Derek M. Johnson Archive

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Premier of Aphonia Recordings Voice/Strings Ensemble: Fri, May 1st @ Gallery 1412

Hello Everyone!
I am super pleased to announce that I will be premiering a brand new piece (Thamnophis sirtals: 2.25 Incantations & Spectral Taxonomy) at the upcoming Aphonia Recordings showcase on Friday, May 1st. Thamnophis sirtalis.

It is a taxonomically-themed, microtonal composition written for a voice & strings ensemble consisting of a number of active NW performers & Aphonia artists (ie. Amy Denio, Derek M. Johnson, Emily Pothast, members of Problems, Mood Organ, Midday Veil, etc..) I’m pretty excited to get all of these folks under one roof & feel extremely honored to have them performing my piece.

be there or be square-rooted!
-Ben Robertson (Aphonia Recordings Co-Founder)
Friday, May 1st @ Gallery 1412
1412 18th ave – Seattle
8:00 PM sharp!
Thamnophis sirtalis: 2.25 Incantations & Spectral Taxonomy for voices, electric bass guitar, cello, amplified viola, & amplified violin

Composed & Produced by:
Ben L. Robertson Aphonia Recordings co-founder, The Precambrian

Performed by:<
Emily Pothast (Mezzo-Soprano; Midday Veil)
Amy Denio (Alto; The Tiptons, Kultur Shock, etc..)
Jackie Ahn (Violin)
Ian Ackerman (Violin; Problems, Romanteek, The Strangers)
Gabriel Will (Viola; Problems)
Derek M. Johnson (Cello, Bloodclot, The Dead Air Fresheners, etc..)
Timm Mason (Fretless Bass; Mood Organ, Midday Veil, Eldridge Gravy, etc.)

Description:
Traditionally, biological disciplines, such as Taxonomy, & the arts have been viewed as, more-or-less, distinct from one another. Intersections between these two seemingly disparate practices are often more figurative than structural. Perhaps the clinically macabre imagery particularly associated with taxonomy, complete with shelves full of dead plants & animals preserved in bottles of formaldehyde, has done little to marry biological sciences to the expressive arts. However, the parallels in methodology that unite these two disciplines offer great potential.

By definition, a taxonomist gathers empirical observations regarding the physiology & behavior of organisms (both living and deceased) to craft an explicit vernacular that definitively describes his or her biological subjects. Through a similar methodology, the spectral composer may gather relevant acoustic data, classify this data in the form of a literal or symbolic language, & establish a protocol of musical conditions that reflect the nature of data collected. Within the piece, this process entails the development of a proprietary vocabulary, or spectral taxonomy, to describe & classify the individual harmonic phenomenon and spectral behaviors exhibited in the context of Frequency Modulation (FM) synthesis. The resultant spectral taxonomy is the maturation of a system of microtonal tuning & counterpoint that effectively exploits the unique timbres produced by specific FM algorithms.

Phonetically, the piece adopts the aesthetic of an Audubon field guide, as each vocalist recites a series of incantations documenting the Latin names of various North American subspecies of the ubiquitous Common Garter Snake, Thamnophis sirtalis.

aphoniarecordings.com

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Aphonia Recordings Showcase 09-#2 (Fri, Feb 6)

Aphonia Recordings showcase: 09-#2 @ Gallery 1412
Friday, February 6th
1412 18th ave – Seattle, WA
8:00 PM

- Darwinsbitch (Oakland)
- LA Lungs (Tacoma)
- Derek M. Johnson (Olympia)
- The Precambrian

DARWINSBITCH
Fluid forms of drones, doomy laments, and folk melodies fleshed out from a backbone of sine oscillators and violin. Sound sources from the environment blend with instruments such as piano, ocean-harp, guitar, bass, and specially designed computer programs to create a unique sonic hybrid between the acoustic and the digital. Darwinsbitch is the solo project of Marielle Jakobsons, sound artist and violinist from Oakland, California. Her work stems from a fascination between human experiences which are at once “natural” and technologically-altered. Other projects include: myrmyr (electroacoustic duo with Agnes Szelag), triometrik (interactive multimedia ensemble), Date Palms, as well as many other violin/improv performances.

