Music for People and Thingamajigs (Day/Voicehandler)

  • Meridian Gallery 535 Powell Street San Francisco, CA 94108 United States

Bryan Day

Project Description

A new series of triangular electroacoustic instruments which are to be played using special marionettes, arranged on the floor in front of the performer, the volume of each determined by a pedal. The sound of the instruments will fit roughly into the categories of percussion (amplified tines, found metal objects), strings (a frame zither with sympathetic strings), bass (rubber objects, springs) and electronic (two analog synthesizers played by dragging pull-chains over terminals).

The marionettes are a number of different mallets and dragable objects attached to a wooden 'body' which is held in a similar manner to a conventional marionette.

Artist Bio

Bryan Day is an improviser, composer, instrument builder, and conceptual artist based in Richmond, CA. Day focuses on intuitive sound performance using unconventional techniques in prepared environments. His instruments are constructed using practical composite designs, combining everyday objects with finished wood and metal forms.

Day has toured throughout the US, Europe, Japan, Korea, Argentina and Mexico, performing both solo as Sistrum and Eloine and in the Shelf Life and Seeded Plain ensembles.


Jacob Felix Heule & Danishta Rivero (Voicehandler)

Project Description

song cycle explores ideas of our origins and what it means to be human, as presented in mythology and literature. Each song is based on an individual text including the Yekuana creation story, and works by Borges, Burroughs, and Hamsun.

Historically, the song has been both content and vessel of culture. We wish to redefine this form, and let it speak to and of our hybridized musical histories, encompassing electro- acoustic improv, noise, 20th-century composition, and traditional song. To this end, we have composed a song cycle comprising different nontraditional approaches to the song form. The music has been written as open scores, leaving much room for us to draw on our extensive experience as improvisers.

We (Heule and Rivero) perform with voice, percussion, electronics, and the Hydrophonium (an electroacoustic percussion instrument created by Rivero). song cycle comprises five songs totaling approximately 40 minutes, though its open structure is adaptable to different situations and time constraints.

Rivero's Hydrophonium is a made instrument using found objects, tuned in just intonation. Hydrophones are submerged in glass jars filled with water, and their output signals are fed into MaxMSP to tune the instrument with filters. Performance techniques include striking the jars with mallets and other objects, using straws to blow air into the water, and singing into the jars.

The instrument was inspired by Gabriel García Márquez's “Light is Like Water”, in which light behaves like water and a group of kids drown playing in it. Following the Latin American tradition of Magical Realism, the Hydrophonium blurs the boundaries of sensory perception and plays with proportions and perspective. It evokes the density and immersive properties of water, which is also contained in small vessels. It is as if the audience and performer were inside those jars in front of them.

Heule uses a number found objects in his percussion set-up, mostly as implements to sound drums and cymbals with friction techniques. Favorite tools include bamboo skewers, wire whisks, CDs, pastry knives, and scrap metal. Even though he plays a traditional instrument, he plays it in a nontraditional manner thereby inviting the audience into new ways of experiencing sound.

Artist Bio

Voicehandler, the duo of Jacob Felix Heule and Danishta Rivero, is an electroacoustic ensemble combining improvisation with original compositions. In 2012 they received an Individual Artist Commission grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission to compose song cycle. They have performed at the Soundwave Festival in San Francisco, and the Roost Creative Soundscape Festival in Albuquerque, in addition to concerts in Southern California and the Bay Area.