Annie Gosfield: Long Waves and Random Pulses at Harvestworks

  • Harvestworks 596 Broadway #602 New York, NY 10012

[Feb 9] Annie Gosfield – Jammed Radios, Flying Signals, and String Noise

Harvestworks, in partnership with Composers Now Festival presents Annie Gosfield – Jammed Radios, Flying Signals, and String Noise

In a premiere of this spatialized work, String Noise (Pauline Kim Harris and Conrad Harris) will perform “Static Strands and String Noise” for two violins and the eerie sounds of wartime radio interference, in a dynamic, multi-speaker environment. Pauline Kim Harris will perform “Long Waves and Random Pulses,” a virtuosic solo violin piece that emphasizes the textural and melodic elements of jammed radio signals. Multitracked, highly altered string sounds will merge with surreal, distorted radio broadcasts for a shifting installation-based electronic work that will reveal the finer points of the electronic elements of both pieces. The composer and violinists will give an informal demonstration of the sounds and techniques used.

8 pm FREE

Harvestworks 596 Broadway #602 New York NY 10012

Phone: 212-431-1130 Subway: F/M/D/B Broadway/Lafayette, R to Prince, #6

This concert features music for strings and sampled radio sounds, work that is related to my research into the sounds and processes of jammed radio signals. I had the pleasure of receiving an AIR (artist in residence) grant at Harvestworks, where I was able to greatly expand the work. One of the most critical aspects of the residency was adding spatialization, which evokes the ephemeral, shifting nature of jammed radio broadcasts. As opposed to merely documenting the pieces, I worked closely with engineer Paul Geluso in recording and spatializing the work. Together with violinists Pauline Kim Harris and Conrad Harris, we took a creative, active approach that brought new dimensions to the music, adding multiple layers of increasingly odd violin timbres, expanding the sampled sounds, and taking a free approach to the spatialization and production of the radio sounds.

Long Waves and Random Pulses (2012, 12:43, for violin and jammed radio signals)

Performed by Pauline Kim Harris, violin

Long Waves and Random Pulses is a duet for violin and jammed radio signals. I used original recordings of jamming sounds that were used to block radio transmissions in Italy, Germany, and the Soviet Union in World War II. The violin merges and emerges, shifting from music, to noise, to pure signal while fading in and out of the sounds of intentional radio interference. The electronic backing track includes a repeated six-note figure that was drawn from original recordings of an Italian radio jamming device, a buzzing pitched pulse from a German jamming device, a quote from J. S. Bach’s Chaconne in D Minor as it could have been heard in a jammed broadcast, and many extended techniques that evoke the sounds of these otherworldly radio signals. The violin part alternates between virtuosic and textural playing, shifting between notes and noise. As for the title, Long Waves refers to the long wave radio frequencies that many of these interrupted signals were broadcast on. Random Pulses represents a method of radio jamming that uses a random pulse noise to override the program broadcast on the target radio frequency.

Static Strands and String Noise (2014/2016 15 minutes, for two violins and electronics)

Performed by String Noise (Pauline Kim Harris and Conrad Harris, violins)

Static Strands and String Noise is a modular piece for two violins and electronics composed in close collaboration with the dynamic violin duo of Pauline Kim Harris and Conrad Harris. Inspired by the transformations, collisions, and wild sonic phenomena of jammed radio signals, it combines clandestine radio broadcasts, improvisation, and traditional notation. Originally composed as a violin duo with very minimal electronics, I revisited the piece in 2016 as an Artist in Residence at Harvestworks, experimenting with spatialization, multitracked layers of increasingly distorted string timbres, extended techniques, and a huge library of radio sounds that were just dying to be put to good use. The two violinists’ roles shift in a soundfield where music, noise, and pure signal meld and collide, evoking the jamming process both acoustically and electronically.

Plus an installation and an informal presentation by the composer and musicians.

Multitracked, highly altered string sounds will merge with surreal, distorted radio broadcasts that will reveal the finer points of the electronic elements of both pieces. The composer and violinists will give an informal demonstration of the sounds and techniques used.