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Output Device Not Found

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There are limitless possibilities for electronic sound. Yet often the most evocative electroacoustic works are those whose source material comes from physical space. These are recordings of where people work, where people go to be alone, what people think of themselves and what others think of them. There is a strange, ironic beauty in using mechanical means to be more representative of life, of the natural world, and of our lived experiences. Output Device Not Found presents a collage of music showcasing disparate source recordings, from narration to fiddle tunes to Billie Holiday.

Read about each piece below and feel free to click on the composer photos to read more about them.

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Three Fiddle Tunes, from neither anvil nor pulley 
Hang Dog Springar                                                   
Dan Trueman

Unlike the anvil or pulley, the computer hides its purpose --to strike or yank will only break. What is this "tool" we call a computer? It is surely not really about computation, and what does it offer us as musical beings? neither Anvil nor Pulley is, in short, a wordless musical epic that explores the human/machine relationship in the digital age. Are there musical places we can travel to or musical buildings we can construct with this tool that were impossible -- even for us to imagine -- with its predecessors?

The cast: a turntable spinning vinyl with the fuzzy, crackling remains of some old sounding fiddles tunes; virtual metronomes, clicking relentlessly, but reset by striking some old chunks of wood; re-purposed golf video game controllers -- joysticks with pull-strings, aka the tethers; a huge bass-drum with speaker drivers attached, performed with hand-held microphones, the resultant feedback tuned via digital filters changing to the key notes of a well-known Bach Prelude; difficult drum machines; four virtuoso and highly imaginative percussionists

The story: we begin with the crackle and fuzz of a needle dropping on vinyl... well, best just to look and listen... In five acts, of varying lengths and natures.

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Lipstick for flute, alto flute, and boombox                  Jacob TV

Lipstick,  for flute/alto flute and audio was composed  for Eleonore Pameijer in 1998, with financial support from the Dutch FPA, for a ballet by choreographer Naom Ben Jakov. The soundtrack is based on ready-made sound bytes from American talk shows. Conversations about human relationships and a radio interview with Billie Holiday, in which she quotes from her favourite song ‘Don’t explain’, about a deceived woman: ‘ Skip that lipstick and I know you cheat and what love endures’ . A relation therapist with a French accent says: ‘You are jumping all those hoops’. Lipstick has 3 movements: fast – slow – fast.

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Winter Music                                                                  Liam Elliott

Winter Music was created during a residency at the Banff Centre in January 2017. I recorded natural sounds and improvised outdoors with my breath, voice, and hands. I also built a cello (for lack of a better word) out of ice. I shaped the resulting recordings into an electronic track that creates an environment for performers to improvise with. Winter Music was premiered on flute by Yong Clark, and has also been performed on cello and accordion by Brice Catherin and Branko Džinović.


The Other Voice                                                               Jen Wang

The Other Voice began with an experiment, where volunteers sent in their responses to a few short questions about their voices, and how they feel about them. When I began, I had expected that perhaps people might speak to that gap between how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us—that shock of unfamiliarity, even repulsion, that we feel when we hear our own voices recorded or see ourselves in a video. The responses I received touched on this, but were also unexpected in delightful and moving ways. Throughout this piece, snippets of these recordings play while supported by live instruments and ambient fixed media. The fixed media is a distorted version of the instruments’ music—a funhouse mirror reflection, as voices often are for their owners. — Jen Wang

Three Fiddle Tunes, from neither anvil nor pulley                                                           Dan Trueman

Cow Call                                                                                                                                     


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Steelworks                                                                     Anna Clyne

Steelworks was commissioned by TACTUS, the contemporary music ensemble at Manhattan School of Music and premiered at Greenfield Hall in New York City. The tape part incorporates recordings of interviews with employees and machinery at Flame Cut Steelworks, the last steelworks factory in Brooklyn, which later relocated from its Williamsburg location. These recordings became the kernel for the music.

New York based visual artist Luke DuBois created a film for this work based on a 1936 industrial film steel: a symphony of industry that was sponsored by the American iron and steel institute, and is now in the public domain. Luke writes:

“The black-and-white film is laid out in a 2x2 grid on the screen, and played at more-or-less normal speed, though I did a bit of editing to remove the titles and a few other sequences in the film that didn't focus directly on steel production. The trick is that the film is 'scrubbed' in reaction to the tape part of Anna's music, with the four panes being controlled by the high and low frequencies in the left and right channels of Anna's tape part. Loud sounds cause the film to jump forward in time slightly; quiet moments cause the film to slow down. As a result, the four panes of the movie stay more-or-less in synch, but shimmer according to the sound behind them. I then colorized and blurred the film based on the timbre of the sounds I was listening to at that moment in the piece.”

Steelworks was later choreographed by Matthew Neenan and premiered with his company, BalletX, at Wilma Theater, Philadelphia.

In 2012, Tzadik Records released a full album of my music, titled Blue Moth, that showcases a diverse range of electroacoustic chamber music, including Steelworks which features musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

— Anna Clyne

Three Fiddle Tunes, from neither anvil nor pulley                                                           Dan Trueman



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