CRA trio Sound Exploration:
Amplified viola, trombone, percussion, live electronics, lo-fi electronic toys/devices
Interaction is integral to our trio in that we tend to focus on free improv with minimal/no verbal/other planning. Textures, gestures, convergences, etc. all arise through the trio members listening to each other closely and working together to build successful climaxes, intricate subdued moment, and an overall satisfying flow. In particular, a large portion of the added electronics come from Ricks adding effects/harmonization/etc. to what Asplund is playing on viola as it passes through his laptop/Max setup. Coulter’s approach to using all forms of percussion and lo-fi radios and other sound-producing devices focuses on mixing these sounds with the amplified viola and loop-based textures coming from Ricks’s laptop.
CRA is an improvisatory trio consisting of Steven Ricks (trombone, electronics), Christian Asplund (viola, keyboards), and Ron Coulter (percussion, lo-fi electronics). With one album released on Comprovise Records, CRA has performed together and individually with additional artists like Vinny Golia, Douglas Ewart, Sam Newsome, Bill Smith, John Butcher, and others of the free-improvisation/avantgarde performance community. They are equally comfortable performing in the concert hall or alternative venues like art museums, galleries, or night clubs.
…will not return
izi ocean, violin & voice
benjamin j. penwell, electronics
…is a work for amplified violin, voice x2, pedalboard, amp, laptop & max, and other guitar pedals.
izi ocean & benjamin j. penwell are composers and improvisors based in Chicago. izi ocean is interested in the space between consonance and noise, and finding weird sounds on the violin. benjamin j. penwell is interested in composing slow sounds and listening to metal. their collaboration explores ambience, noise, drone, place, sentimentality, and fragility.
Jeff Albert, trombone and computer
Alexandria Smith, trumpet and computer
Alexandria Smith and Jeff Albert are both brass players and electronic musicians who love to smear the lines that separate genres and aesthetic spaces. Hey, I think you got some groove in my noise piece! Well, you got noise in my groove tune!
Using electronics as an extension and/or augmentation of traditional instruments (trumpet and trombone), we take inspiration from the sounds that we hear in New Orleans and the various improvised musical traditions that we draw upon. The material presents takes on prerecorded and live processed material that present different meanings and performative aspects in different situations. Live, improvising trombone and trumpet performing with Max and Max for Live.
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 and presented at MOXsonic.
Alexandria Smith is an Extraordinary Assistant Professor of Music Technology at Loyola New Orleans. She is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of California, San Diego, and holds an M.M. and B.M. from Mannes the New School for Music. Alexandria is a Demonic Machines Artist.
Jeff Albert is a musician, music technologist, and educator. He is an Associate Professor and the RosaMary Distinguished Professor in Music in the College of Music and Media at Loyola University New Orleans. In May of 2013, he became the first graduate of the PhD program in Experimental Music and Digital Media at Louisiana State University, where his teachers included Stephen David Beck and Jesse Allison, and he was a founding member of the Laptop Orchestra of Louisiana (LOLs). He also holds degrees from Loyola University – New Orleans, where he studied with Dick Erb and John Mahoney, and the University of New Orleans, where he studied jazz with Ellis Marsalis, Harold Battiste, Ed Petersen, and Steve Masakowski. He has also served on the faculty of Xavier University of Louisiana and the University of New Orleans. Jeff’s areas of research include improvisation, performance paradigms for live computer music, and audio pedagogy. Jeff has given presentations at the conferences of the Society for ElectroAcoustic Music in the United States, the Symposium for Laptop Ensembles and Orchestras, the International Society for Improvised Music, the Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium, and the inaugural Symposium on Integrated Composition Improvisation and Technology. His article “Improvisation as Tool and Intention: Organizational Approaches in Laptop Orchestras and Their Effect on Personal Musical Practices” was published December of 2012 in Critical Studies in Improvisation/Études critiques en improvisation.
Michael Wittgraf and Lynn Baker
Improvisations 2023 is the most recent iteration of an ongoing series of free improvisations featuring a variety of performers working with me, including Malcolm Lynn Baker, Jason Carder, Jeffrey Agrell, Lisa Bost-Sandberg, and David Timme. The series is an exploration of the possibilities that arise when the sounds of musicians are electronically manipulated by other musicians in a live, freely improvised setting. Each iteration of the series consists of a collection of software environments built in Kyma, which are be called up and combined at will depending on the character of the musical instrument(s) being used and the musical situation at hand. Software environments include live processing, sound effects, and beats, to name a few. Controllers have included Nintendo Wii remote controls, MIDI control surfaces, and iPads. Musical instruments have included saxophone, horn, flute, percussion, trumpet, and toy instruments.
Michael Wittgraf is an electronic music composer whose recent work explores live manipulation of feedback, interactive improvisation, and time as data. His music has been performed in North America, Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia, and appears on the Ravello, Eroica, New Ariel, and SEAMUS labels. He has awards, commissions, and recognition from ASCAP, Modern Chamber Players, National Symphony Orchestra, Tempus Fugit, Louisiana State University, University of Minnesota, University of North Dakota, Florida State University, PiKappa Lambda, Zeitgeist, Chiara String Quartet, Bush Foundation, North Dakota Council on the Arts, and more. Mike is a multi-instrumentalist, having performed with the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra on bassoon, in a number of rock-and-roll bands on keyboards, saxophone, and electric bass, and as a solo and collaborative performer on computer. He holds the title of Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor at the University of North Dakota, where his teaching specialties are music technology, composition, theory, and bassoon.
Lynn Baker is an active saxophone performer and clinician, performing with his own Lynn Baker Quartet, the telematic duo Digital Void, The Bottesini Project, and the beats-electronic-free improvisation trio Gemstone Debris. He is a Conn-Selmer Artist Clinician and has made appearances at colleges, universities, high schools, and festivals, which have taken him across North America, Europe, and to Asia. He is an Origin Records recording artist with Azure Intention released in 2010 and LectroCoustic in 2013.