Saturday 11 August 2018, 7.30pm
David Grubbs celebrates the publication of his new book, Now that the audience is assembled, with a reading and a solo performance.
Following his investigation into experimental music and sound recording in Records Ruin the Landscape, Grubbs turns his attention to the live performance of improvised music with an altogether different form of writing. Now that the audience is assembled is a book-length prose poem that describes a fictional musical performance during which an unnamed musician improvises the construction of a series of invented instruments before an audience that is alternately contemplative, participatory, disputatious, and asleep. Over the course of this phantasmagorical all-night concert, repeated interruptions take the form of in-depth discussions and musical demonstrations. Both a work of literature and a study of music, Now that the audience is assembled explores the categories of improvised music, solo performance, text scores, instrument building, aesthetic deskilling and reskilling, and the odd fate of the composer in experimental music.
David Grubbs is Professor of Music at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. At Brooklyn College he also teaches in the MFA programs in Performance and Interactive Media Arts (PIMA) and Creative Writing. He is the author of Records Ruin the Landscape: John Cage, the Sixties, and Sound Recording (Duke University Press), which appears in French, Italian, and Japanese translations.
Grubbs has released thirteen solo albums and appeared on more than 150 commercially- released recordings, the most recent of which is Prismrose (Blue Chopsticks, 2016). In 2000, his The Spectrum Between (Drag City) was named “Album of the Year” in the London Sunday Times. He is known for his cross-disciplinary collaborations with writers Susan Howe and Rick Moody, visual artists Anthony McCall, Angela Bulloch, and Stephen Prina, and choreographer Jonah Bokaer, and his work has been presented at, among other venues, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, MoMA, the Tate Modern, and the Centre Pompidou. Grubbs was a member of the groups Gastr del Sol, Bastro, and Squirrel Bait, and has performed with the Red Krayola, Will Oldham, Tony Conrad, Pauline Oliveros, and Loren Connors, and many others. He is a grant recipient from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, a contributing editor in music for BOMB Magazine, a member of the Blank Forms board of directors, and director of the Blue Chopsticks record label.
“For over 10 years, I have only played unscripted/improvised music. I have experimented with the sound of the cello, limiting myself to the alive material at hand: vast and complicated layers within the instrument and myself; and to let this music evolve continuously in relationship with others. It relates to the process of uncovering an endless multiplicity of coexisting sense perspectives. And it deals with the energy that this gives rise to. For me, it is the most exciting place to play music from.”
Northern Irish (and London-based) guitarist and ‘magnetic and vibrating sources’ player Ross Lambert, has in his own words, the following fundamental and simultaneous approaches to live performance: to play as though it was both the first time and also the last; and to able to differentiate between what is good and worth conserving and what is not. Ross has been involved in, initiated and been a connector between a very wide variety of improvisatory music since his first exposure and (immediate) commitment to it, in Sheffield via Derek Bailey during the mid-1980s. Although under-recorded (he claims ‘by choice’), Ross has worked with a huge number of musicians from around the world, including Tetuzi Akiyama, Ami Yoshida, Jean-Luc Guionnet, Paul Hession, Rhodri Davies, John Butcher and Evan Parker, as well as his close friends Eddie Prevost, Seymour Wright, and Sebastian Lexer.