Sunday 18 March 2018, 7.30pm
Pianist Tania Chen is joined by David Toop, Jon Leidecker and a special guest to celebrate the release of their new album; a recording of John Cage's Electronic Music for Piano.
Electronic Music for Piano is one of Cage’s least known pieces because the score is among his most enigmatic and, consequently, there are few commercial recordings of it. Written in Stockholm in 1964 on hotel letterhead, the notes ask the performer to select parts from Cage’s Music for Piano 4-84 and use electronic equipment. Everything else is up to the artist’s discretion.
Recording in both London and Berkeley, California, Tania Chen joined forces with Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), David Toop (former member of the Flying Lizards, and recording artist on Brian Eno’s Obscure label) and Jon Leidecker (a.k.a. Wobbly, who has also worked with Negativland) to create a new version of this piece helmed by composer/musician/scholar Gino Robair.
Using state-of-the-art technology, Chen and her collaborators have taken a modern approach in generating the types of sounds Cage envisioned, giving this nearly 70-minute realization of the work a vitality that is current, revealing and astounding.
Tania Chen is a performance, sound artist, and free improviser. She performs internationally on piano, keyboards, digital, vintage electronics, found objects and video. She creates multidimensional sound pieces for video and live performance and has shown these works in the UK, Asia and California.
Tania has recorded with Stewart Lee, Steve Beresford, Henry Kaiser, William Winant, Wadada Leo Smith, Jon Raskin and with Bryan Day & Ben Salomen in the bands Bad Jazz and Tom Djll & Gino Robair in the trio Tender Buttons. Her solo recordings include Michael Parsons, Cornelius Cardew's Piano Sonatas and John Cage's "Music of Changes". She has recently recorded Feldman’s piano pieces “Triadic Memories” and “For Bunita Marcus” in New York and at KPFA radio in California.
David Toop is a composer, musician, author, a professor and lecturer at the London College of Communication and curator with a particular interest in sound practice, listening and improvisation. He has worked in many fields of sound art and music, including improvisation, sound installations, field recordings, pop music production, and music for television, theatre and dance. He has recorded Yanomami shamanism in the Amazonas, appeared on Top of the Pops, exhibited sound installations in Tokyo, Beijing and London’s National Gallery, and performed with artists ranging from John Zorn, Evan Parker, Bob Cobbing and Ivor Cutler to Akio Suzuki, Elaine Mitchener, Lore Lixenberg and Max Eastley. He has published seven books, including Ocean of Sound, Haunted Weather, and Sinister Resonance: The Mediumship of the Listener.
He released eight solo albums, including Screen Ceremonies, Black Chamber and Sound Body, and as a critic, has written for publications including The Wire, The Face, Leonardo Music Journal and Bookforum.
Exhibitions he has curated include Sonic Boom at the Hayward Gallery, London, Playing John Cage at Arnolfini, Bristol, and Blow Up at Flat-Time House, London.
David is a member of CRISAP (Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice).
His opera, Star-shaped Biscuit, was performed as an Aldeburgh’ Faster than Sound project, in September 2012 and his latest book, Into the Maelstrom: Improvised Music and the Pursuit of Freedom, was shortlisted for the Penderyn Music Book Prize in 2017.
WOBBLY / Jon Leidecker has been producing music under the name Wobbly since 1990, improvising with recordings to produce music which inherently resists the act of being captured. Recent performances deploy a battery of mobile devices driven by their built-in microphones, reacting instantly with error-prone variations on the notes and sounds they believe they are hearing: a tightly-knit orchestra with inhuman reflexes, resulting in structures which the human performer influences more than controls. Your phone is the instrument, and your phone is always listening. Wobbly's live and studio collaborations with Negativland, Dieter Moebius & Tim Story, The Freddy McGuire Show, Matmos, Fred Frith, John Oswald, Thomas Dimuzio, Huun-Huur-Tu, Sagan and Tania Chen compliment live mix media collages broadcast twice a month on KPFA FM's Over The Edge radio program.