What is it Like to be a Bat ?

batPerformer/composers Kitty Brazelton and Dafna Naphtali collaborate on a montage of extremes: textures hard/soft, noises white/red, harmony rooted/disembodied, silence.  Both women sing with startling multi-octave ranges*. Both women play electric guitar / bass. Both women compose hard-core computer music. All this is woven, spliced, patched, threaded, then drummed together by BAT’s third member: Danny Tunick.  Their eponymous CD was released 2003 on Tzadik label.   The band active 1996-2006, on hiatus, but with a new  track “Stabat Mom” still unreleased.  visit What is it Like to be a Bat ? orginal website.    Tzadik CD info here.

!! new!! video from one of their first performances, at the Kitchen in 1999.

full press release..

*Both women sing with startling multi-octave ranges: Brazelton honed her edge as vocalist in rock bands since 1969, and in the 90’s with her large ensemble DadaDah (Village Voice: “Wild-woman vocalist . . . with a wailing intensity in all her genres” ) .  Naphtali vocalizing for years in improv bands as well as classical recitals and new music ensembles.

Both women play electric guitar: Naphtali has toted hers from coast-to-coast, purveying jazz, folk, disco, whatever the gig required , while Brazelton makes unheard-of sounds on a bass guitar, with punk pick, Soviet-made fuzz box, never having played a bass before (though she’s written concertos for the instrument).

Both women compose hard-core computer music: Naphtali (consultant-teacher at Artist in Residence programs at Harvestworks and Engine 27 and former Chief Engineer of NYU’s Music Technology program) conducts live interactive radical ambience processing using her custom Max/MSP programs, while Brazelton ( D.M.A. Columbia University, 1994; now composer/professor, Bennington College) created digital sound tracks and samples from natural sound sources and field recordings using old time software re-synthesis at Columbia’s Computer Music lab or written-from-scratch, CSound code at home on her desktop, unwilling to settle for current off-the-rack plug-in sound.

All this is woven, spliced, patched, threaded, then drummed together by BAT’s third member: Danny Tunick, percussionist extra-ordinaire, whose credits span alterna-rock and contemporary classical realms.   He’s a recorded contributor to bands Barbez, Guv’ner, Camp and Mad Scene as well as the Princeton Composer’s Ensemble, Common Sense Composer’s Ensemble and the Bang on a Can Festival’s Spit Orchestra.

While Naphtali, Brazelton and Tunick alchemize in plain view, for their 2003 CD, sound artist Paul Geluso finalized this strange brew from the mixing board.

Brazelton and Naphtali are still hope to get back to mixing their work StaBAT Mom, which documents their lives as women in a punk digital montage true to what they have done with the Bat? trio since 1997.  This latest chapter is about what it’s like to be a working mom, and incorporates that famous statement on the all-enduring mom — Pergolesi’s 1736 Stabat Mater — singing his gorgeous soprano-alto duet with the achingly poignant major-2nd suspensions,  which they put through a computer as an isorhythmic/morse code cantus firmus, so they could play some math-rock over it. Into that they peppered Naphtali’s outrageous song fragments about losing one’s sense of reality with two active young daughters, weave in Brazelton’s 1992 lullaby written when her daughter was 3 mos. old with colic. In addition to computers and singing, Brazelton plays electric bass and keyboard and Naphtali plays electric guitar, sings, does live sound processing (and of course with Danny Tunick on drums, glockenspiel, custom music boxes, toys).

What is noise to the old order is harmony to the new…”—Jacques Attali “Please ask me if you like it.”—Gertrude Stein.


photos by Marc PoKempner:  http://kitbraz.com/bndl/bat/pix/photo.html

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