Diffraction ≉ Refraction

Alarm Will Sound is a world-renowned 20-member chamber ensemble. Their collaborators include Björk, Steve Reich, The Dirty Projectors, King Britt, and Medeski, Martin, & Wood. They have had new works composed for them by Mira Calix, John Adams, Tyondai Braxton, Oren Ambarchi, Eartheater, Valgeir Sigurðsson, Rashad Becker, Nico Muhly, John Luther Adams, and Donnacha Dennehy. Their repertoire includes adventurous and varied interpretations of music by Phillip Glass, Autechre, Edgard Varèse, Yoko Ono, Ben Frost, Leonard Bernstein, Radiohead, György Ligeti, Meredith Monk, Aphex Twin, John Cage, Venetian Snares, Elliot Sharp, Frank Zappa, Boards Of Canada, The Beatles, John Cale, Mochipet, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and The Shaggs.

In 2016, I designed “.wav superposition” in collaboration with Alarm Will Sound. It was an audio installation consisting of a wide circle of 16 wireless speakers pointing inwards. Each speaker was looping one of 16 different recordings provided by the performers. They were asked to record them using the same devices they use for their emails, texts, calls, Skype, FaceTime, etc. and to record them in whatever spaces they do most of their correspondences in; their home, office, studio, train, park, etc., and to leave in any of the background noise or distractions that might be captured during the recordings. Each recording was a different and unspecified length and everyone was given the same simple musical guidelines to follow, which included the freedom to not follow the guidelines at all. While the content was repeating all night, there was no singular audience perspective to it, as the sonic interplay was totally different for each listener depending on when and where they were. Here’s an excerpt: tinyurl.com/wavsuperposition

During the premiere of the installation, there was also a series of live performances from members of Alarm Will Sound, along with a set of collaborations between them and 18andCounting’s TheOnlyEnsemble and another in collaboration with myself.

A few weeks before the event, we did a single rehearsal to better understand the piece I’d prepared for our stage collaboration, titled “Diffraction ≉ Refraction.” That rehearsal and the event performance were both recorded.

In early 2017, after the (s)election of President Trump, many movements and fundraisers sprang up to challenge and offset the impact of several of his intended changes. One of these fundraisers was a day where the digital audio retailer BandCamp donated all proceeds to the ACLU, with many artists also donating their proceeds. I had tons of content on their site already, but wanted something special to entice donations. I reached out to Alarm Will Sound to propose releasing the recordings of our collaboration for the fundraising event and they agreed.

A couple of years later, we have decided to also release them to a wider audience via Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, Google Play, Amazon, etc.

The pieces were not designed to be political in any way, but the release did have a political intention. All future proceeds will continue to be donated to the ACLU, though streaming payouts are minimal. I’m very fond of the recordings and am glad they may reach more ears, but also hope that some people may still consider making contributions to organizations that promote their own social, environmental, and ethical interests.

Apple Music: tinyurl.com/EHAWSapple

Spotify: tinyurl.com/EHAWSspotify

Tidal:  tinyurl.com/EHAWStidal

Google Play: tinyurl.com/EHAWSgoogle

Amazon Music: tinyurl.com/EHAWSamazon

BandCamp: tinyurl.com/EHAWSbandcamp

Here’s some articles about the event and the release, in case you want to know a bit more.




Album credits:


Diffraction ≉ Refraction 17:50

•Gavin Chuck (voicemail)

•Michael Clayville (trombone)

•Stefan Freund (cello)

•Eric Hall (electronics)

•Bill Kalinkos (clarinet)

•Alan Pierson (conductor)

Performed live at Mad Art Gallery, Saint Louis, MO on May 14th, 2016.

Recorded by Joseph Potthoff.


Diffraction ≉ Refraction 15:16

•Michael Clayville (trombone)

•Eric Hall (electronics)

•Courtney Orlando (voice)

•Alan Pierson (conductor)

•Sarah Vie (violin)

Performed live at Screwed Arts, Saint Louis, MO on April 3rd, 2016.

Recorded by Eric Hall.

In response to the aggressive dismantling of essential American and humanitarian values under the 45th president select, all proceeds from this release will go to the American Civil Liberties Union.