East Point Film Score

I stayed busy in December writing roughly forty minutes of music for the post-apocalyptic zombie film, East Point. The score is driven  primarily by modular synthesizers, cello, piano, and a few orchestral cues. Check out some of the cues here:

 

I also mixed the sound for both the 5.1 theatrical release and the stereo DVD release (out soon!)

 

Overshot (for strings and electronics): The Kentucky Coverlet Connection Exhibit

This weekend at the Doris Ullmann gallery on the Campus of Berea College a collaborative exhibit opened between myself and Louisville’s historical fiber arts nonprofit organization, the Little Loomhouse. The exhibit titled The Kentucky Coverlet Connection: Lou Tate, the Little Loomhouse, and Berea displayed the world-class collection of woven Kentucky coverlets, weaving draft patterns, and historical artifacts that tell the story of this folk art tradition and Lou Tate’s legacy as a weaver and historian, including her time as a student at Berea College. My contribution was an installation of my newest work,”Overshot”, six movements for strings and electronics, influenced by typical Kentucky folk weaving patterns.

Listen to it here: Overshot (for strings and Electronics)

Program: Overshot Program by Chris Kincaid

Overshot
for strings and electronics

The music you are hearing is inspired by historic Kentucky coverlets, the weaving technique known as “overshot,” and several popular patterns of weaving drafts, which Lou Tate often remarked resembled a musical staff. The woven coverlet, a staple of Appalachian folk art, was usually created in the home and has a strong identity with patterns that emerged and evolved over time, through the sharing of drafts between generations of weavers eager to create something new.

Overshot utilizes the instruments found in a string quartet, especially the cello, as well as electronics to create six movements inspired by various aspects of this rich textile art.  Each movement focuses on a different aspect of weaving, such as: literal translations of draft patterns; ideas elicited in the names of popular drafts; the nature of weaving’s oral pedagogy; aural approximations of the visual contour in finished patterns; and the meditative and rhythmic action in the physical act of weaving. The musical form of Overshot is a nod to one of Beethoven’s last string quartets, op. 130, No. 13 in Bb major.

I. Whig Rose – Adagio, ma non troppo (Slow, but not too slow)

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This movement translates an overshot pattern into musical notation in a very literal sense. The markings on the draft correspond to a space in between the bar lines of the music. The interest comes from interpreting this same pattern for several different instrument clefs at different rates of speed, creating an algorithmic lattice from the simple four note pattern. 

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II. Chariot Wheel – Presto (Fast)

This movement elicits the idea of unwieldy motion, speeding forward. Like a chariot wheel spinning furiously, the descending theme rushes toward the end.  

III. Cat Tracks and Snail Trails – Andante con moto, ma non troppo. Poco scherzoso (Moderately slow, with motion walking, a little playful)

Although there have been many great books published on weaving, there has always been and continues to be a strong tradition of learning to weave through oral communication. In this movement, the voices of instructors from videos found on Youtube are transcribed and juxtaposed against each other in the voices of four cellos. The cacophony feels similar to my own experiences I had when I first started to learn about weaving. The variety of terminology and approaches of many Youtube instructors was interesting while simultaneously perplexing. After a while it begins to make sense. 

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IV. Pinetree – Alla danza tedesca. Allegro assai (German dance, very fast)

This movement focuses on a singular sound expanding and contracting, mimicking the visual contour of a pine tree design. The motion in this movement related to the tempo markings is not present throughout, but instead found in the moments of expansion.

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V. Snowball – Cavatina. Adagio molto espressivo (Short song of simple character, slowly with expressiveness)

Watching a person that is weaving can be a meditative experience. Soon you begin to hear a rhythm that feels very natural.  In this movement, the recorded sounds of a working loom are captured.  They bring with them a calm similar to the quiet period after a snow fall. 

 VI. Double Bowknot – Fugue 

A fugue is a technique for several voices where a theme is presented in a variety of ways. It can also describe a form of mental state that includes confusion and hysteria. This final movement of Overshot uses ideas from all of the previous movements and juxtaposes them against each other, creating a chaotic state. The appearance of the double bowknot distorts the viewer’s perception of depth.  The shapes give the illusion of bulging in the coverlet. The result is hypnotic.

