Originally posted on freejazzblog July 12, 2016
Originally published on BurningAmbulance June 29, 2016
1. A Primary Piece 1 & 2 – David S. Ware – Birth of a Being – 1977/2015
2. Deadbeat Beyonce – Time Berne’s Snakeoil – Anguis Oleum – 2016
3. Movement V+VI+Reprise – Tyshawn Sorey Double Trio – 2016
4. 60 Pieces of Sound – Jürg Frey – 60 Pieces of Sound – 2016
5. Our Day Will Come – Jimmy Scott – The Source – 1970
originally broadcast June 26, 2016
1. Structural Fire – Steve Lehman, Mark Dresser, Pherroan AkLaff – Camouflage Trio – 2016
2. Argonautica – Nate Wooley – Argonautica – 2016
3. Black Phebe – Erik Friendlander’s Black Phebe Trio – Rings – 2016
4. Movement I (Introduction)/Movement II – Tyshawn Sorey Double Trio – The Inner Spectrum of Variable – 2016
5. Rattle Snakes and Roaches/Barrow Street Blues – Joe McPhee, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Michael Zerang – Barrow Street Blues – 2015
Originally broadcast June 19, 2016
1. Shine – Ambarchi / Pilia / Pupillo – Aithein – 2016
2. The Healer – Susan Alcorn – Evening Tales – 2016
3. Black Crowned Night – Laura Cannell – Quick Sparrows Over the Black Earth – 2014
4. We Can Name You Their Names – The International Nothing (….And Something) – The Power of Negative Thinking – 2016
5. Unter Grund – Christina Kubisch & Eckehard Güther – Unter Grund – 2016
6. Can You Hear Me? – Joëlle Léandre – Can You Hear Me? – 2016
originally broadcast June 12, 2016
Friday June 10 at 7:30pm & 10:00pm
Saturday June 11 at 5:00pm & 9:30pm
Sunday June 12 at 11:00pm
Duty explores sonic possibilities and human limits, harnessing the bodily convulsions produced by electrical impulses to control seven performers in a work composed in one octave for fourteen handbells. The title of the work refers both to the movement of a bell and the enforced physical obligation of the performers, and references Pavlovian classical conditioning experiments pairing the sound of a bell with another stimulus to elicit conditioned responses in subjects.
A performative realization of a system where agency is dispersed across people, objects, and the environment, the work creates a distributed system where the artist/composer executes pre-determined motor actions in the performers via electric muscle stimulation (EMS).
A composition converted to MIDI triggers two custom-built EMS devices, which deliver electrical impulses to specific points on the performers’ arms via electrodes attached to their skin, causing their muscles to contract and generating specific involuntary movements at changing velocities.
Variations in voltage, frequency and pulse width dictate different muscular responses in the performers, ranging from unnatural jolts to unnervingly fast movements. Duty uses the induction of involuntary movement to explore the way physical (and psychological) constraint can determine both a musical outcome and extend sonic possibilities. Expanding the potential of the human body beyond conscious control the use of electric muscle stimulation in this context enables experimentation with rhythmic structures and fast movements that the performers would be unable to achieve of their own volition. The ensemble of performers create a unified somatic instrument; a conduit for complex rhythmic soundscapes and visually unnerving movements.
The application of EMS to musical performance provides a novel way to explore the interface between technology and live performance, and raises interesting questions regarding creative agency in the creation of music. The transmogrification of the performers’ body as an input/output device literalizes aspects of musical performance, where musicians frequently describe feeling like conduits or transcribers of a creation that is not their own. A perverse take on Schoenberg’s (1911) claim that “art is born not of ‘I can’ but of ‘I must’”, Duty explores the liminal space between didactic execution and free interpretation inherent in all musical performance.
In a broader sense, Duty questions assumptions about agency and free will both in musical performance and everyday contexts. An enquiry into the nature of agency within systems where cognition is distributed across people, objects and environment through technologies of connection, Duty explores what happens when embodied experience is disrupted or extended, and what kind of agency is created in these distributed systems.
1. Theraps (1975-76) for solo contrabass – Iannis Xenakis/John Eckhardt – X-6 | Xenakis: Music for strings – 2005
2. The First Sign – Paul G. Smyth – The Warning Signs – 2016
3. The Unforeseen Is What Is Beautiful/Black Dots – Marco Eneidi, Peter Kowald, Damon Smith, Spirit – Ghetto Calypso – 2015
4. Light – Loren Connors, Clint Heidorn – Light – 2014
5. W in the D – Michael Snow – Musics For Piano, Whistling, Microphone And Tape – 1975
6. The All Most Quiet – Norman Westberg – The All Most Quiet – 2016
originally broadcast June 5, 2016
Originally published on freejazzblog May 31, 2016
1. Transform (stream): monopole – Jerry Hunt – Ground: Five Mechanic Convention Streams – 1994
2. La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopia Futura (1988-89) – Luigi Nono/Gidon Kremer – La Lontanza – “Hay Que Caminar” – 1990
3. WU (for solo piano) – Rudolf Komorous/Eve Egoyan – WU – 2003
4. Intermedio Alla Ciaccona (1986) – Brian Ferneyhough/Irvine Arditti – 5 Pieces – 1989
originally broadcast Mat 29, 2016