DEREK M. JOHNSON
Derek is an Olympia native and can’t seem to ever get away. He frequently performs solo acoustic/electric cello throughout the Northwest with an ever changing, direct animation slide show. He’s been a member of Bloodclot, Dead Air Fresheners, Le Ton Mite, Frequency dB, and the unfortunately named Superfly 2000. Collaborations include: Unwound, Thollem McDonnas, Jeremy Jay, Ben L Robertson, Arrington de Dionyso, Bob Marsh, among others.

LA LUNGS

L.A. Lungs was formed in the summer on 2005 in a Tacoma studio apartment by Afterthought Lung (nee Nathan Markiewicz) and Leeward Lungs (nee Lori Peterson). L.A. Lungs continue to perform around the Pacific Northwest and have been fortunate enough to share bills with artists such as Acre, Bird Costumes, Wesley Borden, Cabinet of Natural Curiosities, Crank Sturgeon, The Dead Air Fresheners, Steve Fisk, Forest Friends, Gowns, Bill Horist, Josh Hydeman, Derek Johnson, Mattress, Myr Myr, POWRFL POWER, Racooo-oo-oon, Scard, Shearing Pinx, Talbot Tagora, Your Drugs My Money, and many more. We can look forward to hearing work from LA Lungs recent Aphonia Rec. (“Most of the Time We Do Not Realize We are Shedding Our Skins”) & Debacle releases at this month’s showcase.

THE PRECAMBRIAN
Aphonia Recordings founders, Ben L. Robertson & Andrew Senna team-up as The Precambrian. In concept, The Precambrian is a constantly evolving interactive synthesis environment/instrument, engineered by Robertson using the graphical programming language, Max/MSP.

In its current incarnation, The Precambrian utilizes a “slide zither”, voice, & various pitch recognition algorithms to coax out microtonal intervals derived from a graphical system of 11-limit, just intonation matrices. In performance, Senna (armed with a handful of homemade piezoelectric transducers, microphones, & field recordings) executes a series of absurd one-act narratives & vocal onomatopoeia, indicative of both his sound design work for film & theater.

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Aphonia Showcase Coming Up Fri. Feb. 6

Hello everyone! Look I know it’s two weeks away but you know, it is probably a good idea to let everyone know about our next show – which we are sure to have a blast at – we hope you will join us! It is also nice as it will be the first time Ben and I will be performing as The Precambrian in a few months. So here is the press release type deal for your information:

Aphonia Recordings showcase: 09-#2 @ Gallery 1412
Friday, February 6th
1412 18th ave – Seattle, WA
8:00 PM

- Darwinsbitch (Oakland)
- LA Lungs (Tacoma)
- Derek M. Johnson (Olympia)
- The Precambrian

DARWINSBITCH

Fluid forms of drones, doomy laments, and folk melodies fleshed out from a
backbone of sine oscillators and violin. Sound sources from the
environment blend with instruments such as piano, ocean-harp, guitar,
bass, and specially designed computer programs to create a unique sonic
hybrid between the acoustic and the digital. Darwinsbitch is the solo
project of Marielle Jakobsons, sound artist and violinist from Oakland,
California. Her work stems from a fascination between human experiences
which are at once “natural” and technologically-altered. Other projects
include: myrmyr (electroacoustic duo with Agnes Szelag), triometrik
(interactive multimedia ensemble), Date Palms, as well as many other
violin/improv performances.

DEREK M. JOHNSON

Derek is an Olympia native and can’t seem to ever get away. He
frequently performs solo acoustic/electric cello throughout the
Northwest with an ever changing, direct animation slide show. He’s
been a member of Bloodclot, Dead Air Fresheners,
Le Ton Mite, Frequency dB, and the unfortunately named Superfly 2000.
Collaborations include: Unwound, Thollem McDonnas, Jeremy Jay, Ben L
Robertson, Arrington de Dionyso, Bob Marsh, among others.

