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:

signaltonoisemeditation

Hello everyone, a quick announcement about a new piece I’ll be premiering at the Site/Sound: Revealing the Rail Park Festival commissioned and presented by American Composers Forum, Mural Arts Philly, and Friends of the Rail Park. The piece is called signaltonoisemeditation and will be performed by me on electronic instruments. The 45-minute piece explores the sonic history of telecommunications in Philadelphia. I have a personal family history with telephone technology as my grandmother, grandfather and both my parents worked for the phone company here in Philadelphia.

I’ll be performing at the site of the new installation by Carolyn Healy and John JH Phillips called Aspect 281. Their installation (photo below) is inspired by the history of railroad and signaling technology in Philadelphia. It’s a beautiful and immersive experience and worth experiencing on its own!

The Site/Sound Festival is fantastic and features three weeks of live music along with site-specific media installations along the path of the in-progress Rail Park. Check out some previews in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philly Voice.

signaltonoisemeditation
Saturday Oct 19, 7:15-8:00 PM
990 Spring Garden Street (East Lot)
Philadelphia

Here’s a preview of the festival:

Summer of Listening

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Happy summer everyone. Thanks for opening this email and at least skimming the first line 😉

I had an amazing time in Europe these past two months. I did a 3-week tour with William “Bilwa” Costa which took our Un/Natural Fields project to Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Austria and Poland with support from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. After that, I did another set of shows with singer Katrine Faber in Germany and Denmark. I’m still waiting on some documentation to be posted, but I will share some live recordings and videos soon. I have plans to collaborate on more projects with both artists in 2019.

Faber McDermott performing at Spektrum in Berlin. Photo by Carl Krüger

I’ll be back in Berlin for a three-month residency at GlogauAIR working on and (finally) presenting a version of Echozoo this fall. Until then I’ll be in Philadelphia and I’m doing a series of workshops and concerts in the coming weeks centered around mindfulness and listening.
 


COURTS

Photo by Shawn Theodore, a fellow Artist in Residence

Before I get into the workshops, if you’re in Philadelphia this week, please check out the closing party for an amazing photo and sound installation I was honored to be a part of. I was an artist in residence at the Village of Arts and Humanities SPACES program. As part of that residency, I created music and sound design (along with the band Ill Doots) using people’s voices and basketball court field recordings from the Hartranft neighborhood in North Philadelphia exploring the culture of the past, present, and future of the courts for the show, Home Court: The Hartranft Basketball Court Revival. Check out the SPACES website for more info. The closing party is Wednesday, July 18, 6-8pm at The Village of Arts and Humanities gallery space.
 


Art of Listening Class

The Art of Listening
Springboard Studio
530 Carpenter Ln, Philadelphia, PA 19119
Sunday, July 22, 11 am – 4 pm
Suggested Donation/Danā $20
Event Info

A day-long class exploring meditative states of listening consciousness led by composer and dharma teacher Michael Reiley McDermott. Through listening, we can develop an intimate connection to our environment, each other and ourselves. In this day-long retreat, Michael will take us through listening exercises, periods of silent meditation, Dharma talks, performance scores of singing and sounding and a sound walk. The practices of Listening Consciousness are rooted in Theravada and Zen Buddhism, vipassana meditation, the Deep Listening techniques of Pauline Oliveros, Thich Nhat Hahn and the music and philosophy of John Cage.

No meditation or musical experience necessary. Beginners are welcome.


Healing Frequencies


Healing Frequencies
with Maraliz Campos and Michael Reiley McDermott
Magick City
37 Box St. Brooklyn, NY
August 4, 9pm-11:30
$15 / pre-show // $10 / door
Facebook Event | Tickets

A night of healing frequencies and intentional dialog about listening, time and consciousness. Maraliz Campos and Michael Reiley McDermott, sound practitioners/musicians, present a discussion and concert and sound journey across aural landscapes with filtered and reimagined field recordings from Michael’s recent travels and artist residencies in Thailand, Myanmar, India, Germany, Latvia, Iceland, United States and Brazil.

Part two is a meditative ambient journey from Paraguayan-American artist Maraliz with crystal/Himalayan bowls, rattles, original samples, synth, vocals, tuning forks, etc.


Listening Bodies


Listening Bodies
with Monica Gentile (Lake Studios Berlin) and Michael Reiley McDermott
Mascher Space Cooperative
155 Cecil B. Moore Ave. Philadelphia
August 11th, 11am – 3pm
$10 / Before August 1 // $15-20 / After August 1
Tickets | Facebook Event A workshop exploring states of consciousness and embodiment. Open to dancers, musicians, artists, yogis, and meditators.

