Linda Austin Dance – A World, A World

My original sound score for this dance piece reflected the wildly divergent approaches in the two halves (or “worlds”).  In the first, sonic fragments were culled from a long list of movie scenes, old television commercials, YouTube videos, pop songs, nursery rhymes etc., gathered by the dancers.  These short bursts of micro-edited media were synced to precise cues – shards of not-quite recognizable sonic detritus colliding with elaborate onstage recitations.

After an interlude/scene change (performed by the dancers to a stripped-down rhythmic track) the strategy changed completely.  Within an all-white set, the dancers followed a loose improvisational score, adjusting plants, holding positions and speaking words.  Each dancer approached a microphone to ring a bell or click stones and speak.  I altered and mixed the dancer’s sounds, creating loops within loops. To this, I added a sparse backing of pure tones.

Performance Works NW

Portland OR , Dec. 2017

Video by Karl Lind Films

Hand2Mouth Theater – Psychic Utopia

This experimental, interactive theater piece was created by the cast, based on dozens of interviews with current and former residents of communes in the Pacific NW.  My sound score used only the sounds of the human voice – from chanting, singing and toning to whispering, hissing and glossolalia.  Vocal recordings were sampled, looped, filtered and processed to create a wide range of textures, from shimmering drones to New Age melodies, at times merging with the live voices of the actors.  Tones emerged from a glowing “sound box” in the middle of the performance area and expanded out to fill the room on a four-channel system.

Bill Will – Fun House

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I accompanied Bill Will’s exhibition of kinetic sculptures Fun House with a four-channel generative sound installation.  An extensive library of individual sound events were randomly triggered and dynamically spatialized throughout the gallery in ever-changing combinations.  Sound events ranged in length from a few seconds to several minutes and were all derived from the sound of a single snare drum hit – from quiet buzzing and drones to rumbles and pops.  Sudden bursts of sound emerged from silences.  As visitors activated the noisy sculptures, the installation provided a parallel sonic environment.

Ronna & Eric Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art at Lewis & Clark, Portland OR

Sept. 10 – Dec. 10, 2017

SNKR (with Kelly Rauer)

SNKR was a collaborative project with movement and video artist Kelly Rauer, resulting in videos, sounds, performances and hybrid combinations thereof.

SNKR began with a two-minute performance using tap shoes and acoustic feedback through a large resonating metal sheet.

That experiment led to the capturing of improvisational performances for camera in various Portland locations – sounding out spaces with tap shoes, framing found geometries.  The resulting footage was edited for sound as much as image, creating repetitions, stutters, rhythms and glitches.  An accompanying score was created entirely from processed samples of two degraded vinyl LPs.

Further improvisations for camera included a three-camera shoot in Portland’s oldest building using no-input mixer, acoustic feedback, effects pedals and amplified small objects, and movements inside an unused, Soviet-era grain mill in Estonia, with its multiple levels of turquoise machinery.

These videos were incorporated into a 20-minute performance at the Risk/Reward Festival in 2016. Against a large video projection, Rauer created on-stage shapes, moving sound-making objects and speakers, and arranging items in task-based sequences.  At the back of the stage, I created, mixed and processed sounds, including samples, contact microphones, acoustic feedback and a record player.  Near the end, a large-screen television was rolled onstage, displaying a live video feed of my hands.

Hand2Mouth Theatre – Time, a Fair Hustler

My sound design for this theatrical reimagining of Gus VanSant’s “My Own Private Idaho” combined remixes of original music by Peter Holmstrom (Dandy Warhols) with layered environmental and atmospheric sound.  Scenes in present time were joined by soft tones coming from hidden onstage speakers.  As characters slipped into the past, remembered spaces emerged from a four-speaker system surrounding the audience. Microphones suspended above the stage added reverb effects to the actor’s voices at key moments.

