Bob Bellerue: Radioactive Desire

Wednesday, November 17, 2021. 8:00 pm
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Bob Bellerue: Radioactive Desire

Wednesday, November 17, 2021. 8:00 pm

Radioactive Desire is a work for free chamber music in feedback systems. The six performers work within simple structures for improvisation, and their sounds are fed into several different speaker systems which allow for feedback at appropriate levels—small woofers sitting on metal bowls and percussion instruments, guitar & keyboard amps, and a powerful but distant PA system. The physical presence of the instruments, and the idiomatic character of the speakers, provide a multidimensional expression of sound.

The work was created by Bob Bellerue, with a debt of gratitude to the performers: Jessica Pavone, Zach Rowden, Luke Stewart, gabby fluke-mogul, and Ed Bear.

A record of this work was released on August 20th 2021. This evening will be the first public performance.

The gig was on two of the hottest days in the longest year. We lugged my PA up narrow spiral staircases, and took over the space with mics cables and stands. Gear was strewn about the stage, and setup went til the last minute. Some friends & fellow travelers showed up with their instruments, and we made a holy racket, the first time playing music with other people that many of us had done for months.

Radioactive Desire is a project borne of feedback between speakers and instruments, but the context it came to fruition in demonstrated the deep interconnections between people and systems of collaboration. The project was a way to activate musical signals with the push and pull of chthonic energy, yet we felt and lived that in the improvisation of our lives to a more visceral extent than we may have ever thought possible. Working with these sounds, processes, and ideas provided substance and process for me to work through these difficult times

The pieces are in large part simple ideas that are made into a form by the musicians. Many of the works involve improvisation in previously untried processes and contexts.

I’m indebted with gratitude to the relaxed and precise skills of the musicians who took on this project, a group of deep shredders in the avant-garde improvised extended cosmic free music worlds. They were able to roll with the handwritten notes that provided the scant written music, and create new forms of music in real time.

Bob Bellerue: suling gambuh, metal, percussion, electronics, feedback
Jessica Pavone: pipe organ, viola
Zach Rowden: upright/electric bass & violin
Luke Stewart: double-bass
Gabby Fluke-Mogul: violin
Ed Bear: baritone sax

Bob Bellerue is a sound artist, experimental musician, sound/video curator, and creative technician based in Ridgewood NY. Over the last 30+ years he has been involved in creating and presenting a wide range of sonic activities – experimental music, sound art, noise, junk metal percussion ensembles, soundtracks for dance/ theater/ video/ performance art, and sound / video installations. Bob’s electronic sound work is focused on resonant feedback systems, using amplified instruments, objects, recordings, and spaces, in combination with electronics and software written in the Supercollider audio synthesis programming language. Bob’s work has been presented by The Kitchen, Issue Project Room, MOMA/PS1, Pioneerworks, Experimental Intermedia, Cafe Oto, Fylkingen, EMS, High Zero Festival, the Yogyakarta Gamelan Festival, Centre de Cultura Contemporanea de Barcelona, LUFF Festival, Akouphene Festival, Sonic Circuits Festival, Living Arts of Tulsa’s New Genre Festival, CEAIT Festival, Ende Tymes Festival, Denver Noise Festival, Olympia Experimental Music Festival, PDX Noise Festival, Cave12, Diapason Sound Gallery, Roulette, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Elastic Arts, Here Art Center, Radio Epsilonia (Paris), WFMU, WKCR, WNYU, KFJC, KXLU, East Village Radio, Oberlin College, NYU, the Art Institute of Chicago, Stanford University, The New School, UCSD, and UCLA.

As both an instrumentalist and composer, Jessica Pavone explores tactile experience in her compositions and performances and has produced four albums of solo viola music, all of which present indeterminate pieces that stem from years of concentrated long tone practice and an interest in repetition, song form, and sympathetic vibration. Pavone has been a composer in residence at the Ucross Foundation, Soaring Gardens, Arts Letters & Numbers, and Mise-En_Place; has received commissions from New Music USA, Queens Council on the Arts, MATA Interval, the Jerome Foundation, Tri-Centric Foundation, and Experiments in Opera; and has premiered work in NYC venues including Roulette, Abrons Art Center, the Museum of Art and Design, and The Kitchen. Her albums have been produced by Tzadik, Taiga Records, Thirsty Ear, Astral Spirits, Relative Pitch, Birdwatcher, and Skirl Records, and she has released four collaborative duo recordings with guitarist Mary Halvorson. From 2005 to 2012, Pavone toured regularly with Anthony Braxton’s Sextet and 12+1tet, and she appears on his discography from that time.

