The year began with a few back-to-back shows in the second week of January. I played an ambient set, as well as an improvisation-on-a-composition preview with soprano Bonnie Lander, plus a more conventional DJ set, for the opening of an exhibition by artist Chris Owen at the Windup Space in Baltimore. I was back the next night to perform with my regular monthly improvised hip hop series, Baltimore Boom Bap Society. Two days later, in the same space, was the premiere of my new piece for Bonnie Lander with live electronics, titled Damascus Mix. We performed the piece on January 11th, as a prelude to Rhymes With Opera‘s staged production of the chamber opera Red Giant by Adam Matlock.
After we performed the piece together in Baltimore, Bonnie went on to perform it independently, with a fixed version of the electronic part, at Rhymes With Opera’s subsequent shows in Brooklyn, NY, and Jersey City, NJ. Here is a nice review from the Jersey City show, with a description of Damascus Mix in the second and third paragraphs.
Damascus Mix takes its starting point from a text cut-up of international news reports on Syria, along with a biblical passage alluding to Damascus. The live vocal part is inspired by the idea of changing stations on a radio, as well as exploring the spectrum between natural human voice and electronically generated sound (the electronic part relies heavily on the use of analog subtractive synthesis as well as granular synthesis with vocal samples). Bonnie and I developed the piece together through email exchanges and file sharing, as well as working together in person in the days leading up to the performance. Here is the electronic part, by itself:
Damascus Mix (instrumental) by Dubble8
Looking ahead, things get a little crazy…
March 14 – 23: Together with MICA Sound Art colleague Jason Sloan, I will be leading a week-long workshop at CMMAS (Centro Mexicano para la Música y Artes Sonoras) in Morelia, Mexico. The title of our workshop is Soundscape & Geography As Sources For Live Electronic Composition. We will bring 6 MICA students on the program, collaborating with local students from Morelia, and develop a collaborative performance project that will be performed on Friday, March 21st at CMMAS.
April 12: I will be collaborating with old-time music duo Anna & Elizabeth (Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth Laprelle) on a multimedia performance bridging traditional Appalachian and Hip Hop musical elements, while examining the history of migration from the mountains to Baltimore. More information coming soon. At The Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21224
May 3: I am organizing and performing on the 5th annual all-night music festival at MICA- The Vigil, outdoors on the Cohen Plaza. Sample the best of Baltimore’s electro-acoustic musicians, experimental chamber music, drone, ambient, downtempo electronica…
June 21 & 22: Premiering my hiking opera Cantata For A Loop Trail with my favorite non-opera company, Rhymes With Opera. The Baltimore performance, on June 21st, will take place in Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park. A performance in New York the following day is tentatively planned for Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Stay tuned. Here is some video of an informal preview of several of the instrumental sections from the piece, which I performed with Ruby Fulton and George Lam this past September:
I am also working on a piece for pianist Jacqueline C Leung, a doctoral student of piano at SUNY Stonybrook. Titled Double Identities, the work will be focused on the cultural intersections and disconnects between the listening modes of Modern Classical music and Hip Hop. Double Identities is conceived for piano and turntable/DJ controller, and will form one part of a concert program that can be presented in schools, focused on the Classical/Hip Hop hybrid idea.
Ongoing this spring is a new class that I’m teaching at MICA- Remix As Performance. This is a class that has been gestating for a long time, bringing together a lot of my observations from experience with sample-based performance over the past 10 years.
Every first Wednesday night at the Windup Space, I continue to co-host Baltimore Boom Bap Society (live improvised hip hop) with Wendel Patrick. Each show features the two of us with a different group of musicians and poets. The series has been documented extensively by Tom Kessler, to whom we owe a huge thanks. Check out his YouTube page here.
A Baltimore Boom Bap Society album is in the works for later in the year.