Category: Blogcast

Spotlight On: Sarah Goldfeather

Spotlight On

Roulette catches up with artist Sarah Goldfeather for a quick Q+A. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

I am a violinist, a singer, a songwriter, and a composer. I run, perform, and write music for a band called Goldfeather, a soprano-violin duo called Cipher, a septet called Exceptet. I also enjoy puns and funny socks.

Describe the project you are developing for Roulette.

Exceptet was the result of an impulse to start a new music ensemble with a silly name that took commissioning and performing music seriously. We have in fact commissioned and performed works from nine young and talented composers since our 2015 inception. Our project with Roulette will be an evening-length concert that focuses on three brand new premieres — substantial pieces by Brendon Randall-Myers and Matt Evans, and a short piece by myself. Each piece will come from a distinctly different sound world, and will shape out an evening of contrasting musical voices that work with sound and space. Brendon and Matt are both high-caliber musicians on and offstage, and we at Exceptet are thrilled to be collaborating with them. Brendon’s piece will feature each member of the septet; Matt’s piece will utilize the space by breaking the group into subsets; and my own piece is the synthesis of my normally disparate worlds of pop songwriting and contemporary classical music.

What is your favorite Roulette memory?

There have been a great many highlights, but one concert in particular that sticks out was Invisible Anatomy’s semi-staged evening-length work, Transfigure. The show was visually stunning, the music captivating and memorable, and the performers were incredibly engaging — I remember being completely absorbed and inspired. The performers were stationed in the middle of the space, and I recall appreciating how versatile Roulette is as a performance space.

What is your favorite record?

It is difficult to pick just one, but if I had to choose a record that influenced most of my musical tastes today, it would probably be Sunlandic Twins by Of Montreal. The songwriting is incredibly creative and the harmonies and textures take so many unexpected yet satisfying twists and turns. Coincidentally, the album was the exact length of my commute to my high school youth orchestra, so I really got to sing along the whole way through twice every Saturday morning for a few glorious adolescent years.

What are your top three favorite or most visited websites and why?

In 2003 I started my very own Geocities account and dedicated a whole page titled “Good Sites,” which consisted solely of numerous Lord of the Rings Parody websites. Since then, my tastes have broadened somewhat. Aside from the popular news/social media/email correspondence sites, I am most fond of Goodreads.com, which I update fastidiously; Megan Amram’s twitter account, because she might be the funniest person who has ever lived; and omfgdogs.com, to be experienced on a laptop with the volume all the way up.

What is influencing your work right now?

Interpersonal relationships of the past and present, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, music with unusual chord changes and/or unexpected meter changes, Kimbra as an artist, the music of Mitski, Anna Meredith, Ted Hearne, and Scott Wollschleger, the writing of Lydia Davis, Maggie Nelson, and Louise Gluck.

How long have you lived in New York City and what brought you here?

I have lived in Brooklyn for over 7 years, and honestly it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how I ended up here — I suppose a friend from college asked me to move to Brooklyn with her, and it certainly seemed like the proper place to migrate after graduation. I didn’t really have a plan back then, and certainly didn’t have any illusions that it was possible to be a musician at the time. Looking back, I’m grateful I followed that whim, as I don’t know if I could have grown as an artist and musician without this wonderful musical community stationed here.

———–

Exceptet performs Mouth Full of Ears by Sarah Goldfeather, alongside new works from Matt Evans and Brendon Randall-Myers on February 8, 2018.

Spotlight On: Jessica Cook

Spotlight On

Roulette catches up with artist Jessica Cook for a quick Q+A. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

I am a choreographer living in Brooklyn for 12 years; grew up in Durham, North Carolina. I studied Dance at SUNY Purchase and moved to Bushwick in 2005, where I made costume-based performance and worked with a slew of choreographers in the city. I have collaborated with various Roulette-affiliated artists over the years including Matt Mehlan in UUMANS, Jessica Ray, Stephe Cooper in EAGLEAGER, and Kyli Kleven. I drink a lot of coffee, collect a lot of garbage, and take a lot of videos. Becoming a real New York rat!

Describe the project you are developing for Roulette.

I’m creating a sound score using repetitive movement patterns paired with found objects and materials that become layered, amplified, and distorted over time. It’s a trio with Katie Dean, Ayano Elson, and myself. I am figuring out how to create various sculptures with sound, bodies, objects / architectures that all incrementally warp and recontextualize atop an island made of paper and foam.

What is your first musical memory?

My Dad playing a busted zildjan cymbal around the house.

