Livestream: Happy Valley Band + Erin Demastes + Repairer of Reputations
Twitch: @anindexofmusic, The Internet
Indexical hosts another live-stream, with the Happy Valley Band, Erin Demastes, and Repairer of Reputations. Tune in and hang out in the chat! Visit twitch.tv/anindexofmusic and hit “Follow” to be notified when we go live.
Time is 4pm PDT / 7pm EDT!
Happy Valley Band
The Happy Valley Band is the Great American Songbook heard through the ear of a machine. Composer / bandleader David Kant uses custom-built machine learning software to “unmix” pop songs and transcribe them back into musical notation. The Happy Valley Band plays what comes out. The machine analysis has no concern for the limits of human performance, and the resulting transcriptions are extremely complex, literal, and often impossible to play. ORGANVM PERCEPTVS, the group’s debut album, is about bringing to life this inhuman music. It features the core Happy Valley Band plus a cast of New York City and Bay Area experimental musicians.
The Happy Valley Band has been called “a shitty MP3 to MIDI converter,” “the Shaggs meets Guitar Hero,” “James Brown backed by Sun Ra,” “the best executed worst idea,” and “substantive acousmatic research.” The album, over five years in the making, is a collection of eleven songs spanning pop music history. Imagine James Brown backed by a simmering Sun Ra Arkestra, Madonna with a jittery freak-out synth rhythm section, and Herb Alpert with a Tijuana Brass that must have been led by Charles Ives.
As Kant says, “it’s not exactly about getting machines to hear like (we presume) humans do. Machines hear in as many different ways as we design and build them. We should use machines to hear differently, not to reinforce our expectations—because whose expectations are they anyway?” (from “Decomposing Music” liner notes) The project is about confronting the assumptions and idiosyncrasies of machine hearing. In an era where we have offloaded much of our mental and biological processes to semi-intelligent machines, ORGANVM PERCEPTVS asks us to examine the biases and expectations implicit in their design.
Erin Demastes is a Los Angeles-based multimedia artist, composer, and performer whose research lies at the intersection of art and science. She uses repurposed technology and everyday objects to explore sonic phenomena related to acoustics, resonance, electricity, and magnetism. Her fixed media work usually consists of assembled sculptures made from hacked electronics and things that should probably be in the trash. Erin also specializes in improvised music, and her current work involves performing on synthesizers, laptops, toys, found objects, and homemade instruments and electronics. She fosters a sense of play, experimentation, and discovery in both her performances and installations.
Erin received an M.F.A. in Experimental Sound Practices and Integrated Media from California Institute of the Arts in 2018 and a B.M. in jazz studies and piano performance from Loyola University New Orleans in 2011. While a student at Calarts, she was employed as a teaching assistant for tonal harmony and keyboard, western music history, and electroacoustic seminar (hardware hacking) and as a technical assistant for the modular synth lab and electronics lab. She currently works as a freelance artist and educator, and before coming to Los Angeles, Erin worked as a jazz and classical pianist, composer, and arranger for 10 years in the New Orleans area.
Repairer of Reputations
Repairer of Reputations is the result of an obsession with anachronism and simulation. Founded by composer, instrument designer and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Page in 2017, Repairer of Reputations’ work spans genres and media. Debut album, The Night Ocean, blends the aesthetics of outside art, late-victorian speculative fiction, handmade synthesizers and damaged, fragmentary media to evoke an uncanny, alternate modernity. In 2019, Repairer of Reputations released Innsport ’86. Rather than a simple “lost soundtrack”, Innsport ’86 was conceived as a fabricated film: a script was generated along with information associated with the production—including a cast, crew, budget, and available equipment. The album was recorded using only equipment manufactured in the early 1980s—during the transition from the use analog synthesis to digital sampling to score films. A fabricated series of “lost footage” was released as a music video later in the year.
The group is currently completing three albums. The Burning Pyramid is an expansion of the aesthetics of the Night Ocean, focused on the works of Algernon Blackwood and Arthur Machen. Millvale ’02 is a soundtrack based on the audio specifications of the Panasonic M2, an unreleased video-game console. In addition, they recently completed Mirage ’77, a meditation/indoctrination tape for a religion they would have founded during the Carter administration, given the appropriate resources.
While the makeup of the group is amorphous, Ashley Abbott, Sana Amini, Ben Doty, Rebecca Moore, Ryan Page and Konnie Sutherland have contributed to recent performances, recordings and videos.
Opening the Portal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iU8NTBoFUFo