Category: Dispatches

Dispatch: Lesley Flanigan

Experimental electronic musician Lesley Flanigan chats about her upcoming streamed performance at Roulette—a solo set for voice and minimal sine-wave electronics intended to be heard by listeners at home using their headphones. Though Flanigan will be performing live at Roulette for this event, there will be no sound amplified within the performance space. Why should there be? Flanigan talks about her work as a sculptural practice, and sound as a sculptural material that can be shaped and experienced through amplification, or lack thereof.

Experience Flanigan’s performance Headphone Space on Friday, February 26 on roulette.org. For more on her work and process, tune in to Roulette TV.


Lesley Flanigan is an experimental electronic musician living in New York City. Inspired by the physicality of sound, she builds her own instruments using minimal electronics, microphones, and speakers. Performing these instruments alongside traditional instrumentation that often includes her own voice, she creates a kind of physical electronic music that embraces both the transparency and residue of process — sculpting sound from a palette of noise and subtle imperfections. Her work has been presented at venues and festivals internationally, including The Red Bull Music Festival at Saint John the Divine (New York), De Doelen (Rotterdam), Sonar (Barcelona), The Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park (Chicago), the Guggenheim Museum (New York), The Kitchen (New York), The Broad Museum (Los Angeles), ISSUE Project Room (Brooklyn), TransitioMX (Mexico City), CMKY Festival (Boulder), the Roskilde Museum of Contemporary Art (Denmark) and KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin.


As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.

Dispatch: Doron Sadja

Sound and light artist Doron Sadja chats with us about his postponed project at Roulette—a multichannel sound work that explores the unexpected or unwanted artifacts that occur when frequencies collide in space. Defined through a play of sonic phenomena, the work is composed using simple sounds that are designed to interact along the sonic plane: disturbing each other, cancelling each other out, and creating new sounds that exist only in the ear of the listener. Central to the work is the theme of extreme density, and an interest in how multiples of identical (or nearly identical) sounds can be spatialized to create intensely disembodied sonic experiences.


Doron Sadja is an American artist, composer, and curator whose work explores modes of perception and the experience of sound, light, and space. Working primarily with multichannel spatialized sound – combining pristine electronics with lush romantic synthesizers, extreme frequencies, and sonic phenomena, Sadja creates hyper-emotive aural architecture. Although each of Sadja’s works are striking in their singular and focused approach, his output is diverse: spanning everything from 250 speaker Wave Field Synthesis works to kinetic sculptures capable of moving sound in 3 dimensions, string orchestra works, and large scale immersive sound and light environments inspired by auditory and visual phenomena.

Sadja has performed and exhibited throughout Europe and the US, including Atonal Festival and Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, PS1 MoMa Museum and Roulette in NYC, Norberg Festival in Sweden, CBK Museum in Amsterdam, and the Institute for Electronic Music and Acoustics in Austria. Sadja has collaborated with Tony Conrad, Aki Onda, Mario Diaz de Leon, and Audrey Chen amongst others. Sadja founded the West Nile (RIP) performance space in Brooklyn and is currently teaching electronic music performance and composition at dBs Berlin in their Bachelors and Masters degree programs.


As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.

Dispatch: Crystal Penalosa

Resident artist Crystal Penalosa discusses her upcoming performance and the importance of breath.

On January 26, 2021, as part of her Roulette residency, interdisciplinary artist Crystal Penalosa presents Breath Cycles. This evening-length durational performance will engage audience members from the safety of their homes to participate in a mindfulness practice called breathwork. This practice can be helpful in lowering blood pressure, tension and physical pain, as well as provide psychological benefits such as dealing with anxiety, stress, and trauma.

Penalosa notes that this performance serves as “a way to take a collective deep breath. To take a moment to get in touch with something that is so essential—something that keeps us alive.”

The basic right to breathe has been under threat in the U.S through ongoing police brutality and the current public health crisis. This performance invites the audience to consider or build upon their own relationship to their breath, as well as provide a reflective space through music and text. Audience members viewing from home will be guided through the simple practice of breathing with intention.


Crystal Penalosa (she/they) is an artist and interdisciplinary designer based in New York. Their work focuses on self-compassion practices while engaging with authenticity and personal safety. She has performed collaboratively and presented solo works in New York at The New School, MoMA PS1, Roulette, Issue Project Room, SPEKTRUM in Berlin, and at the Golden Pudel in Hamburg. She currently works with the veteran underground record label Generations Unlimited, Voluminous Arts record label, and with the New Jersey Governor’s Office of Innovation.

