Mind & Machine, Volume Four

Organic and Electronic Works

Mara Helmuth composer
Andrea Vos-Rochefort composer
Avik Chari composer
Gina Biver composer
Juro Kim Feliz composer

Release Date: July 22, 2022
Catalog #: RR8070
Format: Digital
21st Century
Avant-Garde
Clarinet
Electroacoustic
Electronic

Lauded by critics as “interesting and captivating” (Cinemusical), the MIND & MACHINE series from Ravello Records returns in its fourth installment with a fresh roster of today’s electro-acoustic composers. From the depths of the sea to the wildlife that populates our atmosphere and the breaths that form within us, a myriad of mystifying soundscapes await discovery. Innovatively-captured sound samples intertwine with contemporary social issues in this album, commenting on climate change, justice and inequality, and more. Our fragility and recovery are revealed in Gasp, human influence on the environment manifests in green line 2065 and Water Birds, and resilient voices respond in the face of oppression in Hanggang sa Takipsilim.

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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Water Birds Mara Helmuth and Andrea Vos-Rochefort Andrea Vos-Rochefort, clarinet; Mara Helmuth, electronics 10:44
02 green line 2065 Avik Chari K口U | Daniel Yiau, bass clarinet; Michellina Chan, saxophone; Don Kow, trombone; Vincent Tan, euphonium; Avik Chari, electronics 8:58
03 Senescence Avik Chari Avik Chari, electronics; Ng Pei-Sian, cello 5:48
04 the inner landscape of a cabin in the woods Gina Biver Gina Biver, electric guitar 6:26
05 Gasp Gina Biver Gina Biver, Danielle Krause, Katrinah Lewis, Leo Williams - vocals 4:31
06 Hanggang sa Takipsilim Juro Kim Feliz Hannah Leah Guanlao, narration; Jayson Palolan, Philippine indigenous instruments 5:43

Water Birds
Recorded October 15, 2020 at Texas A&M University School of Music Concert Hall in Kingsville TX
Producer & Engineer Eric Dluzniewski

green line 2065
Recorded February 15, 2022 at the Music Studio, Victoria Concert Hall in Singapore
Producer Avik Chari
Engineer, Mixing & Editing Aw Wei Zheng

Senescence
Recorded February 20, 2022 at Studio Namari in Singapore
Producer & Engineer Avik Chari
Mixing & Editing Alexander Wong

Gasp
Recorded May-June 2021 at Left Bank Studios in Richmond VA
Producer & Recording Gina Biver
Mastering Erdem Helvacioglu

the inner landscape of a cabin in the woods
Recorded June 2020 in Falls Church VA
Guitar recorded December 2020 at Left Bank Studios in Richmond VA
Recording and Mixing Engineer Gina Biver
Mastering Erdem Helvacioglu

Hanggang sa Takipsilim
Recorded and produced March 18, 2018 at the composer’s home studio in Toronto, Canada
Producer & Engineer Juro Kim Feliz

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Ivana Hauser, Danielle Lewis

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette
Mastering Melanie Montgomery

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland, Aidan Curran

Artist Information

Mara Helmuth

Mara Helmuth

Composer

Mara Helmuth has been enthusiastically involved with electronic and computer music composition and research for decades. Recent works include Racket Routes, for eight-channel audio, based on tennis sounds, Opening Spaces, for video, based on a Menger sponge model, Cold Brew, a graphic score for flute, clarinet, and fixed media based on the coffee genome, Onsen: Hot Springs, for vibraphone and fixed media, and Tranquilarea, for virtual reality installation. She is currently Professor of Composition at College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati and director of its Center for Computer Music, where she developed a program of courses in computer music.

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Andrea Vos-Rochefort

Andrea Vos-Rochefort

Clarinetist, Composer

An engaging and accomplished clarinetist, Andrea Vos-Rochefort regularly premieres new works in recitals and at Clarinetfest, and has performed with the Dayton Philharmonic, Orchestra Kentucky, Richmond Symphony, Lima Orchestra, Carmel Symphony, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, West Virginia Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony, Corpus Christi Symphony, Midland-Odessa Symphony, and San Antonio Symphony. Vos-Rochefort is the Assistant Professor of Clarinet at Texas A&M University-Kingsville and previously served as Adjunct Instructor of Clarinet at University of Dayton and Stivers School for the Arts.

