Memphis

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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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.

Remix Memphis: The Sounds around the City

This episode Sonosphere dives into Remix Memphis with Alex Greene and Luis Seixas, two Memphis musicians that make the duo The E.G.G.G.

Remix Memphis grew out of a partnership with the Urban Arts Commission and the city of Memphis’ 3.0 comprehensive planning initiative that worked to solicit participation from community leaders, residents and planners to inform future land use and neighborhood plans for the city.

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Alex Greene demonstrating the sounds of Memphis at the Carpenter Art Garden.

Art was an important piece. As a musician Alex was interested in the sounds of the city. He talks with us about the process and how The E.G.G.G. and other local musicians are using the field recordings from Remix Memphis.

Enjoy the episode and if your interested in learning more about the recordings email: remix.memphis@gmail.com

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The E.G.G.G. performing at the Cove in May 2018

Sound Observations with Maria Chavez & Christina Carter

In this month’s episode we highlight Sonosphere’s Sound Observations series. Sound Observations is a quarterly performance and lecture series featuring experimental artists from around the nation.

We were honored to host turntablist and DJ Maria Chavez, and vocalist and musician  Christina Carter of The Charalambides on May 11, 2018.

Maria and Christina’s site specific works took place in the atrium of the Crosstown Concourse building, an old Sears Roebuck building retrofitted for art galleries, residential and commercial spaces. The result is echoing vocals and scratchy, vinyl sounds that swirl up a red staircase to the entrance of the stage.

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Enjoy this Sound Observations performance in this month’s episode below.

 

To hear about Maria’s performance in Marfa, TX a few years ago, tune into an earlier episode on the Marfa Myths festival! 

 

Vorticity: Delta Sound Labs at MoogFest

Sonosphere ventured out to North Carolina for MoogFest this year and we caught up with Memphis-based Delta Sound Labs.

Their audiovisual installation called Vorticity was a collaboration between Delta Sound Labs + Nokia Bell Labs at American Underground in Durham, NC. This interactive, data-art set brought science and art together. Of the free programming, this fun, collaborative piece showcased what Delta Sound Labs can create with innovative, high-speed Schlieren imaging equipment and two sonified datasets. Colorful bubbles sliding around the screen were generated and distorted with every new person walking through the scene.

“The sets are converted to analog control voltage using Delta Sound Labs’ Control module and then mapped to determine the timbral structure of two voltage controlled oscillators through a form of distortion synthesis called wavefolding. Each data set forms two short sections, which are repeated continuously,” as explained by the guys themselves. Check out their Moogfest experience on their blog.

 

video from deltasoundlabs.com

For more on our trip to MoogFest – check out our podcast interview with Tess Roby!

 

Memphis Concrete: Experimental Electronic Music Festival

This week’s Press Play features On Trianges – Sound in Geometry Series Volume 1 the playlist affiliated with this year’s Memphis Concrète experimental electronic music festival. It will be held at Crosstown Arts and will feature new musicians from the Memphis region and across the country.

This recording of electronic music presents the works of local and regional artists that will be featured at the festival.

Enjoy!

 

Get your tickets to the festival, June 22-24 in Memphis, TN: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/memphis-concrete-2018-tickets-45151261639?aff=efbeventtix

Iceberg New Music Collective Visits Memphis

New York City-based composer collective ICEBERG New Music was in residence at Crosstown Arts here in Memphis for two weeks of concerts, workshops, and lectures back in June of 2017. 

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We spoke with composers from the second of the two concerts in the Crosstown Arts series, and attended their workshops and lectures that ranged from a “Sound Scavenger Hunt” to a lecture on “Popular and Classical Music in 1960s America.” Memphis-based contemporary chamber group Blueshift Ensemble collaborated with ICEBERG and performed the collective’s original compositions for the concert series.

I hope you enjoy our talk about Iceberg’s mission, the future of new music, collaboration, blending genre’s and more!

 

 

Special thanks to Iceberg New Music, Jenny Davis and the Blueshift Ensemble, and Justin Thompson and the whole Crosstown Arts Community.

Track listing:

Alex Burtzos – OMAHA (all the things you could be you are you were) for string quartet

Drake Andersen – Photons for flute and clarinet

Yu-Chun Chien – Co-Composition for a cellist

Jonathan Russ – Eat Your Vegetables for solo clarinet

Harry Stafylakis – Unrelent for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion

Making Noise with Ihcilon

We linked up with Memphis electronic artist Ihcilon and asked him a few questions. He was also kind enough to make a playlist for everyone’s enjoyment. Look for him to be playing some shows around town this year.

How long have you been performing as Ihcilon?

The first thing I released was an EP in December 2014. But I had been futzing around with the idea of electronic music since around 1999.

Can you tell our followers how to pronounce Ihcilon phonetically?

