Laughing, Buzzing, and Looking Back

In February, Samuel Stoll and I gave a concert of new vocal and French horn solos/duos in Manchester at Nexus Arts Café. During our concert, we performed Louis d’Heudieres‘ Laughter Studies 2.

The next day, Samuel and I made a recording of our collaboratively developed French horn piece, Buzzed.

An interview with Mercé Bosch-Sanfelix about Buzzed, conducted for her master’s thesis Desarrollo de la escritura para trompa en relación con los nuevos lenguajes musicales, can be read here.

Tempus Konnex published an essay I wrote on Seth Kim-Cohen’s idea of retrospective composition in relation to my toy piano solo, Composition with the Sound of Its Own Découpage that can be read here.

My 2014 trio for French horn, piano, and double bass, this is not natural, has been re-released in the form of a score-following video as part of Score Follower / Incipitsify’s newest channel/project Mediated Scores. I’m very happy to be in the good company of composers Dan Tramte, Celest Oram, Elena Rykova, and Jessie Marino in the channel’s first wave of uploads.

My trio for violin and objects was premiered as part of 840’s New Music for Violin and Objects concert in Islignton, London. An article focusing on the video-score for the violin part can be read here.

I finally decided to upload to my website an essay I wrote in 2011 about Klaus Hübler’s music and notation that can be read here.

Limbs Have Hearts and Eyes Hear – on ‘]HoldingOn[‘

This blog post is about one of the three scores from my trio ||: trouble letting go :|| – ]HoldingOn[ – 4 Echoes: whistle, whisper, gasp, silence composed for violin and objects. The trio is a collection of three pieces that are intended to be simultaneously performed together and was written for the London-based concert series 840 for their ‘New Music for Violin and Objects’ programme. In this blog I reflect on some developments in my work with video scores in the piece ]HoldingOn[. 


video score for ]HoldingOn[ / instructions for reading the score

Background
]HoldingOn[
is my second self-published video score and extends upon some of the previous work I was doing in this is not natural, a trio for French hornist, pianist, and contrabassist.[1]

To briefly recap the work I did in this is not natural: the score for this is not natural is made/composed from edited video-documentation of pre-recorded performances of a choreographed sequence of movements lasting fifteen seconds. Inspired by Bill Viola’s Quintet of the Astonished, large portions of the original performance documentation were extremely slowed down to fill the duration of nine minutes. Frames from the original footage are spread out across larger distances, breaking the illusion of apparent motion, and through a process of interpolation, new frames are generated to fill the space in-between original frames and render the movement/footage smooth. Continue reading

BUZZED @ Nexus Arts Café

Last July I moved to Manchester and am excited to now be presenting my first concert in the city in collaboration with the Berlin-based French hornist Samuel Stoll:

BUZZED
Saturday, 20 February 2016 @ Nexus Arts Cáfe
2 Dale Street, Manchester, M1 1JW [click for map]
Doors – 8:00pm / Concert – 8:30pm
FREE (£5 donation)

Samuel and I have been collaborating for the last year, sending back and forth recorded improvisations and other materials. This concert is a combination of our own repertoires and the piece that emerged out of our collaboration with each other. BUZZED will feature recently composed experimental music and performances for solo voice and french horn in which I’m turned into a still-life, Samuel displays feats of embouchuric dexterity and stamina, we both explore a sonic and aural study of laughter, and soon-to-be legacy media are barely brought to life with the nylon hairs of violin bows.

Program:

Event listing on Facebook

Studio Recording of ‘No sweeter sound than my own name’

Beavan Flanagan and I have been busy at work editing and mixing the audio from our recording session of No sweeter sound than my own name, and are excited to be able to finally share the result with everyone. Watch and listen to the video below and then read back through our reflections on the collaboration and development process to find out more about the work.

No sweeter sound than my own name (2015)
composed by Beavan Flanagan
performed by Michael Baldwin
videoed by Angela Guyton

Live Performance of ‘No sweeter sound than my own name’

Live performance as part of the WEISSLICH concert series at Hundred Years Gallery
Filming credit: Tom Hartford

It has been a long time since I’ve written an update on the collaborative project Beavan Flanagan and I set out on about five months ago. Since the last update No sweeter sound than my own name has undergone several changes. The score has been finished, we’ve repurposed a storage stool into a speaker cabinet, experimented with a makeshift bone-conduction swimming cap, and performed the piece across England. Performances have taken place in Coventry, Birmingham, London, and last night in Huddersfield at the inaugural HCMOFF – an unaffiliated fringe event to the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (HCMF//). Continue reading

‘No sweeter sound than my own name’ – Reflections and Commentary on Reading Audio-Score Drafts

I have been working with Beavan Flanagan to develop a new vocal piece for me titled, no sweeter sound than my own name. Beavan and I are exploring the use of an audio score and along the way I have been writing a few reflections on the experience of ‘reading’ the score. A couple of weeks ago Beavan Flanagan and I met up again to try out an updated audio-score. What follows are my reflections on practicing the original audio-score and reading the updated audio-score. My reflections are accompanied by commentary from Beavan and a video excerpt of the run-throughs we did during our workshops. Continue reading

externalized traces – In Conversation with Charlie Sdraulig about ‘few’

After visiting Charlie in May, and documenting a realization of few, I asked Charlie if he would be interested in having a free-form conversation with me about the piece and our collaboration. In our conversation we discussed the context from which few emerged, strategies for devising realizations, performative idiosyncrasies, overhearing, the duration of the score and its relation to focus, re-sounding as a possible way of interpreting the work activated by the piece, and an idea of documentation as inviting mishearings.


IN CONVERSATION WITH CHARLIE SDRAULIG ABOUT FEW

Michael Baldwin: Let’s start by talking about the context in which few was written.

Charlie Sdraulig: few is the third piece in a series collectively known as breath. The other two pieces in the series were primarily concerned with developing a vocabulary of sounds for winds predicated on a tenuous physical relationship between a performer and their instrument. The idea for this third breath piece had been percolating for a while and I wasn’t entirely sure what form it would take. Actually, the piece started off quite grandiosely as this kind of epic for slide whistle! Continue reading