Dispatch: Matt Mottel

Artist Matt Mottel discusses his latest project opening Roulette’s Winter 2021 season on January 15. Mottel_Mottel: The Image is a Seed is an artwork by Mottel anchored by the historic photographic archive of his father, Syeus Mottel. Syeus, a diaristic photographer, documented both artistic happenings, like the annual Avant Garde Art Festival organized by Charlotte Moorman, and political demonstrations, such as the Levitation of the Pentagon in Washington DC in April, 1967. In performance at Roulette, archival color slides and digitally scanned negatives are projected in tandem with the music and staged action.


As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.

Dispatch: Phill Niblock

On the 10th anniversary of Phill Niblock‘s Winter Solstice Concert at Roulette, Roulette co-founders Jim Staley and David Weinstein chat with Niblock about the concert’s history and its enduring life at the organization.

Phill Niblock Resources:

2019 Studio Visit

2000 Roulette TV Episode

Phill Niblock’s Solstice Tradition by Kurt Gottschalk


Niblock’s minimalistic drone approach to composition and music was inspired by the musical and artistic activities of New York in the 1960s, from the art of Mark Rothko, Carl Andre, Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd, and Robert Morris to the music of John Cage and Morton Feldman. Niblock’s music is an exploration of sound textures created by multiple tones in very dense, often atonal tunings (generally microtonal in conception) performed in long durations.

6 Hours of Music and Film will be presented virtually on December 21st, 2020 and available for free on a variety of streaming platforms. Roulette’s theater is currently closed for public performances as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the safety measures that Roulette has put in place to keep staff, artists, and the public safe.


As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.

Dispatch: Gelsey Bell

In this dispatch, we catch up with vocalist and composer, Gelsey Bell. A frequent collaborator in many projects presented at Roulette—including tonight’s We Can Change the Country—Bell shares her own recent projects including a self-guided soundwalk through Green-Wood Cemetery titled Cairns, online operas with ThingNY, and her newest composition with Varispeed: The Blurring Test—a work which incorporates artist Peggy Wild’s chat bot, asking us to prove humanity to the computer.


Gelsey Bell is a singer, songwriter, and scholar. She has been praised by The New York Times as “one of New York’s most adventurous musicians.” She is a Resident Artist at the HERE Arts Center, has been both a Resident and Commissioned Artist at Roulette, and received a Foundation for Contemporary Arts award for music/sound. She is a core member of thingNY, Varispeed, and the Chutneys. Recent works include the sound walk, Cairns, for Green-Wood Cemetery (available through bandcamp); SubtracTTTTTTTTT and A Series of Landscapes, made with thingNY for live online performance; and shuffleyamamba, created with Yasuko Yokoshi. She has released multiple recordings including Home (the Chutneys), This is Not a Land of Kings, and Empty Words (Varispeed). Performance highlights also include Dave Malloy’s Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812 (Broadway) and Ghost Quartet, Robert Ashley’s Improvement and Crash, and Kate Soper’s Here Be Sirens. www.gelseybell.com


As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.

Dispatch: Darius Jones

“I wanted to create a piece that reflects the chaos that I feel our society is in and how we can’t seem to find balance. I’m hoping through witnessing and experiencing art that embodies this, that maybe it helps us find ideas and ways to combat what we are experiencing.”

In a piece inspired by and sharing a title with James Baldwin’s essay “We Can Change the Country” composer, Darius Jones discusses his latest piece premiering this Monday at Roulette on the eve of the 2020 Presidental Election.


Darius Jones has created a recognizable voice as a critically acclaimed saxophonist and composer by embracing individuality and innovation in the tradition of African-American music. Jones has been awarded the Van Lier Fellowship, Jerome Foundation Commission, Jerome Artist-in-Residence at Roulette, French-American Jazz Exchange Award, and, in 2019, the Fromm Music Foundation commission at Harvard University. Jones has released a string of diverse recordings featuring music and images evocative of Black Futurism. His work as a new music composer for voice culminated in a major debut performance at Carnegie Hall in 2014. Jones has collaborated with artists including Gerald Cleaver, Oliver Lake, William Parker, Andrew Cyrille, Craig Taborn, Wet Ink Ensemble, Jason Moran, Trevor Dunn, Dave Burrell, Eric Revis, Matthew Shipp, Marshall Allen, Nasheet Waits, Branford Marsalis, Travis Laplante, Fay Victor, Cooper-Moore, Matana Roberts, JD Allen, Matthew Shipp, Nicole Mitchell, Georgia Ann Muldrow, and many more. The New York Times named Jones among the Best Live Jazz Performances of 2017 for his Vision Festival performance with Farmers by Nature. In 2018, Darius premiered across the United States a major new composition entitled LawNOrder, a dramatic commentary on social justice and American politics. Jones’ music is a confrontation against apathy and ego, hoping to inspire authenticity that compels us to be better humans.