To be honest, I really don’t have an official way of pronouncing it that has stuck. I decided on ee-hih-lohn but most people say ih-sih-lon so really either way. When I chose it I never expected anyone to have to pronounce it.

Can you describe your process to making your sounds?

It usually starts with something I hear in regular time: motors, blowers, or sometimes the sound of things hitting together like hammers or wind chimes. I’ll try to recreate it in software and if that doesn’t work I turn to household objects and cheap wind instruments. A lot of it happens by accident. Everything is improvised and recorded in one take. I’ll have a basic road map but fingers will slip or memories will lapse and will yield some sometimes interesting results.

What instruments do you most enjoy working with?

I don’t know if many would agree with this definition, but my favorite instrument at the moment is my phone. I mean, I would love to say that I absolutely love my Buchla or Moog but I don’t own anything like that. There is software on my phone that kind of sound like those things and that’s where the joy is right now.

What inspires you to create?

Personal experiences. Much of the sound you will hear from Ihcilon are more autobiographical than anything. You will hear reinterpreted sounds of medical equipment, internal audio of migraines, sounds from dreams, conversations, shows I have been to… It all kind of mixes together.

Are there any moments as a performer that stand out to you?

Memphis Concréte 2017 was by and large the best thing I had ever been involved in up to that point. It was amazing and unlike anything I had ever seen here.

What can Memphis do better to grow and promote electronic music here?

We’re doing a really good job cultivating a scene here. It’s all still a relatively new idea for this area. I think Memphis is still trying to figure out what to do with music you can’t necessarily dance to. But we have many venues that will let us in and as long as that keeps happening I feel like the scene will grow on its own.

If you were to collaborate with one artist who would it be?

Just one?? Probably Diamanda Galás. Her voice has always been captivating. But I will collaborate with just about anyone.

What do you have planned for 2018?

Memphis Concréte, do a handful of shows, and release at least one album. There’s nothing bigger than that.

Here are the songs featured on the mix:

Cyril The Dancing Bear – Pending Disco

iscDo – The Dust Gets In

Three Voices – Retrospection

False – Operant

All is Almost a Prayer – Stammer

Null – Stammer

Mainsplainer – Ihcilon

Enjoy!!

Photo by Heather Wallace

“Sixty Soulful Years” The Story of Royal Studios

 

This month Sonosphere teams up with the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and the Memphis Musicology podcast to bring you 60 years of Royal Studios. We visit with co-owner and music producer Boo Mitchell on a tour of Royal Studios in South Memphis.

IMG_3322Royal turns 60 this year and in this episode we’ll reminisce with singer/songwriter Don Bryant on writing hit songs and singing with Willie Mitchell’s band; legendary recording artist Ann Peebles and the magical night behind her hit “I Can’t Stand the Rain;” Memphis musician Scott Bomar on Willie Mitchell’s legacy as teacher, producer and engineer of so many classic hits; and Amber Hamilton with the Memphis Music Initiative and the partnership they have with Royal to pass on its legacy to the future talent.

Come celebrate with Boo and the Mitchell family at the Levitt Shell on October 14th featuring local, regional and national artists and November 18th for the grand finale event at the Orpheum. For more information visit royalstudios.com

Special thanks to Ezra Wheeler from the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and host of the Memphis Musicology podcast for co-producing this episode with Sonosphere.

 

 

 

Memphis Concrete: An Experimental Electronic Music Fest in the MidSouth

On June 24th and 25th of 2017 an interesting experimental electronic music fest descended upon the MidSouth with artists primarily from Memphis, Mississippi, and the southeast.

20170616_081359“I wanted to take electronic music back to its roots,” said creator Robert Traxler. His inception for the fest came from the experimental spirit of the original electronic music artists like Delia Derbyshire, Karlheinz Stockhausen, John Cage, Pauline Oliveros, Suzanne Ciani, Pierre Schaeffer, and many, many more from the 1940s, 50s and 60s. But musique concrete is not all we found at this festival. Harsh noise, techno, ambient analog improv sets, and a live score of Forbidden Planet were a few of the performances found at Memphis Concrete.

Take a tour through the fest with Robert and some of the talented artists that participated in the Memphis Concrete Festival in the latest episode of Sonosphere.

 

 

 

Thanks to:

Robert Traxler

Dominic Van Horn (Aster, manualcontrol)

Luis Seixas

Ben Bauermeister

Kim Rueger (Belly Full of Stars)

Connor Brown (Cheap Spirits)

Kane Blanchard (Tatras)

Kole Oakes (Pas Moi)

The live Memphis Concrete sets heard here by Belly Full of Stars, Aster, Cheap Spirits, Pas Moi, Ben Bauermeister, Tatras, manualcontrol, and Robert Traxler were captured and edited by Robert Traxler.

 

Two other tracks used by participants in the fest are “#2” by NEPTR and “Viginti Quintuplet” by Ben Ricketts. Thanks to all the artists for sharing their time and work.