Arnold Dreyblatt

The Graham Foundation

Madlener House
4 West Burton Place
Chicago, Illinois 60610

American composer Arnold Dreyblatt performs two works—Turntable History / Spin Ensemble, created from recordings of an MRI machine, and Nodal Excitation, a 1979 work for amplified “excited strings” bass. Lampo and the Graham Foundation are pleased to welcome him for his first Chicago performance since ’08 and only his third since the late 1990s.

In Spin Ensemble (2011), Dreyblatt creates a palette of acoustic signals and patterns from recordings of an MRI machine (specifically the “Siemens Magnetom Symphony Maestro Class”) in the Martin-Luther-Hospital in Berlin. He considers the device something like a giant Tesla coil, in which the alignment and resonances of a powerful magnetic field are gradually altered by rotating radio frequencies. Under Dreyblatt’s direction, Siemens technicians operated the machine expressly for these recordings, searching for software settings to generate a desired sound. Later he analyzed the audio segments, and grouped them by pitch, rhythm and density. For the resulting composition, these files have been combined and fused, but they have not been digitally treated in any way.

On Nodal Excitation he writes: “In the spring of 1979 I was approached to perform at a downtown performance festival in New York. I had been developing a prepared double bass prepared with unwound music wire, in order to excite the higher overtones. Over time, I worked on a repertoire of isolated percussive and bowed attacks, and these evolved into a continuous rhythmic technique in which I could excite chords of overtones above the fundamental.”

Arnold Dreyblatt (b.1953, New York, N.Y.) is an American media artist and composer. One of the second generation of New York minimalist composers, Dreyblatt studied music with Pauline Oliveros, La Monte Young and Alvin Lucier, and media art with Woody and Steina Vasulka. In the late 1970s he invented a set of new and original instruments, performance techniques, and a system of tuning. Often characterized as one of the more rock-oriented of American minimalists, Dreyblatt has cultivated a strong underground base of fans for his transcendental and ecstatic music with his Orchestra of Excited Strings. He has lived in Berlin since 1984.

Presented in partnership with the Graham Foundation; organized in cooperation with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Department of Sound and Department of Visual and Critical Studies