What is your favorite Roulette memory?

Playing next to Greg Fox and his metal band in MUSICIRCUS. I did a soft / sad / quiet duet — it was a good combo.

What’s your absolute favorite place in the city to be and why?

McGolrick Park in Greenpoint. Lots of coffee options, Romanesque columns, good dog / owner combos, and shameless squirrels.

What artists are you interested in right now?

Eva Hesse, Alma Thomas, Alice Coltrane, Whitney Houston, and my sister Sheryl Cook — she does it all.

———-

Jessica Cook performs Dog Flats alongside Ayano Elson and Katie Dean during Roulette’s ongoing [DANCEROULETTE] series, taking place February 6-7, 2018.

Spotlight On: Lucie Vítková

Spotlight On

Roulette catches up with residency artist Lucie Vítková for a quick Q+A. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
I am a composer, performer and improviser of accordion, Japanese hichiriki, synthesizer, harmonica, voice, and dance, originally from the Czech Republic. My work consists of broad range of activities and activisms. I like to explore a perception of everyday life through musical analysis and analyze music through the lens of social relationships. In the past years, I have been focusing on the environment as a new way to educate myself in music. I have been transcribing sounds of environments into scores, and that way following and absorbing its aesthetics. I have worked musically on cityscapes, domestic space, and on sounds of things, especially researching trash. I have traveled and moved a lot, studying in Brno in the Czech Republic, The Hague in the Netherlands, CalArts in Valencia, Berlin, and New York.

Describe the project you are developing for Roulette.
A year and a half ago, I began to play in the Japanese Gagaku Ensemble at Columbia University. This summer I was chosen for the master / protégé residency in Tokyo, which was transformative for me. In the Gagaku Ensemble, I play Japanese hichiriki, a straightforward double reed instrument, which has became one of my solo instruments. For my upcoming project at Roulette, I decided to devote my musical research to the hichiriki, and I am preparing an evening of pieces related to this instrument. In those pieces, I am merging the construction and physicality of the hichiriki, habits around its use and making, and Japanese Gagaku notation with research on ethnomusicological methodology, the influence of continuity and discontinuity in Michael Jackson’s work, my environmental performance practice, dance, and accordion playing. I am preparing scores for lights, choreographies for sounds, scenes focused on things, and playing with water and wind.

What is the best way to spend an afternoon in New York City?
I live in Washington Heights and I love to go to Fort Tryon Park, which is just a 15 minute walk from my place. With that little botanical garden right at the entrance and stunning views, sometimes it feels like a very luxurious backyard. There seems to be a lot of people that have a similar relationship with that place. It’s a common thing to do, even if we don’t really talk or engage — just being in that space together brings a peaceful experience.

What is influencing your work right now?
Classes at Columbia University such as Music, Memory and Migration of ethnomusicologist Alessandra Ciucci and the Ecofeminism class of Branka Arsić, my involvement in Japanese and Raaga Ensembles, and working with my NYC Constellation Ensemble.

How did your interest in your work begin?
Probably when I was four and began to take dance and piano lessons, or listening to my mom and uncle playing guitars by the fireplace, or my father introducing me to The Wall by Pink Floyd at a very early age.

———
Lucie Vítková performs Spectacle as part of Roulette’s artist-in-residency program on January 27, 2018. Tickets + Info

ACFNY Presents: Studio Dan / Breaking News

What: US premiere performance of commissioned pieces by George Lewis + Oxana Omelchuk from Austrian ensemble Studio Dan.
When: Sunday, December 3, 2017, 8:00pm
Where: Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, 2/3/4/5/A/C/G/D/M/N/R/B/Q trains & the LIRR
Cost: $25/20 Online: $20/15 Doors
Info: www.roulette.org / (917) 267-0368
Tickets: General Admission $20, Members/Students/Seniors $15, $25/20 Tickets at the door

Brooklyn, NY – Austrian ensemble Studio Dan presents an evening of US premieres and performances of commissioned pieces by George Lewis and Oxana Omelchuk, followed by works by Johannes Kreidler, John Zorn, and others.

The key work for the concert is George Lewis’ new piece commissioned by the group, followed by another commissioned piece by Belarusian composer Oxana Omelchuk, featuring two solo trombones. Both pieces will be premiered in October during the 50th edition of musikprotokoll held in Graz, Austria. The second half of the program will be dedicated a collection of short pieces for smaller ensembles, including Johannes Kreidler’s concept piece “Charts Music,” composed with the aid of stock exchange and trading charts.

