Explore eclectic, sonically cool videos and sound files—from Reggie Watts improvising in the Exploratorium's old Sound Column to the Sound Uncovered iPad app. We'll be adding more soon, including videos of each Resonance performance.
Join us as Resonance kicks off its second season with Oakland-based sound-making duo Black Spirituals. Sarah Cahill interviews electronic artist and guitarist Zachary James Watkins and percussionist Marshall Tramell.
The second season of Resonance kicks off with Oakland-based sound-making duo Black Spirituals. Their music is an ecstatic intersection of the tone-generating electronics and guitars of Zachary James Watkins, and the heart-thumping acoustic percussion of Marshall Trammell.
Explore distant realms of musical possibility with Resonance, an evening new music series at the Exploratorium. Contemporary musicians and sound artists will perform new works and discuss their ideas, techniques, and inspirations with radio host and pianist Sarah Cahill.
Originally commissioned for the Exploratorium’s After Dark series, Songs of the Humpbacks was curated by Chris Fitzpatrick, who brought together sound artist and composer Thomas Dimuzio and NOAA cetacean acoustics expert Dave Mellinger to present a humpback whale song composition.
“This work is a hybrid between a sound installation and a composition. It is an immersive piece for eight metal percussion instruments, which are controlled by computer. The work employs ‘recursive physical object electroacoustics,’ a process which involves the stimulation of a real-world object (in this case a gong or cymbal), importing the resultant data into a computer environment for mixed synthesis, and outputting the result back into the instrument via a transducer attached to its surface. While the sound is generated electronically, its ultimate realization is acoustic. The instruments seem to sound of their own accord.”
“I created this piece for a composition class. I ran sine sweeps inside of my banjo, recorded them, and analyzed them with a spectrogram VST to find which frequencies were most resonant. Then I coded two different instruments in SuperCollider that utilized those frequencies, and played them back into the banjo, placing two small microphones inside of the resonator. It was awesome and the body of the banjo was shaking despite the low amplitude of the tones.”
“I am a composer, conductor, scholar, and experimental musician living and working in western Massachusetts, where I serve as founding artistic director for the Smith College Festival of Sound & Space. I recently completed a three-year appointment as Iva Dee Hiatt Distinguished Lecturer and Assistant Director of Choral Activities at Smith College where I conducted the Smith College Chorus and taught conducting, choral literature, and sight-singing.”
“‘Child’s Play’ is the third piece in a series of works that explore my daughter Lila’s toys. The work explores the rhythm of her play. I am a composer of acoustic and electroacoustic music. I currently reside in Bozeman, Montana with my wonderful wife, Barbara, and our two daughters, Lila and Megan. I teach music technology and composition at Montana State University where I also direct the MONtana State Transmedia and Electroacoustic Realization (MONSTER) Studios.”
“Much of the music I tinker with is loop-based. The possibilities are infinite, which is what attracts me to the experiments. In 2009, I toured with Stefano Pilia on guitar and electronics; Andrea Belfi on drums, percussion, and electronics; and myself on guitar, electronics, and tamboura. In For Resonance, I manipulated recordings of those performances using a sequence of random patterns. No additional sounds were added, but the collage itself creates a new, unheard presence.”
“After being commissioned by RAWdance to compose music for their latest work Mine, I received positive feedback by friends and colleagues to release these compositions as an entire album. Mine is a series of eight meditations on claiming what is truly ours in this world—relationships with ourselves and other beings. This is an emotive experience of hypnotic, ambient compositions aimed at bringing the audience into a trance while watching the movement of dancers.”
Cheryl E. Leonard is a composer, performer, and instrument builder who creates instruments from unusual raw materialseverything from glass shards and pinecones to glaciers and box springs. Here she performs Selections from Antarctica: Music from the Ice with Phillip Greelief, as part of the Exploratoriums Resonance series.