The Latest Update
LP now available!
I’m very happy to announce the completion of this project. The “Embedded Environments” LP is available now on the Italian record label Blume Editions and available for purchase from Soundohm: https://www.soundohm.com/product/embedded-environments-lp/pid/31415/
Copies haven’t made it to the U.S. yet, but they are on their way.
LP release plans
I’m writing to post a small update about this project to say that plans are moving forward for an LP release of the work we recorded last summer. Details are unclear at the moment but I’m excited to say the LP will include “Embedded Environments” for vibraphone and percussion trio along with a new piece collaboratively composed by Tim Feeney and myself called “Foragers,” also recorded at Silo City last summer.
Thanks for your support and interest and watch this space for more updates.
Recording of “Embedded Environments” was completed on August 28th at Silo City in Buffalo, NY. See below for photos and a brief video clip of the recording session along with the official audio of the recording. We are currently at the mixing stage and once that is complete (in progress) the project will be professionally mastered and released as a CD in 2017, details forthcoming.
In addition to the percussion quartet Tim Feeney and I recorded an additional 2 hours of material utilizing several different silos and activating the acoustics of the space in a different way than “Embedded Environments.”This material is slated for a 2017 release with the label Rhizome.s (http://rhizome-s.blogspot.com), release date TBA.
– Sarah Hennies, 20 September 2017
We spent the last two days at Silo City recording “Embedded Environments” along with some new pieces that Tim Feeney and I made in the space together. We’ll have some audio and video samples soon but for now here’s a photo from taken from my point of view during tracking of “Embedded Environments.”
– Sarah, 28 August 2016
Recording dates set!
We have secured August 27th and 28th for recording on-site at Silo City. I’m excited to be working Matthew Saccuccimorano who will be engineering the sessions. Matt is an Ithaca-based producer/sound engineer and a very talented drummer who plays with a number of different projects. Read more here: http://www.scaramangaindustries.com
Musicians will once again be myself, the Crossfire Percussion Duo (Jason Bauers & Bob Fullex), and (we hope) Tim Feeney if our schedules can align.
Working On Recording Dates
Very honored and excited that New Music USA is supporting this project! We’ve been trying to find a date in the silos that we can go back and record this piece properly, which this grant will help with immensely. I also hope to make a new companion piece while on-site.
You listen to an excerpt from the first performance in June 2015 at the Null Point “Decay/Reverberate” festival by the Crossfire Percussion Duo (Bob Fullex/Jason Bauers), Tim Feeney, and myself at the SoundCloud link below.
More details soon!
“Embedded Environments” is a site-specific work for vibraphone and percussion trio composed for and performed at “Silo City,” a conglomeration of vacant grain silos in Buffalo, NY. The piece consists of three percussionists performing very simple repeating patterns that become highly complex due to the aleatoric manner in which the players overlap and especially because of the highly unusual acoustics of the space in which it is performed.
This piece was performed once during the Null Point Series festival, Decay/Reverberate: Site Specific Sound at Silo City that took place in June 2015, Buffalo NY. I seek to return to the space with professional recording equipment to properly document the work. A sample of the live performance can be heard at this Soundcloud link.
“Embedded Environments” continues my several years-long exploration of the previously unexplored timbral possibilities of conventional percussion instruments with a specific focus on the vibraphone as a resonating body rather than a tool for melodic/chordal/gestural playing. The vibraphone’s timbre features the sonic precision and intensity of sine waves that are then enriched by the imperfections and limitations of the human body’s ability to perform repetitive actions as well as the construction of the instrument.
My work is also fundamentally tied to queer/trans identity and explores the emerging relationship between queerness and experimental sound studies. In his article, “All Sound Is Queer” Drew Daniel claims that “sound is queer” due to the fact that the ears are the only sense-receiver that cannot be closed. Our ears are “open” and “promiscuous” to all sound, not just music. It is not surprising, then, that a queer musician such as myself was drawn to sound’s ability to subvert and transcend expectations of nature and identity from a very early age (and roughly two decades prior to identifying as queer or trans). When a woodblock is struck we expect an immediately identifiable and predictable sound, yet upon even a cursory closer examination the sound’s identity quickly unfolds as something far more complex and difficult to define.
“Embedded Environments” is a radical departure from current and previous trends in percussion music, eschewing virtuosity and tradition in favor of a deep, powerful exploration of sound and our relationship to it.
“Expenditures” is a 45-minute work for vibraphone and ensemble (variable instrumentation, 5-7 players). The piece places the activity of manual labor into an artistic context, examining the mental and physical toll of such actions.
Appears on the album “Work” (Quakebasket Records), recorded in Austin, TX – 2013
Chris Cogburn – percussion, sine waves
Jonathan Doyle – clarinet
Brent Fariss – contrabass
Ingebrigt Håker Flaten – contrabass
Sarah Hennies – vibraphone, composition
Steve Parker – trombone
Travis Weller – violin
“Settle” for vibraphone (2-3 players), performed here by the Butler : : Pons Duo
Originally appeared on the album “Work” (Quakebasket Records, 2014)
Informational clip regarding the piece “Release” for vibraphone, sine waves, archival recording, and bilateral stimulation. Recorded in 2015, appears on the forthcoming full-length album “Gather & Release” (Category of Manifestation, 2016).
“Gather & Release” is the result of years worth of composer Sarah Hennies’ exploration of the vibraphone in synthesis with her experiences of identity, obsession, anxiety, tension, grief, and loss.
Start and End Dates
08/26/2016 — 08/28/2016
Buffalo, New York