JEFF ZAHOS

Dance Musician | Audio Engineer | Sound Designer

To The Land

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In Spring 2013, I composed and performed music for choreographer Kathleen Kelley's dance To The Land.  Here is a short edit of the audio from an actual performance (~23 minutes edited to around 3 minutes):

[audio:http://www.jeffzahos.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/To-The-Land-EDIT.mp3]

From the program:

In To the Land, Kathleen Kelley creates an atmosphere of space-age cinematic minimalism haunted by nostalgic romanticism. To the Land foregrounds the immersive relationships that entangle the seven performers in a strange and uncharted imagined landscape and includes a musical score performed live through remote interactive video technology.

In the process of developing music for this piece, I was particularly interested in a few main ideas:

  • Borrowing methods by which choreography is developed/taught, to develop/teach music
  • Embracing inefficient processes
  • Simplicity and repeated minimal motives
  • Structured improvisation

The music was performed live, in the pit beneath the stage, with a multichannel digital audio network connecting the sound we were making to the sound system in the theatre.    The music featured the singing drum instrument I've been developing over the past year, an array of percussion instruments and computer and iPad based synthesizers.  Also performing in the ensemble with me were Andy Miller, percussion, and John Toenjes, synthesizers.

The words of Erick Hawkins were an inspiration in both the development and performance of the music for this piece:

"A new dance which would not be boring nor ugly needs a new music that is not a sentimental, swooning unrhythmic mush of romanticism nor an avant-garde arbitrary destruction of rhythmic continuity.  We must pass beyond gimmick, tantrum, gadget, or shock to a new theatrical alertness of instant-by-instant rhythmic consciousness in music and movement."

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