LA LUNGS

L.A. Lungs was formed in the summer on 2005 in a Tacoma studio apartment by
Afterthought Lung (nee Nathan Markiewicz) and Leeward Lungs (nee Lori
Peterson). L.A. Lungs continue to perform around the Pacific Northwest
and have been fortunate enough to share bills with artists such as
Acre, Bird Costumes, Wesley Borden, Cabinet of Natural Curiosities,
Crank Sturgeon, The Dead Air Fresheners, Steve Fisk, Forest Friends,
Gowns, Bill Horist, Josh Hydeman, Derek Johnson, Mattress, Myr Myr,
POWRFL POWER, Racooo-oo-oon, Scard, Shearing Pinx, Talbot Tagora, Your
Drugs My Money, and many more. We can look forward to hearing work
from LA Lungs recent Aphonia Rec. & Debacle releases (“Most of the
Time We Do Not Realize We are Shedding Our Skins”) at this month’s
showcase.

THE PRECAMBRIAN

Aphonia Recordings founders, Ben L. Robertson & Andrew Senna team-up as The
Precambrian. In concept, The Precambrian is a constantly evolving
interactive synthesis environment/instrument, engineered by Robertson
using the graphical programming language, Max/MSP.
In its current incarnation, The Precambrian utilizes a “slide zither”, voice, &
various pitch recognition algorithms to coax out microtonal intervals
derived from a graphical system of 11-limit, just intonation matrices.
In performance, Senna (armed with a handful of homemade piezoelectric
transducers, microphones, & field recordings) executes a series of
absurd one-act narratives & vocal onomatopoeia, indicative of both
his sound design work for film & theater.

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Happy New Year!

Welcome to the New Year! We have slowly but surely made the transition to our new servers and if all went well, most of you didn’t even notice. With most of the speed issues hopefully conquered our website should prove to be faster and more reliable than before. Thank you for your patience with our growing pains.

We are preparing for our second year of showcase events. In the last year, Aphonia Recordings has hosted more than 20 performances. That’s like one every other week! Most of our performances go down at the Gallery 1412 near the corner of 18th and Union in Seattle’s Central District.

Many things are on the horizon for us in the near future. We are working on our second compilation, which will find new release as a physical CD and as a download available all over the world. We will also be releasing “The Phantom of the Opera, A Live Soundtrack” by Rachel Carns, Derek M Johnson, Daniel Buscher and Heather Hall. In addition, we are looking at further releases in the coming year. For the time being though, it will be a quiet couple of months.

While we are assembling our biggest distribution ever for the 2009 Compilation, don’t forget to listen to our podcast. You can visit our website listen to our podcasts. Or if you would like to take it with you subscribe on iTunes and download it for free! Our podcast is a semi-regular event that details the work of our artists, including interviews, live shows and explorations on the many phenomena of sound and music. While we would love to have one every day or week even, stay tuned as there will be more intriguing subjects covered.

Thank you to all our artists fans who made 2008 an encouraging year for experimental music. Indeed, we are excited about the New Year and hope that we can top ourselves once again.

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What You Missed…

The blog Illusory Confections thinks our Phantom of the Opera show last night was beyond reproach. This blogger refers to last Friday’s rendition of a live score to The Phantom of the Opera. Click here.

We can’t say how much we appreciated the great turnout and generous donations. And also, we can’t thank Daniel Buscher, Rachel Carns, Heather Hall and Derek M. Johnson enough for their truly brilliant performance to this silent film classic.

Update: Pictures from this special event as well as a live release of the show will become available soon. Stay tuned!

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Guess what? Even The Stranger Suggests…

phantomflyer…going to tonight’s The Phantom of the Opera live score performed at the Gallery 1412 by Rachel Carns, Derek M Johnson, Heather Hall and Daniel Buscher.

And if that weren’t enough anticipatory fodder go here for a Holiday Podcast Special featuring Andrew Senna recalling his childhood experience with the film as well as examination of how truly egregious Andrew Lloyd Webber’s take is on the tragedy.

Aphonia Recordings will be releasing excerpts from this unique ensemble’s live performance from the 25th Annual Olympia Film Festival. This will be last time that these truly talented individuals will be able to perform together – so come and see something truly special!

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Podcast Holiday Special – Phantom of the Opera

Podcast – Phantom of the Opera Special!