Founded in 2005 for the first JazzWerkstatt Wien festival, Studio Dan started as big band, but has since morphed to perform in various permutations, depending on the project. The group operates on the borders between diverse subgenres of contemporary music: improvisation, new music, jazz, and (art) rock, and others. Studio Dan curates and produces new programs, concert series, and recordings, working alone or in cooperation with large institutions. In 2016, Studio Dan brought new programs to several internationally-renowned stages as Wien Modern, Kampnagel Hamburg, musikprotokoll graz, and the Tagen für Neue Musik in Zurich. The ensemble also presented works Anthony Braxton, George Lewis, Cornelius Cardew, George Crumb, and others during a  four-concert series at Vienna’s Porgy & Bess. Past guest soloists and collaborations with Studio Dan include Vinko Globokar, Elliott Sharp, Michel Doneda, and Friedrich Cerha.

Program:
Johannes Kreidler (1980) – Charts Music
George Lewis (1952) – New Work
Oxana Omelchuk (1975) – wow and flutter
Caitlin Smith (1983) – Wie schön ist es zu leben
Christoph Walder (1967) – vozmozhnost
John Zorn (1953) – Ceremonial Magic

Paul Pinto // Iktus Percussion vs. Paul Pinto

RTV sits down with Paul Pinto to discuss his performance with Iktus Percussion at Roulette, what aging does to the male psyche, and the artist vs. the athlete.

Paul Pinto creates and produces experimental music and theatrical works in traditional and non-traditional spaces, and is the founder and co-director of ensembles thingNY and Varispeed. His own compositions blend chamber music with theatre with a focus on total performativity. Specifically, his work centers on the human voice and the endurance of the human body. Paul has chosen to work equally with traditional instruments, lo-fi electronics, unconventional sound-makers and amateur musicians, creating one-minute opera, concert length chamber music, and durational performance art. Paul is currently a member of the HERE Artists Residency Program (HARP), where he is developing a new opera for 2017 called Thomas Paine in Violence.

Produced By
Jim Staley

Directed and Edited by
Wolfgang Daniel

Photographed by
Wolfgang Daniel
Sonia Li

October Show Highlights

 

 

 

Spotlight On: Teerapat (Gof) Parnmongkol

Spotlight On

Roulette catches up with artist Gof Parnmaonkol for a quick Q+A about his favorite artists, the best places to eat around Roulette, and his favorite spots in NYC.

What is the best way to spend an afternoon in New York City?
Reading and biking in Prospect Park

What artists are you interested in right now?
Puppies Puppies, Slavoj Zizek,Tristan Garcia, Tehshing Hsieh

What is your favorite place to eat or drink near Roulette?
Bedouin Tent (Middle Eastern; 405 Atlantic Ave at Bond St) and Ganso Ramen (Japanese; 25 Bond St at Livingston St).

What is your first musical memory?
The sound of airplanes landing and the hissing sound of a cassette player

Who would you ideally like to collaborate with?
Jacques Derrida and Alejandro Jodorowsky

What is your absolute favorite place in the city to be?
The dressing room on the 8th floor of the Whitney Museum

———

On Wednesday, October 4, Teerapat (Gof) Parnmongkol performs as part of RE to present Lunar Eclipse, an interactive audiovisual performance within an inflatable dome sculpture. Tickets + Info

Issue No. 004 of Roulette’s Zine is Here!

 

Fall zines have arrived and they are jam-packed full of new + exclusive content, including a feature on Phill Niblock​ from Kurt Gottschalk​, an interview with MSHR from Mia Wendel-DiLallo​, artist spotlights, season calendar, neighborhood dining recommendations, a word search, and much more. Pick up your copy in the lobby before a performance and keep your eyes pealed for these seafoam beauties around town.

Joan La Barbara at 70

By Mia Wendel-DiLallo

The little chilling details speak volumes about the complexities of an individual.” — Joan La Barbara

In honor of her 70th birthday, vocalist and composer Joan La Barbara premieres a new piece for the stage — “The Wanderlusting of Joseph C.” — an epic song cycle materializing from the life, work, and dreams of the reclusive visual artist Joseph Cornell. For her followers, the work will be a surprising departure from the virtuosic vocal abstractions that they have come to know. Joan’s performances typically undulate from wordless whispers, warbles, and hums to her famous circular breathing acrobatics, examining the use of the voice-as-instrument in resonant pulsations of sound. By contrast, “The Wanderlusting of Joseph C.” returns in cyclical fashion to the artist’s interest in language itself. The libretto, written by author Monique Truong, unravels the tragic nature of Cornell’s personal relationships, and is sung by a collection of greats from the operatic world, including opera diva Lauren Flanigan, baritone Mario Diaz-Moresco, and the young soprano Julia Meadows. Music will be played by Ne(x)tworks, with cellist Yves Dharamraj, harpist Shelley Burgon, Miguel Frasconi on glass, flute, and laptop, pianist Stephen Gosling, trombonist Christopher McIntyre, and Joan La Barbara herself performing vocals.

