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Part of the Time and Motion Study score

In my works, vocalists and actors are trained to mimic sampled collages of sound effects, pop songs, and musical ephemera, blurring the line between recording and live performance. My music is completely made up of others’ tunes, and I allow new meanings to grow up around familiar icons.  I remix samples with silence and sound effects, and create an arena in which memory of pop cultural materials is at battle in the audience’s mind.  This process also takes place on stage, as the live performer lipsyncs, imitates, and is seamlessly mixed into the sound score. Much recent experimental theater takes its inspiration from music; sound effects, singing, and samples are its ever-present props.  In working with co-director Jenny Rohn and our ensemble The Cabinet, we attempt to integrate the music at a deep level, letting it determine the choreography, singing, and theater of the piece.  By training performers to closely imitate pop cultural materials, I hope to use experimental theater and sampling to reflect on recording’s place in daily life.

For example, I recently got fascinated with technological culture of the 1920s and 1930s, when Muzak was first pumped over telephone lines to bolster worker productivity. Muzak would crescendo emotionally every 15 minutes, reinforcing the workaday energy curve.


I also became fascinated with the Gilbreths’ “time and motion studies”, in which factory workers’ movements were measured and reordered to increase efficiency:

I wanted to create a piece that sonically and surreally traces the history of background music, deconstructing how it has seeped into modern U.S. culture and influenced daily work rituals.

Primer, Part 2 »