Thanks to MATA for this opportunity–it was truly a significant concert for NCP. HUGE thanks to Frank Wang, he never lets us down with his photography skillz! And special thanks to Jonathan Cohen for his thoughtfulness in styling us and to his business partner, Sarah and his interns for coming to help out. The concert was a success and the house was packed despite the rainy weather. MORE photos on our Facebook page.
Here’s an interview with Izzi Ramkissoon on his Asperity of Lace. Above is the electronic track, just to tease you! Sounds freaking crazy right?! That’s what we thought too…we were like, how the fuck are we gonna do this?! But Izzi helped us along, and this music transformed from an unknown abyss into a landscape of expressive freedom for the performers. Sugar Vendil will be on piano and Isabel Kim on clarinet. And Izzi will be in front of his laptop, setting off the track and a video that will respond to Isabel’s sound.
What was your source of inspiration when you wrote The Asperity of Lace?
The inspiration for The Asperity of Lace came from the news stories about the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The motivation for the piece came from wanting to open a musical dialog about the situation and natural disasters in general.
A lot of young composers in New York (perhaps elsewhere) seem to be torn between being defined as a ‘classical composer’ and writing music that sounds sort of like pop or electronic music, genres that have master artists in their own right. Has this been a struggle for you at all? Why or why not? If so, how do you deal?
Not really. I don’t define myself as a “classical” composer. One can possibly think of what I do as “organizing sound”, “sound composition”, or producing expressive musical content with electronics and acoustic instruments. Furthermore, I have my own expectations. If I bring any type of influence into my music it is because I have respect for the craft. I try not to underestimate my audience with water down versions of music that doesn’t genuinely come from myself. I believe it is my responsibility to give audiences the kind of music that comes out of my own experiences and hopefully it has some relation within the context of their own lives.
What qualities do you seek in a performer?
I run a series of workshops with my large ensemble called the Electric Eel Multimedia Ensemble. In these workshops I discuss my approach to modern electro acoustic performance. I expect various skills from my performers ranging from classical reading to jazz improvisation, process and philosophy to performing with electronics. I tend to pull from a mixed background of skills because I studied and experienced many distinct approaches to music. I hope that one day performers can have all of these musical skills under one umbrella.
Which composers do you look to the most for inspiration, or which composers have had the most significant impact on how you think about/write music?
Karlheinz Stockhausen, John Cage, Alvin Curran, Morton Subotnick, Earl Brown, Ludwig van Beethoven, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, Atari Teenage Riot, Squarepusher, Bjork, Kraftwerk, etc..
Massive Attack (Heligoland), DJ Udachi, Merzbow, Penderecki: String Quartet No. 1, Xenakis Concrete PH, Gil Scott-Heron (I’m new here), and Olivier Messiaen.