was just the pre-show!
  • The April 7th event centers around the groundbreaking 1924 experimental film and musical composition Ballet Mécanique, directed by Fernand Léger and Dudley Murphy and scored by George Antheil.
  • The film will be projected with LIVE orchestration, featuring 8 PLAYER PIANOS, 13 live musicians, xylophones, bass drums, electric bells, airplane propellers, and more!
  • This is the original restored orchestration and film in its southeaster US premiere, only the 6th US production featuring the original orchestration with the film.
  • The daylong symposium features a myriad of events, including a Q&A with Paul Lehrman who used robotics and MIDI processing to make the original Ballet mécanique playable again; an Antheil documentary; a presentation by MuTant project director Arshia Cont on how computers have learned to play along with human musicians; and a lecture by Rice University Art History professor Gordon Hughes, author of “The Painter’s Revenge: Fernand Léger For and Against Cinema.”
  • A invading army of robots will take over the Blair campus, presented by the Middle Tennessee Robotic Art Society.
  • The lobby features an interactive movie installation by Greg Pond and Benton C. Bainbridge, featuring custom-designed 3D printed parts.
  • The lobby also features interactive audio compositions by Liz Clayton Scofield.
  • The concert program features 6 additional compositions including works by Brian Blume, Henry Cowell, Nigel Westlake, John Cage and Lou Harrison, and Felix Mendelssohn.
  • Mendelssohn’s Saltarello-Presto will be played by 8 robotically controlled pianos, arranged by Paul Lehrman.
  • Brian Blume’s Strands of Time [video] and Nigel Westlake’s Moving Air [video] combine live percussionists with prerecorded soundscapes.
  • The entire event is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!

I STRONGLY suggest you come early to secure your seat. With the success of last year’s John Cage Centennial and the enormous buzz around VORTEX and the Bad Boy, Ingram Hall may reach capacity well before showtime.

You can find out more on the Vanderbilt Blair School of Music website.

Blair Percussion VORTEX presents the Southeastern U.S. premiere of George Antheil’s restored Ballet mécanique
Sunday, April 7
Blair School of Music (across from the intersection of 25th and Blakemore/Wedgewood, Nashville, TN)
1:30-5 p.m., Ballet mécanique mini-symposium, Choral Hall
6:45 p.m., Robotics, Music, New Media Art, Ingram Lobby
8 p.m., VORTEX concert, Ingram Hall