Collocation 1: Michelle Lou with T.J. Borden
Twitch: @anindexofmusic, The Internet
Indexical’s Collocation series launches with a program curated by Michelle Lou, featuring cellist and frequent collaborator T.J. Borden. Borden performs “Bob Hope Airport Train Station” and converses with Michelle Lou for Indexical’s Collocation series.
T.J. Borden is a multifaceted sound shaper, noise maker, collaborator and community organizer. As an interpreter, he brings his technical brilliance to his cello playing by working closely with composers in solo works and in group formations like the Switch Ensemble and the Mivos Quartet. As an improviser, he can be found piling into a shitty car with his bandmates and touring across the country to play in broom closet sized venues and sleeping on strangers’ floors. As an organizer, he can be seen putting together shows for experimental artists, most notably co-founding High Desert Soundings, a multi-day festival located in the desert of Southern California’s Wonder Valley.
For Indexical’s Collocation Series, we see T.J. as a composer: he will be presenting an almost-evening length composition, Bob Hope Airport Train Station which juxtaposes field recordings with prepared cello. The familiar sounds of a train station’s communication system with its bells and announcements, the whooshing envelopes of arriving and departing trains provide a backdrop for unfamiliar cello sounds, displacing the listener even further from an already displaced listening experience. The acousmatic situates the listener in an oscillating space where the tension between the need to know and visualize the cause of the sounds is ideally dissolved with the interest in hearing these sounds anew, as aesthetic. This perceptual oscillation is pushed farther by T.J.’s extremely prepared cello which renders the instrument almost unrecognizable at times. His interjections into the field recordings create a kind of haunting and introspective space of the known edging into the unknown.
T.J. is a cellist working with, in, and around the constraints of the cello. Formerly from Western NY, he is now based in Brooklyn NY, where he spends much of his time finding ways to exploit the strengths and failures of himself and his instrument. He tunes diligently, interprets music carefully, and improvises frequently. Currently, he is a member of the Mivos Quartet and the [Switch~ Ensemble].
Bob Hope Airport Train Station
“Bob Hope Airport Train Station” is based around a 30 minute field recording made while waiting at the eponymous location. It was early in the morning (or perhaps it only ‘felt’ early), and there was a throbbing train bell that went on for several minutes at a time. I was pleasantly disoriented by the intrusiveness of this repetitive sound against the backdrop of this placeless place, named after the nearby airport, presumably because its primary function is to serve that airport. I was waiting somewhere designed to take people to another place where they will continue to wait. There are no services or structures at this train station, just a long strip of concrete on either side of two train tracks, lined with a few benches. This piece is a subjective rumination on the unsettling nature of places designed to be interstitial; an opening up of the mind in a space where personal expression is made irrelevant and thus tacitly discouraged. (T.J. Borden)
It’s that blurry line between artist and organizer that characterizes the radical edges of what we call experimental music. Throughout 2021, Indexical highlights that blur with a new online video series Collocation. This new series features artists in conversation with other artists from their scene or community, whether that’s a geographic site or a more distributed platform.