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Performing with the Louisville Ballet

Last week I had the opportunity to perform with the Louisville Ballet for their annual Choreographer’s Showcase. Composer, Tim Barnes asked me to join the ensemble for his piece comprised of cicada/bird field recordings, electronics, horn, guitar, violin, and percussion. All four performances sold out early and were met with an engaged audience. Tim’s music was paired beautifully with Andrea Schermoly’s choreopgraphy . Also on the concert were fantastic works by composer/choreographer collaborations Daniel Gilliam/Ashley Thursby, Ben Sollee/Brandon Ragland, and Kyle James Hauser/Eduard Forehand. I especially loved the variety in music and choreography styles throughout the night. Check out some of the reviews below and pictures by the staff of the Courier Journal.

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http://www.courier-journal.com/story/entertainment/arts/dance/2015/11/05/review-ballets-showcase-mark-maturity/75174466/

http://wfpl.org/new-music-dance-pairings-exciting-twist-louisville-ballets-showcase/

http://www.leoweekly.com/2015/11/visiting-musicians-choreographers-collaborate-with-ballet/

New Commission, Album Mastering, Guest Lecturing, & Upcoming Gallery Installation

September is almost over and it flew by!

The video game I worked on last month, Treatment and Control for the Ludum Dare 33 was voted #41 out of 1500+ entries in the audio (music and sound design, which I did both) and #13 in mood (which the sound definitely contributed to.) The team at Two Scoop Games was great to work with!

My friend and talented clarinetist, Samantha Holman has commissioned a new work from me for bass clarinet. I am beyond excited to start working on this piece!

Another good friend, Tim Barnes reached out to me to master a live recording of a collaboration of himself and Jeff Jerman. It is a fantastic recording and I can’t wait to see the release! Tim is a brilliant musician working especially in electronics and percussion, curator of sound with his Quakebasket Records, as well as running Louisville’s hub of everything aurally strange and beautiful, dREAMLAND.

I am completing the final few notes in a composition that will partner with the Little Loomhouse, a fiber arts and historical preservation community here in Louisville for a gallery showing in Berea, Kentucky next month. My piece, Overshot was originally a planned as a string quartet but has shifted to part string quartet, part field recordings and strings. The inspiration of the work comes from the procedures and outcomes of the overshot technique of weaving a coverlet. More to come on the opening later this week!

This afternoon I will be guest lecturing in the Advanced Digital Techniques class at the University of Louisville. The class focuses on working in the Max/MSP and Protools environments. My presentation will focus on integrating Max/MSP into Ableton Live, another popular DAW and it’s potential in the applications of composition and live performance.

Music for Games

I met Alex and Eric from Two Scoop Games a few months ago and they asked me to join their team for Ludum Dare 33, a 48-hour game festival much like the 48-hour film festivals. Instead of making a movie you make a game from scratch based on a theme that is released at the start of the event. This year’s theme was , “You are the monster.” It was a personal goal of Eric and Alex to create a game that did not focus on humor because so many of their games in the past have. This one, Treatment and Control is all about working in a role where you don’t quite understand the impact of your job. As the game progresses the player begins to understand what their role is, and it isn’t pretty.

I created the music and sound design (footsteps, talking sounds, menu popups) over the weekend using my cello, some piano, field recordings made on site at the event space, and tons of post synthesis. It was a blast!

Hear the music and play the game here.

New Commission and Contemporary Music Festival

I have been invited to participate in the Loretto Project, a new contemporary music festival here in Kentucky by the New York piano trio, LONGLEASH. They created a kickstarter to alleviate some of the costs of transportation, housing, and meals for the composers and performers, as well as the free concert series that is open to the public.  Below is a little more about the festival:

The Loretto Project

The Loretto Project (August 11-15) is a celebration of adventurous new music at the Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, KY. The project includes a composition seminar led by Composer-In-Residence NILS VIGELAND, a public masterclass with MARC SATTERWHITE, 3 public performances, and a composition commission. Longleash (piano trio) will serve as project leaders and ensemble-in-residence. Inspired by the rich history of American contemporary music – music with deep roots in Kentucky and beyond — we are very excited to explore this tradition at Loretto, and in doing so, help establish an artistic dialogue across state lines, generations, and creative communities.

JOIN THE LORETTO PROJECT KICKSTARTER!

