We know James O’Callaghan‘s music very well. It often blends electronics and acoustic instruments in one of the most literal ways possible – by diffusing electronic sounds through the bodies of pianos, guitars, violins… James and his collaborators make birds fly out of books, and we’ve heard James project his own recorded voice through a foam cup held in his mouth. Unified, witty and sometimes sonically spectacular, this music suggests not only a different way of speaking to the world, but also a different way of hearing it.
Beavan Flanagan‘s string quartet is beautiful. His sonifications of NASA space data are so unapproachable they are actually hazardous to listen to for protracted periods. In person, he speaks very softly. Sometimes, in making art, we feel pulled in a direction, and sometimes, we throw ourselves to a new place – few composers can create instrumental textures as refined as Beavan’s, but our guest on April 7th is not one to rehash old formulas.
Eliot Britton’s music is punchy, overtly dynamic and laden with references to technology from past decades. Eliot recently returned to his native Winnipeg after living the better part of a decade in Montreal, where he completed his Ph.D in music composition last year. He is very active as a concert and event organizer as well as a musician, and co-produces Winnipeg’s spectacular Cluster festival together with the festival’s co-founders, Heidi Ouellette and Luke Nickel. He also runs a radio show of his own, called Groundswell Radio. You can listen to it on CKUW 95.9 Mondays from 2-3PM central time.
Paul Paroczai once ripped apart a piano, not to see what was inside, but to fill it with electronic components. Since that day his algorithms haven’t gotten any tamer and his interfaces haven’t gotten any more conventional. You might find him onstage costumed as a boy scout, or dressed up like David Bowie piloting a generative music system (unfortunately there isn’t a photo online for that yet), but more likely, you’ll recognize him by his sonorous voice, which can be heard right here during the February 4th episode of re:composition.
There’s no denying that Nancy Tam writes pretty music. Whether lyrical or percussive, her sounds display an approachable dramatic sense familiar from many musical worlds. Her unearthly taste in visual art comes as a stark contrast, while all of her works bear bold and evocative titles suggesting a drama of objects more than of humanity. Matt interviews Nancy tomorrow, to talk about a multiplex corpus that gets more so by the day.
Harry Stafylakis describes his work as “contemporary metal.” But alas, his rhythmically driving compositions call for no mosh pits or stage makeup; rather, the metal is in the notes – a little bit bluesy, mostly minor (although rarely diminished) and without a trace of spectralism. Stafylakis’s metal is a kind of folk tradition. The infamous rock’n’roll drama is still their, though, beneath a classical veneer laced with postminimalism. For Stafylakis, you can dress it up, but it’s still metal when you take it out.
Jazz and classical sounds find a collective home in Elizabeth Knudson‘s in latest work, a concerto for jazz trio and orchestra. No stranger to symphonic forces, Knudson and her music have travelled far and wide, collecting musical odds and ends from around the world. (Knudson chronicles her adventures on her blog.)
Perhaps it’s no wonder, then, that folk songs play a major role in her teaching and composing work. Simultaneously, as a cellist with the West Coast Symphony Orchestra, Knudson is well acquainted with the high classical ultragreats. Ultraclassicalness? Ultrafolkness? Ultrajazzness? Let’s find out how they meet!