Virtual New Year’s with Fidget

Hello everyone, we wanted to take a moment to say hi, wish you a happy holiday and new year! Listening Bodies did not offer any in-person workshops this year, but we were creating videos, online experiences, and planning for the future. 
The first thing we wanted to share with you this holiday season is the “Meditation on Light” written by Monica Gentile (read by Michael in English and Italian by Monica). It’s a lovely guided meditation exploring the sensorial nature of light during this deep wintertime.
Also while we were in Philadelphia for several months this spring, due to the pandemic, we were happy to live near and spend time with the wonderful dance/media company known as Fidget. This year Fidget will be hosting a Virtual New Year’s Eve Party called Age of Aquarius co-hosted by Forbidden Fruit. Listening Bodies will premiere a new video dance piece we created called “A Song the Earthworm Sang”. This piece is dedicated to Deep Listening founded by Pauline Oliveros and is a reference to a poem she wrote called “The Earthworm Also Sings” found in her Anthology of Text ScoresPlease consider purchasing a ticket to raise a toast and enjoy hours of art and entertainment for this virtual party in the comfort of your own space.

You can view the video we shared here:

Sending you love and light for a happy 2021,
Monica and Michael

Women in Resistance Film Festival

One of my longest collaborator is the Bulgarian choreographer, dancer and film maker Zornitsa Stoyanova (BodyMeld). One of her films, Explicit Female, that I did the music for was featured in the German festival Poetry Film Festival – Women in Resistance.

“Explicit Female” is a visual poem that takes on pregnancy and the act of birth as its theme. Making another human in one’s body is often thought of as magical, beautiful, and peaceful. This film illuminates all that, plus the hidden trauma of the experience. Using mirror psychedelic effects, the body gets transformed into sensual ever-changing vaginas, organic-looking aliens, shapes and colors that later remind of DNA division. Deeply sensual, the sci-fi imagery lures the imagination while furthering the feel of otherness and alienation. An automatically generated voice speaks of the female body’s durability and the complete destruction of identity that happens to a new mother. “Explicit Female” is part of a bigger performance of the same name that evening.

Here’s a preview of the film from the Philadelphia Fringe Festival:

Listening Bodies at Tanzfabrik

Monica and I have spent two months living in Berlin focusing on our work and the Listening Bodies project. We taught a nice workshop here at Lake Studios Berlin. We’re doing a movement and sound duet this weekend at Tanzfabrik. Afterward, we will be touring and giving workshops in Croatia, Denmark, UK, Ireland, and Italy for the rest of the summer. Check out our new website for more info: Listening Bodies.


Also , I was honored to have a short remix in this latest project from Cities and Memory focused on outer space (to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the US moon landing). Hear my remix of John F. Kennedy’s famous speech about going to the Moon.
Listen to Space

Philly Projects April 2018

Good morning or evening friends. Below are some events I’m involved with and news about the release of a new Landscapes album. Thank you for your continued support and interest in my musical adventures!


Nora Gibson Contemporary Ballet presents HUMAN

I am really excited for this next chapter in my long collaboration with one of the most exciting choreographers working in contemporary ballet. This science fiction influenced ballet has stunning digital video, beautiful lighting, strong dancers, intricate choreography and an engulphing score that wraps you up like an electric blanket. Not to be missed!

April 20, 21, 8:00 PM & April 22, 3:00 PM (with artist Q&A)
Performance Garage
1515 Brandywine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Tickets


What Do Opossums Dreams Sound Like?