Zach Rowden (1992, New Haven, CT, USA) deals with the acoustic and performative possibilities of the upright/electric bass & violin. Current collaborations with Iancu Dumitrescu and the late Ana-Maria Avram’s Hyperion Ensemble as member and soloist, Michael Foster’s The Ghost, Tyshawn Sorey, Robert Black, Leila Bordreuil, Paul Flaherty, Chris Cretella, Matt Sargent, Charmaine Lee, and Gus Caldwell. Venues that have welcomed him include Harpa (Reykjavik) Issue Project Room (New York), Firehouse 12 (New Haven), Romanian Radio Hall (Bucharest), Cafe Oto (London), Heimathafen Neukölln (Berlin), Real Art Ways (Hartford) and living rooms/basements across the United States.

Luke Stewart is a DC/NYC-based musician and organizer of important musical presentations. He also has a presence in the national and international professional music community. He was profiled in The Washington Post in early 2017 as “holding down the jazz scene,” selected as “Best Musical Omnivore” in the Washington City Paper’s 2017 “Best of DC,” chosen as “Jazz Artist of the Year” for 2017 in the District Now, and in the 2014 People Issue of the Washington City Paper as a “Jazz Revolutionary,” citing his multi-faceted cultural activities throughout DC. In DC his regular ensembles include experimental jazz trio Heart of the Ghost, Low Ways Quartet featuring guitarist Anthony Pirog, and experimental rock duo Blacks’ Myths. As a solo artist, he has been compiling a series of improvisational sound structures for Upright Bass and Amplifier, utilizing the resonant qualities of the instrument to explore real-time harmonic and melodic possibilities. He has performed at many of Washington’s high-profile venues including the Kennedy Center, the Atlas Performing Arts Center, Smithsonian Portrait Gallery, 9:30 Club, Black Cat, and many others throughout DC’s storied DIY community. Stewart is also a presence in the greater community of Creative Musicians, with regular multi-city ensembles including Irreversible Entanglements featuring Moor Mother, James Brandon Lewis Trio, Heroes are Gang Leaders, Ancestral Duo, and has performed in a myriad of other notable collaborations. He has been a featured artist at the Vision Festival, Sonic Circuits Festival of Experimental Music, High Zero Festival of Experimental Improvised Music, Fields Festival, Philadelphia Free Form Festival, Forward Festival, Furious Flower Poetry Festival, and has toured abroad at North Sea Jazz Festival, Toulouse Jazz Festival, Vitoria Jazz Festival, Belgrade Jazz Festival, and Rotterdam Jazz Festival. As a scholar/performer, he has performed and lectured at Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Medgar Evers College, George Mason University, Wayne State University, University of Montana, New Mexico State University, and the University of South Carolina. He holds a BA in International Studies and a BA in Audio Production from American University, and an MA in Arts Management and Entrepreneurship from the New School.

gabby fluke-mogul is a New York-based violinist, improviser, & composer. They exist within the threads of improvisation, the jazz continuum, noise, & experimental music. Their playing has been described as “embodied, visceral, & virtuosic.” On fluke-mogul’s most recent solo record off Relative Pitch, Foxy Digitalis writes—”threshold is one of the most intense and captivating releases of 2021 so far.” gabby is humbled to have collaborated with Nava Dunkelman, Joanna Mattrey, Fred Frith, Daniel Carter, Ava Mendoza, Matteo Liberatore, Phillip Greenlief, Jacob Felix Heule, Brandon Lopez, Lisa Mezzacappa, & Pauline Oliveros among many other musicians, poets, dancers, & visual artists.

Ed Bear [b. 1983, he/they] is an American performing artist and engineer. His work with robotics, sound, video, transmission and collective improvisation investigates the questionable miscalibration of social relationships against material technology. As an educator and designer committed to an equitable, open source world, he researches and practices reuse and repair as civil stewardship. He has toured extensively in North America and Europe as a musician and teacher. He was a 2019 Pioneer Works resident, a 2017 Harvestworks and Signal Culture, 2016 Unit 11, 2015 WaveFarm, and 2012 LMCC SwingSpace artist-in-residence, a 2010 free103point9 AIRtime fellow and received the 2008 Roulette Emerging Composer Commission. His music is available on Peira, Azul Discographica, Ever/Never, Roar Tapes, and several other record labels.

Radioactive Desire is made possible, in part, with funds from MAAF, a regrant partnership of NYSCA Electronic Media/Film and Wave Farm, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Photos: Daniel Johnson, Maxwell Schiano