Men March — 2007

Men March, an electronic chamber work, was commissioned by Brecht Forum as part of the Neues Kabarett music series. The piece was created for an evening length performance: “New Art Songs for the 21st Century: spontaneous & premeditated compositions, audio machinations/meditations & explosive interludes”, which premiered February 10, 2007 – Bertolt Brecht’s birthday.

Scored for soprano voice, chamber group, electric guitar and live sound processing, on this evening, Dafna sang and played the guitar, and was joined by Briggan Krauss (baritone and alto sax), Alex Waterman (cello) and David Simons (drums, percussion, glockenspiel). She also performed with her live sound processing on all the instruments in the ensemble.

The texts in the piece envision a young girl growing up in an occupied territory, simultaneously encountering personal and poilitcal turmoil, in her coming of age and political awakening. Inspired by stories of Naphtali’s mother’s upbringing in British mandate Palestine and poems of Maya Angelou.

The Brecht Forum is a place for people who are working for fundamental social change and a new culture that puts human needs first. The Brecht Forum offers a year-round program of classes, lectures, seminars, art exhibitions, performances, popular education workshops and language classes in its new, beautifully renovated home looking out over the Hudson River.

The Brecht Forum’s Neues Kabarett series has presented monthly avant-garde / free jazz and experimental music concerts since 1998.  We create performing opportunities for established and emerging artists (sometimes involving visual artists, dancers and poets) and have helped create a viable, visible new performance space at The Brecht Forum. In addition, Neues Kabarett presents occasional events in other venues such as galleries and community gardens, and is a volunteer-run collective.

Neues Kabarett is made possible with the support of The New York State Music Fund, established by the New York State Attorney General at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.

Wheezer — 2005

Wheezer is an audio work for surround sound (5.1), released on Harvestworks Workspace projects 2005 DVD, and was a part of the traveling exhibit of sound pieces under the same name, with “performances” in Germany, Bulgaria and the U.S. in 2005/2006.

Wheezer was originally conceived and created as a piece for live performance with 16 individual speakers and a keyboard interface which allowed me to “play” the speakers as if they were instruments, commissioned and performed live at Engine 27 (a multi-channel sound gallery) in New York City in 2001.    The source sounds were all taken from audio processing I did on my intentionally ambiguous/microtonal vocalises.    I wanted the audio to move in the space in undulating motions not unlike (sometimes) labored breathing motions, as during the nighttime asthma-like attacks I had as a child.  The piece reflects some of the panic and claustrophobia I experienced during these episodes of not being able to breathe, and now looking back, perhaps also the backdrop of working (at Engine 27) in the climate of Lower Manhattan after 9-11.     This 5.1 Surround Sound mix of the piece was created specially for a 5.1 surround sound DVD created by Harvestworks in NY, has run as a sound installation in several places in the US and in Europe.


CD Mechanique(s) Live at Logos, Ghent

AHA 0801, recorded 2001 at Logos Foundation, Ghent, Belgium, released 2008 on Acheulian Handaxe. Total Time: 62 minutes. With Dafna Naphtali – voice, live sound processing, Hans Tammen – endangered guitar, Martin Speicher – altosax, bassclarinet.

Buy here or buy at iTunes

mechanique(s) is an ongoing collaboration between Dafna Naphtali, Hans Tammen and Martin Speicher involving live electronics, endangered guitar, reeds and voice. The trio was formed to investigate the overlap of various elements of their technical and aesthetic practices — in compositions and improvisational settings for Naphtali’s interactive processed sound/noise system, Speicher’s extensive sound palette of extended techniques on saxophone, clarinet and bass clarinet, and Tammen’s mechanical and electronic manipulations for guitar.

Dafna Naphtali (www.dafna.info) singer, sound artist/improviser and composer, comes from a genuinely eclectic background of music-making. In the early 90’s she began studying classical voice and turned her attention to contemporary classical and experimental music. She performs and composes using her own custom Max/MSP programming for sound processing of voice and other instruments, appearing in venues and festivals in NY, Germany, Canada, Belgium, Holland, Israel and Russia.

