Ken Ueno and Karen Yu + Kevin Corcoran and Jacob Felix Heule

Wednesday, June 19, 2024 — 7:30 PM
Tickets: $15 General, $10 Members & Students
Buy Tickets Online

Noise Box Cantos and Shadow Mudras by Ken Ueno and Karen Yu

Both Noise Box Cantos and Shadow Mudras were developed collaboratively by Ken Ueno and Karen Yu recently as a reaction to their experience being pitted in improvisative situations against a collective of modular synthesizer players. After a critical mass of a few modular synth players is reached, it is hard to discern the individual contributions of each performer. Outnumbered in such a context, Ueno and Yu, felt alienated and determined that such performance contexts were at odds with the core values of their respective performance practices as a vocalist and percussionist. As resistance to the culture of electronic noise performance in which physical gestures are decoupled from sonic output, Noise Box Cantos and Shadow Mudras, for Ueno and Yu, are performative investigations towards foregrounding subtle physical gestures in the generation of noise. The stylized use of the hands is important in both pieces. In Noise Box Cantos, four noise boxes, instruments with contact mics inputs and small speakers, built by Hong Kong-based sound artist, Kin Lam, are likened to tiles (or Kanji characters) that are “read” by the hands – likened also to the way Chinese characters operate in Ezra Pounds’ Cantos. In Shadow Mudras, the hand gestures of both performers on a snare drum subtly nuance the sonic output of contact mic inputs fed into a transducer placed on the snare drum. To further theatricalize the hand gestures, lights cast shadows of their stylized gestures (mudras) on the snare head, an abstract kind of shadow puppetry or sign language.

Kevin Corcoran and Jacob Felix Heule are a Bay Area percussion duo focused on activating drums with surface friction, found objects, and amplification. With emphasis on texture and tone, they approach musical time as field for events rather than rhythmic pulse. Working together regularly for years, in duo and with a range of collaborators, they shape improvisations through a shared language of extended techniques.

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