Film, TV & Radio

re:VOLT performs Morton Subotnick’s SIDEWINDER + HUNGERS ('88) screening!

$15    |  May 31, 2024  |  7:00PM - 9:00PM
Philosophical Research Society

The Philosophical Research Society welcomes acclaimed composers Jill Fraser and Peter Grenader, joined by Los Angeles electronic luminary Thomas Klepper, and their ensemble re:VOLT for a night of electro-acoustic music and film in tribute to legendary electronic music pioneer Morton Subotnick!

Co-presented by The Vintage Synthesizer Museum, this special evening will begin with a very rare screening of Subotnick and trailblazing experimental filmmaker Ed Emshwiller’s 1988 “electronic media opera” HUNGERS, followed by a live set of original compositions by re:VOLT before concluding with their live performance of Subotnick’s seminal electronic work SIDEWINDER!

In his original program notes, Morton Subotnick described Sidewinder as “virtual grooves in orbit throughout space...periodically pass(ing) through the room, like a solar system where different musics are planets and the room is the sun. Each orbit had a different length and timing and the music in each was a distinct entity. As the orbit allowed its music to pass through the room, the music would be heard and would be blended with whatever orbit was playing its music at the time.” Originally released in quadraphonic sound in 1971, Sidewinder was the first album Subotnick created using (for the technologically minded!) a new envelope detector for the Buchla Box – the synthesizer he had commissioned from sound synthesis pioneer Don Buchla. This allowed him to compose using not only the synthesizer’s pressure-sensitive touch panel (as opposed to most keyboard based synthesizers, like the Moog) but by singing and humming into a microphone, using his voice to control voltages and track shifting amplitudes, the shapes of which could then be applied to any musical parameter. In layperson’s terms, this meant that Sidewinder introduced adventurous listeners to a new and more highly nuanced electronic soundscape than they’d ever heard.

On this night, re:VOLT – the Los Angeles-based electronic music ensemble of “like-minded, half-crazy avant-garde synthesists/composers/sitarists” Jill Fraser, Peter Grenader (both of whom were students and proteges of Subotnick at CalArts in the 1970s) and Thomas Klepper will share a set of their own remarkable electro-acoustic compositions before bringing Subotnick’s bold and immersive soundscape to life with their rendering of Sidewinder – as originally commissioned by renowned experimental vocalist Joan La Barbara for Subotnick’s 90th birthday event at the Roulette in Brooklyn, later performed and recorded live at Tool's studio in Hollywood.