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. 

Longwood Garden Klip Collective Installation

Hello everyone. Hope you’re enjoying these final weeks of summer here in North America. I have a few outdoor events coming up I wanted to share with you.

Nightscape

Nightscpae at Longwood Gardens

I’m very proud to have been asked to create a piece of music for Klip Collective’s award-winnning garden, light, sound and video installation at Longwood Garden’s called Nightscape. For this show I created a variation of the first movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” (one of my favorite pieces).

The show opens August 3 and runs through October 29
Longwood Gardens
1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348

Also there’s a vinyl record release of the music from this and last year’s show which is for sale at Klip’s bandcamp.

Nightscape

Deep Listening Soundwalk

A photo from the trail we'll be walking on

As part of my studies in Deep Listening with Pauline Oliveros at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute I’ve started a Philadelphia Deep Listening Study Group. The group meets to discuss Deep Listening concepts, practice sound-based meditations and perform Deep Listening scores. Member William Fields has come up with the name “Sound Sangha” which I rather like 🙂

This month’s meet-up will be a Soundwalk through the Wissahickon Woods on Thursday August 11. We’ll explore the sound field of the southern most section of the Wissahickon, practice listening meditations and perform two of Pauline’s scores along our walk. 

*Note this a make-up of the rained-out Soundwalk from July 23.

Please email michael@soundoflistening.com to sign-up. 

We’ll meet at the Wissahickon Septa Train Station on Rochelle St. and walk north through the woods. The entire walk will be about 3 miles roundtrip.

Soundwalk through the Wissahickon
Thursday August 11, 6pm-9pm
Wissahickon Station
5100 Rochelle Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19128

Echozoo Thank You!

Golden Toad

A huge thank you to all the people who successfully funded Echozoo. Those people who backed the project will get a special thank-you inside the smartphone app once it’s developed as well as access to exclusive content like: A sneak peak track of the sound-world of the Golden Toad from South America which went extinct in the 1990s. Also I’ll be recording some field recording footage and vlogs on my upcoming trip to Washington and Montana to record animals and habitats for the App that will go out to the Hatchfund backers. So if you didn’t get a chance to back Echozoo, the good news is the site will be live and you can still become a backer to get this exclusive content and help support the development of this ambitious project.

Now let me take a couple more lines of this email to specially thank all the backers for Echozoo! It means so much to me to receive this support of my work. THANK YOU!!!!!!

Darcy Lyons, Steffan Schulz, Cory Neale, James Falconi, Jason & Emmalee MacDonald, Melissa & Carl Franke, Mary Kalyna, Kevin Brown, Carla Willard, M Eckstrom, Dave Di Lullo, Es Pisarek, Zornitsa Stoyanova, Mary Niewood, Ian Nauroth, Sharon Stewart, Benjamin Warfield, Patricia McDermott & Jack Malgeri, Pearson Constantino, Brian Wainwright, Jebney Lewis, fidget, Francis Markey, Emme McDermott, Glenn Benge, mauri Walton, Richard Baybutt, Patrick O’Connor, Delia Tash, Jonathan Moniz, Robin Rosecky, Nora Gibson, Katinka Marc, Thomas Reliey, Kim Epson, William Clarke-Fields, Anne C. Cecil, Steven Peltier and two Annonymouses.

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

Capsule

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Sound art installation piece presented at Little Berlin Gallery in Feb 2014. Capsule was part of the show Never Like Like It Is Now which featured pieces relating to ice. For my piece I created a sound capturing device (using an iPod Touch and a custom iOS and Pure Data App) that would record and freeze the audio spoken into an attached microphone inside the cooler. The result was a frozen mass of sound documenting whatever sounds the attached microphone picked up. Below is a demonstration video of someone trying Capsule out.

image

Antarctica

For The Fidget Fall Experimental Music Festival Nora Gibson and myself were asked to create a music and dance work. We decided to show a work-in-progress for a large media project Antarctica. Antarctica is the story of the end of human data, the end of history, the end of information. It was presented as a 20 minute film projected on three translucent floating screen and with singing by Steve Quaranta.

Below is an excerpt from the film:

ANTARCTICA Development Preview from Michael McDermott on Vimeo.

Where It Was, There I Shall Be

Mixed Media Installation (materials, sound, video and photographs) by Michael McDermott, Derek Moench and Megan Cauley. This installation explored the concept of “The Shadow Self” by Carl Jung.

The piece was a giant stone well with a video screen at the bottom playing a video loop of a human figure in free fall. Around the well were positioned 8 speakers playing a continuously shifting soundscape of original music.

Where It Was, There I Shall Be from Michael McDermott on Vimeo.