Summer Labs: Alexa Dexa's "Be a Doll" and Jeff Tang's "Such Strange Gravity"
7pm doors • 8pm show
Each year, National Sawdust seeks out emerging and established local Brooklyn artists to participate in our Summer Lab series. The chosen artists are given four hours of time in our state-of-the-art venue to develop music-based works. In addition to the four hours for developing these works, each selected artist receives 30 minutes of performance time on National Sawdust’s stage, with successful performances considered for future programming in the venue. These performances represent a critical early stage in the journey of a work from concept to reality, and are a rare chance to see new work from new artists come to life.
Pre-programmed electronic sequences will act as the backbone of the musical composition using sample libraries from Native Instruments in Digital Performer. Parts written for toy instruments and vocals will be composed through an aleatoric categorization of the letters that make up the libretto. In the MaxMSP patch that will be built for the piece, all sounds picked up from a microphone above the set will undergo live signal processing. The processed sounds will then play back at specified time intervals throughout multiple speakers as the vocalist continues singing to herself and carrying out the play routines. Because each action will leave a sonic remnant long after being carried out, longstanding repercussions of past actions will become sonically evident. The MaxMSP patch will also control the processing and projection of crayon drawings that coincide with the intrinsic mood of each play routine. Since the woman’s conditioning leads her to maintain a near constant façade of pleasure, the drawings will serve to display the undercurrent of emotion lurking below the surface of her immediate consciousness.
The development of Be a Doll received funding from OPERA America’s Opera Grants for Female Composers program, supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.