Charles Celeste Hutchins joins us from London to perform his mangled algorave mashups. James Fei and John Bischoff perform in duo on laptop and analog circuitry. Their seething, unpredictable complex of sounds driven by individual action, machine interjection, and event patterning culled from the instantaneous flow of data.
Charles Céleste Hutchins was born in San Jose, California in 1976 and currently lives in London, England. Growing up in Silicon Valley, he started programming at a young age and never stopped. He teaches music technology at the University of Kent and is a co-founder of the Network Music Festival. His computer music is primarily composed of bugs that sound good. Hutchins’ piece was originally written for tuba but things happened and now it’s written for serpent. That renaissance instrument’s low skronk and weirdly wubby intonation is perfectly suited to extended technique. The performance explores the considerable overlap between algorithms, historical instruments, and dubstep.
James Fei moved to the US in 1992 to study electrical engineering. He has since been active as a composer and performer on saxophones and live electronics. Works by Fei have been performed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble, MATA Micro Orchestra and Noord-Hollands Philharmonisch Orkest. Recordings can be found on Leo Records, Improvised Music from Japan, CRI, Krabbesholm and Organized Sound. Compositions for Fei’s own ensemble of four alto saxophones focus on physical processes of saliva, fatigue, reeds crippled by cuts and the threshold of audible sound production, while his sound installations and performance on live electronics often focus on electronic and acoustic feedback. Fei received the Grants for Artists Award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts in 2014 and he is president of Anthony Braxton’s Tri-Centric Foundation. Fei has taught at Mills College in Oakland since 2006, where he is Professor of Electronic Arts, Director of the Center for Contemporary Music and Head of the Art and Technology Program.
John Bischoff is a master composer/performer who explores boundaries and exchanges between analog and digital sound in real-time. The subtle interchange between these two realms is a form of musical alchemy, much in the tradition of the legendary composer/performer David Tudor. Bischoff’s circuit/laptop configurations create musical forms both spontaneously and algorithmically: a computer analyzes improvised analog sounds and creates musical structures based upon pre-conceived algorithms. He aptly describes this process as a “hybrid method that falls between traditional composition (invention ahead of time) and free improvisation (invention in the moment).” The conceptual basis underlying his music is rich; and the musical forms he creates are invariably elegant and coherent. That Bischoff creates his compositions live in performance attest to his artistic mastery. He is without doubt a leading composer/performer in the field of electronic music.