Max/MSP Archive


Kristian Garrard: From Electroacoustic to Acoustic

Luke Bergman and Kristian Garrard at Aphonia Recs Showcase April 2008

Kristian Garrard (KRGA) & Luke Bergman are Thousands.

In the past 4 and a half years our label has gone through many changes and growth spurts. Our artists are no exception. I have seen many of them play their first shows, go on tour, later to dissolve, reform and reinvent themselves. Kristian Garrard is one such individual.

I recall meeting him very early on in the Aphonia Recordings journey. Ben had met another Max/MSP composer and was extremely eager to have Kristian release something under his moniker KRGA. Later we would tap Kristian to play many of our showcases. Ben and Kristian even hosted a Max/MSP workshop at Gallery 1412, detailing the cryptic under the radar manipulations that many disavow as mere knob twiddling and laptop music. Yes, Kristian performed with a laptop but the results were simultaneously engaging, sedative, dynamic and, at times, frightening. Some of the best performances I witnessed during our run of showcases were shows in which KRGA was the headlining act.

By the summer of 2009 it was clear Kristian was onto other material. By this time he had released his first EP Magic Wand [AR014] and the full length June [AR016CD]. Both were mere snapshots of a larger musical genius at work. I had known that Kristian had been a drummer in the band Joules and that he was a blossoming master of electroacoustic improvisation. It was with his formation of Lonesome Shack and Thousands that is became clear that there was little Mr. Garrard could not do.

A few months back I passed by Kristian on Ravenna Boulevard where we both live – we are neighbors as well. I had no idea that this casual passing was on the brink of Thousands getting signed to UK imprint Bella Union. Yes, the very same Bella Union that signed Seattle’s Fleet Foxes in addition to Andrew Bird, Wavves and Midlake. Very good company, indeed. Hearing the news that they had been signed took me back to a show that Kristian and Luke had played at one of Kristian’s last appearances at our showcases.

Fully expecting to hear KRGA’s signature hum and layered developing/enveloping textures, I asked what he and Luke were doing there with a guitar and an upright bass. “Are you gonna hook that up to your (Max/MSP) patch?” I joked. Kristian something like, “Oh we are just going to play acoustic… no mics.” I knew some direction had changed for Kristian and while I knew him to be a consummate performer, he and Luke’s short set that night headlined a night of ambiant and noise music like no other. The strains of Kristian’s particular weaving chords, half resolutions and sustains and Luke’s persistent and hardy upright bass backbone ended the evening with a tribute, a lullaby that later would morph into Thousands.

Recently they have been playing sold out shows, completed a successful tour of Europe and were rightfully praised in Seattle’s alt-weekly The Stranger. Mr. Reighley describes their sound: “Like a shadow that cannot be divided from the entity that casts it.” Well said, and best of luck to our pals, Luke Bergman and Kristian Garrard.

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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

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 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.


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.

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.


Series 5 Podcast Part 2: Gabe Will + Ben L. Robertson

Gabe Will, viola and Ben L. Robertson, Max/MSP, join together to form this new up an coming project. Here is their first live show at the Gallery 1412.

*Due to the extensive dynamic range of this recording some portions may sound rather quiet. Be prepared for fluctuations in volume.

Series 5 Podcast Part 2: Gabe Will + Ben L. Robertson


Series 4 Podcast: The Precambrian

A little late this month, The Precambrian performs at the Gallery 1412 on April 4th 2008.

Series 4 Podcast: The Precambrian


Aphonia Recordings Monthly Series Pt. 5

Aphonia Recordings Monthly Series #5:
Friday, May 2nd
Gallery 1412
1412 18th ave – Seattle


-Ben L. Robertson + Gabe Will

KRGA is the project of Seattle area musician Kristian Garrard. Drawing upon a background in software synthesis, jazz drumming, voice, and guitar, Kristian aims to combine the sounds of any and all instruments around into thick, swarming clouds of tones using home-made software. Despite KRGA’s capacity for aural density, the vast majority of his pieces are performed using only one or two instruments as source material. KRGA has recently released two recordings (“Magic Wand & “June”) on Aphonia Recordings.

Additionally, this series will debut a collaboration between Aphonia Recordings co-founder Ben L. Robertson (‘The Precambrian’) & violist Gabe Will of Olympia-based microtonal drone-band ‘Problems’. United by a mutual fascination with just intonation & chance operations, each collaborator finds his niche within a single, software-based performance environment. Through a battery of microtonal pitch recognition algorithms & probability-based functions developed in Max/MSP, discreet notes & found sounds alike are distilled into a single resonant mass.



2008 Performance Series: Pt II (Gallery 1412)

…this is going to be a good one! (remember: this series occurs on the 1st friday of each month)


Problems is an Olympia based group composed of Ian Ackerman, Joe Kuta, Warren Lee and Gabe Will. Through just intonation, the music of Problems exposes a rich
variety of microstructures and polyforms within a structure of sustained tones. Their instrumentation has included violin, viola, steel pedal guitar, and re-tuned farfisa. Recently Problems (along with fellow Aphonia Recordings artist, ‘Myello’) was commissioned by the Satsop Residency Program and Environmental Aesthetics Collective to compose and record within an abandoned nuclear power project on the Chehalis river.

Paintings for Animals is the vocal and electronic music of Pearson Wallace-Hoyt. In performance, Hoyt captures and manipulates sampled content and performances by a variety of collaborators. The resultant collage can be likened to tuning the radio dial on some phantom world.

The Precambrian is a live collaboration between Aphonia Recordings founders, Ben L. Robertson & Andrew Senna. In performance, The Precambrian explores the
digital transformation of minute sounds within the context of a series of absurd one-act narratives. Language & gesture become the object of discreet resonances, mictrotonal clusters, and algorithmicdeconstruction. By means of home-made piezoelectric transducers, microphones, & algorithms developed in Max/MSP, incidental sounds are captured & processed in realtime.


2008 Performance Series: Part I (January 4th)

Every 1st Friday of the month, Aphonia Recordings will be holding a unique performance at Gallery 1412 (18th + Union. Seattle, Wa). In theory, each show will showcase a distinct theme that is common to each performer.

The first show in the series (Friday, January 4th. 8pm) will feature performances by KRGA and Ben L. Robertson. After the music, we will hold a lecture/workshop explaining various aspects of our work; specifically our mutual use of max/msp in the design of interactive synthesis environments.

We are extremely excited about this show, as well as the series as a whole. It should be alot of fun.

Look forward to seeing you there!



Brand New Release: KRGA – ‘Magic Wand’

Aphonia Recordings is proud to announce the release of KRGA’s brand new mini album, ‘Magic Wand’.

KRGA’s first Aphonia Release, Magic Wand, is a two track drone cycle, focusing on the sound of electrical interference, and the promotion of its sound to be the foremost element of the music. The title track finds Kristian manipulating an electric guitar with a vibrator, both using it to excite the strings as well as to interfere with the pickups’ signal. The track slowly grows thicker and thicker, as the sound of the guitar is processed and layered in Max/MSP. The second track, “AC”, focuses on the ubiquitous 60 cycle hum of electrical instruments. An electric guitar is set on the floor, gain cranked up, to allow the hum to ring out. The buzz quickly gains weight as it layers on top of itself, deep rumblings come out from below, until finally dissolving into a simple chord, which becomes fractured and atonal as the song fades out. Both tracks on this mini-album were recorded direct as they were performed. No overdubs occur on these recordings.

click here to preview tracks and/or purchase this release


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