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Gerald Carpenter: UCSB Creators Energized About ‘Survival Music’

Electronic music will be the focus of Thursday's collaborative production

May must be electronic music month at UCSB. Last Friday there was a concert of the California Electronic Music Exchange, and at 8 p.m. Thursday in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall will be “Survival Music,” a joint presentation of the UCSB Department of Music, Media Arts and Technology (MAT), and the Center for Research in Electronic Art Technology (CREATE).

The event will consist of electronic works by Mills College composer Maggi Payne, CREATE Associate Director Curtis Roads and student composers, all projected on the “Creatophone,” a pluriphonic sound projection system developed at CREATE. All works in the concert will be Santa Barbara premieres.

The program will include Balance of Power (2011) by the CREATE Ensemble (Joann Cho, Charlie Roberts, Luke Taylor, Matthew Wright and Karl Yerkes), an introductory work that “seeks to deal with the chaotic power dynamics of a diverse group of musicians playing amorphous sounds from their laptops”; eScape (A Sonic SnowScape Through Granular Fields, 2011) by Myles Sciotto, which is “a sonic journey through field recordings taken during a snow-shoeing adventure in the Sierra Nevada mountains”; Sonic Landscape 1 (2011) by David Gordon, who says, “In my recent work, I have explored the technique of graphic synthesis, in large part because it eliminates this distinction between the sketch and the final work, treating an image as sonic material, from which the computer composes the resulting audio”; and Epicurus (2010) by Roads, who describes the work as “the fruit of a long journey, beginning with experiments in Paris with pulse synthesis in February 1995. Then … I processed these recordings by means of analog tape-loopecho- feedback and digital granulation, resulting in a large database of sound material. … Assembling Epicurus was like solving a complicated puzzle, and the result is a form with a fast section, a slow section and a grand ending, all concentrated in three minutes and six seconds.”

There will also be three pieces by Payne, the de facto star of the show. Arctic Winds (2010) — “I started working on this piece when I had a 102-degree temperature coupled with chills for three days. I suspect that experiencing those internal extremes conjured up those beautiful arctic dreams and this somewhat playful piece”; Liquid Amber (2010), whose “images and sounds are about texture — images that compel me to physically reach out and touch them in real life and on-screen, just as I am drawn to reach up to try to touch a star in the desert’s black velvet night sky”; and Glassy Metals (2010), which Payne calls a “continuation of my fascination with the sounds of metal objects. Glassy Metals explores the sounds of tungsten filaments in burned out incandescent light bulbs, magnetic (iron oxide) tape rushing across a head stack, small ball bearings, ball chains of various sizes, sheet metal, tiny gear motors, bikes, BART (which permeates the sonic landscape of the San Francisco Bay Area), freight trains and other metal objects.”

Tickets to “Survival Music” are $15 for general admission and $7 for students, and can be purchased at the door.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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