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Occam's Machete Performance & Recording

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Elliott Sharp here to tell you about Occam's Machete. This is a 50-minute piece for string orchestra that was composed in 2023 and premiered in March of that year in the wonderful basement performance space of Main Drag Music in Williamsburgh, Brooklyn. The ceiling of this room is about 30 feet high with catwalks and stairways all around and up and down. For the premiere of Occam's Machete, the 18 musicians were situated throughout the room providing the audience with a sonically immersive experience. My plan is to present Occam's Machete again on October 12, 2023 with the ensemble increased to 24 musicians. In addition, I will compose a new piece for the four virtuosic contrabass players who will be part of the orchestra to be premiered at this event. Finally, the evening will be professionally recorded in a multi-channel format for release or use in a sound installation.

Occam's Machete is based on Occam's Razor, a piece for double-string quartet that I composed in 2011 for Issue Project Room's celebration of my 60th trip around the sun and performed by the JACK and Sirius quartets to great acclaim. These works both make use of microtonal tunings to create psychoacoustic effects such as difference tones and what I like to call "ghost instruments", phenomena that are enhanced by a reverberant room. Rich drones transform into hyperactive clouds of harmonics which then become new dronalities. Here's a picture from the premiere of Occam's Razor:



Upon first experiencing Main Drag's performance space at an improvised music concert in November 2022, I knew immediately that its spectacular acoustics would make it the perfect venue for Occam's Machete. From its conception, I had hoped that the orchestra for this work would have 24 musicians to fully exploit the sonic principles at work. To pay this number of musicians as well as a sound engineer requires resources beyond the personal and so this campaign. Funds will be used to pay each musician a fee for the concert and for the recording, to pay a recording engineer to capture the sound, to pay for the reproduction of CDs and artwork, rental for the Main Drag space, and a small commissioning fee for my time spent composing the new piece for 4 contrabasses.




For those unfamiliar with my work, I'm a longtime composer, multi-instrumentalist, producer, author, and visual artist who leads the projects Orchestra Carbon, SysOrk, Tectonics and Terraplane and whose compositional strategies encompass fractal geometry, chaos theory, algorithmic approaches, genetic metaphors, and new techniques for graphic notation. I was awarded the Berlin Prize in 2015, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2014, and a fellowship from the Foundation for Contemporary Art in 2002. The documentary Doing The Don't explores my work and I've been featured on NPR's All Things Considered. My composition Storm of the Eye for violinist Hilary Hahn, appeared on her Grammy-winning album In 27 Pieces. Some of my many collaborators have included Qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan; pianist Cecil Taylor; Ensemble Modern; pop singer Debbie Harry; blues legends Hubert Sumlin and Pops Staples; jazz greats Jack Dejohnette and Sonny Sharrock; media artists Christian Marclay and Pierre Huyghe; the Radio-Sinfonie Frankfurt; and Bachir Attar of the Master Musicians Of Jajouka. 

Thanks for reading this spiel and considering a contribution!

Hope to see you at Main Drag Music on October 12 - E#




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Elliott Sharp
Organizer
New York, NY

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