Joan first became acquainted with Cornell through his melancholy shadow-box collections of trinkets, letters, toys, and photographs, but it wasn’t until she was sent a book of his dreams that she truly came to know him. The collection, which included fragments from his journals extracted by editor Catherine Corman, was sent to Joan from Exact Change publishing house as a request that she create a work inspired by one of their publications. Joan began to play with the excerpts, seeing what music they could reveal, and ended up composing “Habité par ses rêves et les phantasms,” for voice and hand-held percussion which she premiered in 2009 at Issue Project Room.  Like Cornell’s shadow-box pieces, the fragments provided a unique window into his world, and served as a jumping off point for Joan’s research into his life. Biographies such as Deborah Soloman’s “Utopia Parkway,” aptly named after the street that Cornell lived on in Flushing, Queens, further fleshed out his complex character for Joan.

Cornell’s life was stunted by an unhappy childhood, and as a result he never strayed too far from New York. He would spend hours wandering the city, scanning thrift stores, streets, and the Queens shoreline in search of the objects one sees populating his work. The little bottles that crop up in the boxes came from these expeditions, as do odds and ends ranging from scissors and small figurines to the “leftovers” from the 1939 World’s Fair held in Flushing. He would then take his spoils home with him and categorize them, and the objects would become his mind’s travelogue.

Dream-like themselves, the shadow-boxes created a purely imagined universe — one in which Cornell could live out the life he could never have. The shadow-boxes illustrate a “wanderlusting,” a coined word found within Cornell’s personal writings, in their desperate focus on distant places, intimate fan letters to famous actresses and ballerinas, and uncanny collaged creations of objects and images. In German, wanderlust is defined as a strong and innate desire to wander or travel. While this definition gives agency to the wanderer, it does, perhaps as in Cornell’s case, show the hopelessness of achieving true satisfaction in wandering. Through his artistic creations Cornell could portray a freedom that he could not find himself, and it is this passion and pain that lead Joan to her opera.

“The Wanderlusting of Joseph C.” was born from a creative process that Joan has honed for years: making lists. She begins every piece by writing down lists of her ideas. These verbal collections are sometimes borrowed from other people’s written or spoken words, but are mostly her own fragmentary contemplations. She then works over the fragments to discover where the music calls out to her. Over the course of her career she has compiled thousands of these lists, mixing and matching a collage of her selected thoughts and ideas to form the whole of the piece.

Although she doesn’t consider herself a researcher or historian, Joan’s recent ensemble works have been heavily focused on the excavation of real events through lyrics. “A Murmuration of Chibok,” with lyrics also written by Monique Truong, was created by Joan as a way of honoring the memory and willpower of the over 250 girls abducted by Boko Haram in 2014. To not let the world forget their voices, Joan imagined the joy and laughter of the girls right before their kidnapping, returning to school with lively innocent calls and chatter to each other. The piece, which was presented in 2016 at both National Sawdust and Merkin Concert Hall, will again be performed in May at the Bang on a Can Marathon at the Brooklyn Museum. The work features a heartfelt performance from a children’s choir comprised almost entirely of girls who are poignantly the same age as the young Nigerian women, when they were abducted. Joan has also undertaken a project on Virginia Woolf’s letters, writing, and personal history, in the hopes of weaving Woolf and Cornell’s stories together in a future piece. Through an award from the Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition in 2004, Joan was given access to the British Library’s collection of letters and notes. Inspired by Woolf’s communication with Leonard and her sisters, and her powerful suicide letters, Joan delved into a new work that will intimately bring to light Woolf’s words. The opera will focus on Woolf’s “Moments of Being,” the posthumously published collection of autobiographical essays in which the writer explores moments of reality, versus what she considers the status quo of non-reality. The performance will put special emphasis on Woolf’s difficulty processing the death of her mother, and, of particular interest to Joan, Woolf’s dream of creating a time machine.

