Hi there and welcome to my first Kickstarter!
Most of you know me from Mission of Burma (guitar, vocals, composer) and/or Alloy Orchestra (keyboard, composer). I've covered considerable musical territory with these and other bands for decades. But I am also a composer of chamber music, with performances at the New England Conservatory, Tufts University and elsewhere.
So... I am planning to redefine myself for the next phase of my career to focus on conceptual art as an avenue to deepen my ideas. With perhaps a little less touring! I hope you will join me for this journey.
This Kickstarter is for my first art installation: "Transmuting the Prosaic", which references the alchemical transformation of the mundane to a higher state, from March 15 - June 15, 2020, at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center. I will also be artist in residence during this period, performing for three evenings.
The installation itself consists of two elements:
I: "The Davis Square Symphony". For my first film, I shot Davis Square, Somerville, MA, from five different locations in the four different seasons. The score is for a full orchestra, with each season having a different harmony. Vehicles become strings, while pedestrians become wind instruments, bicycles become snare drums, and so forth. Using a post-John Cage composition approach of my own devising, chords and motifs I could never have consciously planned appear in true beauty. The mundane world of street traffic is transformed.
II: Modified Vinyl. These works all play with the medium of records. The five pieces will be hung on the wall for viewing, and in front of each will be a listening station: a turntable with either a copy of the record on the wall, or a recording of the record being performed, or some audio variation related to the work on the wall. There will be headphones at each station, and instructions as to how to use a turntable! Besides being conceptually broad, I believe these works will be fun as well, and the interaction of the museum-goer via the listening station will amplify their experience. The first Modified Vinyl piece I made was "POP Record/evolving" (playable at any speed) in 1984. It was reviewed in Art New England along-side Christian Marclay's "Record without a Cover", and in 1988 was shown as part of "Extended Play" at the Emily Harvey Gallery in NYC (curated by Ursula Block and Mr. Marclay). In 2005 it was in the show "Needle and the Damage Done" in Toronto, again with Mr. Marclay. In 2018 it was being taught at a “Sound Studies and Sonic Arts (Master of Arts)” class at Universitat der Kunste, Berlin.
III. Artist Residencies: The residencies include an artist's talk and two distinct musical concerts.
1. Dream-State Guitar. This is a new direction for my solo electric guitar work, related to my Elemental Guitar album (SST Records, 1995). I will be using looping devices extensively, which capture and repeat the patterns and sounds I play into them. I will also use a select group of "stomp-boxes", devices which significantly alter the sound of my electric guitars, resulting in a varied ensemble, the proverbial "one-man band/orchestra". The music will be composed via my Dream Interpretation Technique, where a specific dream organizes the form and feel of each composition. Those who know my work will not be surprised that it blends rock, classical new music, psychedelia, electronic composition, ambience and more into an organized whole. Plenty of research, plenty of discovery... right in my own home. That's what gets me going.
2. Music for String Quartet. In 2010, I began composing chamber music again, picking up where I left off as a composition major at California Institute of the Arts in 1976. For the 2020 residency, I selected a string quartet as being a practical and inspiring instrumental combination. The culmination of this evening will be a new composition "Music for String Quartet and Two Turntables." Here I will be the turntablist with two records I cut specifically for the composition. On some tracks, the record will contain record noise, on others, pre-recorded string quartet. In both cases, it is the back and forth interaction of the records and the live quartet that creates the piece.
The continuing theme in my artistic exploration has been the utilization of natural elements that are often rejected as being ordinary, mundane, or even unwanted: Electric guitar feedback, cracks in walls, the density of leaves, traffic patterns, the arc of tree-limbs, rock formations, noise in technology, cricket calls, waves and water lapping and storms... I try to transform these everyday things, opening up the doors behind them. The shape created by spray-bleaching a Tupperware top on the back of my black t-shirt appears almost mystical, but its origins are completely mundane. I don't see this as a contradiction: it is mutual interpenetration.
What follows are three Frottage drawings on 6"X6"Origami paper. See REWARDS!
Risks and challenges
The Davis Square Symphony is in the final stages of completion - it's just a matter of wrapping it up. However, it still requires a good chunk of time in the editing room! Some of the Modified Vinyl is more up in the air - two of these I have not fully tested, but I have a very clear idea of what I want to do. The Dream-State Guitar music already has a strong start (I wrote two compositions in December), so all that needs is the equipment I hope to acquire via Kickstarter, and the time to compose. The biggest work for the residency, "Music for String Quartet and Two Turntables", is the one that needs the most time to create. I will have to mock-up the tracks I will cut to the records, conceptualize their interactions with the string quartet, and imagine myself altering the records in real time. But I have done a lot of "mock-up work" already and I have a clear idea of what I want to do. And when I have these kind ideas, it is rare that they do not come to pass.
My Goal for $7,000.00 will fund the following:
The Davis Square Symphony:
Color correction, titles, score production, the creation of DCP copies.
Purchasing five turntables and headphones for listening stations; creation of seven records (each one of a kind); creation of three etched records (each one of a kind).
Purchasing various loopers, devices, mixers; 2 more lap-steel guitars to alter considerably.
Stretch-goal #1: $9,000.00
This will help commission "Music for String Quartet and two Turn-tables", including the creation of the two records and two direct-drive turntables for this performance.
Stretch-goal #2: $10,000.00
Towards recording a Dream-State guitar album.
Thanks for reading! And thanks to Joanne Kaliontzis, Tim Bugbee, Wayne Viens, Michael McLaughlin and Bridget Toner for various images.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)