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Friday, February 8, 2013 8:00 pm Littlefield Concert Hall
TIM PERKIS AND COMPOSERS FROM THE CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY MUSIC
A concert featuring music by Tim Perkis, Maggi Payne, John Bischoff, Chris Brown, and Les Stuck. Performers include: Tim Perkis, Maggi Payne, John Bischoff, Chris Brown, James Fei, Peiling Kao, Rajendra Serber, Tom Djll, Matt Ingalls, and Scott Walton.
The Anatomy of Sleeping Dice (2013)
Like most of my solo work, this is a spontaneous composition of three classes of elements: prerecorded sub-compositions chosen, filtered and mixed for this occasion; live playing of a small pseudo-analog synthesizer, the BC8 by Chimera Synthesis; and live playing of my TouchTyping electronic instrument, a software/hardware combination, consisting of a mid-80’s commercial synthesizer (Yamaha TX-81z), software I’ve written, and control surfaces (computer keyboard keys and MIDI sliders). What do you call a gizmo that gives the player precise control over many aspects of complex electronic sounds, but from time to time acts unexpectedly (by design), doing random things the player didn’t expect or control, and which demand some kind of immediate adjustment or response? Is this an agent on its own, a musical composition or an instrument of some kind? I don’t know, but working with it has stayed interesting enough for me to keep using it essentially unchanged for almost 20 years now, which of course is an eternity in software development time. I find that not having any visual display: does a violin have a display?— and not having to think about updates and software versions: do pianos have interfaces that keep changing?—and not having an instrument that always does what I ask it to, have all contributed to this being an instrument I still want to work with. I have other projects in which I use current tools and write new code, but I’ve come to think of TouchTyping as a long term experiment to see how long a computer instrument can stay interesting without re-programming it. I’m still discovering new things with it.
Magnetic Monopole (2013) for electronic ensemble
In my work with the computer music ensemble The Hub, the players are constantly sharing data to control the ongoing nature and flow of the music, some of which is not necessarily directly perceptible in the sound of the music itself. And in western conducted orchestral music, visual gestures, signals also outside the music as heard by the audience, are used to coordinate the players. But in some African and Asian musical traditions, signals intended for the players—drum patterns or melodic frangments to indicate sectional changes are frankly sounded—drum patterns or melodic frangments, becoming part of the music as heard by all. This is a piece that asks 4 players to play through a series of sections, signalling each other with auditory signals that are part of the musical texture itself. Performers: John Bischoff, Chris Brown, James Fei, Tim Perkis.
Playing Poker with an Insane Accountant (2013)
A loosely guided improvisational work. I have worked with this quartet in a free improvisational context for about a year or so. This is the first time we have performed with a new randomized network conduction system that transmits different images to each performers tablet or laptop display. The images may be snippets of music notation, text, or graphic instructions guiding and at times synchronizing the performance.
What is the main way free improvisation can fail? Through formlessness, where players become enslaved to "the moment," and lose the ability to do anything but follow it without finding a wider perspective. A little bit of light structure goes a long way towards stopping a runaway train. The masters of conducted improv that I've had the honor to work with, like Wadada Leo Smith and Gino Robair, always seem to know how to hold the players loosely, with respect and affection for each one's individual strength and musicality. My hope is that this semi-random, semi-structured visual score system can do something like that, without cramping anyone’s style. Performers: Tom Djll (trumpet/electronics), Matt Ingalls (clarinets), Scott Walton (bass), Tim Perkis (electronics).
Wind through a silver tube, the touch of the human breath—ROAR is an exploration of three dimensional space where the architected expanse is continually contracting, expanding, and being reshaped. Sounds come so close that they’re almost internalized by the listener, then collapse far back into the cosmos. There is a natural ebb and flow across, around, and through the space, as if a windstorm is on its way, arrives, wreaks havoc, then recedes into the far distance. Mixed to 8 channels, 4 channels, and stereo, this work can also be performed live with 8 flutists with 8 condenser microphones and 8 speakers. It can also be performed in a variety of configurations with live and pre-recorded flutes as in this four channel version with live flutist.
Lighting for this work was originally designed for my work created long ago titled Allusions, for special lighting, abstract film, dancers, and four channel tape. In ROAR the multiple shadows reflect the multiple flute parts that comprise the work. The ending of ROAR touches back to three of my previous works for flute: HUM, Scirocco, and Aeolian Confluence.
Know Nothing Music #2
for solo laptop computer
Uniformity is the bane of the digital medium, manifesting itself in the dominance of repetition, replication, and homogeneous textures in its musical results; networks may be used to combat this trend, instead of simply creating extended means of control. A "Know-Nothing" computer network music uses rich specifications, loosely applied. It presumes no necessary behavior in response to data made available within the network, but assumes that performers will have a vested interest in using it.
In this solo version, the network is the software running on a single laptop computer, which feeds back data from analysis of its sound output to control parameters of its sound generation algorithms.
Second Memory (2005)
Dance Improvisation by Peiling Kao and Rajendra Serber
Vocal Imprint (2013)
Vocal Imprint employs audio from two analog sources—square-wave oscillators activated by shorting discs and a "crackle box"—to drive sequential construction of digital audio in a laptop. As mostly linear phrases appear, the performer can choose to sustain or extend drones, pulses, and modulated excursions as needed. Control actions for the resulting sequences are stored along the way and can be re-activated in later parts of the piece, thereby projecting contours from an earlier history in juxtaposition with current phrase constructions.