Author: amyess

About the Sarod, the Popular Hindustani Instrument

This episode of Sonosphere features the North Indian instrument, the sarod. One of the most popular instruments in Hindustani music, the sarod’s 20th century master was Indian composer, teacher and musician, Ali Akbar Khan.

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Ali Akbar Khan

440px-Sarod_001We speak with contemporary sarod virtuoso, Ken Zuckerman about mastering the demanding instrument and how he and Khan brought various innovations and inventions to the sound.

Zuckerman  has been called “…one of the world’s most eclectic masters of improvisation.” He completed thirty-seven years of training under the rigorous discipline of India’s legendary sarod master Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, up to the maestro’s passing in June 2009. He also performed with Maestro Khan in numerous concerts in Europe, India, and the United States.

We will hear more from Zuckerman in upcoming episodes on Indian Classical Music. Stay tuned!

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Underscore: Composer Alex Weston

Welcome to Sonosphere’s Underscore series where we highlight composers, artists, creators, and more. This episode we highlight Alex Weston,  a New York-based composer. 

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After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University with a composition degree, he then moved to New York. We’ll discuss his time working as music assistant to composer Philip Glass, helping Glass with various film and concert pieces, while also pursuing his own writing. Weston’s music showcases his wide-ranging influences, combining classical structures along with more modern harmonic language, and electronics.

Weston’s music has also been featured on “The Affair” (Showtime), the Ken Burns-produced documentary “The Emperor of All Maladies” (PBS), and various projects for NBC, Netflix and others. His film scores have premiered at festivals around the world including Sundance, and Slamdance.

He’s had concert works commissioned by the Lyrica Chamber Music Ensemble, the Utah Wind Symphony, MADArt Creative, Ballet in the City, and more, including a recent performance at the John F. Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts.

farewell artThis month he released his score for the Lulu Wang film The Farewell. On this episode we talk with him about his process for The Farewell and his approach to music in film versus his approach to commissioned works for live dance and others. Enjoy this month’s Underscore.

 

A Mix from Memphis Concrete Founder Robert Traxler

Welcome to Sonosphere radio, today we welcome Robert Traxler, founder of the Memphis Concrete experimental music festival happening this month in Memphis – June 29th and 30th. In its third year, the Memphis Concrete music festival is featuring headliners Matmos, Moor Mother, Rapoon, Mykel Boyd, Tavishi and featuring a live score of the original Tron – all right here in Memphis at Crosstown Arts.

Get your tickets today!

60317265_2324957160898157_8743214651875000320_oRobert is also an electronic music composer working with analog synths and he performs about town.

We’re happy to feature Robert’s mix on today’s Sonosphere Radio.

Track List:

Louis and Bebe Barron – “Main Title” [Forbidden Planet]
Pierre Schaeffer – “Étude Pathétique (Study in Pathos)””
Halim El-Dabh – “Alcibaldis’ Monologue to Socrates”
Matmos – “Thermoplastic Riot Shield”
Zoviet France – “First Vigil”
Bülent Arel – “Postlude from ‘Music for a Sacred Service'”
Éliane Radigue – “Backward 76”
Linda Heck – “Right”
Ihcilon – “Frau im Mond Fragment Three”
Belly Full of Stars – “My God, It’s Full of Ice”
Daphne Oram – “Osram & Rank – Pulse Persephone Experiment”
Jacques Lejeune – “Apparition of the Disguised Queen”
Tavishi – “Lobhe Paap, Paape Mrityu”
Noiserpuss – “Minimum Maximum”
Vladimir Ussachevsky – “Sketch 2” [Two Sketches for a Computer Piece]
Else Marie Pade – “Prolog i Himlen” [Faust Suite]
Max Eilbacher – “For Club III”
Alice Shields – “Study for Voice and Tape”

Mixtape Session with Natalie Hoffman of Nots & Optic Sink

Welcome to Sonosphere radio. Occasionally, Sonosphere will post playlists curated by artists, record label owners, music enthusiasts, DJs, and sometimes by us. This week we’ll hear a collaborative mixtape session with from Natalie Hoffman of the band NOTS fame. She has a project now with Memphis DJ and electronic artist Ben Bauermeister called Optic Sink.