As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.

Dispatch: Cecilia Lopez

As part of our ongoing Dispatches series, we sit down with Cecilia Lopez at Roulette, to discuss their upcoming collaborative performance El Porvenir: August 1996 happening on Tuesday, October 20.


Cecilia Lopez is a composer, musician and multimedia artist from Buenos Aires, Argentina currently based in New York. Her work explores perception and transmission processes focusing on the relationship between sound technologies and listening practices. She works across the media of performance, sound, installation and the creation of sound devices and systems. Lopez holds an MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Bard College and an MA from Wesleyan University in composition (2016). Her work has been performed and exhibited at Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires (AR), Center for Contemporary Arts (Vilnius, Lithuania), Roulette Intermedium, Issue Project Room, Ostrava Days Festival 2011 (Ostrava, Czech Republic), MATA Festival 2012, Experimental Intermedia, Fridman Gallery (NY), Kunstnernes Hus (Oslo, Norway) and the XIV Cuenca Biennial, among others. She was a Civitella Ranieri fellow in 2015 and has participated in various international residency programs.


As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.

Dispatch: David Watson and Tony Buck

David Watson and Tony Buck met and started improvising together almost 30 years ago in a loft concert in Brooklyn. The two Antipodeans have shared stages in many parts of the world since then, their music conversation surviving changes in times and instruments. Originally scheduled to perform together at Roulette in April with 75 Dollar Bill guitarist Che Chen, we check in with both in this Dispatch to talk about their longstanding collaboration and respective quarantines.


As an experimental musician, David Watson is drawn to combinations of order and disorder. A guitarist, bagpiper, and advocate for intelligent listening, his work encompasses improvisation and composition in a wide variety of contexts. Originally from New Zealand, he has lived and worked in New York City since 1987. He has worked intensively with a wide range of extraordinary artists, including Chris Abrahams, Robert Ashley, Frisner Augustin, Marcia Bassett, Tony Buck, Che Chen, Anthony Coleman, David First, Alastair Galbraith, Frode Gjerstad, Shelley Hirsch, Samara Lubelski, Chris Mann, Christian Marclay, Sean Meehan, Ikue Mori, Bill Nace, Andrea Parkins, Lee Ranaldo, Talibam!, Yoshi Wada, Alex Waterman, John Zorn, 75 Dollar Bill, amongst many others. His bagpipe work has created a new vocabulary for the instrument. His album for composer Phill Niblock’s XI label Fingering an Idea was described in The Wire as, “shimmering lines piling-up like an old Terry Riley piece.” While his record Throats, on Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace label, was described by Volcanic Tongue as “brain rearranging massive walls of constantly shifting drone.” Recently, Niblock created a new piece “Bag” using his playing as source material. Watson is in the trio Glacial, an ongoing collaboration with two highly acclaimed partners, Lee Ranaldo and Tony Buck. Watson’s guitar playing was for many years a staple in performances of John Zorn’s seminal piece Cobra. Watson founded and organizes the New York City music performance series WOrK which has presented over fifty concerts since 2015 and is predicated on exploring what experimental means to practitioners today.

Percussionist Tony Buck is one of the most sought after musicians in Europe. Burke has played / toured / recorded with John Zorn, The Ex, Lee Ranaldo, Phil Minton, Evan Parker, Tom Cora, Clifford Jordan, and Otomo Yoshihide among many others.


As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.

Dispatch: Jeremiah Cymerman

In this Dispatch, we catch up with composer and clarinetist Jeremiah Cymerman about the last six months, postponed projects and residencies, and what’s coming up in the future, including welcoming him back to Roulette as part of our soon to be announced Fall season.

Jeremiah Cymerman is a New York City-based composer and producer. Since the early 2000s, “the protean composer and improviser has made an indelible mark on NYC’s DIY avant scene” writes the Brooklyn Observer. His recorded output, with multiple releases on Tzadik and his own 5049 Records, has been described by the Wire as “blown out studio creations that merge extended reed techniques with the crushing, airless sonics of black metal.” Since 2013, he has also produced the 5049 Podcast, a weekly program of conversations with contemporary music’s most daring artists such as Oren Ambarchi, Susie Ibarra, Zeena Parkins, Craig Taborn, MV Carbon, Trey Spruance, Ken Vandermark, and more.


As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.