Kickstarter

Our creative goals: 

  • to establish an annual musical exchange between our Kentucky and New York based audiences, and to reach new listeners in both communities
  • to share diverse and exciting contemporary music with these audiences by supporting the work of NY and KY based working composers and the next generation of student composers
  • to provide a meaningful cultural service to the central Kentucky region through high-quality, adventurous, and thoughtful programming

About the Motherhouse Facilities: Founded in the early 1800′s, the Loretto Motherhouse is the spiritual center of the Sisters of Loretto. It is located in central Kentucky, about an hour drive from Louisville. The Motherhouse includes a working farm, beautiful brick buildings, and an operational retreat center. Students and Artist Residents will be housed in the Academy building, and all activities and meals will take place on the grounds.

A video of the LONGLEASH trio performing Phantasmagoria by Bent Sørensen

Graduation and Cephalophore

Two years go by in a blink of an eye! As of a month ago I have completed my Master of Music degree at the University of Louisville. The site was pretty quiet for the last 7 months as I feverishly worked on a million projects including my thesis, a chamber opera titled Cephalophore. Last weekend it was premiered by the Thompson Street Opera Company here in Louisville, Kentucky.

Ableton Live Presentations

Besides recording the new Shawn Sleeps Naked album, working on my chamber opera, writing/recording some music for an upcoming commercial for the good folks at Simple Focus, and all of the events affiliated with the New Music Festival (like having a private composition lesson with Bent Sorenson!) I’ve been giving several presentations on Ableton Live and it’s many applications.

Last Friday I presented at the 2014 American Music Therapy Association Conference (AMTA) about how Ableton Live and the Push controller can be used in therapy sessions and as another tool to connect with patients. It was a great and friendly crowd with  lots of good questions!

On Wednesday I gave a presentation on incorporating Ableton and Max/MSP to the University of Louisville School of Music’s Advanced Electronics in Music class. It was a bit more technical and nerdy because the students primarily work in Max/MSP. Lot’s of fun!

Next Wednesday I will be giving a presentation at the 2014 Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) which is the worlds largest percussion convention. I’ve looked at the schedule and it looks like a fantastic convention. One of the piece’s to be played is Karlheinz Essl’s piece Sequitur XI (for vibraphone and electronics) which I performed last week on the New Music Festival. It’s a small world!

 

Sequential Motion Video

Here is a performance of my piece Sequential Motion for Bassoon and Guitar Controlled Electronics. I’d like to thank Jackie Royce for her fantastic playing on this piece!

Sequential Motion Program Note

In 1995, Luciano Berio completed his Sequenza XII for bassoon. Berio’s Sequenzas were a series of works for solo instrument and an exploration of each instruments particular sound world. They are remarkable works full of creativity, demanding the highest level of technical ability and expressivity from the performer . Sequenza XII was written for French bassoonist, Pascal Gallois. Gallois later compiled a technique book for the bassoon including references to Sequenza XII. The book covered both traditional and extended techniques. In the book Gallois explained the long and collaborative process between Berio and himself in exploring the potential of the instrument. This dialog between composer and performer proved to create a powerful work that was on the cutting edge of technical ability while also being coherent and without meaningless gestures that merely “sounded cool.”  Sequenza XII embodies the true potential of artistic collaboration.

Sequential Motion is my small way of paying homage to the masterful work by Berio and the collaborative spirit he had with Gallois. Berio’s score, as well as Gallois’ technique book were constantly at my side during initial sketches. They acted as a road map and inspired me to think differently about writing for bassoon. In the collaborative spirit, I worked with Jackie (Royce) in early prototypes of the piece to understand what worked and what did not. This proved more useful than a thousand hours with awful midi files. The experience of talking, trying, failing, and doing is where I found the art. The process is where we grow and where we find truth.

 

About the piece and process:

This is the first performance of a piece I am currently redrafting. It is a work for solo voice with two players affecting the sound (bassoonist and electronics) as well as an attempt to incorporate traditional guitar idioms to the execution of the electronics instead of using midi/osc devices. The goal is to find a fluid and expressive way to manipulate electronics using frequency and amplitude tracking of an acoustic instrument (guitar in this case.) I am using max/MSP, including a few crucial externals (sigmund~ by Miller Puckette and vb.stretch~ by Volker Böhm and Nasca Octavian Paul.)