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Optic Sink at DKDC

Natalie was one of Crosstown Arts artists in residence last year. Chris and I got to collaborate with her at her studio on a mixtape – each shared songs we’ve been into lately and songs we’ve loved for a while. This mix is dubbed from the tape created during this playlisting session. The tape begins with composer Colleen, we’ll also hear Marie Davidson, CAN, Marbled Eye, and many more.

Check out Optic Sink at the Memphis Concrete Festival June 29 and 30th – tickets on sale now. Don’t miss Memphis Concrete this month and enjoy this mix!

Track List:

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Chris Williams and Natalie Hoffman in Natalie’s studio at Amurica in Memphis, TN during her artist in residency with Crosstown Arts.

 

Nadah El Shazly

Welcome to Sonosphere! The first artist we present in our 2019 Sound Observation series is Nadah El Shazly, Egyptian composer, musician and producer. She will be performing at Crosstown Arts’ Green Room on May 31st as a part of her first tour in the U.S. We are so excited to have her in Memphis. Artist talk at 7 pm, performance at 8 pm.

Sonosphere spoke briefly with Nadah prior to her show. She talks about collaborating in the Cairo music scene, her debut album and her experiences on her first U.S. tour.

Thanks for listening.

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Drones: A Brief History of Sustained Tones in Music

In this month’s episode of Sonosphere, we focus on the use of drone sounds in music. There is a lot to cover with Drone music, often known as a part of the genre of Minimalism and modern ambient. 

JoannaDemers_Drone_HeaderSonosphere caught up with Joanna Demers, author of Listening Through the Noise: The Aesthetics of Experimental Electronic Music, Drone and Apocalypse, and others. 

We will focus on the drone itself, what is drone music, and the common drone instruments as a continuation of the Birth of Modern Music series on avant-garde, classical music and minimalism.

This episode begins with the evolution of the drone sound as a musical style and aesthetic used in many parts of the world. Join us!

Sound Observations: Nicole Mitchell Performs in Memphis

Sonosphere’s last Sound Observation series for 2018 ended on a high note. We welcomed Nicole Mitchell to perform flute with electronics.

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It was a beautiful show preceded by a panel talk on Afrofuturism that we’ve posted as the first part of this Sound Observations.

The discussion informed this improv performance keeping the works of afrofuturist writers and musicians at top of mind.

Thanks for listening!

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Nicole Mitchell talks with James ‘IMMAKEMADBEATS’ Dukes.

Sound Observations on Afrofuturism: Building Communities

We are ending 2018 on a very inspiring note. We hosted our final Sound Observation series by inviting Chicago-based composer Nicole Mitchell to Memphis.

In this episode, we present Afrofuturism: Building Communities, a panel that explored beyond the concept of Afrofuturism. Memphis based Publisher and Author Sheree Renee Thomas led the discussion featuring Nicole Mitchell, and a few Memphians, including Producer/Performer and CEO of James Dukes aka “IMAKEMADBEATS,” Author/ Publisher Troy Wiggins, and Emcee, Teacher, and Author Danian Jerry.

IMG_7139They went beyond explaining afrofuturism and talked about how afrofuturism exists as much in the present as in the past and future. They also discussed how it can be used as a tool to help the community and build worlds that fit a black narrative.

Stay tuned to the next episode featuring Nicole Mitchell’s performance at Crosstown Arts.

Thank you for a wonderful year. Sit back and enjoy this fulfilling conversation. 

Unapologetic: A Conversation at Dirty Socks Studios

This episode Sonosphere visits Dirty Socks Studios, which is the base camp for Unapologetic. The studio is a sanctuary for those who dare to commit to their craft. The theme is dedication to yourself and your mission. unapologeticV5-copy-300x295

Unapologetic is a collective that looks to push Memphis forward. The collective is a cast of characters that are as odd as their aliases. Lead by IMAKEMADBEATS, Unapologetic has put the city on notice. Memphis has the reputation that you have to leave to make it in most industries especially music. Non-Memphians tend to capitalize on the “Memphis Sound,”

Unapologetic is changing that notion. This starts in Dirty Socks Studios where we will pick up our conversation.

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Korean cellist, composer, and improviser, Okkyung Lee talks with Sonosphere about her time at this year’s Big Ears festival in Knoxville, TN, working with Evan Parker, learning to love the cello, and what’s in store for her this year.

 

 

Join us!

 

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Okkyung Lee performing at Big Ears Knoxville 2018