Hans Tammen (www.tammen.org) calls his style of performance “Endangered Guitar,” because of the extreme alterations he enacts upon his instrument’s sound and construction. Signal To Noise called his playing “…a killer tour de force of post-everything guitar damage”.

Multi-reed player Martin Speicher has his roots in contemporary classical music as well as in Free Jazz. Since his early concerts in the 80s he performed with Paul Lytton, Evan Parker, Barry Guy, Cecil Taylor, the London Jazz Composer´s Orchestra among others. “Signal to Noise” wrote about him: “Speicher’s (excellent) clarinet playing recalls Boulez’s “Domaines” one minute, Peter Brötzmann the next.”

Massimo Ricci (BrainDeadEternity)

The components of this group share a proclivity to confounding the listeners in regard to the origin of the sonic matter they bring into being. Dafna Naphtali’s voice is processed by a computer running custom Max/MSP programs, its fundamental nature and a gazillion of refractions – altered, intermingled or just obsessively repeated – weighing exactly the same in the overall context. Martin Speicher’s alto sax and bass clarinet appear as pretty normal on a first approach, then non-conform wickedness and idiosyncratic impatience gradually become essential traits in the improvisational setting. As far as the “endangerment” of Hans Tammen’s guitar is concerned, much has already been written; suffice to say that one gathers very different interpretations of concepts such as “virtuosity”, “harmony” and “open-mindedness” after hearing what an instrument originally born with parlour purposes can do in the munificent hands of a bright manipulator.

Interested in “the overlap of various elements of their technical and aesthetical practices”, Mechanique(s) recorded this great disc in 2001 at Logos Foundation in Ghent, Belgium. That’s right, eight years have gone away meanwhile. But make no mistake – this music proudly shows no wrinkles, sounding as if taped two weeks ago. The musicians wander around structures that glitter as pure diamond and sound absurdly periphrastic at once, pretty distant from certain liturgical behaviours currently found in the reductionist faction of EAI. The improvisations exploit the single members’ total attentiveness in relation to the procedural possibilities, accomplished contortions crowded with sparse culminations, stomach-churning sneering and breathtaking apogees. The only way to escape the logic of rambling transparency shown by the trio is abandoning ourselves to a fantasy of timbral spitefulness, decomposed protocols and, ultimately, extraordinary complexity defining the absolute gratification of organisms ready to accept and swallow hundreds of consecutive contrasting messages that, miraculously, make the whole work like a perfectly oiled machine.

Emotions are hidden everywhere if we only want to find out – even behind warped sounds. There’s an urgent need to launch a repulisti of all the convention-derived encrustations of the intellect to realize what’s actually possible. This is much better than letting someone dictate the rules of your knowledge – in the name of an aim that does not exist – tracing a depressing trail according to which one arrives at the end of life without having done nothing meaningful or at least intelligent. Wasted time is not returned to anyone.

Andrea Ferraris (ChainDLK)

This live recording at the Logos Foundation in Ghent presents the performance of another interesting live-impro trio using a massive dose of electronic filters and sounds: Dafna Naphatali (voice, live processing) and Hans Tammen (endangered guitar) twist and reshape heavily the nature of their “instruments” while Speicher’s alto-sax and bass clarinet is more easily distinguishable. One of the most interesting characteristics offered by the trio is represented by their natural attraction for dilated atmospheres and for we can label as a visionary approach. Don’t expect it to be your usual abstract aphasic fragmented performance, they superimpose different layers without creating a wall of sounds but at the same time they team-up to paint the whole room of a single color. They also throw in several odd melodies which ease the tension a little bit, infact even if this’ not exactly a nervous release most of these odd melodies end resulting weird or deep. Believe it or not the whole work is not just odd or weird, these improvisations have a melodic heartbeat pulsing underneath and its intensity sometimes is really catchy. Some really long tracks showing improvisation world sometimes can be looked at with a psychedelic eye.

