Sound American No.27: The Life Issue

Katie Porter

It’s Not A Loop, It’s A Spiral: Fragments of Letters I Wrote This Year

I wrote about a lot of things, about collaborations with Lucio Capece and Christine Tavolacci and how music is about people for me, working together, being together. But also, I wrote about the days and days going by, impermanence, isolation and all the little things my kids say and do. Thank you Nate Wooley and Jennie Gottschalk for asking me to contribute to SA27 and thank you to Juho Laitinen for the inspiration to write this year and for always writing me back so beautifully.

Read it Online: https://soundamerican.org/issues/life/its-not-loop-its-spiral-fragments-letters-i-wrote-year

Purchase a Book: https://www.newworldrecords.org/products/sound-american-27-the-life-issue

SHOWS in weird places: whatever year we’re in and onto 2022

Here are some of the shows and projects I have coming up, updated and unfolding slowly on my SHOWS page. I would love to see you!

Oct 2021 NYC

Oct 23, 2021 Avant GaRAWge, Provo, Utah.  8PM Katie Porter solo bass clarinet and electronics: Michelle Lou, Phill Niblock, John Lely, improvisations on Alice Coltrane. With Larsplund.

Oct 28, 2021 Interstitials Newtown Creek, Queens, NYC. 10:30AM Katie Porter, John Hastings, Aaron Meicht – a short performance activating our urban environment / infrastructure. https://www.johnphastings.org/interstitials

Oct 29, 2021 Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NYC. Piano+ Winds Concert #29 St. Paul’s Church. New works for piano and winds by Teodora Stepancic, Laura Cetilia and Assaf Gidron. Katie Porter, Lester St. Louis, Erin Rogers, Assaf Gidron, Douglas Farrand, Weston Olencki

Nov 14, 2021 NOVA Chamber Music Series, Songs of Life, Libby Gardner Hall, SLC, UT 3PM Alfred Schnittke, Serenade for 5 Instruments and Devin Maxwell’s Get Along Little Dogies

Nov 19-20, 2021 High Desert Soundings Festival. Joshua Tree, California.  Malosma, Katie Porter and Christine Tavolacci duo.

DEC 2021 Phase to Phase: Katie Porter and Lucio Capece bass clarinet duo RECORD RELEASE on Japan’s FTARRI RECORDS

Dec 6, 2021 Westminster Chamber Players, Westminster College, SLC. Pamela Z’s Twenty Answers

Dec 10, 2021 University of Utah New Music Ensemble, SLC. Frederic Rjewski’s Les Moutons de Panurge

Dec 15, 2021 QUBIT at Trans-Pecos in NYC https://qubitmusic.com/. Quartet: Katie Porter, James Ilgenfritz, Lucie Vitkova, Teerapat Parnmongkol

Jan 6, 2022 Flexible Orchestra in NYC. Katie Porter premieres Daniel Goode’s Bridges of Pittsburgh duet

Jan 21, 2022 Abravanel Series, SLC, UT. Manuela Meier ‘iterate no trace‘ bass clarinet solo

Feb 10-14, 2022 Red Desert Ensemble residency at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Cornell Contemporary Chamber Players

April 3, 2022 Westminster College School of Music. SLC, UT 3-6PM. Red Desert plays Nina C. Young and Michelle Lou/ FILM SCREENING: Sisters with Transistors / Eliane Radigue Tryptich

April 4, 2022 Abravanel Series Concert, SLC, Ut

April 10, 2022 NOVA Chamber Music Series, Songs of the Americas, Libby Gardner Hall, SLC, UT 3PM

April 2022 West Coast Tour dates TBD with James Ilgenfritz

May 3-6, 2022 Red Desert Ensemble residency at San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA

May 2022 EU Tour dates TBD with Phase to Phase/ Lucio Capece

A few big things

Aug 3-5 I’ll be in Los Angeles recording the duo Malosma with flutist Christine Tavolacci at Automata.

Then spend the bulk of August 2021 playing principle clarinet for new orchestra premieres at the Ostrava Days Festival in the Czech Republic.

The first week of September I travel to Berlin, Germany to work with Lucio Capece and play a couple shows.

Sept 3@ KM28 in Berlin: I share a night at KM28 with bassist James Ilgenfritz. Clarinet solos + electronics. Bassist James Ilgenfritz and bass clarinetist Katie Porter present solo works by Teodora Stepancic, Devin Maxwell, Lucie Vítková, and Gergely Szabó, and perform with Viola Yip, Nicola Hein, Chris Heenan, Magda Mayas, and Axel Dörner.

