The Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States: Music from SEAMUS, vol. 23


SEAMUS (Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States) continues its project of releasing its extensive back catalogue of recordings, including Volume 23 which features works by Cort Lippe, David Gedosh, Chester Udell, Elliot Patros, Christopher Chandler, Halim Beere, Jeffrey Hass, and Butch Rovan.


Cort Lippe’s Duo for Cajón and Computer, written for percussionist Patti Cudd, augments the Afro-Peruvian percussion instrument through a series of delays and harmonized processing in Max/MSP. Opening with individual attacks separated by long rests that trigger an oscillating delay, Lippe builds intensity by increasing the frequency of cajón attacks while the Max patch introduces more pitches over a wider register. It is as if Cudd is activating a room full of tolling chimes with the discrete rhythm of the cajón. By the end of the work, the patch has evolved and synthetic electronic sounds are accompanying each attack on the drum, surrounded by an unruly collage of the sounds from earlier in the work.

David Gedosh’s acousmatic Train Song uses sounds collected from the cityscape of Denton, Texas, specifically from locations near the railroad tracks. Though largely removed from their original context, they retain the associations of an urban, industrial environment. Gedosh weaves a narrative of sonic location and dislocation in the work, from standing beside a passing train, to being in a factory and inside its mechanisms, to laughter from a gathering leading into an orchestra tuning before a performance.

Chester Udell’s Steel Golem was originally titled Concertino for Twisted Metal, and features samples collected from Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji fish market along with a battery of twisted metal scraps. Udell builds hybrid gestures from the various samples, less oriented towards creating a sense of sonic location as in Gedosh’s work, and more geared towards an independent evolving musical through line.

Elliot Patros writes, “MR-HSC is the result of experimenting with the creative use of unaltered field recordings and high-fidelity close-miking techniques. The premise of MR-HSC is the idea that excessive DSP tends to disconnect the acts of recording and composing by allowing a composer’s will to overshadow their source materials’ inherent musical qualities.” Patros adheres more strictly to the original source material, avoiding sonic over-manipulation, instead allowing for naturally occuring gestures. The resultant work is tactile and sensual, drawing the listener into a fragile, interwoven world of taps and creaks.

Christopher Chandler’s Smoke and Mirrors features the largest instrumentation of the works on this collection: flute, clarinet, violin, cello, percussion, piano, and electronics. Chandler intentionally explores the ambiguity between acoustic and electronic realms, melding timbres together into gestures that wash over the texture. A piano harmonic articulates the opening of the middle section where ascending and descending glissandi expand and create beatings against central pitches.

Halim Beere’s cinematic Bright Lines examines traveling and movement through dramatic gestures that sweep from left to right across the stereo field, evoking a quickly receding landscape outside a fast train. Beere captures the inexorable march of time as external and internal phenomena, with a poignant and expansive climactic passage that humanizes the relentless movement of earlier in the work.

Jeffrey Hass’ Three Etudes for Piano and Electronics opens with watery, high register fluorishes that hang weightless in the sustain of the piano as they are mimicked in the electronics. We hear an occasional beep of a smoke detector, the backstory behind the movement title “Fire Drill,” before the main perpetual motion body of the movement begins, a relentless torrent of scale patterns broken up with syncopated accents. “Frogs” is more disjunct, with pianistic arpeggiations across registers and croaked interjections from the electronics. The final movement, “Sporks,” returns to the moto perpetuo movement of the first movement, bringing some of the quirkiness of “Frogs” with it to create a hybrid between the two approaches.

The final piece on Volume 23 is Butch Rovan’s Desire with Digressions for piano and electronics, performed by Keith Kirchoff. Rovan based the composition on a short story by Brian Evenson in which the main character is attempting to flee from his former life. Throughout the story, he keeps on encountering permutations of himself. Rovan captures the cyclical journey by writing in variation form, bringing the charged material of the opening back each time the protagonist redoubles his efforts at escape. In reflective passages, the piano articulates the protagonist’s internal voice of searching while the electronics swirl around, intoning echoes of the identities that he cannot run from. Later in the work, the electronics propel the texture through an angular maze, before the work ends in reflective uncertainty.

-- Dan Lippel

Produced by SEAMUS

Remastered by Scott A. Wyatt at the University of Illinois Experimental Music Studios

Original graphic design by David Colley; revised design by Mark Hileman

Patti Cudd

Patti Cudd is a percussion soloist, chamber musician and educator, teaching percussion and new music studies at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and the College of St. Benedict/St. Johns University. She is a member of the new music ensemble Zeitgeist, and has performed with various ensembles, including Sirius, red fish blue fish, CRASH, Minnesota Contemporary Ensemble, SONOR, Minnesota Dance Theatre, and Borrowed Bones Dance Theater. As a percussion soloist and chamber musician she has premiered over 150 new works and recorded with labels such as Hat Hut, Bridge, New World, CR1, Innova, EMF Media and Mode. She is a Yamaha Performing Artist, endorser of Sabian Cymbals, and member of the Vic Firth Education Team.

Cort Lippe

Cort Lippe studied composition with Larry Austin. Presently, he is employed at IRCAM, in Paris, where he develops real-time musical applications and gives courses on new technology in composition. His works have received various international composition prizes, and have been premiered at major festivals world-wide. His music is published by Borik Press, and is recorded on ADDA, Apollon, MIT Press, CBS-Sony, Neuma, Harmonia Mundi, and CDCM.

