RASHAD BECKER (Germany)
Born in 1970 in Syria he lives and works in Berlin. Rashad Becker is one of the most admired figures spearheading international research in electronic music. As a sound engineer he is responsible for hundreds of recordings, working with an almost incalculable number of musicians, including Nicolas Jaar, Fennesz, Mika Vainio and Shackleton. In 2013 he abandoned the mixing console to publish his first album, edited by Bill Kouligas, for Pan, the label of reference for contemporary experimental electronic sounds. In Traditional Music of Notional Space, analogue synthesisers, glitch, unusual timbres, drone and unbelievably profound vibrations are grafted onto one another to create a physical and complex work, enriched by anomalous and fascinating solutions. Becker’s research resembles a synthesis of all of the music he has personally edited. He pursues the precise intention of dismantling traditional canons and current aesthetics using loops and cut-up techniques that transfigure audio sources, reducing them to simple raw material to be moulded, placing his trust on the one hand in his extraordinary technical proficiency and on the other in his febrile creativity.
Live performance – improvisation from “Traditional Music of Notional Species”
Using a mixer, synthesiser, delays and other analogue equipment, Rashad Becker will present a live reproduction of the complex universe of sounds enclosed in his debut album Traditional Music of Notional Space, creating a continuous succession of distortions and anomalies and treating audio in extreme and unexpected ways.
OREN AMBARCHI (Australia)
Born in 1969 in Sydney where he lives and works.
During the course of his solo career, the composer Oren Ambarchi concentrated primarily on exploring the expressive potentialities of the guitar. His works are a fusion of experimentation and song writing in hinted at melodies, electronica, rock, improvisation and contemporary composition that place the listener in a suspended tempo passing through a gradual process that mutates form. Since the end of the 1990s Ambarchi has progressively incorporated an increasingly vaster range of instruments, such as the harmonica, strings, piano and percussion, creating impalpable patterns that harmonise a vast variety of timbres with the profound bass tones of his guitar. During more than twenty years he has published albums for some of the world’s most important labels, including Touch, Southern Lord, Table Of The Elements and Tzadik, collaborating with important musicians such as Fennesz, Otomo Yoshihide, Pimmon, Keiji Haino, John Zorn, Voice Crack, Jim O’Rourke, Keith Rowe, Phill Niblock, Dave Grohl, Gunter Muller, Evan Parker, Z’ev, Toshimaru Nakamura, Peter Rehberg and Merzbow.
Live performance – improvisation
For live presentations of his compositions Oren Ambarchi utilizes guitar and delays to create voluminous suites whose articulated and complex soundscapes are enriched by psychedelic veins and abstract elements. Instruments overlap one another according to a predefined cyclic structure, only to be grafted together as part of a process of almost imperceptible variation. The result is similar to a repositioning of minimalist traditions within the context of “noise” and informal music typical of contemporary experimentation.
Active making audio-video works since 2006 and performing live at a range of national and international festivals (“Nuova Consonanza”, “Quit Festival”, “Viedram”, “Les Bains Numerique”, “Flussi”, “Digital Life”, “Code Control”, “Nuit Blanche Bruxelles”), during his career Rosati has shared the stage with such artists as David Letellier, Mika Vainio, Pan Sonic and Frank Bretschneider. He developed his style from the world of total improvisation, using self-created software and continuing to privilege a “live” approach also in the recording studio. The founder and curator of the label Nephogram he currently teaches Interactive Technologies Applied to Sound and Image at the European Instituted of Design in Rome. He has collaborated with the Quiet Ensemble collective as a software developer for interactive installations and is a member of AIPS – Archivio Italiano Paesaggi Sonori.
In Rosati’s live performances sound is related to audio-reactive visual elements consisting of complex 3D structures created using special mathematical equations. Concrete and specially recorded instrumental audio sources transformed and deformed in real-time into dense and violent masses of sound or into microscopic acoustic particles projected into space are the central elements of any performance by Franz Rosati.
MICHAEL VORFELD (Germany)
Born in 1956 he lives and works in Berlin.
Michael Vorfeld approached the world of percussion at the age of fourteen, spontaneously and without any theoretical preparation. After playing solo and with different groups, he studied visual art and communication in Cologne and Kassel. As a member of the collective Heinrich Mücken he was involved in various site-specific art projects, beginning to focus his interests on the use of light in three-dimensional environments. After moving to Berlin he applied these “spatial” notions to his musical investigations in the field of experimental research, radical improvisation and sound art, playing percussion and other self-constructed string instruments or creating electro-acoustic pieces and installations with film, photography and different sized light bulbs. In addition to his various projects as a soloist, Vorfeld is also a member of numerous ensembles and has played at important international events: Documenta 8 (Germany), Moltkerei Werkstatt (Germany), Het Apollohuis (Germany), Logos Foundation (Belgium), Künstlerhaus am Deich (Germany), Palais des Beaux Arts (Belgium), Melkweg (The Netherlands), Goethe Institut (Vietnam), Experimental Intermedia (USA), Podewil (Germany), Centre of Contemporary Art (Poland) e “Plan B” (Japan).