Sept 5 @ St. Petersburg Art Space Berlin. Lucio Capece and I will premiere Phase to Phase I and Phase to Phase II, our bass clarinet duos recorded slowly all year over zoom.

And HUGE NEWS:. The Japanese label FTARRI will release our recordings in December 2021. Here is the cover art!

Finally, I was asked to contribute to SOUND AMERICAN Issue 27: The Life Issue. I wrote a huge article taken from letters to my friend Juho Laitinen during the pandemic, about life, kids, loss and music. This will be released in the fall.

more things in the works! Xo

TEMPO reviews Red Desert Chorochronos

TEMPO The Quarterly Review of New Music Vol. 75 No.297 Review by Roger Heaton

This issue of TEMPO, July 2021, spends a -good- two pages on our Red Desert album, who we are, and what this music might be about. I’m so pleased. Thank you Roger Heaton and Heather Roche.#andrecormier @thedevinmaxwell @lucie__vitkova @mpisaroliu #reddesertensemble @infrequent_seams

“One begins to see that the Wandelweiser aesthetic (wide-ranging as it is), with it’s Cagean/Wolffian roots, the importance of silence, space and sounds in space, seems, on the evidence of this disc and the pair’s extraordinarily devoted work in the performance and promotion of experimental music, to be particularly important to Red Desert, not least in the way they have presented new work in small-scale, informal and unusual spaces.”

“It is a striking and dramatic piece [Andre Cormier], played with great control and intensity by both players, which would benefit greatly from the drama of live performance.”

This is not superficial ambient music: [Lucie Vitkova] these are carefully heard sounds that are really well controlled, particularly in the clarinet playing.”

More! https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/tempo/article/abs/red-desert-red-desert-chorochronos-porter-maxwell-infrequent-seams-24/551C603E1218089B8777D3F0FFDC752A

A few pictures/clips from my pop-up solo concert at UMOCA. Bass clarinet + electronics + electronics

April 30, 2021 6PM Bass Clarinet + electronics + electronics, Pop-Up concert, Art opening Dimitri Kozyrev and Joshua Graham at UMOCA with poet Alex Caldiero https://www.eventbrite.com/e/umoca-exhibition-openings-tickets-150972945143

Katie Porter @ UMOCA

DUETI by Teodora Stepančić out today on LOVE Records (NYC)- “clarinet sounds all over the place” and duets for & with friends Erin Rogers, Lucie Vítková and Rachel Mangold

So happy to hear the results of this collaboration with composer Teodora Stepančić. We worked remotely while I was in Utah, and Teodora in NYC, late summer nights recording multiphonics and long, long ostinatos. It’s a beautiful THIRTY TWO minute piece with shapes and colors that I just love. For me! All of the pieces are so beautiful. Please consider listening.

four duets
for & with friends: Lucie, Erin, Katie, Rachel
pieces about sharing, learning & being together
dedicated to Anji, my sister
composed in 2018 & 2020

credits

released April 25, 2021

Composed by Teodora Stepančić

Performed by Katie Porter, Erin Rogers, Rachel Mangold, Lucie Vítková, Teodora

Recorded by Assaf Gidron at St.Paul’s Episcopal church, Brooklyn

Produced by Douglas Farrand & Teodora

Edited, mixed, mastered by Assaf Gidron & Teodora at Big Family Audio Co.

Photo by Gordana Reljin Stepančić

Supported by NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music and Theatre
by the City of New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment
in association with NYFA

Sharing MALOSMA : collaborative work with Christine Tavolacci (in celebration of our birthdays) April 16, 2021 7:30PM PST

Malosma is a 35-minute-long work for bass flute, bass clarinet and video co-created by Katie Porter & Christine Tavolacci. Malosma uses both structured divinatory practices and improvisation to facilitate a meditation on the natural closing and creation of chapters, time and place. We want to share this work with all of you on the occasion of our birthdays (April 12 & 14), in celebration of life and the new growth that this season brings. 

Over the last 6 months, Christine and I have been meeting over zoom and creating a duo. It grew to include very slow moving video footage from Christine’s time hiking in the Los Angeles forest, and slow moving notes. We share a birthday week and want to share this work with you! We’ll be playing live with the video for about a half hour, then feel free to celebrate/chat with us over on zoom. XO!

