Voices in the Skin
Alexandria Smith, composer/performer (trumpet and wearable electronics)
I have built an artistic practice cultivated at the intersection of my foundation as performer and improviser with my experience as a technologist, audio engineer, and researcher. To explore this interdisciplinary terrain, I have built an apparatus that integrates my diverse experience and interests; a second skin (what I call my wearable electronic). With fabrics, elastics, clasps, LEDs, sensors, and my inner electricity, I constructed a wearable interface that measures the discrete electric and resistive properties of three of my organs: my heart, my lungs, and skin. It translates their functioning into data streams that can be fed into audio and visual software that I have designed. This is a system for autonomous, empowered, embodied collaboration and the extension of one’s instrument and communication with the nature around them, not a means for achievement, domination, or control. I seek to explore ways in which biological data can aid in the feedback between my body and my surroundings. My interoceptive, proprioceptive, and exteroceptive processes have become part of a complex feedback loop.
This piece is an exploration of my embodied states being translated by software instruments and processed trumpet playing. An environment for listening to the voices inside my skin.
Praised by The New York Times for her “appealingly melancholic sound” and “entertaining array of distortion effects,” Alexandria Smith is a multimedia artist, audio engineer, scholar, trumpeter, and educator that enjoys working at the intersection of all these disciplines. Her creative practice and research interests focus on building, designing, theorizing, and performing with wearable electronics that translate embodied, biological data into interactive sonic and visual environments. To explore how electronic music is embodied through practice, she has been experimenting with ways to integrate biofeedback training and sensor observation into her electronic music, build controllers that go beyond keyboards and drum pads, and perform with interactive visual environments. Her research in this interdisciplinary area was recently published in Arcana Musicians on Musicians X.
Alexandria Smith is an active performer in New York City, California, and New Orleans. Smith has had a residency at the Stone NYC and feature recitals on the Future of New Trumpet (FONT) Festival West, Dartmouth’s Vaughan Recital Series, the VI Semana Internacional de Improvisación in Ensenada, Baja California, and more.
Alexandria Smith is an Extraordinary Assistant Professor of Music Technology at Loyola New Orleans, and a Demonic Machines Performing Artist.
If I Could Do It All Over Again
Connor Scroggins, composer/performer
Fragments and utterances of vocal syllables, whispers, hums, and whines form the basis for this piece’s language. This language translates into the varying aural environments of the electronics. In some moments, the electronics and voice meld together. In other moments, they grow toward or apart from each other, contrast yet live with each other, or even abruptly shift the direction of the piece. Consequently, the form of the piece is erratic even in spaces of stability where uncertainty still pervades like distant morphing memories. In these memories, words are a blur yet tone of voice and feelings are poignantly vivid. Living in these feelings can certainly foster obsessive self-defeatism and an insistence to fix the past. Just as one cannot take back the words of the past or travel back in time and change their actions, the piece does not return to an aural environment already visited. Instead, the music weaves forward with an ever-shifting focus like compounding experiences molding and distorting each other yet reinforcing an obstinate inner drive to enact change.
Connor Scroggins is a composer currently seeking a PhD of Music Composition from University of North Texas. He received a Master of Music from Bowling Green State University and previously received a Bachelor of Music from Arkansas State University. Among the performers of his work include Robin Meiksins, The Rhythm Method String Quartet, Hypercube, Unheard-of//Ensemble, and Apply Triangle Trio. His music has been performed at events including ICMC, NYCEMF, SEAMUS, and the Saarburg Music Festival. He currently studies with Drew Schnurr and previously studied with Elainie Lillios, Timothy Crist, Mikel Kuehn, Christopher Dietz, Derek Jenkins, and Carrie Leigh Page.
Everett Wimberly, composer/performer
Change in one’s way of life resulting from penitence or spiritual conversion.
The noun, ‘Metanoia’, is often understood in Catholic/Christian theology as repenting and reforming one’s heart towards faith. This piece seeks to exemplify a similar reformation, except on the other side of faith. For most of his life, Performer and Composer Everett Wimberly was ingrained in the Christian Faith. During his teenage years, he embarked on a trip with the church to the West. Going into this journey, he had few passions and was living an unhealthy lifestyle. This trip to Canyonlands National Park in Utah would change his life.
When he returned from the trip, he was no longer just letting life pass him. Music turned into an emotional outlet, instead of something to kill the time. Finally, it felt like he could find the strength to try and live a healthy and fulfilling life. At the time, all the credit was given to God for the transformation. Now twenty years old, he has evolved from Christianity as he knew it into yet another spiritual conversion. His understanding of the transformation in High School and his new found view of the world gave him a second rebirth. This time, it is more beautiful than ever before.
This original composition, written for Glass Marimba and Ableton Live, represents his spiritual journey and new understanding of the world. The first section is filled with a beautiful but repetitive melody by the glass marimba. The music moves into an epiphany in the middle, representing his time spent in Utah. As the piece moves into the final section, the original melody returns in a way that is more active and vibrant. Using live processing and live looping techniques, this composition represents the emotional and spiritual journey of Everett Wimberly’s life.
Everett Wimberly is a sophomore music technology major at the University of Central Missouri. He has composed for music technology, and has been involved in two ensembles in conjunction with UCM’s music technology program. His degree emphasis is on percussion, and all of his music technology compositions fuse together the use of percussion and technology in ways that express facets of his personal life.
