Video Premiere: Now Hear Ensemble Performs 4 Bucolic Machines (Ghys)

Today’s video premiere features Now Hear Ensemble (flutist Adriane Hill, clarinetist Amanda Kritzberg, violist Jonathan Morgan, double bassist Federico Llach, and percussionist Anthony Garcia) performing Florent Ghys‘ 4 Bucolic Machines.

Commissioned in 2016 by Now Hear Ensemble, 4 Bucolic Machines incorporates the sights and sounds of Avaloch Farm Music Institute.

Now Hear Ensemble Artistic Director Federico Llach says, “Florent filmed us individually in his studio at Avaloch–a cabin in the woods–a short walk from the main building, yet clearly set apart from it. This imbued the process with a contemplative, peaceful aura. It’s reflective of us as individual musicians and as a whole ensemble, capturing the spirit of our experiences during the residency.”

Here’s what the composer has to say about the work:

4 Bucolic Machines explores contrasting pairings of sight and sound through four movements. Each movement evolves from a simple divertimento to a rich sensory expression that eventually overloads the brain’s capacity to connect what is seen with what is heard. To introduce the individual members of Now Hear Ensemble, the first movement “Cabine” presents a dizzying series of video samples evocative of the trance of whirling dervishes in 360 degrees. The second, “Woods”, is similar to the memory game “concentration:” it establishes simple associations between audio textures and natural images, presenting them one by one, and then accelerates gradually. In the manner of a skipping CD, “Basse” acoustically expands upon an electronically manipulated video of an outdoor improvisation. Finally, the nocturne “Robots” gathers the instrumentalists in a sort of dark fractal clock reminiscent of video feedback effects of the 80s. Suggested pairing for this piece: pinot grigio and roasted vegetables on a late rainy afternoon.

About Now Hear Ensemble

Based in Los Angeles, the Now Hear Ensemble combines the intimacy of the classical concert experience with electronic music, video art, installation art, and contemporary theater. With a flexible roster of artists, the group embraces both contemporary music and pop culture, as they believe a cross-genre approach leads to new territory for creativity. The group has performed at renowned venues such as the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT), the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford University, the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT) at UC Berkeley, the Conrad Prebys Music Center at UC San Diego, the Center for New Music in San Francisco, the Fisher Museum at the University of Southern California, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santa Barbara, and the Carlsbad Music Festival, and is currently the Resident Ensemble at the University of California, Santa Barbara Department of Music. Since their founding in 2012, the ensemble has commissioned and premiered over 25 new works from composers such as Dan VanHassel, Anders Lind, Carolyn Chen, Florent Ghys, and Todd Lerew. Past projects have resulted in commissions of installations and concert music made with bicycle wheels, paper shredders, ping-pong tables, megaphones, and custom-made instruments. In 2013, a selection from the ensemble’s debut album, Made in California, was featured on the BBC Radio 3 show Late Junction. In September of 2016, the ensemble was in residence at the Avaloch Farm Music Institute, where they collaborated on this and various other projects.

About Florent Ghys

Florent Ghys is a composer and double bassist from Bordeaux, France. His work is situated at the intersection between formal contemporary music, games, and interactive technology. Ghys’ musical approach stems from his multiple roles as double bassist, composer, and computer programmer; and his aim to blur the boundaries between these disciplines. He is widely recognized for his solo works for double bass and laptop, and technology-infused ensemble pieces. His favorite color is currently ochre.