Erik Spangler > Orientation #106 // Electro-Acoustic Improv at OT301

Tonight I had the privilege of playing an amazing venue with an equally amazing group of musicians:

Anne LaBerge – Flutes and Electronics
Ivo Bol – Electronics
Oscar Jan Hoogland – Clavichord
Dana Jessen – Bassoon

Electro-acoustic improv band at OT301

Electro-acoustic improv band at OT301

The way that these players were listening and communicating, with a special kind of synchronicity, definitely places this in one of my top 5 group improv experiences of all time. Big props to Dana for putting this ensemble together!

I played single turntable (thrift shop vinyl + Ms. Pinky control of digital audio clips), padKontrol to Max4Live, and melodica. From the need to travel light on this trip, I concentrated down to using the Korg padKontrol in place of my usual APC40 for control of Live- I feel pretty happy with its capability for treating samples with a variety of touches, though I do miss the faders and such. Many thanks to Ivo and OT301 for supplying me with a turntable and mixer. For once, I feel like I brought just what I needed and was able to use everything I had set up in a way that was responsive to the flow of the ensemble. The 9 records I brought on this trip:

1. TROCKNEIS (Dan Breen, Audrey Chen, Andy Hayleck, Paul Neidhardt, Catherine Pancake) – 5025 AD
2. DJ Krush – Stepping Stones
3. John Coltrane – Alternate Takes
4. Authentic Belly Dance Music
5. Morton Subotnick – Silver Apples of the Moon
6. James Ostryniec, soloist – Music For Oboe
7. Stereo Test Record
8. Prefuse 73 – Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian

9. Ms. Pinky vinyl

Earlier in the day we had two very great presentations at STEIM- the first by Frank Baldé, on the sensor-mapping software junXion. I’m very excited by the possibilities with this, particularly in regard to ways that my performances could draw the audience into affecting the sound stream through movement, control of light, or some other system of participation feedback. Many, many possibilities here, and it will take awhile to digest where exactly I want to take this. The second presentation was by Kristina Andersen, on interaction design. She brought forward a number of great ideas relating to intuitive connection between the physical objects or sensors in space, and how these can shape a listener or participant’s experience of the sound and its causes of transformation. It was very refreshing to hear a strong emphasis on letting the perceived need for technical know-how take a backseat to reflecting on performance experience and sketching of what types physical motion and of control over sound would be most useful, before trying to learn every technical possibility.

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About Erik Spangler

Erik Spangler (Ph.D. Harvard University, 2004) is a composer and electronic musician working within a wide range of listening environments. His compositions have been performed across the United States and internationally from Canada to China, by ensembles including the Atlantic Brass Quintet, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and International Contemporary Ensemble. Expanding upon turntablist performance practice, Spangler performs “fizzy, angular susurrations” (Ann Arbor Observer) and patterns on diverse electronics, creating music ranging from “a skillful merger of recorded Arabic phrases flecked with DJ turntable effects” (Washington Post) to “rigorous … improvisatory” (Gramophone) compositions with a range of chamber ensembles. His music may be heard on Innova Recordings, indie hip-hop label Nonsense Records, and live in spaces ranging from academic concert halls to art galleries, from clubs to sidewalks. Performances include collaborations with duYun, Rare Degree, Oxter, S.K.I.P., VJ Art Jones, Cornell Symphony Orchestra, and Ithaca College Percussion Ensemble. Spangler works regularly with saxophonist Brian Sacawa as the genre-bending duo Hybrid Groove Project. Along with Sacawa, Spangler is also co-founder of the Contemporary Museum's Mobtown Modern music series in Baltimore.

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