David Gedosh

David Gedosh is currently on the faculty at Rose State College where he directs the Music Engineering and industry program. His music has been performed throughout North and Central America, and in Europe, at festivals and conferences including Bourges Festival Synthese (NEB), Ecuentros de Esquina Musica Electroacoustica, Florida Electroacoustic Music Festival, Fresh Minds Festival,, ICMC, IMMArts, LaTex Festival, Morely Gallery, Oklahoma Composers Association, SEAMUS,, and Zeppelin Festival. He has received awards from ASCAP, the Greater Denton Arts Council, and was a finalist in the Bourges International Competition (2009) and the Fresh Minds Festival (2013).

Chester Udell

From the ancient cypress swamps of Wewahitchka, Florida, Chester Udell serves as instructor of music technology at the University of Oregon. He received his Ph.D. in Composition with focus in electrical engineering from the University of Florida. His dissertation research on novel musical interface design resulted in a registered U.S. patent and a technology startup company. His creative interests encompass electroacoustic and acoustic music composition, designing new wireless gestural control interfaces for musical instruments, mobile performance technologies, and constructing autonomous robotic musical agents.

Elliot Patros

Composer Elliot Patros draws inspiration from problems created by the use of computers as musical instruments. His work uses technology to create intentionally imperfect, consciously human expressions of music. Elliot is currently working towards a Master's Degree in Computer Music at the University of California San Diego.

[Switch~ Ensemble]

The Switch~ Ensemble, an electroacoustic ensemble in residence at the Eastman School of Music's Computer Music Center, is an initiative dedicated to the performance of works for chamber ensemble and electronics, with a focus on the creation of new repertoire featuring the integration of live musicians, amplification, synthesizers, fixed media, and real-time interactive computer processing.

Christopher Chandler

Christopher Chandler (b. 1986) is a composer, technologist, educator, and a co-founder of the [Switch~ Ensemble]. He is an Assistant Professor of Music at Union College in Schenectady, NY where he teaches courses in music theory, composition, and technology. His acoustic and electro- acoustic works draw on field recordings, found sound objects, and custom generative software.

Chandler’s music has been performed by leading ensembles including Eighth Blackbird, the American Wild Ensemble, Ensemble Sargo, Ensemble Interface, the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, and Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne. His music has received recognition and awards including a Fromm Foundation Composer Fellowship, a BMI Student Composer Award, an ASCAP/SEAMUS Commission, two first prizes from the Austin Peay State University Young Composer’s Award, winner of the American Modern Ensemble’s Annual Composition Competition, and the Nadia Boulanger Composition Prize from the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, France.

Chandler received a Ph.D. from the Eastman School of Music, an M.M. from Bowling Green State University, and a B.A. from the University of Richmond. His teachers include Benjamin Broening, Mikel Kuehn, Elainie Lillios, Marilyn Shrude, Robert Morris, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, and Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon.

Halim Beere

The music of Halim Beere explores the three intersecting worlds of purely acoustic, fixed media, and algorithmically generated music. Raised among the redwood forests of northern California, Beere received his Bachelor's in violin and composition under Cindy Moyer and Brian Post. Then at the University of Illinois for his masters and doctoral studies, his teachers included Erik Lund, Stephen Taylor, Heinrich Taube, and Scott A. Wyatt. Commissioned to write a first symphony, orchestral poems, and chamber works, his music has been featured at Carnegie Hall, with Bang on a Can, at Electronic Music Midwest and at SEAMUS.

Kati Gleiser

Canadian pianist, composer and singer Kati Gleiser has performed at the Kennedy Center, on NPR and appeared on an earlier Music from SEAMUS CD. She completed her doctorate at Indiana University in 2014 under the world-renowned pianist/pedagogue Menachem Pressler and returned from teaching at FaceArt Internations in Shanghai.

Jeffrey Hass

Jeffrey Hass is currently Assistant Professor of Composition at Indiana University, Bloomington, where he serves as the Director of the Center for Electronic and Computer Music. His compositions have been premiered by the Louisville Orchestra and Concordia Chamber Orchestra, and have had performances at Lincoln Center and many national conferences.

Keith Kirchoff

Keith Kirchoff is a pianist and composer who has toured throughout North America and Europe with programs featuring new works for piano and electronics. He's recorded several albums, most recently "The Electro-Acoustic Piano, vol. 1" on Thinking outLOUD Records.

Butch Rovan

Butch Rovan is a media artist and performer at Brown University, where he co-directs VEVE (Multimedia & Electronic Music Experiments). Rovan has received prizes from the Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition and the Berlin Transmediale International Media Arts Festival. Most recently his installation Let us imagine a straight line was featured in the 14th WRO International Media Art Biennale, Poland.



An Earful

Various Artists - Music From SEAMUS, Vol. 3 and Vol. 23 These archival releases from the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States are consistently fascinating, whether it's the mutating piano on Larry Nelson's Order And Alliance (1991) from the first or Chester Udell's assemblage of metallic and white noises on Steel Golem (2011-12) from the second. And how cool to see Switch~Ensemble crop up here, in a recording of Christopher Chandler's Smoke And Mirrors from 2013, a gorgeous miniature of enhanced chamber music.

— Jeremy Shatan, 1.02.2021

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