Michael Morley: Music for The Never Quartet / Natacha Diels: Sad Music for Lonely People
Friday, July 19th, ISSUE and Harvestworks present acclaimed New Zealand-based artist and musician Michael Morley presenting Music for The Never Quartet, a new piece exploring the sonic possibilities of the acoustic guitar as a pure resonant amplifier of sound. Perhaps best known as one third of the Dead C, an enduring free rock unit that has pushed the proto- and post-punk templates to exhilarating points of disintegration for the past three decades, Morley has also recorded music as Gate, the Righteous Yeah, the Fk Chairs, and Sun Valley, as well as under his own name across a range of genre.
The evening also features 2019 Harvestworks Resident artist Natacha Diels premiering Sad Music for Lonely People, a series of recent works involving inspirational quotes, messages from another world, and a step-by-step guide to using heavy machinery in healing rituals. Diels new works incorporate the use of SONYC (Sounds of New York City)s large-scale field recording database of classified urban sounds -- a multidisciplinary initiative led by researchers from New York University, looking at ways to acquire, analyze, classify, and model urban noise pollution in New York City. These field recordings, along with their labels, comprise a high quality dataset of the sounds of New York in the 21st Century.
Michael Morleys Music for The Never Quartet is a performative installation for a quartet of bowed acoustic guitars placed on solid wooden furniture. The guitar bodies amplify the bowed strings, which the furniture further amplifies, creating a lush and generous sound field. The quartet modifies the collective sound with the addition of wooden blocks, bowls, and rods placed atop and underneath the instruments. The audience is encouraged to move around the space to experience the sound from multiple vantage points. However, Morley explains that remaining in one place allows for the shifting time signatures of the different vibrating strings to wash [over] the listener. The audience is also welcome to record the performance on their mobile devices to be played back as loops during the installation.
Natacha Diels Sad Music for Lonely People draw from corporatized meditation practices, dark comedy, the absurdity of life/love/politics, and faith in the universal stream of consciousness. Altogether, the set is conceived as an attempted erasure of the disconnect between art and life experience, while maintaining a foothold in the abstract and the tragically ridiculous.
This is the fourth year in an ongoing program collaboration between ISSUE Project Room and Harvestworks, two organizations that are committed to supporting the creation and presentation of experimental performance practices while sharing resources.
Michael Morley is a New Zealand based sound artist and visual artist. His work across a range of genre confirms his abilities as an artist, composer, improvisor, performer, and producer. Responsible for over 100 audio releases from 1985 to 2019 as: Gate, The Dead C, The Righteous Yeah, The Fuck Chairs, Sun Valley, and many other collaborations and solo recordings. The development of Music for The Never Quartet has come from a thirty year exploration of the guitar and of sound as art. The focus of the acoustic guitar as the nexus of an examination of sound comes from a desire to provoke and create experimental music that challenges the status quo of the hierarchy of rock and popular musics and allows for a reimagining of the idea of performance and composition.
Natacha Diels work combines choreographed movement, improvisation, video, instrumental practice, and cynical play to create worlds of curiosity and unease. Recent work includes Papillon and the Dancing Cranes, for construction cranes (Borealis Festival 2018), and a performed installation entitled I Love Myself Fully and Unconditionally (Darmstadt Summer Institute 2018). With a focus on collaboration, collage, and the ritual of art as life, Natachas compositions have been described as a fairy tale for a fractured world (Music We Care About). Natacha is a member of the composer/performer collective Ensemble Pamplemousse (est. 2003) and the performance duo On Structure (est. 2009). Pamplemousse specializes in unique aspects of new music composition, from complex virtuosic instrumental performance to experimental theatre to electronic and robotic performance. On Structure is a sound-centric highly choreographed paradoxically improvisatory collaboration project, performing whenever travel paths collide. Natacha teaches composition and computer music at the University of California, San Diego.
Founded in 2003, ISSUE Project Room is a pioneering nonprofit performance center, presenting projects by interdisciplinary artists that expand the boundaries of artistic practice and stimulate critical dialogue in the broader community. ISSUE serves as a leading cultural incubator, facilitating the commission and premiere of innovative new works.
Founded by artists in 1977, Harvestworks is a leader in the art and technology field, educating, commissioning and producing work by composers, sound, visual and multi-disciplinary artists that reach an ever-expanding and receptive audience.
SONYC (Sounds of New York City) is a multidisciplinary initiative led by researchers from New York University, looking at ways to acquire, analyze, classify, and model urban noise pollution in New York City as a model for the rest of the world. As part of the SONYC project, a large-scale recording effort was undertaken to create a database of classified "urban sounds" in order to train the system for later, automated machine listening. These field recordings, collected at sites around New York City, consist of high quality samples of quotidian urban noise, ranging from traffic at major road arteries to the ambient noise of city parks. These field recordings, along with their labels, comprise a high quality dataset of the sounds of New York in the 21st Century. An objective of the SONYC project consists of advocating for a wider understanding of and appreciation for noise pollution among the general public, and creative projects by composers and artists using these field recordings benefit the broader aims of the project.
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