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:

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. 

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

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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!

Perpetual Movement and Sound – WAsh cycle

image

For Bilwa’s photo show at 10th Street Laundromat we had a special debut performance from Perpetual Movement and Sound. The quartet for this show consisted of Bilwa and Mikronesia providing music and Emily Sweeney and Zornitsa Stoyanova providing movement. The improvised dance and sound score involved moving through the laundromat with lights and fabric. Below is a recording of the sound from that night.