Click Play button to listen to this special event – excerpts which were recorded at the 25th Annual Olympia Film Festival by Rachel Carns, Daniel Buscher, Derek M. Johnson and Heather Hall. This coming Friday at the Gallery 1412 in Seattle, WA at 8PM, this crack ensemble of improvisers will take on, for the last time, the live score to this 1929 silent film classic.

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New Release: Mangled Bohemians / Degeneration

Finally the long awaited release by Mangled Bohemians of Portland, Oregon has hit the Aphonia Recordings website for sale. Go to the website and take a look or click below:

degeneration_cover_lg

Free previews are available through the website – and remember Mangled Bohemians may be headed your way on their upcoming tour. They will be playing the Aphonia Recordings showcase on January 2nd, 2009 here in Seattle and on the 3rd at the Le Voyeur in Olympia – they will be performing along with Aphonia Recordings alums L.A. Lungs and Derek M. Johnson. See you there!

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Aphonia Recordings Showcase #12 – Fri. Dec 5th

At 8PM Aphonia Recordings will be hosting its 12th showcase of the year. The end of the year is a time to huddle inside from the cold weather and enjoy the warmth of friends, fun and noise. Come on down to Gallery 1412 in Seattle, Washington to enjoy the following out of town acts. Some of which are rare imports to our town. Not to be missed

Derek M. Johnson (Olympia)
1908 (PDX)
Baby Birds Don’t Drink Milk (Lawrence, KS)

Derek M. Johnson
Derek is an Olympia, WA native and can’t seem to ever get away. He frequently performs solo acoustic/electric cello throughout the Northwest with an ever changing, direct animation slide show. He’s been a member of Bloodclot, Dead Air Fresheners, Le Ton Mite, Frequency dB, and the unfortunately named Superfly 2000. Collaborations include: Unwound, Thollem McDonnas, Jeremy Jay, Ben L Robertson, Arrington de Dionyso, Bob Marsh, among others.

1908
1908 is a semi-improvisational, free-form, multi-instrumental, virtuosically-elctroacoustic, casually-cantankerous, zealously-unzealous, often-deplorable music project borne of Portland, Oregon.

Baby Birds Don’t Drink Milk
“Psych-tinged (sometimes pop and sometimes folk) melodies with a shoegaze accent, occasional noisy interludes and an inclination for ambience never forgetting about late Seventies/early Eighties British new wave.” – Best Kept Secret

How about that, eh? So there really is no reason to miss it. See you there!

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What Is Happening December 12th?

Have you ever heard of The Phantom of the Opera? Sure there is book version, a musical, but I don’t think anyone will soon forget the sheer visceral mystery of the original black and white film released in 1929 and shot in 1925 – prior to the dawn of synchronous sound as well as color. Though technology would catch up with the film – many technicolor reprints and attempts at adding a soundtrack later – nothing compares to the original.

When I was a small child, around the age of 8 or 9, my dad took me to a large cathedral to watch the film. The cathedral was St. John’s in Spokane, WA. Anyone of you out there who may be familiar with this structure, know that this neo-gothic cathedral is not only large but dominates the South Hill’s landscape. One night, probably in December, I sat in that dark church and nearly fell asleep while title cards and soothing organ music bored my 8 or 9 year old brain. Then, at the unmasking, I shot up in my seat and was utterly terrified. To such a degree that I seem to recall not long after that begging to go home. I would not sleep that night.

Since then, every “horror” film that I have screened has always met with a certain comparison to this original experience. They never live up to that cherry horror, however, a very special event is around the corner that I hope will rekindle that spirit and is really something you should not miss. Derek M. Johnson as well as members from the queercore powerhouse The Need will be performing a live score to the original Phantom of the Opera on December 12th at the Gallery 1412. This performance is a special event and so we are hoping that it’s results will be special. So we ask you to come out and support these fine artists and bring your friends and family members for what will be an intimate, dark and mysterious re-living of all your terrified nights, spent sleepless when only exhaustion could put you to rest. Really, it will be awesome.

As the show nears we will be releasing more detail and either way – mark your calendars – it will be a night not to be missed.

Gallery 1412
18th and Union
Central District
Seattle, WA

Stay Tuned for more details.