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Avik Chari

Avik Chari

Composer

Avik Chari is a composer and sound designer obsessed with non-linear and interactive media. He embraces the use of space as a tool for musical structure and storytelling through his sound installations and electro-acoustic works. His latest works focus on ambience and space, and take a calm, meditative approach to rhythm, with pieces such as i’ll be there for you and memories. His music has been performed by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Transient Canvas, Eureka Ensemble, and the Boston Conservatory Choruses, and used in video games such as Covidopoly and Assemble This.

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Gina Biver

Gina Biver

Composer

Deemed a “musical force of nature” by Gramophone, composer Gina Biver writes music for large chamber ensembles, dance, choir, multimedia, and film. Her work is inspired by the written word and by visual art, both static and moving. She collaborates with musicians, filmmakers, choreographers, poets, computer artists, sculptors, painters, and video artists. Her work has been presented in the United States, Europe, Australia, Canada, and Mexico.

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Juro Kim Feliz

Juro Kim Feliz

Composer

With music “[thriving] in the sustained tension, like the kinetic energy emanating from the corners of a frame, the opposing forces holding up a house” (Rachel Evangeline Chiong, 2022), Toronto-based composer Juro Kim Feliz has internationally presented his work across Southeast Asia, North America, and Europe. Born and raised in the Philippines, he studied composition at the University of the Philippines and McGill University under Jonas Baes and Melissa Hui. He also sought further mentorship from composers Liza Lim, Dieter Mack, Linda Catlin Smith, and Japanese koto artists Hiroko Nagai and Masayo Ishigure.

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KOU Ensemble

K口U

Ensemble

K⼝U is one of the most organic forms of expression on the human body. Provocative in nature and capable of amplifying controversial ideas, K⼝U is an amplification of our personal ethos expressed provocatively.

Unanimously formed in 2019 upon completing their music endeavors in Europe, K⼝U aims to revolutionize the average concert-going experience. The one-of-a-kind Singapore-based mixed instrument ensemble refuses to be confined by tradition. Instead, K⼝U innovates by engaging multiple senses of the audience, allowing one to fully immerse the mind of production.

Since their formation, they have been invited to perform at the Performers(‘) Present symposium by National University of Singapore, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, and the Kuching Youth Band Fiesta 2019, organized by The Band Lab.

Daniel Yiau

Daniel Yiau

Bass Clarinetist

Daniel Yiau is currently based in Singapore, having studied Wind/Brass band conducting in the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and the Sibelius Academy under the tutelage of Jan Schut and Petri Komulainen.

Yiau has conducted Symphonic Winds, Orchestra Collective, Philharmonic Winds, Amsterdamse Tramharmonie, Jeugd Project Orkest, Trompetterkorps der Koninklijke Marechaussee, Amsterdam Brass, Lapland Military Band, Ilmavoimien soittokunta, Sinfonisches Verbandsblasorchester Markgräflerland, Estagio Nacional Orquestra Sopros, Filarmonica Mira, and University of Louisville Wind Ensemble, amongst others.

As an active performer, Yiau plays all ranges of clarinets and has performed in various iconic performance venues across continents, mainly championing music written for the Bass Clarinet. As an avid composer and arranger, he has had performances of his compositions and arrangements in the United States, Germany, Japan, China, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Singapore, and also on BBC radio 3.

Michellina Chan

Michellina Chan

Saxophonist

Michellina Chan, 陈嘉灵 (b. 1992) is a Singaporean saxophonist. She graduated with a Master of Music degree studying with Arno Bornkamp at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Amsterdam University of the Arts, a Bachelor of Music (Performance) with First Class Honors from the University of Melbourne, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (MCM), and the Diplôme d’Etudes Musicales (DEM) at the Conservatoire de Bordeaux Jacques Thibaud, Bordeaux, France under the tutelage of Marie- Bernadette Charrier.

