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.
CHOROCHRONOS is a collection of four gorgeous experimental works for clarinet, percussion and electronics. Red Desert Ensemble (Katie Porter and Devin Maxwell) lovingly recorded duos they’ve performed for almost two decades in small spaces, for even smaller audiences all over the US (and Canada) by composers André Cormier, Lucie Vítková and Michael Pisaro alongside a huge new spectral work for clarinet and electronics by Maxwell. The result is exceptional, a document of music trapped in ether or volcanic rock, both unearthed stillness and totally jarring, a perfect music-as-art for our time. With cover artwork by Christine Heindl, liner notes by Adam Tinkle, design by Phillip Niemeyer and video art by Svavar Jónatansson and Dev Harlan, the album is released on vinyl, CD and digital download by the label Infrequent Seams. CHOROCHRONOS follows Red Desert Ensemble’s tradition of inviting audiences into the sound world of avant-garde music with practiced interpretations, attentive curation, and insightful performances.
Katie Porter, clarinet, bass clarinet
Devin Maxwell, percussion, electronics
1. ANDRÉ CORMIER – Sommeil (11:17)
for clarinet and percussion (2002)
2. DEVIN MAXWELL – Bonneville Park 3 (11:20)
for solo clarinet and electronics (2020)
3. LUCIE VÍTKOVÁ – Choral No. 13 (5:07)
for clarinet/bass clarinet and vibraphone/percussion (2016)
4. MICHAEL PISARO – Turning (15:43)
for bass clarinet and percussion (2001)
RELEASE DATE December 18, 2020 on Infrequent Seams, pre-order now
Some nice projects are coming out of this time:
On May 27th, 2020 (7PM Istanbul/10AM Utah) I’ll be playing live with bassist Sebastian Gramss (Cologne), Jeremy Woodruff (Istanbul/Berlin), cellist Anil Eraslin (Istanbul) and the incredible BC Manjunath (Bangalore) for a zoom livestream through the Bahcesehir University in Istanbul, the first iteration of the International Online Orchestra. Here is the link
On June 6, 2020 (6PM PDT/7PM Utah) I’ll be performing in Daniel Corral’s Sextet for Similar Sounds as part of Culture Hub Re-Fest, a global art & technology community founded by SeoulArts & La MaMa. (POSTPONED)
9/10/2020 Red Desert Ensemble at the Summit Community Gardens, a benefit for the garden’s COVID 19 effort. We’ll perform works from the avant-garde outdoors, including multiple percussion with audience participation encouraged! BYO Dinner/Drinks, grab veggies from the garden! TICKETS
RECORDINGS & COLLABORATIONS
I’ll be working with composer Teodora Stepančić to record a new work for clarinet + synth. We were supposed to record together in NYC this summer, but instead we’ll record apart, in special places. This project is supported by a NYFA grant and includes new duos written for Teodora and myself, Lucie Vítková, Rachel Mangold and Erin Rogers. She says it will be a “journey through spaces” which sounds perfect.
I spent some time recording clarinet and bass clarinet parts for composer Brian Harnetty‘s new project based on the writings of the 20th c Cistercian monk and prolific writer from Kentucky, Thomas Merton.
And I recorded around 30 minutes of bass clarinet for Andy Graydon‘s A*Array, a sound and video installation, a collaboration of musicians across far distances, much like the international astronomy project connecting observatories around the world that the piece is based on.
I’m also excited to collaborate far and wide. The projects are just starting and we will see where they go- an ongoing bass clarinet duo with Lucio Capece in Berlin, a Cardew project with cellist Juho Laitinen in Helsinki, zooms with composer Daniel Goode in NYC to learn the rest of his beautiful Clarinet Songs, the beginnings of a collaboration with the sculptor Kelsey Harrison here in Utah, a duo by André Cormier with the London-based soprano and curator Juliet Frazer. Also! Devin Maxwell is writing an OPERA based on Hector running from Achilles in the Illiad, the score is for bass clarinet, string quartet and electronics, with four voices, and it looks like we will start workshopping it virtually this month. So glad for music.
Well, I hope you are all OK. We are OK.
New release on Love Records: on the first day of 2020 we played a new year’s concert at Teodora Stepančić and Assaf Gidron’s home in Brooklyn, NY. This is a selection of solo pieces for clarinet and snare drum recorded that day, part of a larger program. Works by Lucie Vítková, Johanna Beyer, Pauline Oliveros, Susanna Gartmayer and Tim Parkinson.
I can’t believe I have all 3 books of Listen/Space scores in my hands! Ready for our BIG book release celebration at DOGSTAR ORCHESTRA in LA on June 9.
And the recordings!!!!
Just found this gem. Our live performance in Boston at ELMS a few year’s back. Can you tell what instrument is what???
Katie Porter, bass clarinet, Erik Carlson, violin, Nomi Epstein, piano, Colin Tucker, cello
April 17, 2019 7PM Red Desert & Radical Quiet at the UMFA in SLC, UT https://umfa.utah.edu/events
Red Desert ensemble and Radical Quiet, an Honors College course that cultivates presence and awareness through mindful experience of the arts, present Terry Riley’s IN C. Red Desert (Katie Porter/Devin Maxwell) will perform Morton Feldman’s Bass Clarinet and Percussion, Pauline Oliveros’ Bye Bye Butterfly and Devin Maxwell’s PH6. Afterwards, an all-star ensemble of Utah musicians and students will perform Terry Riley’s minimalist masterpiece IN C for an indefinite number of performers.
June 9, 2019 7PM Listen/Space Commissions at DOGSTAR, Los Angeles, CA https://www.facebook.com/dogstarorchestra/
We are having a _GIANT_ book release concert in LA to celebrate the release of 4 volumes of scores from our Listen/Space commissioning project, along with 6 hours of recordings. Almost all of us will be there! Including: Quentin Tolimieri, Katie Porter, Devin Maxwell, Stephanie Richards, Phil Rodriguez, Kevin Farrell, Jonathan Marmor, Kristin Olson, Christine Tavolacci, Doug Barrett, Travis Just, Eric KM Clark, Andrew Munsey, Nathan Herrera and André Cormier. It will be stellar!! I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!
My performance of Lucie Vitkova’s FIVE (the only time I played it on bass clarinet) and Devin Maxwell playing Pauline Oliveros from our live concert at Wind River in Santa Cruz, California last February are featured on this year’s ESSENTIAL INDEXICAL album! Get it!!