Live performance – Light Bulb Music
Michael Vorfeld will propose an electro-acoustic improvisation utilising light bulbs of different sizes and wattages. The acoustic effect is produced by the diverse response of the filaments to electrical impulses. Each has a minor resistance to cold and a greater resistance to heat; when a filament reaches a particular temperature, it increases in size generating a mechanical force and, thus, a sound.
HERMAN KOLGEN (Canada)
Born in Montreal where he lives and works.
Herman Kolgen is a multidisciplinary artist, for more than twenty years known for his multimedia creations. He utilises sound by concentrating on its plastic and material qualities, “sculpting” true audio-kinetic works based on the intimate link between sound waves and images. Kolgen’s examinations of this synesthetic relationship are expressed in different forms: installations, video, film, performance and sound sculptures. His is a continuous exploration of the field of multimedia artistic practices, developed by elaborating new languages through a unique aesthetic. From 1996 to 208 he was a member of the duo Skoltz_Kolgen, whose creations were presented at international festivals, events and exhibitions: Berlin Transmediale (Germany), ISEA 2004 (Finland/Estonia), the 50th Festival of Contemporary Music at the Venice Biennale (2006), Ars Electronica (Austria), Sonic Acts (The Netherlands), Centre Georges Pompidou (France), Cimatics (Belgium), Dissonanze (Italy), Mutek (Canada/Mexico), Elektra (Canada), Sonar (Spain), Taipei Digital Arts (China), Shanghai eArts (China). He has received numerous awards, including Qwartz, Ars Electronica, the Festival Nouveau Cinema Nouveaux Média of Montréal and the Prix du Conseil Général al Festival International Vidéoforme di Clermont-Ferrand (France).
Live performance – Seismik
Presented for the first time at MUTEK 2014 and in its European debut at the 90dB Festival, Seismik is an overwhelming audio-video performance. In this piece Kolgen renders the invisible visible using sophisticated software that records magnetic fields and seismic activity from São Paolo to Kyoto. The result is an abstract sound and continuous visuals. Kolgen experiments with the power of the elements and emotional tension to overlap multiple layers of multisensory material, taking the audience on a metaphoric downward spiral beneath the rubble.
Circuiterie was created in Rome as a multidisciplinary group, with interests in music, dance, theatre, the visual arts and performance in general.
For the 90 dB Festival the Collective will present a new trio comprised of Marco Ariano, Roberto Fega and Simone Pappalardo.
Live performance – Improvisation
The trio will propose an improvised performance that combines the sounds of self-constructed instruments, live electronics and acoustic instruments used to create a continually evolving flood of sound.
LUCRECIA DALT (Colombia)
Born in 1980 in Pereira she currently lives and works in Berlin.
The music of Lucrecia Dalt transmits a marked impression of fragility, suspended between electronic experimentation and the domestic dimension of much of contemporary indietronica. Her work is projected into a state of constant disturbance that emanates a magnetic attraction and a subtle sensual power: the keys unfold in minimalist spirals creating the base for overlapping the bare melodies traced by vocals, while bass and guitar set the rhythm of nocturnal blues weighed down by thoughts and obsessions. Just as the atmosphere appears to be clearing, a mist of drones and distortions slowly descends to draw everything back into obscurity. This sound diary captures humours, dreams, anxieties, passions and fears avoiding the trappings of the somewhat obsolete intimacy of so much contemporary production, choosing instead to explore vaster spaces with intelligence and a spirit of adventure. After publishing three albums for various European labels and a lengthy tour in 2013 alongside Julia Holter, in 2014 Lucrecia Dalt was on the prestigious stages of the MUTEK Festival in Montreal and the Red Bull Music Academy Festival in New York, presenting material from her fascinating latest work entitled Syzygy.
Live performance – Syzygy Tour
Using a self-constructed pedal, even playing solo Lucrecia Dalt manages to perfectly model the sound produced by a bass and keyboards, alternating her repertory of nocturnal music with instrumental passages layering analogue loops and digital material to create considerably complex structures.
DAVID MARANHA & WILL GUTHRIE (Portugal/Australia)
David Maranha was born in 1969 in Figueira da Foz and currently lives and works in Lisbon.
In 1989, together with André Maranha, Antonio Forte and Bernardo Devlin, he founded the now historic Osso Exótico ensemble, still active and enhanced by new members Francisco Tropa, Manuel Mota and Patrícia Machas. Over the past twenty years, Maranha has collaborated with such musicians as Z’EV, Phill Niblock, Jacob Kirkegaard, Carla Bozulich, Chris Cutler and Robert Rutman. His most recent works, in which he utilises traditional interments – often modified – concentrate on minimum harmonic variations and tonal shifts, based on a ritual and hieratic approach that ideally links back to his parallel activity in the plastic arts and architecture. This attentively studied “physical” music – evidenced in his complex scores – are constantly regenerated through a succession of imperceptible mutations and altered perspectives.
Will Guthrie was born in 1977 in Melbourne and currently lives and works in France.