CD What Is It Like To be A Bat?

Kitty Brazelton has been a mover and shaker in the downtown scene for well over a decade; a singer, bandleader and composer of striking originality. Along with Dafna Naphtali, she performs two extended suites of twisted, powerful chamber rock blending a raucous punk aesthetic with vocal harmonies, noise and much, much more. Complex, visionary weirdness from two of the strangest minds in contemporary music.   Released August 2003.

Buy physical CD here at Tzadik Website or on Bandcamp.

Band website:  http://www.kitbraz.com/bndl/bat

Personnel:
Kitty Brazelton: Voice, Computer Soundtracks, Electric Bass, Sampler
Dafna Naphtali: Voice, Live Audio Processing, Max/MSP, Electric Guitar
Danny Tunick: Drums, Octapad, Voice, Electric Bass, Sampler, Soprano Recorder
with Paul Geluso: Filtering, Voice

dot.Product

Dafna Naphtali, electronics, live processing, voice
Alex Waterman, cello;
Darius Jones, alto sax;

dot.Product: sonic proliferation / duels / cooperation

Documentation from this trio’s 2009 performance at Issue Project Room here.

This trio (dot.Product) with Alex Waterman (cello), and Darius Jones (alto saxophone) — and me, Dafna Naphtali (adaptive electronics / sound processing / vocalisms / audio machinations..) has performed only a few times. The enclosed recording was our second time taking the juggernaut out. I really love playing and doing my personal take on live sound processing on the sound of these two amazingly perceptive musicians – it’s an unnervingly powerful expedition. My sound processing is a distinct voice in the improvisation, and I treat the processing as an ersatz instrument that I “play”.

Bios:

Dafna Naphtali is a sound-artist/ improviser/composer from an eclectic musical background. As singer/guitarist/electronic-musician she performs and composes using her Max/MSP programming for sound processing of voice and other instruments.

Dafna has collaborated / performed with many experimental musicians and video artists over the past 15 years, such as Ras Moshe, Alex Waterman , Lukas Ligeti, David First, Joshua Fried, Darius Jones, Kathleen Supové and Hans Tammen as well as video artists Benton-C Bainbridge and Angie Eng and choreographer Daria Fain. She’s co-lead the digital chamber punk ensemble, What is it Like to be a Bat? with Kitty Brazelton ( HYPERLINK “http://www.whatbat.org” www.whatbat.org) , and is a founder of Magic Names vocal ensemble. She’s received commissions and awards from NY Foundation for the Arts, NY State Council on the Arts, Meet the Composer, Experimental TV Center, Brecht Forum, and residencies at STEIM (Holland), Music OMI and iEAR at Rensselaer Polytechnical Institute. She’s twice received commissions from American Composers Forum (1999 for pianist Kathleen Supové, and in 2010 for Magic Names vocal ensemble), and she is 2011 recipient of Franklin Furnace Fund award to develop her piece for Eric Singer’s LEMUR music robots. She’s performed and traveled widely and under usual circumstances for her music (to festivals and venues around the world), including India in February 2010 to work with Hindustani singer, Vidya Shah (and funding from American Music Center). Dafna teaches and gives workshops at universities in the US and Europe, and has a Masters in Music Technology from New York University, where she is part-time faculty teaching interactive programming and Electronic Music Performance . She teaches programs and consults about computer music since’95 at Harvestworks (New York) and as a freelancer, and has done sound design and/or programming work for the projects of many artists at the forefront of digital and interactive music.