“The Wanderlusting of Joseph C.” and Joan’s relationship with Woolf’s letters mark a wonderful cyclical completion in Joan’s artistic career, in a return to words as a source of inspiration. As a young student, Joan was dually enrolled in the English and Music Departments at Syracuse University, and even recalls an essay she wrote during her studies, in which she explored color symbolism in Woolf’s beautiful novel Orlando: A Biography. This interest in words, however, receded early in Joan’s career, and was replaced by sounds and song that seemed to touch somewhere beyond our language, still communicating volumes, but without speech. In her works today, they have risen to the surface again, in wonderful creative collaborations with artists and writers, both living and legendary. Observing this cyclical narrative illuminates analogies between Joan’s list-making, Cornell’s collecting, and even Woolf’s stream of consciousness, that perhaps indicate an immediate induction of “The Wanderlusting of Joseph C.” into the canon of curiosities.

A Mixography of Mixology

By David Weinstein

philips1958_1100-768x770
The Philips Pavilion at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair

In 1913 composer Maurice Ravel was recorded playing his own piano music using the exotic Welte-Mignon recording process. This was a player piano that captured not just the notes but dynamics and tempos as well. In that incredible year and for some decades forward, many composers did the same, including Paderewski, Busoni, Grieg, Scriabin, and Debussy. The remarkable thing about hearing these is the loose and funky approach they had to the music. Some of these characters made extra cash playing piano in bar rooms and brothels. Imagine The Sunken Cathedral as a barrel house, stride piano romp. Our romantic interpretations go sour.

These recordings are an historical marker in our appreciation of the composer as performer. This tradition is ancient but thinly documented. Mozart’s “embellishments” in his live shows are legend, and are preserved in transcription. The practice certainly goes back millennia. Imagine riffing in Gregorian chant, for sure.

The Festival of Mixology is Roulette’s celebration of this tradition. Technology meets the hand of the maker. This is key. The composer’s voice is uninterrupted by interpreters or production noise. The MixFest focuses on “new and unusual uses of technology that incorporate sound”. Technology liberates the composer to be more than two hands. Over the last century that has become very interesting.

For example, the use of the turntable as a musical instrument. John Cage’s Imaginary Landscape No. 1 of 1939 used variable speed turntables and pre-recorded test tone records. Pierre Schaeffer went further using a disk-cutting lathe, four turntables, a four-channel mixer, filters, an echo chamber, and a mobile recording unit. He is also the first composer to use magnetic tape (incredibly liberating then, but clumsy compared to our digital currency). Schaeffer also started incorporating noises as musical material, which launched musique concrète.

Then we have arguably the greatest multimedia event of the twentieth century (though John Cage’s HPSCHD is a close second). The Philips Pavilion of 1958 in Brussels was designed by architect Le Corbusier, and elevated by the great composer/engineer Iannis Xenakis and the sounds of Edgar Varèse’s Poème électronique (hundreds of speakers throughout!). It combined architecture, multi-channel sound, projections, sculpture, light, and audience interaction. You can’t touch this. They tore it down.

My own first experience with electronic music performance was nothing like this. The lights went down and two pin lights appeared on the speakers. In the dark we listened to a spectacle of stereo sound. Years later a revolt occurred. Composer/performers actually appeared on the stage with their apparatus. Diddling and tweaking sounds. Over time this, too, grew tiresome. Watching someone work is a piece you only need to see once. So, composers began to get off the table of gear, with controller gloves and wands and all types of gadgets. What do we need to see? What do we want to hear?

Where do we go now?

This year’s Mixology Festival is an investigation into space. Multi-channel sound can create illusion and wonder and an artful experience. Curator Michael Schumacher has long championed this aural magic. His Diapason Gallery was the longest running, and only dedicated, listening space for sound art in New York. The hand, and the voice, of the maker will be heard. Go listen.

David Weinstein is a co-founder of Roulette and curator of the first Festival of Mixology in 1991. He is currently working to restore historic radio broadcasts, digitize the Roulette audio archive, and introduce new artists on his radio show on WFMU.

Roulette’s Mixology Festival Runs from Feb 22 – Feb 25 and presents works by: Jim O’Rourke, Olivia Block, Jason Lescalleet, Mario de Vega, Cecilia Lopez, Greg Fox, Stefan Tcherepnin, Eli Keszler, Kenneth Kirschner, Daniel Neumann, Anne Guthrie, Ben Manley, Liz Gerring, Michael Schumacher, Leila Bordreuil, and, Ursula Scherrer.