I’m happy to be collaborating with an old friend, Liza Goodell from Spiral Q Puppet Theater on this show. She has built a giant opossum sculpture that people are invited to lie down in. Inside will be my soundtrack of what I imagine an opossum’s dreams sound like while he’s “playing dead”.  Plus they’ll be work by Katie Parry, Tom Parry, and Marina Borker

ST. BERNARD LION: AN ARTISTIC EXPLORATION OF NEIGHBORHOOD FOLKLORE
April 20 – May 18, 2018
Opening reception Friday, April 20th, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
University City Arts League
4226 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104​
More Info


William Fields + Mikronesia @ Event Horizon
Still from William Fields’ visuals for Landscapes Live
Landscapes 3, Uttarakhand

If you missed my Landscapes show at the Rotunda (see the photo above from the show with William Fields’ brilliant real-time projections) and wanted to hear part of my surrealists’ field recordings creations from North India, I just released an album on Bandcamp, Landscapes 3: Uttarakhand  with gorgeous artwork by my fellow PECAH resident Isabel Moreno.


Lastly, for those who are into meditation or would like to learn more, I’ll be teaching four classes at Springboard Studio this week and next. This is a great class for beginners or experienced meditators who want to go deeper into the classic Buddhist text of the Satipatthāna Sutta. Each class will have periods of silent meditation, teaching, and discussion.

Satipattāna: The Four Foundations of Mindfulness
Wednesday, April 18, 7:00 – 8:30 PM
Sunday, April 22, 7:30 – 9:00 PM
Wednesday, April 25, 7:00 – 8:30 PM
Sunday, April 29, 7:30 – 9:00 PM

Springboard Studio
530 Carpenter Lane, West Mt. Airy
 

Philadelphia Fringe Festival 2016

I have music/sound design in two Philadelphia Fringe Festival shows in the next two weeks. 

This Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I’ll be doing some live sound design and music for Fran Markey’s new piece At & About the Edge of.

Then next week I have some brand new music in Zornitsa Stoyanova’s Explicit Female.

Also I’m hard at work on several new music / sound projects including Echozoo – my forthcoming iPhone/Android App which plays sonic portraits of extinct animals from your area.

As part of the research for Echozoo, I traveled to the Northwest United States to do some field recording. The trip was made possible by the support of the Echozoo Hatchfund backers (thank you!). My trip took me to Portland, Forks, The Hoh Rainforest and Turnbull Wildlife Refuge in Washington and the National Bison Range and Glacier National Park in Montana. I captured a lot of great ambient sounds of rain, wind, trees, crickets, birds, elk, owls, squirrels, bison and lots of unidentified sounds for the Echozoo App. Here’s a Flickr album with some photos from the trip. 

Sleep Concert, Attune and Beep

SLEEP MUSIC CONCERT

Last month I played an all-night sleep music concert during the Spring Equinox at thefidget space. The 12-hour concert was a beautiful night / morning with people doing yoga, dancing, reading, and sleeping throughout the night as I played. The piece was covered in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Here’s a video taken of some of the music and projections that were happening throughout the night:

Liberation Through Hearing During the Intermediate State

Here’s the entire 12-hour concert audio at archive.org.

Finally, I wanted to share this beautiful poem that Glenn Benge, who attended the event, wrote in response:


ATTUNE

ATTUNE
Image by Shaily Shah

As part of my training with Pauline Oliveros to becoming certified as a Deep Listening practitioner, I’m co-leading a sound and movement workshop with Darcy Lyons next week. I’ll be leading some sound meditations, Deep Listening exercises/scores and playing some music for the dance/movement portion.

“In this two hour workshop participants will be guided through improvisational movement structures, gentle bodywork, still/moving meditations, and listening practices that foster compassion, healing, and connection. Everyone is welcome. No experience required.”