Alex Waterman is a founding member of the Plus Minus Ensemble, based in Brussels and London, specializing in avant-garde and experimental music. In New York he performs with the Either/Or Ensemble. Alex has worked with musicians such as Robert Ashley, Richard Barrett, Helmut Lachenmann, Keith Rowe, Marina Rosenfeld, Anthony Coleman, Elliot Sharp, Ned Rothenberg, Gerry Hemingway, David Watson, Chris Mann, Alison Knowles, Thomas Meadowcroft, and Michael Finnissy. He has performed as guest musician with numerous ensembles, including Trio Event (Berlin), Champs d’Action-Antwerp, Q-O2-Brussels, and Magpie Music and Dance Company. Waterman has made music for numerous European ballet and modern dance companies including Freiburg Ballett/Pretty Ugly, Scapino Ballet, Nederland Dans Theater III, and others. As a curator he has organized events at Les Bains:Connective in Brussels, OT301 in Amsterdam, Miguel Abreu Gallery and The Kitchen. His duo projects with the dancer Michael Schumacher have toured in Switzerland, Italy, Holland, the Opera of Monaco and most recently in all 5 boroughs of New York in a Joyce Theater production in association with the City Parks Foundation in July of 2008.
In 2007 Alex curated two exhibitions in New York, one on experimental music and poetics: Agapê (June 2-July 28th, 2007) at Miguel Abreu Gallery; and the other on graphic notation, Between Thought and Sound: Graphic Notation in Contemporary Music (September 7-October 20, 2007) at The Kitchen in Chelsea. Alex is presently working on his PhD in musicology at NYU as well as writing a book about the composer Robert Ashley with the designer and writer Will Holder. Alex participated in Dexter Sinister’s residency at the Armory for the 2008 Whitney Biennial writing a new work based upon Herman Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener. Alex Waterman and Beatrice Gibson’s film, A Necessary Music, narrated by Robert Ashley and with original music by Waterman, premiered at the Whitney Museum ISP show and won the Tiger Prize for Best Short Film at the Rotterdam Film Festival in 2008. Alex lectured and performed as part of the exhibition The Possibility of Action at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona in 2008, and was in residence at the ICA in May 2009 with his ensemble, in addition to performing solo works. He installed a permanent 12 speaker sound installation out in Napa Valley in July of 2009 at the residence of Norah and Norman Stone, and is presently working on a new film project in Vieques, and starting up his record label (D.S. al coda). He also plays the music of Arthur Russell with Arthur’s Landing whenever he can. His writings have been published by Dot Dot Dot, Paregon, FoArm, and Artforum.

Darius Jones, is an alto saxophonist, composer, and producer.

He joined the New York music community in 2005, after living and studying in Richmond, Va. Darius comes from a diverse musical background that has lead to his unique, alternative, and soulful approach to music. Jones has composed and performed in a wide variety of areas such as electro-acoustic music, chamber ensembles, contemporary jazz groups, avant-garde jazz groups, modern dance performances, and multi-media events. Darius enjoys playing with a steady group of artists and improvisers. The current bands Jones works with are the Cooper-Moore Trio, Mike Pride’s From Bacteria to Boys, Nioka Workman’s House Arrest Band, William Hooker’s Bliss Quartet, Trevor Dunn’s Proof Readers, The Hub, Lewis Barnes’ Hampton Roads, and Period.
Darius has collaborated with Andrew D’angelo, Esther Lamneck, William Parker, Flip Barnes, Jim Black, Charlie Looker, Dafna Naphtali, Sam Hilmer, Weasal Walters, Peter Evans, Nate Wooley, S.E.M Ensemble, Lisle Ellis, Rob Brown, Warren Smith, Alex Waterman, etc.

In New York, Darius has produced records for Korean jazz vocalist Sunny Kim and country-folk artist Mary Bragg. Jones has performed in Italy, France, U.S. and Canada.
Jones has a band with Travis LaPlante, Ben Greenberg, and Jason Nazary called Little Women, which recently went on a national tour to promote the release of their first record Teeth on Sockets and Gilgongo Records. Jones is the recent winner of the Van Lier Fellowship awarded by Roulette.

More information:

Dafna Naphtali – HYPERLINK “https://dafna.info” www.dafna.info

Alex Waterman – HYPERLINK “http://www.alexwaterman.com” www.alexwaterman.com

Darius Jones – www.myspace.com/blackdajones