Actress / Susie Ibarra / Speaker Music (DeForrest Brown Jr.)
Saturday, July 27th, ISSUE presents a special end of season program gathering three singular artists working across avant-garde rhythmic music. The evening showcases Actress, the alias of British electronic musician and producer Darren J. Cunningham -- widely celebrated for hybridizing known genres within electronic music and operating on the cutting-edge of club culture. Composer, percussionist, and sound artist Susie Ibarra presents Rhythm Cycles (for Drumset), while rhythmanalyst Speaker Music (DeForrest Brown Jr.) premieres a new piece Her Velocity; like a foreign (after)image, renders her opaque.
Actress recent work has explored the creative and social potential of machine learning and artificial intelligence with the help of a new AI-based character named Young Paint, which follows from his live audio-visual performances staged in conjunction with 2017 album AZD (notoriously featuring the presence of a chrome mannequin). Having spent the better part of 2018 learning and programming Actress unique sonic palette, Young Paint parallels its creators performance in a unique digital duet between man and machine. Recently released as an eponymous mini-album, the project sees Cunningham feeding his work into this computer system -- which generatively processes his signals into its own syntax -- fusing the artist with the technology. Actress performance at ISSUE draws from these bodies of work in a unique audio-visual presentation. Actress has also recently premiered Actress x Stockhausen Sin (x) II, an expansive new opera reimagining Stockhausen's Welt-Parlament with Vanessa Benelli Mosell, The Netherlands Chamber Choir, and conductor Robert Ames of the London Contemporary Orchestra, and has announced his anticipated new album, Karma and Desire, set for release this October.
Susie Ibarras Rhythm Cycles is a set of pieces that examine rhythm through shifting melody, texture, tempo, polyrhythms, while maintaining cycles. It is both a study and a meditation in rhythm. A virtuosic composer, percussionist and improviser, Ibarra is known for her innovative style and exquisitely global essence, coupling a profound respect for indigenous musics with a unique sense of the avant-garde. Ibarras solo performances have been noted for their dynamic range and expressive technique, as well as her incorporation of diverse styles and influences. Her sound has been described as a sound like no other, incorporating the unique percussion and musical approach of her Filipino heritage with her flowing jazz drumset style, by Modern Drummer Magazine.
Speaker Music (DeForrest Brown Jr.) presents Her Velocity; like a foreign (after)image, renders her opaque, a new work composed of granular and rhythmic production across the iPad, hotwired into further romantic abstractions via Ableton. Speaker Music intends to decontextualize digital audio in real-time, extending sonic narratives previously innovated by electronic and jazz musicians such as Les McCann, Urban Tribe and James Stinson. Attuning to a vibrational ontology through an empathic touching of frequencies in collaboration with visual designer Ting Ding (Hecha / ), Speaker Music employs a rhythmanalytic expression of a love for another, extrapolated into a love for and physical engagement with a shared world. Speaker Music describes the piece as towards a gestural recognition of the literary ideation of the muse as a point which draws out latent potential -- as opposed to being a point onto which one impresses, and eventually oppresses. He continues, Her Velocity is figured as a coda for a forthcoming LP entitled of desire, longing, exposing and teasing out a dimensional crease, a desirous affect as tensions unfold through successive fugal processions of a personal unspooling of flows of Eros.