Gabrielle Cerberville, composer
Jason Palamara, guitar, electronics
Frank Felice, bass guitar, electronics
“…defined by” is a work designed for any number of players which could be played by any number of musicians, but was commissioned by DISensemble (Destructive / Inventive Systems Ensemble), a variable electronic music orchestra under the direction of Jason Palmara at IUPUI that specializes in “improvisatory hardware and software hacking techniques as an approach to music-making.” The work is a playful riff on language and interpretation, and takes an illustrative approach to linguistic expression.
The performance will be realized by Jason Palamara (guitar, electronics) and Frank Felice (bass guitar, electronics), and will initially be improvised by the two of us in a number of rehearsals, working to settle on a form and set of musical devices by which to realize this graphic score for future performances. Both of us have extensive experience doing this kind of work in performances of our own work, as well as with the two ensembles we lead at Butler University and at IUPUI. Most of the musical source elements will come from violin, guitar, and electric bass (and perhaps some software instruments), which will be processed in real-time, either through stomp-boxes on pedal boards, or through programs such as MAX, MainStage, or programs that we will write. We are planning on the Moxsonic performance to be the premiere of this iteration of the work, and then will perform it at both Butler University and at IUPUI at concerts in 2023 and 2024.
Dr. Jason Palamara is an Assistant Professor of Music Technology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). He specializes in the development of machine learning-enabled performance technologies for music and artificial intelligence-related music software. He is the founder and director of IUPUI’s DISEnsemble (Destructive/Inventive Systems Ensemble) and leads the Machine Musician Lab and codevelops the AVATAR Machine Learning musical improvisation partner software with his creative partner Scott Deal and also makes music as one half of avant-garde laptronica duo JCϟjp and likes to write run-on sentences.
Dr. Frank Felice is an Associate Professor of Composition and Electronic Music and is the director of the JCA Composers Orchestra at Butler University (where he also goes to endless meetings, dreaming of entire rooms of Eurorack modules interfacing with MAX patches named Serenity). He is an eclectic composer who writes with a postmodern mischievousness: each piece speaks in its own language, and they can be by turns comedic/ironic, acoustic/electric, simple/complex, subtle/startling or humble/reverent. Recent projects of Felice’s have taken a turn towards the sweeter side, exploring a consonant adiatonicism. He makes his ravioli from scratch each Thanksgiving.
Cycles of Formation
John Ritz, composer/performer
Cycles of Formation (for tuning forks, analog synthesizer, and live electronics) explores turbulence and chaos through the use of intermodulation and adaptive signal processing. Various feature extraction methods are applied to the instrumental sound, the results of which are used as control signals that are mapped onto the digital signal processing parameters. Sounds generated by the tuning forks and analog oscillators are processed by computer algorithms in ways that yield a variety of sonic results. The piece proceeds to develop complex timbres and sonic textures that exhibit turbulent and unpredictable behaviors.
Dr. John Ritz is Assistant Professor of Composition & Creative Studies and Director of the Music & New Media program at the University of Louisville School of Music. His recent concert music focuses on chamber music for instruments and interactive computer systems. He has received recognitions for his work from the ASCAP/Morton Gould Composer Awards, the Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition, the 21st Century Piano Commission Competition, the Forum Biennial Musiques en Scène, and the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States. Ritz’s music has been performed throughout the United States, as well as in France, Italy, Germany, Russia, Canada, and Chile, and has been performed at various conferences and festivals of new music.
a star trying to shine
Tim Crist, composer, modular and computer
In recent years, my musical language has been subjected to distress through the introduction of indeterminate procedures in many forms. Modular synthesis has grown to become an exciting area of research where I enjoy many new ways of torturing my own musical language through a number of influences including Chua attractors, generative processes, and hidden algorithms. “a star trying to shine” involves a system where all of these elements coexist, sending the piece on a trajectory of uncertainty, especially in regards to spatial positioning, while exploring the liminal space between determinism and relinquishing all control. Featured in the performance is the Leibniz Binary Subsystem by Xaoc which provides timing, audio mangling, and modulation sources.
Dr. Timothy Crist is Professor of Music at Arkansas State University where he teaches music composition, theory, and classical guitar. Crist has most recently been active in community outreach being awarded a Diversity Champion award by Arkansas State in 2021, and a Governor’s Arts in Education award in 2022. Crist’s most recent research is promoting the use of music technology in STEM school music programs. His 2022 recording “the long waves” is available at iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon. For more information see timothycrist.com.
Von Hanser, composer/performer
Gr@w£ix (Grawlix) uses loops in a similar way to DJs and other live performers.
Material is played, recorded and played back while a something new is recorded on
top of this loop. This process continues any number of times to stack material and
create the effect of multiple players from just one person. The material of Gr@w£ix is
inspired by electronic dance music fused with a contemporary percussion style. The
term grawlix refers to a string of typographical symbols (such as %@$&*!) used in place
of an obscenity, especially in comic strips.
Von Hansen is a performer, composer, educator and multi-media artist. His goal is to bring joy and thought through engaging musical experiences, whether that is through writing, performing, or collaborating with musical and visual artists. Von’s music is a synthesis of the hip-hop, jazz, rock and electronic music he grew up listening to with minimalism and experimental music. Using percussion and computer processing Von creates music that grooves hard in unusual beats.