She has received several accolades for her musical endeavors including the Welsford Smithers Memorial Traveling Scholarship, First Prize of the Hugo Stockigt Award (Open Unaccompanied Solo) at the CLASAX Performance Competition 2015 and the coveted First Prize of the MCM Chamber Music Competition 2014 as the soprano saxophonist of her quartet, 2.0 Saxophone Quartet. In 2016, she was featured in the Singapore local newspaper, Lian He Zao Bao and was broadcasted on the influential Mediacorp Channel 8 Television program Star Awards 2016.

Photo by: Gracia Teo

Don Kow

Don Kow

Trombonist

Don Kow holds an Artist’s Certificate in Trombone Performance from the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, a Master of Music from the Codarts University of the Arts, and a Bachelor of Music (Honors) from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music.

His principal teachers include Alexander Verbeek, Brandt Attema, Fredi Sonderegger, Sebastiaan Kemner, Shannon Pittaway, Timothy Dowling, and Zachary Bond. In addition, he has also performed in masterclasses with Jorgen van Rijen, Ian Bousfield, and Joseph Alessi. With vast experience in chamber and orchestral playing, Kow is versatile in diverse styles. He has performed on period instruments alongside the Orchestra of the 18th Century. He has also performed a trombone solo role in the Dutch National Opera’s production of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s opera cycle Aus Licht for the Holland Festival.

Kow has received scholarships to attend the Animato Foundation Orchestra Academy and the Domaine Forget Music and Dance Academy. Additionally, he has also been invited to be the Principal Trombone with the South Asian Symphony Orchestra and the Bandung Philharmonic Orchestra.

Vincent Tan

Vincent Tan

Euphoniumist

Vincent Tan holds a Bachelor of Music (Honors) from the Royal Northern College of Music and a Diploma in Music Performance from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts.

His primary teachers include David Thornton, Fredi Sonderegger, and Steven Mead. Tan is a founding member of The Brass Compass, which won first prize in the Chamber Music Category at the International Tuba and Euphonium Conference (2016) held in Knoxville TN. He also represented the Royal Northern College of Music at the Philip Jones Tribute Concert held in St. John’s Smith Square in London.

Tan is currently based in Singapore and holds the Principal Euphonium position in Orchestra Collective and The Philharmonic Winds. He hopes to push the musical boundaries of the euphonium and engage in diverse and cross-disciplinary projects.

Tanis a Sterling Musical Instruments performing artist and plays exclusively on the Sterling Virtuoso Euphonium.

Ng Pei-Sian

Ng Pei-Sian

Cellist

Ng Pei-Sian was Commonwealth Musician of the Year in 2007 and winner of the Gold Medal and First Prize at the 55th Royal Over-Seas League Music Competition held in London. He has performed concertos with the major Australian symphony orchestras, Singapore Symphony (SSO), Malaysian Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Estonian National Symphony, Oulu Symphony, Sinfonia ViVA, City of Southampton Orchestra, Philippine Philharmonic, and the Orchestra of the Music Makers, and performed around the world in venues including Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, Konzerthaus (Berlin), Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall.

Born in Sydney in 1984, he began studies in Adelaide with Barbara Yelland and later with Janis Laurs at the Elder Conservatorium of Music before winning the prestigious Elder Overseas Scholarship to study at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Pei-Sian completed his studies under Ralph Kirshbaum during which he was awarded the RNCM Gold Medal, the highest prize given by the college.

Pei-Sian has had appearances in important music festivals including the Brighton, Edinburgh, Manchester International Cello Festival, Kronberg Academy, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival, and Adelaide International Cello Festival. Pei-Sian performed Tan Dun’s Crouching Tiger Cello Concerto with The Festival Orchestra under the baton of the Academy Award-winning composer and also performed with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, Cho-Liang Lin, and Renaud Capuçon.

Recent highlights include a performance of Kalevi Aho’s Double Cello Concerto with his twin brother Ng Pei-Jee and the SSO and also the Asian premiere of John Tavener’s Flood of Beauty with the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Orchestra under Jason Lai as part of Tapestry, A Sacred Music Festival. Recently, Pei-Sian played alongside Ma and the SSO performing the fresh and exciting double cello concerto Violoncelles Vibrez! by Giovanni Sollima.

