“Machines & Memory” album project in the works..

1-Al-Jazari, Reciprocating Pump from Water WheelMachines & Memory is an ongoing recording project by Dafna Naphtali to release a CD of three of her compositions scored for • solo voice plus small chamber group • vocal sextet and •voice with robotic instruments– each piece also including Naphtali’s signature electronics sound.

The pieces have all been fully recorded and are in various stages close to the final mix/mastering.

Each piece on the CD involves a unique approach to interactive sound and/or mechanical technologies–ideas Naphtali has been developing since the mid-90’s and that are central to how she composes and performs.

In each piece, Naphtali not only sings, but also performs the electronics, wrote all the music, and did all the interactive computer audio programming, the sound design and technical preparation needed in order to perform and subsequently record.

The texts (and inspiration) for the pieces range from the highly personal to a reflection on the dialectics of machines, identity and memory.

Men March — a family memory/story retold as a narrative of the political and social awakening of a young girl growing up under political occupation, inspired by my mother’s upbringing in British mandate Palestine in the 1930’s, and the street in old Tel Aviv/Jaffa where my mother and other children played even under fire, now being redeveloped and erased from memory.

Robotica — a song cycle about mechanical motion (for LEMUR music robots), inspired both by Al-Jazari’s 13th century drawings of mechanical devices, (and my young daughter’s fascination with mechanics and wheels), juxtaposed with texts created by modern confusion and and emotional struggle with automation (original texts and some generated using a Google poetry robot).

Panda Half-Life — reflects on the story of the Tower of Babel (and my own story of struggling with text) with sound poetry, primordial extended voice, and a musical continuum falling into nonsense, ennui of self-help dialogues,wordless oscillations, an impassioned baritone solo, disorder, gradual self-organization, coded snippets (Morse) and release.


These works have all been premiered and shown publicly, (and all three were commissions), yet they have not been released as recordings.   The hope is to find funding to make publication of this work possible.

The wish is to have the pieces documented in these audio recordings with excellent and creative audio mixing and mastering that reflect the excitement of live performance, and present Naphtali’s music and aesthetics with regard to interactivity, mechanical instruments, and sound processing to a wider audience.

1. Panda Half-Life – for vocal sextet, live sound processing, interactive electronics.
Commissioned for Magic Names vocal sextet by American Composers Forum.
Recorded April 2011, premiered June 2010.
Currently in rough mix stage. (length 17’12”)
Singers: Daisy Press, Gisburg, Nick Hallett, Peter Sciscioli, Robert Osborne, Dafna Naphtali

mp3 excerpts: http://snd.sc/16LYCFa

2. Marching Men – song cycle for soprano, electronics and chamber ensemble (alto/bari saxophone, cello, electric guitar, drums, accordion, acoustic bass)
Commissioned by Brecht Forum and premiered 2007, revised 2013.
Recorded May 2014 (approx. length 17 minutes)  (in rough mix, vocals / overdubs to do).

Musicians: Briggan Krauss (sax), Danny Tunick (dr., glock), Stephanie Griffin (viola), Loren Dempster (‘cello), Andrea Parkins (accordion/electronics), Dafna Naphtali (voice, electronics, electric guitar, sound processing).

3. Robotica – song cycle for voice, music robots (LEMUR GuitarBot & percussion bots) and live sound processing. Songs inspired by drawings in Al-Jazari’s Book of Knowledge of Mechanical Devices, and online poetry robot texts.  Recorded (2011) to be mixed Fall 2015.

video of performance at Flea Theater: http://vimeo.com/38816262

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