Lightbulb Ensemble + Ghost Ensemble
Pioneer Works: 159 Pioneer St., Brooklyn
Pioneer Works and Indexical present a night of hypnotic and meditative music from Lightbulb Ensemble (Oakland) and Ghost Ensemble (NYC).
Lightbulb Ensemble performs on custom-built metallic and wooden bar instruments, built and tuned by ensemble director Brian Baumbusch after years of immersion into Balinese gamelan and its music. The ensemble’s music uses the intricate, interlocking rhythms of Balinese gamelan, filtered through the lenses of 1970s Downtown minimalism and the tuning and instrument-building tradition of Harry Partch. The ensemble will give the NYC premiere of the hour-long “Mikrokosma,” co-composed by Baumbusch with ensemble member and contemporary Balinese gamelan scholar Wayne Vitale.
The seven-member Ghost Ensemble performs meditative, experimental music, specializing in the introspective work of Pauline Oliveros and ensemble director Ben Richter. They will give the premiere performance of Andrew C. Smith’s “We remember not the word, but the sound of the word,” composed for the ensemble. Smith’s work takes language, its sound, and its rhythm, as a starting point for composition, using computer analysis techniques borrowed from linguistics and spectral music to shape fragments of language into music for instrumental performers. Ghost Ensemble will also perform Ben Richter’s “Healing Ghost,” written for the ensemble, as well as Pauline Oliveros’s “Angels & Demons,” Juste Janulyte’s “Psalms,” Alan Hovhaness’s “Chahagir,” and Simon Steen-Anderson’s “Study for String Instruments #1.”
“[Lightbulb Ensemble’s] refreshingly innovative performances challenge conventional notions of how gamelan music should sound" —San Francisco Classical Voice
Lightbulb Ensemble is a new music percussion ensemble that champions experimental music, instrument building, and contemporary gamelan. The ensemble emerged from the culture of new music in the Bay Area centering around Mills College, and the longstanding artistic exchange between Bali and the United States fostered by Gamelan Sekar Jaya. The group performs on steel metallophones, wooden marimbas, and other instruments designed, tuned, and built by the founder and director Brian Baumbusch. Performing only new repertoire, the group presents in-house compositions and collaborates with other artists of the new music community, including The Paul Dresher Ensemble, The Jack Quartet, The Center for Contemporary Music, Jessika Kenney and Eyvind Kang, among others.
“Mikrokosma” is an hourlong suite of pieces that form a musical exploration of the microcosms of BaliHindu cosmology, where the universe is reflected and recreated, fractallike, in all its parts. “Mikrokosma” is the conception and musical creation of Wayne Vitale – a founding member and past director of Gamelan Sekar Jaya – and Brian Baumbusch, director of the Lightbulb Ensemble as well as designer, tuner, and builder of the instruments. Both composers have been immersed in the music of Bali for many years, and in the world of experimental, hybrid music that is thriving in Bali and in the California Bay Area. “Mikrokosma” is a product of that interaction.
“Ghost Ensemble plays with a notable intensity … all these pieces use sound to seek an altered consciousness, from a meditative awareness to a look, perhaps, into a different dimension.” —New York Classical Review (George Grella)
Ghost Ensemble performs experimental music that explores the experience of listening: the familiar can become unfamiliar, while unexpected and unexplored places offer new layers of beauty. Founded in 2012, the group draws from diverse contemporary and ancient practices to create a synthesis in which the unity of the sensory experience is paramount.
Ghost Ensemble is Martha Cargo (flutes), Sky Macklay (oboe), Ben Richter (accordion), Hannah Levinson (viola), and Joshua Morris (contrabass), with guests and collaborators including Meaghan Burke (cello), Somna M Bulist (harp), Damon Loren Baker (electronics), James Ilgenfritz (contrabass), and percussionists Joe Tucker, Ellery Trafford, and Brooks Frederickson. Composers who have created new works for the ensemble include Kyle Gann, John Rot, Leonie Roessler, Andrew C. Smith, and composer-members Ben Richter, Sky Macklay, Joshua Morris, and Somna M Bulist.
Pioneer Works is a center for research and experimentation in contemporary culture. Through a broad range of exhibitions, performances, arts and science residencies, and educational programs, Pioneer Works seeks to transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries, foster community, and provide a space where alternative modes of thought are supported and activated in tangible ways.
The organization was founded in 2012 by artist Dustin Yellin and is located in a 25,000 square feet manufacturing warehouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn. After an extensive renovation, the facility now houses artist studios, exhibition and performance spaces, a science lab, a recording studio, and other spaces as needs arise. The floor plan is open and flexible, encouraging a transparent, collaborative environment where international artists, musicians, scientists and educators can co-exist and create together. Pioneer Works is a non-profit 501©(3).