Category Archives: sound art

Full Tones @ BAMPFA: Gabie Strong and Robert Lowe

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I found myself at The Berkeley Museum once again, where I had recently experienced another experimental electronic woman artist Suzanne Ciani. My wife and I attended this most recent performance with anticipation and a sense of pride, as my wife has been friends with Gabie since high school, and here she is performing at BAMPFA! If that isn’t enough to get excited about, also on the bill was Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe.

Full Tones was part of a series of concerts held on the Full Moon curated by Land and Sea who operate out of Oakland Ca.

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Gabie has been deeply involved in the experimental music underground for many years. She has been operating the radio show Crystalline Morphologies on KCHUNG 1630 AM radio out of Chinatown in LA. There are show archives that go back to 2011.

She has performed in and curated many events over the years, often developing site specific experiments.

She has also recently added an independent record label (also called Crystalline Morphologies) to her list of accomplishments and her 2 solo releases on vinyl and cassette are excellent slabs of experimental drone/noise and field recording.

Her set was a wonderful wash of guitar drone with a bit of contact mic experimentation deeper into the set that really brought an interesting performance element into the experience.


We had been planning on going to this event for a few weeks before I looked it up online and saw that Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe was also performing! I’d been following him for some time and have enormous respect for him being one of the few people of color operating at that level in electronic music. With cutting edge modular technology and an intellectual as well as soulful approach to the medium, he brings a much needed flavor to that scene. He incorporates his voice in wonderful ways as well as other acoustic elements fed into the modular for an otherworldly effect almost church-like. While I’m at it, I really recommend the stuff he did with experimental electronic legend Ariel Kalma. It was an honor to meet Robert and I do hope our paths cross again!

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Alphastare (Luggage Store Update)

In my post covering this recent set of mine, the video I shot is missing the last 7-8  minutes. Matt who puts on the event had a camera set up as well and he captured the set in it’s entirety. The footage is of a much better quality as well, enjoy!


 

Susanne Ciani at The Berkeley Museum

Hippie Modernism

As promised in my previous post, here is a follow up with some coverage of Susanne Ciani’s appearance at The Berkeley Museum a week after the main festival of performances celebrating the work of Don Buchla. This was a sort of auxiliary set and also coincided with the ‘Hippie Modernism’ exhibit that runs through May 21st.

I met up with my friend Eric M. and the brilliant folks behind RE-search Pubs V.Vale and Marian to experience this special event.

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Eager fans down in front

Susanne came out and took in the crowd which had an obvious overwhelming effect on her as she was back ‘home’ in Berkeley again where she originally worked with Don Buchla back in the early days of her discovery of synthesized music. She had an emotional response which set the mood for the event and made it that much more special. She spoke a bit about meeting Don and how he influenced and affected her whole approach and philosophy about music making and perhaps maybe a bit about life in general.

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Susanne talks a bit about Don Buchla
Ciani's Buchla
Susanne’s Buchla
Ciani at work
Susanne at work

Something happened during her set as well, it was that feeling you get when someone hits you with a really personal and emotional performance, which usually only happens in a conventional music scenario involving perhaps heavy lyrics or a soul wrenching melody. I’ve never gotten that from a synthesizer set and I realized the same thing happened during her set the previous weekend, I just didn’t really acknowledge it until it happened again, the hair raising on my arms etc. I told her as much afterwards and she almost cried right there! It was an amazing connection.

Enjoy her full set here:

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Limited program print signed by Ciani

See my previous post for more from Susanne as well as additional footage from The Don Buchla Memorial Shows


Aphex Twin covers Reich(2011)/Toshio Matsumoto-Atman (1975)

Here are a couple of videos I’ve recently enjoyed. Visually intense material not for those who get dizzy easily.

Aphex Twin did a ‘Pendulum set’ back in 2011 in Poland. This was a piece originally composed by Steve Reich in 1968. Progressing on this a bit, the mics used in this set were outfitted with mirrored disco balls and used to create a hypnotic matrix of kaleid-a-scopic laser like beams swaying with the rhythm of the swinging as it naturally slowed during the process.


This next video is by Toshio Matsumoto who I know very little about, though I have heard of Funeral Parade of Roses (1969) which apparently was influential on A Clockwork Orange. This video is abstract and very psychedelic and challenging (in a good way) to watch. The music was done by Toshi Ichiyanagi who was involved with The Fluxus movement and studied with John Cage as well. Enjoy the trip!