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 Caroline 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 has been developing a practice that crosses boundaries of sound, listening, music and materials since 1970. This encompasses improvised music performance, writing, electronic sound, field recording, exhibition curating, sound art installations and opera. It includes eight acclaimed books, including Rap Attack (1984), Ocean of Sound (1995), Sinister Resonance (2010), Into the Maelstrom (2016), Flutter Echo(2019) and Inflamed Invisible: Writing On Art and Sound 1976-2018 (2019). Briefly a member of David Cunningham’s pop project The Flying Lizards in 1979, he has released fourteen solo albums, from New and Rediscovered Musical Instruments on Brian Eno’s Obscure label (1975) and Sound Body on David Sylvian’s Samadhisound label (2006) to Entities Inertias Faint Beings (2016) and Apparition Paintings (2021). His 1978 Amazonas recordings of Yanomami shamanism and ritual were released on Sub Rosa as Lost Shadows (2016). In recent years his collaborations include Rie Nakajima, Akio Suzuki, Tania Caroline Chen, John Butcher, Ken Ikeda, Elaine Mitchener, Henry Grimes, Sharon Gal, Camille Norment, Sidsel Endresen, Alasdair Roberts, Lucie Stepankova, Fred Frith, Thurston Moore, Ryuichi Sakamoto. Curator of sound art exhibitions including Sonic Boom at the Hayward Gallery (2000), his opera – Star-shaped Biscuit – was performed in 2012.
Jon Leidecker (aka Wobbly) is a human in the loop, improvising with people and machines that listen. His work with sampling and feedback blurs any easy distinction between his solo and collaborative work, including touring and recording with Negativland, the Thurston Moore Group, People Like Us, Jennifer Walshe, Zeena Parkins, Zoh Amba, Dieter Moebius & Tim Story, Matmos, Thomas Dimuzio, Fred Frith and Huun-Huur-Tu (among others). Lectures on the various secret histories of electronic music have been presented at Mills, Stanford, Oxford, Peabody, UC Berkeley, and MACBA.
As well as playing as part of Negativland, Jon will perform a solo set for this residency.