Vaster Than Empires
Erica Dicker, violin; Allen Otte, percussion; Paul Schuette, electronics
A violin subjected to toys, hardware implements and effects pedals; radios, bicycle wheels, and an amplified found-object sound-board; a modular synthesizer stirring electronic effects into a soup of sonic feedback: Vaster Than Empires. Since joining forces in Cincinnati in 2013, VTE comfortably/uncomfortably explores far-ranging textures and sound-scapes from all points along the space-time continuum. With our ears as guides, we sustain a musical relationship by way of an instinctual system in interstellar performance practice.
Erica Dicker (violin) is the concertmaster of Braxton’s Tri-Centric Orchestra. Allen Otte is a percussionist who performs an amplified sound board of his own construction and is a PAS Hall of Famer. Paul Schuette is an improviser, composer, and sound artist who teaches at the University of the Arts.
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Tanngrisnir, performing Archipelago
Christopher Burns, electric guitar; Trevor Saint, glockenspiel
Tanngrisnir, the improvising duo of Christopher Burns and Trevor Saint, is dedicated to the fusion of composition and improvisation. They develop bespoke software and technology and invent rules, games, and koans, all designed to integrate preconceived intention and spur-of-the-moment decision-making in new and innovative ways. Their approach emphasizes clear musical trajectories, wide-ranging sonic exploration, and furious rhythmic energy.
Structured in ten scenes, their audiovisual composition Archipelago
combines volcanic live improvisation with computer-controlled lighting and algorithmically edited cut-up visuals. Trevor and Christopher perform together with their video doppelgangers, exploring shimmering textures, rapidly evolving sonic and visual patterns, and densely layered polyrhythms. Archipelago uses video to enable the experience of a single musical instant from multiple perspectives, integrating live, prerecorded, documentary, and abstracted materials into a complex web of sound and visuals. Ranging from the spare and poetic to the whirling and vertiginous, Archipelago is a provocative, intense, rewarding experience.
Trevor Saint plays the glockenspiel. He performs the first solo works for the extended-range instrument, and improvises wildly with the instrument’s extreme offerings. In addition to Tanngrisnir, Trevor performs in Skewed and Such (Jeff Herriott, laptop), with the duo Tongue Depressor (Henry Birdsey/Zach Rowden, fiddles), and in the Ever Present Orchestra. Recent projects include the world premieres of Alvin Lucier’s “Ricochet Lady” and “Tilted Arc,” and the recording of Matthew Burtner’s “Syntax of Snow.”
Christopher Burns is a composer, improviser, and multimedia artist. His music weaves energetic gestures and gritty, rough-hewn textures into densely layered surfaces. As an improviser, he combines an idiosyncratic approach to the electric guitar with the use of custom software instruments for sound manipulation, audio synthesis, and digital animation. His performances emphasize directionality and trajectory, superimposing and intercutting a variety of evolving processes to create form.