Saturday April 16, 11:30-1:30 PM
The Iron Factory

118 Fontain Street, 3rd Floor Philadelphia, PA 19122
Tickets $12 in advance (Sales End April 14)
$20 Cash or Check at the door


NOREMIXES NORESIDENCY

The NOREMIXES monthly at The Art Dept continues in April with sets by Mikronesia, Jeff Zeigler and Oh! Pears

Friday April 22, 7-9 PM
The Art Dept

1638 E. Berks St. Philadelphia, PA 19125
Doors 6:30pm, Show 7-9pm, $10


BEEP COMPOSER-IN-RESIDENCY

BEEP class

This semester I am Composer-in-Residence at Temple University’s BEEP (The Boyer Electroacoustic Ensemble Project). For this residency, I’m guest lecturing and developing a piece using my “Sonic Photorgraphy” techiniques for the students that they’ll perform at the end of the semester. More info on this premiere next month. Here’s a photo from my first BEEP class:

Discussing artistry, community, and Deep Listening with composer in residence @mikronesia. @beep_TU @BoyerCollege pic.twitter.com/cZi0ZGDYCE — Adam Vidiksis (@vidikulous) April 1, 2016

NGCB + Consciousness Hacking

Hi everyone, I wanted to share some upcoming events and some new music I’ve released today


Unplugged: Consciousness Hacking

Tonight (March 1) there’s a meet up in Philadelphia of mediators, coders and seekers. These gatherings are always a mind opening event. Beginners and those with no meditation experience are welcome!

I’ll be presenting a binaural beats system as a way to hack your consciousness and create altered states.

PromptWorks
1211 Chestnut Street Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA (map)
6pm
http://www.meetup.com/N3rd-Street/events/228705518/


Ephemeral

Two weeks ago Nora Gibson Contemporary Ballet debuted their seminal work Ephemeral, for which I composed the score. I am really proud of this piece and I feel like it’s the culmination of my working relationship with Nora over the past six years. The dancers and technical crew performed flawlessly to packed audiences over three shows and it was wonderful.

Here’s two glowing reviews of the piece:

Also for the first time ever, I’m releasing the score of the ballet as an album today. You can download (MP3, FLAC) the hour long album from Bandcamp.


Sleep Music Concert

Liberation Through Hearing During the Intermediate State

Liberation Through Hearing During the Intermediate State
March 19, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. – March 20, 2016 at 7:00 a.m.
$10-$20 sliding scale
thefidget space (1714 N Mascher Street)

<fidget> Artist in Residence Michael McDermott will be performing an all night sleep music concert.

For the past 10 years, Michael has been performing as an ambient music artist under the moniker Mikronesia. For this concert he will be presenting a long-form work based on the themes of death, bardo and reincarnation found in the sacred Buddhist text known as The Tibetan Book of the Dead.

The live performance using synthesizers, tape loops and slow motion surround sound sonic landscapes will warp the audiences’ perception of time as the music will reach the level of near stillness through the wee hours of the morning. This part of the concert will be meant to be experienced subsciouslessly as McDermott will cycle through his interpretation of themes of death and rebirth found in the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The score will culminate at sunrise concluding the sonic lullaby. On display will be video tape loops by artist Alex Bond.

The show is twelve hours long. We invite you to bring blankets, sleeping bags and pillows. We’ll also have sleep inducing dream tea to aid in the journey.

Preview McDermott’s first foray into “Sleep Music,” Quiescent to get a taste of the sonic landscape: https://mikronesia.bandcamp.com/album/quiescent


Blackstar Video

Finally, last month I had the pleasure to play at a night celebrating the life and music of one of my heroes, David Bowie. Every set was really powerful and beautiful. I played synthesizer with the band Professor Maybe. We did two instrumentals from Low and Bowie’s last epic song “Blackstar”. Here’s a video from the show:

Don’t You Wonder Sometimes

Nora Gibson Contemporary Ballet

I’m really honored to be working with Nora Gibson Contemporary Ballet again this season. Our new work EPHEMERAL is our grandest to date. Seven dancers, lighting design by Dutch artist Katinka Marac and an evocative score of environmental elements and sonic stillness.

EPHEMERAL
Christ Church Neighborhood House Theater, Philadelphia
Feb. 19-21

Tickets can be purchased online also running concurrently will be a dance-film festival that Nora has curated.
 


David Bowie Night

Bowie Night

Last month planet Earth lost one of its a greatest visionary artists of the last century: David Bowie. David’s music and style had a huge influence on me. As I tweeted the morning of his death: “He taught the world it was ok to be different, it was ok to experiment, it was ok to change.”