Continue reading “Hand2Mouth Theatre – Time, a Fair Hustler”

Kelly Rauer – Locate

My sound design and camerawork for Kelly Rauer’s three-channel video installation concentrated on swooping, twirling motions.  White noise, sine tones and pulsing drum machines were recorded with a swinging microphone – a pendulum to mimic the kinetics of the camera work and the dancer’s bodies.  Paired and mirrored, larger than life, dancers swing the graphic marks of their limbs in the stark glare of a spotlight or fling themselves into a dark void, amid passing tones and the crackling of an ice storm.

Locate was commissioned by Disjecta Contemporary Art Center for the PORTLAND2014 Biennial of Contemporary Art, curated by Amanda Hunt.

12-minute loop, stereo sound

Portland2014 Biennial of Contemporary Art
Disjecta Contemporary Art Center, Portland, OR

March 8 – April 27, 2014

Concept & Choreography: Kelly Rauer

Dancers: Kelly Rauer and Leah Wilmouth

Camera and sound:  Seth Nehil

Review by Sarah Sentilles at Oregon Arts Watch

Kelly Rauer – Weight

My sound design and camerawork for this installation captured dancer and video artist Kelly Rauer leaping, jumping and crawling through the empty space of a blank, sunlit studio.  Rauer arranged video projections throughout the gallery along with televisions of various sizes.  Viewers were surrounded by stuttering sequences and asynchronous rhythmic gestures, unable to see all screens at once – or any screen in isolation.    From rafter-mounted speakers emerged closely-miked recordings of separate but similar movements, mixing with the small scattered sounds on television monitors.  The gallery space was filled with creaky footsteps, bodily thuds and breathing.

8 video screens with multichannel sound
Jan. 13 – Feb. 15, 2013
The Art Gym at Marylhurst University, Portland, OR

A Portland Circus on Cage’s Silence (with Linda Austin)

This performance, celebrating the 100th anniversary of John Cage’s birth, was curated by Mack McFarland at the Pacific NW College of Art.  Dancers, musicians and a poet were stationed in all areas of the building’s large open atrium, along balconies and in far flung corners.  Multiple and varied activities surrounded the mobile audience.

For the score, I selected several pages from Cage’s early composition Six Melodies for Violin and Keyboard (1950), dedicated to the artists and designers Josef and Anni Albers.  Chance procedures determined time blocks, repetitions and fragments of the score.  Musicians were tasked with reconfiguring pitch material to fit the repetitions through the manipulation of note values and rests.  A series of 1-minute field recordings, contributed by students and others, were played in a sequence and at volume levels determined by chance procedures.  On an upper level, poet Lisa Radon recited a “writing through” of a Cage text throughout.  Audiences were free to move, viewing the performance from different perspectives or following dancers as they moved to different quadrants throughout the space.

A few challenges: first, how to make an event that is “Cageian” without being Cage.  We wanted to honor the spirit of Cage without simply creating a “cheap imitation”.  While allowing for some personal twists on Cage’s methods, we used indeterminate and chance-derived procedures throughout (thanks!).  Another challenge is also the real benefit of Cage’s primary idea – his dictum to erase the ego, to follow the “operation of nature” and to be interested in what results.  It’s both difficult and rewarding to remove one’s desire from the determination of outcomes, to give up any idea of “the way it should be” and to let the score take over.  As Cage might say, what we don’t know is more interesting than what we do know (or think we know). – from the program notes by Seth Nehil & Linda Austin

Musicians:  Matt Carlson (synthesizer), Patrik Csak (glockenspiel), Jeff Diteman (cello), Jordan Dykstra (viola), Richie Greene (violin), Ben Kates (saxophone), Catherine Lee (oboe), Thomas Thorson (synthesizer) & Reed Wallsmith (saxophone).
Dancers:  Mike Barber, Jin Camou, Anne Furfey, Sally Garrido-Spencer, Keyon Gaskin, Carla Mann, Paige McKinney, Kaj-anne Pepper, Chelsea Petrakis, Kelly Rauer, Danielle Ross, Noelle Stiles, Emily Stone, Robert Tyree, Taka Yamamoto and Lucy Yim.

Spoken Text:  Lisa Radon

Pacific Northwest College of Art

Portland, OR, Oct. 3, 2012