One of the most stylistically elusive figures in UK electronic music, Darren J. Cunningham has been releasing music under the name Actress since 2004. Mixing club-ready techno with dark ambient and experimental sensibilities, Actress has built a catalog of iconic and genre-defying albums on Ninja Tune and Warp while headlining shows at the worlds dance-music proving grounds. He has juggled a diverse array of inspirations, including early-'80s funk and electro, art rock, raw and classicist house, and noise, while putting a fresh spin on the forms to decayed, disorienting effect. His productions, once self-termed "R&B concrète," have earned him the reputation as one of the most acclaimed experimentalists of the 2010s, exemplified with frequent placement in Wire magazine's annual Top 50, beginning with Splazsh, which topped the 2010 chart, and continuing through AZD in 2017. In 2012, Cunningham released the third Actress album, R.I.P., his most abstract and singular work to that point. The same year, he collaborated with artist Yayoi Kasuma for a performance at London's Tate Modern gallery and remixed tracks for John Cale and Kasabian. The producer's fourth album, Ghettoville, was released in 2014 via Ninja Tune. Cunningham ominously proclaimed the album to be "the bleached out and black tinted conclusion of the Actress image," but an installment in the !K7 label's long-running DJ-Kicks mix series was released by the end of 2015. Another production album supported by Ninja Tune, the highly conceptualized AZD, arrived shortly thereafter, just after Cunningham's secondary aliases -- which previously included Levantis and GNESIS -- multiplied with a trio of limited cassette singles listed under cryptic names such as That Knightsbridge OG, Dial 666 8100, and Bank of England. Cunningham quickly returned later in 2017 with Audio Track 5, an EP that marked the first of a series of collaborations with London Contemporary Orchestra (LCO), with whom he'd performed the previous year in London and Moscow. An adventurous full-length with LCO, LAGEOS, followed in 2018.
Susie Ibarra is a Filipina-American composer, percussionist, and sound artist. Her compositions are sometimes described as calling up the movements of the human body; elsewhere its a landscape vanishing in the last light, or the path a waterway might trace (New York Times). Recent commissions include Kronos String Quartets 50 for the Future Project Pulsation, PRISM Saxophone Quartet + Percussions Procession Along the Aciga Tree, Talking Gong trio with pianist Alex Peh and flautist Claire Chase, film score When the Storm Fades directed by Sean Devlin, and a multimedia game piece Fragility: An Exploration of Polyrhythms for Asia Society. Susie Ibarra is a 2019 United States Artist Fellow in Music. She is a 2018 Asian Cultural Council Fellow in support of her sound research of An Acoustic Story on Climate Change: Himalayan Glacier Soundscapes. She is recording and researching sound along the Ganges from source to sink in collaboration with glaciologist and geomorphologist Michele Koppes. Ibarra leads the DreamTime Ensemble, which recently released the album Perception, a suite of music exploring memory and shifting sensory experiences. In 2017 the album was chosen in in a top ten playlist for the NYTimes and featured in WBGO's Take Five Gives the Drummer Some with featured Drummer-Led records. She performs in collaborative ensembles Mephista, Yunohana Variations, and LIMBS. Always curious about different ways to think about and play rhythm, Susie Ibarra is collaborating most recently with ThinkFun! Games and Splice.com. With ThinkFun Games, Ibarra is inventing an interactive polyrhythm board game to teach rhythms. With Splice.com Sound Samples and launched on Splice Originals a sound sample packet, Experimental Percussion with Susie Ibarra in Dec 2018. In July, 2019 Splice Originals will launch a second sound packet with built e-music instruments to play her percussion sounds. Since 2012, she has been a faculty member at Bennington College where she teaches percussion, drumset, composer /performer ensembles, improvisation, and art intervention. Susie Ibarra is a Yamaha, Vic Firth, and Paiste Drum Artist.
DeForrest Brown Jr. is a New York-based rhythmanalyst, media theorist and curator. His work is concerned with speculative futures in performative contexts and programmatic intersections of technology and thought. He produces digital audio and extended media as Speaker Music. In 2017 he was the inaugural Suzanne Fiol Curatorial Fellow at ISSUE Project Room. He co-produced Ebbing Sounds Symposium with Swiss publication zweikommasieben and curator Marcella Faustini in May 2018 at Gray Area Art + Technology, with support from Swissnex San Francisco. He has presented work at XXII Triennale di Milano, Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, New Museum, MoMAPS1, Artists Space, 92nd Street Y, Abrons Art Center, Signal Gallery, Cafe Oto, E-Fluxs Bar Laika, Raven Row Gallery, and WORM Rotterdam. He is also one half of Elevator to Mezzanine with artist and musician Steven Warwick, and most recently released the black comedy mixtape The Wages of Being Black is Death (PTP) with sound artist Kepla, ahead of their research and performance praxis Substantia Nigra.
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