A drummer active in a wide range of contexts, Guthrie utilises an anomalous combination of percussion, objects, recycled materials, contact microphones and live-electronics. In Melbourne he created the Make It Up Club, the longest-lasting space in Australia dedicated to experimental music and improvisations, while in France he is a member of the Cable # collective, responsible for organising a regular roster of concerts and an annual festival in Nantes. He plays with the Ames Room trio (with Jean-Luc Guionnet and Clayton Thomas), as part of the mutant Appalachian folk duo Elwood & Guthrie (with Scott Stroud) and with the Thymolphthalein ensemble (with Anthony Pateras, Natasha Anderson, Clayton Thomas and Jérôme Noetinger).
Live performance – improvisation
After performing at some of Europe’s most important clubs for musical research, such as the Cafè Oto in London, Guthrie and Maranha are presenting the Roman debut of their duo based on the overlap of polyhedral figures generated by the percussion of the Australian drummer and the magnetic and wrapping sounds of the Portuguese musician’s organ.
HEROIN IN TAHITI
With published works for the tape label NO=Fi Recordings and the Boring Machines, the notorious label responsible for the phenomenon of “Italian Occult Psychedelia”, the duo Heroin in Tahiti grew out of the collective of young Roman bands linked to the so-called Borgata Boredom movement. A fleeting entity whose music, through diverse genres and a wide range of activities, is nurtured by constant references to the past in order to be projected into an anomalous and post-modern context, a universe on its own that oscillates between a surprising idea of library music and the obscure frequencies of contemporary noise. Everything is then repositioned into highly “cinematic” environments, inspired by the work of Ennio Morricone, evident in the analogue keyboards and guitar, drones and distortions, dystopian surf music and electronic trance in the style of Robert Rich and Steve Roach.
For the 90dB festival, Heroin in Tahiti will propose pieces from their latest project Canicola, dedicated to the work of the anthropologist Ernest De Martino and the rituals documented in his essays “Sud e Magia” and “La Terra del Rimorso”. HiT offer a rereading of Italian folklore through a visionary and surprising approach, using samplers of recordings by Alan Lomax and Diego Carpitella during the 1950s.
ELI KESZLER (United States)
Born in 1983 in Massachusetts, he currently lives and works in New York.
Eli Keszler began playing the drums at the age of eight, completing his first compositions while only twelve. He was a militant member of rock and hardcore groups and his work maintains the intense physical nature and often ferocious energy of his early years. His installations use different lengths of piano chords combined with drawings and other materials: they are struck, rubbed and made to vibrate by motors controlled by microprocessors to produce a vast range of harmonically complex tones. This overlapping of chords permits Keszler to produce striking visual effects without the need for projections or other electronic equipment. For his most recent project he attached sixteen chords of between one hundred and eight hundred meters in length to the Manhattan Bridge that were stimulated by vibrations of the structure and a system of mechanical devices.
His intense activities as a performer have led to collaborations with such artists as Christian Wolff, Phill Niblock, Tony Conrad, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Oren Ambarchi, Joe McPhee, Loren Connors, Jandek, Roscoe Mitchell, Anthony Coleman, Steve Beresford, Greg Kelley (Nmperign), T Model Ford and Ashley Paul. He has published solo albums for Pan, Rel Records, Esp-Disk’ and Type Recordings.
Live performance – improvisation
With a minimum drum kit (bass drum, 2 snares and 2 cymbals), often played with a bow as if it were a string instrument, and using all manner of objects, resonating metal disks and contact microphones, Keszler transforms this instrument into a micro-orchestra for percussion abandoning himself to instinct and free flow.
ALVIN CURRAN (Italy)
Born in Providence Rhode Island in 1938 he currently lives and works in Rome.
During the 1960s Curran studied with Ron Nelson, Elliott Carter and Mel Powell, graduating from Yale University. Soon after he moved to Rome, where he founded the now historic ensemble Musica Elettronica Viva. He became an integral part of one of the most creative and fecund seasons in contemporary art and music in Italy. It was during this period that he collaborated closely with Franco Evangelisti from the Gruppo Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza, Giuseppe Chiari and Giacinto Scelsi. During the 1970s he was involved in the initiatives of the Fabio Sargentini’s Galleria L’Attico and Beat ’72, which brought him into contact with the minimalist American scene. In 1974 he published his first LP as a soloist Canti e Vedute del Giardino Magnetico, an ephemeral combination of lyricism and chaos, structure and indeterminacy, composition and improvisation and tonal and atonal effects. This album would become the starting point for an in-depth investigation of the world of improvisation and audio research, nurtured by a great spirit of adventure and an almost inexhaustible curiosity that his consistently led Curran to experiment with the most disparate fields of sound.
Live performance – improvisation
For his performance Curran will create a continuous synthesis of the elements, of fragments and modules of composition that he has employed through his artistic career, from 1965 to the present. Over one thousand digital samples will compose the base structure over with the American musician will overlap keyboards, a piano, vocals, shofar, harmonica and various other common objects.