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Music & Film: re:VOLT Performs Morton Subotnick’s Sidewinder + Hungers (’88) Screening

May 31 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Jill Fraser, Peter Grenader, and Thomas Klepper perform Morton Subotnick’s SIDEWINDER live + rare screening of his “electronic media opera”!

The Philosophical Research Society welcomes acclaimed composers Jill Fraser and Peter Grenader, joined by Los Angeles electronic luminary Thomas Klepper, and their ensemble re:VOLT for a night of electro-acoustic music and film in tribute to legendary electronic music pioneer Morton Subotnick!

Co-presented by The Vintage Synthesizer Museum, this special evening will begin with a very rare screening of Subotnick and trailblazing experimental filmmaker Ed Emshwiller’s 1988 “electronic media opera” HUNGERS, followed by a live set of original compositions by re:VOLT before concluding with their live performance of Subotnick’s seminal electronic work SIDEWINDER!

In his original program notes, Morton Subotnick described Sidewinder as “virtual grooves in orbit throughout space…periodically pass(ing) through the room, like a solar system where different musics are planets and the room is the sun. Each orbit had a different length and timing and the music in each was a distinct entity. As the orbit allowed its music to pass through the room, the music would be heard and would be blended with whatever orbit was playing its music at the time.” Originally released in quadraphonic sound in 1971, Sidewinder was the first album Subotnick created using (for the technologically minded!) a new envelope detector for the Buchla Box – the synthesizer he had commissioned from sound synthesis pioneer Don Buchla. This allowed him to compose using not only the synthesizer’s pressure-sensitive touch panel (as opposed to most keyboard based synthesizers, like the Moog) but by singing and humming into a microphone, using his voice to control voltages and track shifting amplitudes, the shapes of which could then be applied to any musical parameter. In layperson’s terms, this meant that Sidewinder introduced adventurous listeners to a new and more highly nuanced electronic soundscape than they’d ever heard.

On this night, re:VOLT – the Los Angeles-based electronic music ensemble of “like-minded, half-crazy avant-garde synthesists/composers/sitarists” Jill Fraser, Peter Grenader (both of whom were students and proteges of Subotnick at CalArts in the 1970s) and Thomas Klepper will share a set of their own remarkable electro-acoustic compositions before bringing Subotnick’s bold and immersive soundscape to life with their rendering of Sidewinder – as originally commissioned by renowned experimental vocalist Joan La Barbara for Subotnick’s 90th birthday event at the Roulette in Brooklyn, later performed and recorded live at Tool’s studio in Hollywood.

About HUNGERS (1988)

Morton Subotnick and experimental filmmaker Ed Emshwiller, pioneers in their fields and friends since their time as CalArts faculty in the 70s, realized their dream of working together with their “electronic media opera” HUNGERS. Emshwiller described the work as a “tapestry of images and sounds suggestive of the hungers that human beings all share for food, love, sex, power, security and so forth.” A collaboration between Subotnick, Emshwiller and legendary extended-vocal-techniques pioneer Joan La Barbara, the trio wove together sophisticated electronic and digital technology in conjunction with live performance (in addition to her remarkable vocals, La Barbara controlled the real-time synthesized composition with hand held devices called “air drums” which looked like gray plastic maracas) and music to create a striking and distinctive work of contemporary electronic theater.

About the Artists

re:VOLT is the Los Angeles-based electronic music ensemble of like-minded, half-crazy avant-garde synthesists/composers/sitarists Jill Fraser, Peter Grenader and Thomas Klepper. Separately they have had lifelong careers infusing experimental music into the collective cultural zeitgeist by scoring feature films and countless television commercials, winning international music festivals, taking part in multitudes of electro-acoustic/multimedia performances – including selling out the REDCAT Theater — winning Cleos, serving on the board of SEAMUS, and being awarded a RIAA Gold Record for electronic sound design for the progressive metal band Tool.

Jill Fraser is a composer and electronic music pioneer. She was mentored by Morton Subotnick at CalArts and attended master classes with, among others John Cage and Lou Harrison. After finishing her master’s degree in composition she worked at Serge Modular in Hollywood and took her modular synths into the Hollywood studios to score films. Her composing credits on film scores include Personal Best directed by Robert Towne and Hardcore (starring George C Scott, directed by Paul Schrader) with collaborator, composer Jack Nitzsche.

Jill has composed both electronic and acoustic music for hundreds of TV commercials for Lexus, BMW, Honda, Porsche, Nissan, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Mattel, Carl’s Jr, NBC, Apple Computers, Adidas, Estee Lauder, Baskin Robbins, Yamaha Motorcycles and many, many others. She has won 3 Clios for original music and is a voting member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

She toured with singer Buffy Sainte Marie and performance artist Ivan E Roth. Her performances with Ivan were part of the vibrant Los Angeles punk and spoken word scene and she played live modular synthesizer, opening for acts including the Minutemen and Henry Rollins. Ivan and Jill released the CD Alphabetical Disorders on Periodic Music featuring “Life is a Noun”. She is featured in the book Patch and Tweak by Kim Bjorn and Chris Meyers.

She’s looking forward to releasing her new album, Earthly Pleasures later this summer on Drag City Records.

Peter Grenader has an enduring history in electronic music. Studying composition at CalArts with Morton Subotnick, his work has been performed throughout the USA and Europe — winning the Virginia Commonwealth EAM Festival and the Periòdic Experimental Music Festival in Barcelona. Past collaborations include Analoglive (with Alessandro Cortini, Thighpaulsandra, Gary Chang, Chas Smith and Richard Devine), zZyzx Society (with Jill Fraser and featuring Chas Smith, Thighpaulsandra and Tool’s Danny Carey), POV (with Miles Richmond and Steve Roach) and currently re:VOLT (with Jill Fraser and Thomas Klepper). He was awarded an RIAA-certified gold record for his work on Tool’s Fear Inoculum and was featured in the Patch CV Modular Revolution documentary series, Darwin Gross’ Art + Music + Technology ep. 208 and Data Cult Audio vol. 0106. His music has been released on Coda Recordings, ZSR Records, Organic Records and Steve’s Roach’s Timeroom

Thomas Klepper is a Los Angeles based sitarist, student of Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan, and electronic musician who has released records under the aliases Romeo, LoTom, Rinpoche, and Thomas K. He aims to create thought provoking music that is rooted in tradition while at the same time paving the way into the future. He is also the host of dublab’s “Library of Sounds.”

Tickets: $15 (In-Person Event Only)

Please email [email protected] or phone 323-663-2167 with any questions.


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Philosophical Research Society
3910 Los Feliz Blvd
Los Angeles,90027United States
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