In two weeks I’ll be part of an all-star night of Philadelphia musicians playing Bowie’s music. I’ll be playing keyboards with some (very talented) friends. I don’t want to spoil the surprise but we’ll be playing two songs from my favorite Bowie album as well as his last epic artistic statement.

DAVID BOWIE TRIBUTE NIGHT
Thursday, February 11at 8 PM
The Fire
412 W Girard Ave, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19123
$8 / 21+


Liberation Through Hearing During the Intermediate State

Liberation Through Hearing During the Intermediate State

March 19, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. – March 20, 2016 at 7:00 a.m.
thefidget space
1714 N Mascher Street Philadelphia
$10 – $20 sliding scale

This is going to be a 12-hour long concert of sleep music! Bring a sleeping bag, pillow and blanket, enjoy some dream tea and snuggle in for 12-hours of dream drones and tape loop lullabies. I’ll be performing ambient music all night with visuals from Alex Bond focusing on themes of Bardo, reincarnation, Dream Yoga and sleep (un)consciousness.

To get a taste of the kind of music you’ll hear, please check out my 2014 sleep music album, Quiescent. It’s an eight-hour mix of music for the four sleep cycles.

2015 In Review

Hello and happy holidays! I wanted to thank everyone for their support of my musical projects throughout 2015. Below is a recap of projects I worked on in 2015 with some free downloads, videos and other media.

In a River the Color of Lead

In a River the Color of Lead

Early this year I released my 8th solo studio album on NOREMIXES. The album is a continuation of my exploration of the piano as an object of beauty and noise. It was released digitally and as a vinyl record (with support from Kickstarter backers). I’m very proud of this work and hope you all got a chance to listen to it.

NOREMIXES Store


Nora Gibson Contemporary Ballet

In February I was delighted to perform with my long-time choreographic partner Nora Gibson and her company Nora Gibson Contemporary Ballet in the premiere of 257,885,161-1. This ballet was a meditation on the mathematical concept of twin primes. The premiere was well received and sounded and looked gorgeous. Excerpts from the premiere can be viewed here on Vimeo.

In 2016 I’ll be working again with NGCB on an even more ambitious project EPHEMERAL, a work about time for dance, light, and environmental sound score.

EPHEMERAL
Christ Church Neighborhood House Theater, Philadelphia
Feb. 19-21

Tickets can be purchased online and you can support NGCB’s second season on their Hatchfund page.


Field Recordings / Cities and Memory

This year I began to really explore the sound world of actual places through field recording. I published several works through the brilliant UK based site Cities and Memory. Here are three pieces they published:

  • Turtle River (Philadelphia) presented on World Listening Day and at the Oxford Contemporary Music Festival.
  • Corca Dhuibhne (Western Ireland) field recordings and reimagined sounds recorded in Dingle and the Cliffs of Moher. 
  • Utopia part of an international collection of artists who created an imaginary sound world for the Thomas More novel Utopia (1515)

The last piece I wanted to share was from the Papal visit to Philadelphia in September 2015. The piece contains recordings I gathered over three days as about a million people descended on center city Philadelphia to celebrate the historic visit by Pope Francis. As with many of these recordings, I sought to remove the element of time and create a shifting landscape of timeless space.
 

Philadelphia Papal Visit - Soundcloud

dark matter

Photo by Glenn Benge

This season I am Artist in Residence at <fidget> along with choreographer / artist Zornitsa Stoyanova. In November we collaborated on the performance film dark matter. It was premiered at the <fidget> Fall Experimental Music Festival.

The above photo is by Glenn Benge from the premiere.

