Flashback: Stylus BLK Arkestra electro-acoustic turntable noise piece from 2014 Sonic Circuits Fest

That time my wife Raquel and I joined the Stylus turntable ensemble for a performance at the 2014 Sonic Circuits Festival in Silver Spring, MD. For this incarnation, Stylus was expanded by strings and other electronics from members of Stylus leader/composer Jim Adams’ other group BLK w/Bear. The piece entitled “To Satisfy Their Cruel Hunger” involves rather high concept inspiration and compositional techniques which I will leave to Jim to explain in his program notes, as follows:

STYLUS BLK ARKESTRA – featuring STYLUS turntable ensemble with additional performers from Washington’s avant-garde, modern classical and noise communities as BLK ARKESTRA and ONE CHORD PONIES – staged a major work for modern Classical ensemble, electronics and vintage turntables at the 2014 Sonic Circuits Festival, 05 October 2014.

TO SATISFY THEIR CRUEL HUNGER re-conceptualizes + interprets the Jamestown Settlement’s ‘Starving Time’ (1609-1610) and the now confirmed reports of resident’s cannibalism.

The score is structured from Morse code signals along with visual interpretations of artifacts from Jamestown Settlement archaeological digs, particularly the skeletal remains of its cruel hunger’s victims. The six movements of TO SATISFY THEIR CRUEL HUNGER incorporate vintage Califone turntables, prepared vinyl recordings, cello, guitars, bass, analog electronics, MIDI piano and Morse Code. Prepared vinyl is inscribed with J M S T W N and 1 6 0 9 1 0 in Roman numerals.

“First they ate their horses, then dogs, cats, rats, mice and snakes. Some, to satisfy their cruel hunger, ate the leather of their shoes. As the weeks turned to months, nothing was spared to maintain life. How many of the growing numbers of dead were cannibalized is unknown. But it is almost certain the girl was not the only victim. There is scientific evidence that the settlers at Jamestown had turned to cannibalism during the starving time.” BBC News, 01 May 2013 www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-22362831

PERFORMERS: Anthony Pirog (turntable / guitar); Daniel Barbiero (double bass); Chris Videll (electronics); Doug Poplin (cello); Jeff Barsky (guitar); Guillermo Pizarro (digital contributor); PD Sexton (digital contributor); Gary Rouzer: (turntable); Jeff Bagato (turntable); Chester Hawkins (turntable); Keith Sinzsinger (turntable); Raquel Leone-Bagato (turntable); and JS Adams, artistic director (loops / electronics / Morse Code / mix + manipulations ).

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