Please find creative examples for my Music Current Festival commission application. They are listed in priority order, should the committee only wish to view excerpts or a single project, and include suggested excerpts for review time considerations.

dredge ii

Score Preview

alto saxophone, electric guitar, percussion, piano

Written for CubeLab 2023; performed by Hypercube.

Suggested Excerpt: 2’30” – 6’00” (score pp. 4 – 8).

“The [Mississippi] river is always switching direction as it seeks the path of least resistance, and the ocean is always fighting it, eating away at the sedimentary land… This watery maze is called ‘the bayou,’ and the individual streams in the maze are also called ‘bayous,’ as though each small waterway contained the complexity of the swampy whole. ”

—Jake Bittle, The Great Displacement

For the last four years I’ve lived two miles from the Mississippi River as it meanders around New Orleans. Nowhere in my life have I been more aware of the local climate, how the environment around me behaves and how it responds to humans. The Mississippi has always navigated its own way through the lower delta and into the Gulf of Mexico, leaving a meandering wake through the swamp. This structured meandering fascinates me, a singular entity pulling water from the entire country splitting and churning through its last inexorable motion. It’s a model that resonates with my sense of sonic material, a mass of content moving through itself and responding to its boundaries, dredging up a path in the process. In dredge ii the performers navigate fragile material through such a journey. The score encourages new movement and uncovers novel sonic behavior, letting the performers dwell with their sounds and the complex environment in which they find themselves, each sound simultaneously independent and part of the swampy whole.

thin places

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fixed media track and free improvisers + responsive max/MSP video

The piece was devised for the 2021 virtual N.E.O. Voice Festival. Performed by Eli Berman (voice), Jasper Sussman (voice), and Abe Ross (organ), with video processing by me.

thin places uses both an aural and graphic score to create an improvisation environment for performers. “Thin places” refers to a spiritual ontology in Ireland where specific times or locations allowed for close contact between our world and the spirit world. I find this analogy of “thin places” a fruitful one in considering improvisational practices, as improvisers navigate their body and their listening in accord with one another and move toward new sound possibilities. The various materials, the performances, and the video thus work as a media accumulation, offering multiple ways to engage with or approach the “thing” that is thin places.

Free Improvisation with Justin Peake

extended voice, live processing, field recordings, synthesizers

Suggested Excerpt: 4’00” – 8’15”

In this duo set I’m producing all vocal and nearly all electronic sounds, including field recordings, synthesizers, and audio processing.

As an improviser I’m interested in texture and the microsonic behaviors of subtle sounds. I explore this through extended vocal technique practice, which I augment with a max/MSP patch. My performances center gestural interaction and processing “feedback” that encourages the exploration of new spaces with both my voice and electronics. 

Much of my compositional inspiration derives from these improvisation: I can feel very distinctly the shift between a stable vocal fry and multiphonic, between harsh vocal distortion and resonating tone, and those moments of slippage are where I find the most interesting sonic materials. As discussed in my personal statement, I try to mirror these material breaks in formal development in my improvising. This is especially exciting when performing with others, as my or another’s singular gesture can drastically reshape the trajectory of a performance. My composing has been greatly enriched by maintaining this practice and attending to its lessons outside of improvisation. 

I’ve performed with wonderful collaborators, especially in New Orleans; this particular recording excerpt is with percussionist, composer, and programmer Justin Peake.

lullaby, for

Instructions Preview

natural water source, hydrophone, small speaker, collected trash, field recording

Suggested excerpts: 2’20” – 2’45”; 4’10” – 4’55”; 7’10” – 9’30” (total duration 3’30”)

The excerpts were selected to showcase the progression of a performance: feedback with just water, addition of items, and subsequent feedback system. The full unbroken performance maintains a more meditative quality.

lullaby, for is an experimental improvisation environment. The work deploys a hydrophone in a jug of water, a Bluetooth speaker, a field recording, and collected litter to create an evolving feedback system. The performer must move the Bluetooth speaker (playing the field recording) around the jug to generate and explore different feedback tones; the trash when placed in the jar interferes with the wave patterns, generating new tones in the field recording playback. The piece not only combines performance instructions, electronic systems, and field recordings, but posits an indirect relationship between feedback as “noise,” as a sonic pollutant, and the damaging effects of human waste on natural ecosystems. Every performance of this piece is a new opportunity to listen patiently to the system, and respond to what it shares.

This performance was presented for the OPEN Improv: ONLINE Facebook series during the COVID 19 pandemic.