Sam Pluta & Ben LaMar Gay

Lampo Annex

Monadnock Building
53 West Jackson Boulevard #1656
Chicago, Illinois 60604

Sam Pluta and Ben LaMar Gay premiere Sixty More Cycles—a kind of true chamber music, where performers, objects, and small audiences share the snug space of the Lampo office.

The new work combines Pluta’s research on neural network-controlled feedback systems with Gay’s multi-instrumental approach to real-time composition and performance.

Sixty More Cycles features two analog televisions covered with telephone pickups; these are small coil microphones that record the T.V.’s internal electronics. A neural network-controlled digital system, built by Sam, filters and amplifies the recorded signal, sends it back into the televisions, which changes what you see on screen, and plays it back through speakers. The shifting image alters the television electronics and modifies the signal recorded by the pickups, resulting in a feedback loop of sound and vision.

Tonight Pluta and Gay present eight different 20-minute performances, from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m., combining the television feedback instrument with cornet, vocals, and percussion. Each performance is for just four people and follows a unique compositional trajectory.

Sam Pluta (b.1979, Rockville, Conn.) is a Baltimore-based composer, laptop improviser, electronics performer, and sound artist. Although his work has a wide breadth, his central focus is on using the laptop as a performance instrument capable of sharing the stage with new music ensembles as well as world-class improvisers. He has composed instrumental music for Wet Ink Ensemble, the New York Philharmonic, International Contemporary Ensemble, and the Warsaw Autumn festival. As an improviser, he has played with Peter Evans, Evan Parker, Ikue Mori, Craig Taborn, Ingrid Laubrock, Anne La Berge, and George Lewis. Pluta received his D.M.A. from Columbia University. He teaches at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and directs the Peabody Computer Music Studios.

Ben LaMar Gay (b.1978, Chicago, Ill.) is a composer, cornetist and multi-instrumentalist, whose “pan-Americana” vision draws equally from free jazz, Brazilian music, post-rock, and experimental electronics. His genre-crossing collaborations include work with artists such as Joshua Abrams, Theaster Gates, George Lewis, Nicole Mitchell, Jeff Parker, Mike Reed, Tomeka Reid, and Itibere Zwarg. He has been a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians since 2010. In 2022, Gay was named one of Rebuild Foundation’s inaugural fellows for its Mellon Archives Innovation Program. He was a 2019 Worldwide Award recipient from the BBC’s Gilles Peterson, and he received a 3Arts Award in 2018. His discography includes releases on International Anthem and Nonesuch Records. Gay earned a B.A. from Northeastern Illinois University in Music Education.

Sam Pluta and Ben LaMar Gay began working together in 2016, when they first formed a trio with Katherine Young. Gay has also been a guest composer for Pluta’s collective, Wet Ink Ensemble, and they tour together as PANG! with Sophie Agnel and Pascal Niggenkemper.

Sixty More Cycles is part of an occasional series of commissioned performances created for the 10 x 20-foot dimensions of the Lampo office.