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DECADE ZERO

works for instruments & electronics

CHRISTOPHER BIGGS

 

OVERVIEW

 

New from Ravello Records is DECADE ZERO, a compilation of works for instruments and electronics by Christopher Biggs. The works integrate traditional instruments with live electronic processing and sound files.

 

Biggs’ compositions focus on environmental, political, and scientific extra-musical concepts relevant to today’s world. Featuring the Western Brass Quintet, the title track, Decade Zero explores the last period in time when humanity can take decisive action to combat climate change without facing irrevocable changes to our world.

 

Externalities, for amplified cello and electronics, balances a consumer attempting to minimize the negative outcomes of their consumption choices while reflecting on participatory economics.  Amass, for clarinet and electronics, has origins in the Arab Spring movement and Occupy Wall Street. It reflects on contemporary society’s desire for meaningful change through continuous stratifying and blending of music.

 

Biggs’ more abstract works, such as the Decoherence for trumpet and electronics, refer to concepts of quantum physics, and Recombinant Serenade features variations on the “Prologue” from Benjamin Britten’s Serenade for tenor, horn, and strings.

 

Featuring works based on science fiction, Biggs’ A Letter to the Moon is inspired by Italo Calvino’s short story The Distance to the MoonPromethea, for alto saxophone and electronics, is based on Alan Moore’s graphic novel of the same name. The common themes between these works include the anxieties of decision-making, often represented with instrumental parts, and the range of resulting consequences, generally represented by the electronics. Biggs’ striking electro-acoustic works lend these ideas a startling immediacy by creating compelling music that will intrigue and thrill listeners.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

Christopher Biggs is Associate Professor of Music Composition and Technology at Western Michigan University. Biggs is a co-founder and the director of SPLICE Institute, a weeklong summer program dedicated to teaching, exploring, and creating techniques of performing, composing, and presenting electro-acoustic music.

 

The Western Brass Quintet, appearing in Decade Zero, is dedicated to performing new virtuosic music. Over five decades, it has built a national and international reputation, performing across the United States and on multiple continents, as well as in its home state of Michigan.

 

Cellist Zachary Boyt, appearing in Externalities, is also a multimedia artist and composer. He is a doctoral candidate at the University of Oregon, studying music performance of data-driven instruments.

 

The SPLICE Ensemble, appearing in A Letter to the Moon, exclusively performs electro-acoustic works. It is the resident ensemble at the SPLICE Institute and Festival, where it works with composers and performers on integrating electronics into a traditional performance space.

 

Dr. Lin Foulk, appearing on Recombinant Serenade and Decade Zero, is Associate Professor of Horn at Western Michigan University, where she is a member of the Western Brass and Wind Quintets. She has performed and presented lectures throughout the United States and on four continents.

 

Trumpeter Samuel Wells, appearing on A Letter to the Moon and Decoherence, is a New York City-based composer, performer, and music technologist. He is a member of SPLICE Ensemble and Arcus Collective.

 

 

ALSO ON RAVELLO RECORDS

 

 

BETTY AND THE SENSORY WORLD (RR7972)

Doug Bielmeier

 

Release Date: November 10, 2017

Catalog #: RR7976

 

 

TRACK LISTING

 

1 Decade Zero

Western Brass Quintet

Robert White trumpet   Scott Thornburg trumpet   Lin Foulk horn

Daniel Mattson trombone  Jacob Cameron tuba

 

Externalities

Zachary Boyt cello

2 Movement I

3 Movement II

4  Movement III

 

5 Promethea

Alex Sellers alto saxophone

 

A Letter to the Moon

SPLICE Ensemble

Samuel Wells trumpet  Adam Vidiksis percussion   Keith Kirchoff piano

6  Movement I

7  Movement II

 

Recombinant Serenade

Lin Foulk horn

 

Decoherence

Samuel Wells trumpet

9  Decoherence: Movement I

10 Decoherence: Movement II

11  Decoherence: Movement III

 

Amass

Mauricio Salguero clarinet

12 of need and necessity

13  Music of the Spheres

14  Imperatives

15  and Now, late breaking

16 Calculations

17  Abstraction

18  Anarchy

 

This album was supported by a grant from the Faculty Research and Creative Activities Award (FRACAA), Western Michigan University (WMU).

 

 

Credits

 

Decade Zero

Recorded January 16, 2017 at Dalton Recital Hall in Kalamazoo, MI

Producer Christopher Biggs

Recording Session Engineer Garrett Gagnon

 

Externalities

Recorded May 8, 2013 at the Dalton Center Electronic Music Lab, room 2004 in Kalamazoo, MI

Producer & Session Engineer Christopher Biggs

 

Promethea

Recorded November 19, 2016 at the Dalton Center Electronic Music Lab, room 2004 in Kalamazoo, MI

Producer & Session Engineer Christopher Biggs

 

A Letter to the Moon

Recorded December 17, 2016 at the Slosberg Music Center Recital Hall Waltham, MI

Producer & Session Engineer Christopher Biggs

 

Recombinant Serenade

Recorded July 2, 2014 at the Dalton Center Electronic Music Lab, room 2004 in Kalamazoo, MI

Producer & Session Engineer Christopher Biggs

 

Decoherence

Recorded September 17, 2016 in Scholes Street Studio in New York, NY

Producer & Session Engineer Christopher Biggs

 

Amass

Recorded September of 2013 at the Western Sound Studios in Kalamazoo, MI

Producer Christopher Biggs

Recording Session Engineer Bryan Heany

 

Cover Artwork Michael Labrie

 

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw

A&R Brandon MacNeil

Audio Director Jeff LeRoy

Engineering Manager Lucas Paquette

Mastering Shaun Michaud

Design & Marketing Director Brett Picknell

Design Emily Roulo

 

© RAVELLO RECORDS LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

Ravello Records is the contemporary classical label imprint of audio production house PARMA Recordings. Dedicated to highlighting forward thinking composers and musicians from around the world, the New England-based label's eclectic catalog offers listeners a cross-section of today's up-and-coming innovators in orchestral, chamber, and experimental music.

 

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