Beautiful, thoughtful review in Slug Magazine

https://www.slugmag.com/music/reviews-music/local-music-reviews/red-desert-ensemble-chorochronos/

RED DESERT ENSEMBLE – CHOROCHRONOS

By Audrey Lockie
February 24, 2021

CHOROCHRONOS lives in the crevices in between sounds; in the space between an incidental grumble and an actualized statement. But rather than drift toward ambience or sonic wallpaper, the duo of Katie Porter (clarinet and bass clarinet) and Devin Maxwell (percussion and electronics) favor a balanced determinism and provide each sound here with the force of intention—even if such a sound barely rises into audibility. Whether through auditory illusions such as pitch and timbre matching or an expert approach to contrast, Porter and Maxwell take the admittedly strange instrumentation of their duo and the even more obviously strange content of these four compositions and approach a unity full of naturalism and stoicism.

The apex of this synchronicity arrives through Maxwell’s own “Bonneville Park 3,” a piece for clarinet and electronics. A majority of the piece’s 11-minute runtime finds Porter’s clarinet tones in  harmony with the sparkling electronics of Maxwell’s synths. Its most stunning moments blend the competing sounds into a vibrant mass, forming a choir of coalescing tones without obvious source or reference point. As the piece drives toward its final minutes, though, Porter’s long tones morph into a cyclical melodic pattern while Maxwell’s swirl of synthesizers grows in intensity. The entrance of a thunderous bass tone grounds the previously airy piece, and “Bonneville Park 3” reaches a moment of climactic reward unlike any other on the album.

The unexpected fervor found in the conclusion of “Bonneville Park 3” points toward Red Desert’s underlying mischievousness—a willingness to subvert expectations. André Cormier’s “Sommeil” begins with a stumbling barrage of percussion sounds and a jester-like clarinet melody, a passage of thuds and flits that stands apart from the whispered nature of the rest of the record. This bombast almost immediately dissolves into steady timpani rolls and low-volume clarinet moans for most of the piece’s runtime, only for the duo to hard cut the drones off with what sounds like an elevator-door chime and close out with an unexpected return to the sonic carnival of its opening.

If these two opening pieces provide a wealth of structural experimentation, their counterparts on CHOROCHRONOS’ second side embrace repetition and austerity. Both Lucie Vitková’s “Choral No. 13” and Michael Pisaro’s “Turning” follow a similar structure: single bursts of sound interspersed between bouts of silence. “Choral No. 13” works with more overt variety, differentiating each sonic stopgap with a grab-bag of warbling percussion sounds and some delightfully eyebrow-raising harmonies. “Turning” burrows further toward an idiosyncratic limit point, stretching out the silent interludes while each instance of feather-light clarinet notes and percussion rustlings speak only through whispered rasps. Without the structural surprises of the preceding tracks, “Choral No. 13” and, especially, “Turning”  lay bare the beauty of sound for the sake of the beauty of sound.

If the surface of CHOROCHRONOS presents a record full of placid sounds and an almost self-flagellating embrace of repetition and near-silence, the deeper layers reveal a novel approach to subtlety and musical care that makes minute changes in decibel or pitch feel like exercises in long-distance running. In their performance of these four works, Porter and Maxwell showcase an empathetic approach to the art of the avant-garde duo—never does either musician envelop the other, and never does anyone attempt to wrangle these beguiling, glass-fragile compositions out of their always-disappearing outlines. –Audrey Lockie

Red Desert review in the WIRE, Issue 443, Jan 2021

Modern Composition By Julian Cowley, The Wire, Issue 443, January 2021 https://www.thewire.co.uk/issues/443

Red Desert Ensemble, Chorochronos, Infrequent Seams, CD/DL/LP

Splitting their time between New York Brooklyn and a mountain cabin in Utah, percussionist Devin Maxwell and clarinettist Katie Porter have been honing their finely poised musical partnership for the best part of two decades. They came together as a duo when Michael Pisaro wrote Turning for them in 2002. It is revived here, sparse and tense, a prolonged, palpably gradual and finely balanced rotation around the threshold of audibility. Three other pieces fill out the picture. In Andre Cormier’s Sommeil, trills and chimes are interspersed with muted tones and rumblings. Lucie Vitkova’s Choral No. 13 is luminous and graceful. Maxwell’s own Bonneville Park 3 is a spectral tour de force pitching acoustic instruments against textured electronics. Performances that testify to the deep affinity and meshed horizons that unite and energise Red Desert Ensemble.