Cornell Contemporary Chamber Players proudly presents a concert by Red Desert performing new works by Han Xu, Miles Friday, María Alejandra Bulla, John Eagle, Laura Cetilia, and Joshua Biggs.
RED DESERT: Katie Porter, clarinets, Devin Maxwell, percussion
Concrete Islands // John Hastings & Aaron Meicht // Katie Porter, bass clarinet, Teodora Stepancic, keyboard, Aaron Meicht, trumpet, Ivan Barenboim, contra bass clarinet. Recorded and performed on site, various locations, NYC, NY
Daniel Goode & Katie Porter – Bridges of Pittsburgh Premiere Celebration, April 30, 2022, NYC, NY. Works by Daniel Goode, Giacinto Scelsi, Johanna Beyer. Katie Porter, Eileen Mack and Daniel Goode, clarinets.
Teerapat Parnmongkol (thung kula ronghai). Katie Porter, bass clarinet. Christ Foss, shakuhachi. Sept 2022. Judson Memorial Church, NYC, NY
KLANGRAUM residency in Dusseldorf. Week 1, July 5-10 with musicians Eva-Maria Houben, Antoine Beuger, Katie Porter, James Creed, Lörinc Muntag, Bernd Bleffert, Angeles Rojas.
Release date! JULY 3, 2022 Phase to Phase (Lucio Capece/ Katie Porter bass clarinet duo) out on FTARRI Records (Japan) I have CDs in the US! I’ve been talking about this record release for awhile but it’s been impossible to ship things from Japan, so this has been a real labor of love. https://ftarrilabel.bandcamp.com/album/phase-to-phase
July 16 BERLIN, house show with Lucio Capece to celebrate our record release!!! (contact me for details!). ;)))
KLANGRAUM Week 2 in Dusseldorf, July 19-24 Lucio Capece and I will play Phase to Phase with musicians/dancers/artists Joep Dorren, Christoph Nicolaus, Rasha Ragab, Werner Dafeldecker, Alex Mah, Arash Khakpour, Helga Fanderl, Malala Lekander, Marie-Cécile Reber, Els Van Riel.
Release date! Aug 5, 2022 Tombstones live in Brooklyn by Michael Pisaro-Liu. I’m playing bass clarinet and singing a little in these live recordings from Issue Project Room with Julia Holter, released on Jordan Dykstra’s Editions Verde.
Red Desert residency at Cornell University, Feb 2022. Feedback – feedback -feedback. We played new music by Maria Bulla, Miles Friday, Laura Cetilia, Han Xu, Josh Biggs and John Eagle. And I performed a little solo set of Giacinto Scelsi & Johanna Beyer. It was so great. Thanks Laura Cetilia and the Cornell composition department for inviting us!!!
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.”
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 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.
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.