Here’s a review from Thinking Dance

Excerpt from dark matter on Vimeo


Save the Date

In March 2016 I’ll be performing another concert at <fidget>. This is going to be a 12-hour long concert of sleep music! Bring a sleeping bag, pillow and blanket, enjoy some dream tea and snuggle in for 12-hours of dream drones and tape loop lullabies. I’ll be performing ambient music all night with visuals from Alex Bond focusing on themes of Bardo, reincarnation, Dream Yoga and sleep (un)consciousness.

To get a taste of the kind of music you’ll hear, please check out my 2014 sleep music album, Quiescent. It’s an eight hour mix of music for the four sleep cycles.

Liberation Through Hearing During the Intermediate State

Liberation Through Hearing During the Intermediate State
March 19 7pm – March 20 7am
thefidget space


Happy New Year!
Michael

Fall News

0

Hi folks, it’s been a few months since my last update. I’ve been working on lots of studio projects with some occasional shows.

Here’s a rundown of recent projects I was involved with this fall.

Utopia

Utopia

Over the past few months as I’ve gotten more into field recording and Deep Listening, I’ve been producing sounds for the site Cities and Memory. The most recent piece I did for them was part of a project to imagine sounds for the 16th century Thomas More’s novel Utopia. For my piece I focused on a darker aspect of More’s work: slavery. This seedy aspect of this well known concept of Utopia seemed to echo the modern day issue of hidden slavey in our “advanced” society.

Read more and listen to the piece at Cities and Memory


Papal Sound Collage

Another recent sonic piece I created was an audio collage of the sounds of Pope Francis’ historic visit to Philadelphia in September 2015. Approximately one million people visited Philadelphia creating one of the largest gatherings in the city’s history on the Ben Franklin Parkway. For three days I walked around with my field recorder and captured the sounds of the crowds, choirs, vendors, singers, chanters, musicians and ambiance to create an sonic photograph of what this beautiful weekend was like.

Listen to the Papal Sound Collage


The Buddy System

Buddy System from the stage

The Monday after the Papal visit I was honored to perform along side two giants in the electronic music scene: King Britt and HPrizm (from Antipop Contortium) for their Buddy System series at Johnny Brenda’s. Myself, finger drummer phenom OddKidOut and Matthew Law (AKA DJ Phsh) joined King and Priest for a smoking improvisational set of electronic music. I’ve heard the recordings back and they’re quite good. Look for some excerpts coming soon once the Buddy System site launches.


<fidget> Residency / dark matter / Fall Experimental Music Festival

Dark Matter Collaborator at the Ice Box

I’m also excited to announce that I am artist in residence at one of the most vital performance laborites in Philadelphia, thefidget space, for their 2015/16 season. As the resident composer/musician I’m sharing my time with choreographer/artist Zornitsa Stoyanova. We’ve been working together off and on for almost nine years! Throughout 2015 we’ve been doing some experiments with sound, dance, reflective mylar and modular lighting. On Friday November 6 we’ll be debuting a new piece that showcases some of that work. dark matter will contain four channel surround sound music, video, dance, mylar, smart phone media and live music. I’ll be joined by another old friend, violinist Carlos Santiago, for this performance.

Friday, November 6, 8pm
at thefidget space (1714 N Mascher St)
Space Pulse Pattern Presence, with:
dark matter, by Michael McDermott and Zornitsa Stoyanova (2015/16 <fidget> artists in residence)
SP3, by <fidget>/Peter Price & Megan Bridge (work-in-progress)
and guest curator Flandrew Fleisenberg welcomes:  
ID M Theft Able, Himself (Portland, Maine) 
Bromp Treb, Performance (Western Massachusetts)
Tickets: $10- $20 sliding scale

dark matter


New Website

Finally I’d like to welcome you to my new website SoundofListening.com. For years I’ve done sound art, film and dance scores, ambient music albums, performances, etc. all under the umbrella of Mikronesia. The Mikronesia moniker will still live on, but that will refer specifically to ambient music recordings, shows and productions. With Sound of Listening I want to highlight my work with Deep Listening, Field Recording, Sonic Awareness and Interaction. Check it out!