Notes

Water Birds is a structured improvisation for clarinet and computer created by composer Mara Helmuth and clarinetist Andrea Vos-Rochefort, with a spotlight on environmental awareness. The piece was composed around 2010 with the original clarinetist, Rebecca Danard, using an interactive wireless network infra-red sensor system. Several performers have since contributed unique versions of the work in the United States, Europe, and China. This recent creation from 2019 adds new sounds and incorporates bird movements by Vos-Rochefort.

— Mara Helmuth

I sought out inspiration in actual bird sounds and integrated the way birds use their calls to geo-locate and communicate to create a compelling dialogue with the electronics. It was a thrill to find myself in the landscape Helmuth created and to populate it with birds creating a sense of community.

— Andrea Vos-Rochefort

Green line 2065 was written in response to a chapter from East West Line by Joel Tan. The writing depicts an MRT ride set in 2065 where water is scarce and nature is almost non-existent. The ambient sound is still — almost silent — and the temperature is hot. I approached this piece by taking recordings graciously sent to me by the members of K⼜U, and used these recordings to create a dark soundscape, inspired by both the writing and other musical explorations of heat in films such as Dune.

Soft long notes and softening flutter sounds on wind instruments with heavy dollops of reverb and delay create this large, but at the same time, claustrophobic environment. The ensemble serves to further this feeling by primarily sticking to rhythmic simplicity and sterility, while creating movement with dynamics and texture. As the piece progresses, movement is introduced, with the electronics serving to figuratively depict the Asian Koel from the story.

Color reappears and the space becomes less claustrophobic. The electronics also become more welcoming. As the piece ends, we return to some of the sterility and darkness of the beginning, but the ensemble plays differently — a more helpful melody.

The score includes text from the story, which can be simply read as part of the performance or left out completely.

This work was commissioned by K⼜U Ensemble in 2021 for their project j[our]ney.

— Avik Chari

Senescence or biological aging is the gradual deterioration of functional characteristics in living organisms. This sound world looks at a shipwreck as one large, dying organism; the ship loses its function as an object to move humans across the seas, but gains a new role — as a harbor of new life. The shipwreck becomes a city. I took sounds heard in expeditions to these colorful underwater ruins, graciously provided to me by the Asian Civilisations Museum, and mixed them with organic sounds from pots and pans, soft rain, as well as subdued sounds of a city, sampled into melodies — or what I imagine an underwater world could sound like.

After working on this, I felt like the track needed something more – something to carry it forward and contextualize this hidden world for us. I asked Ng Pei-Sian to play a few poignant melodies on top of the electronics, simplifying the core message of this track within all of its lush complexity.

This work was commissioned by the Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore to accompany their permanent exhibition featuring items found from the Pedra Branca Shipwrecks.

— Avik Chari

the inner landscape of a cabin in the woods 6’20” (2020) for improvised electric guitar and fixed media. Composed and performed by Gina Biver.

“This piece was composed from recordings I gathered in the home where we lived for 29 years. Sounds were captured in the months during the pandemic, weeks away from June 20, 2020 when we sold our home and moved out. The house, with its familiar noises became the structure of the piece — solid, constant percussives that open, close and tumble; footsteps and doors, running water, silences between. Guitar became the human inside; the flowing, morphing full-of-emotion rolling din that came and went as the day of our move approached; feelings thick with memories of babies and children, sweet and longing; the constant strain of a raging pandemic outside against the surety of the walls around us, wide windows keeping the forest outside always within view.”

— Gina Biver

December, 2020

Gasp, (4:25) for live choir and fixed audio (2021) is an electroacoustic music work by composer Gina Biver. Created for The Taxonomy of Breathing project by IceBox Collective, it incorporates live stethoscope recordings she made from visiting communities in the United States: the breathing of a firefighter, public school teacher, psychologist, opera singer, nurse-midwife, artist, plus recordings of people who lost their homes in the California wildfires. These breaths and sighs demand the question of how the pandemic, the wildfires, BLM’s fight for freedom, liberation and justice, the smothering effects of poverty, and the divisive politics of fear have altered and affected the breathing of those who have lived it.

Audio portraits of breaths snatched from the spaces between words in a debate between Martin Luther King and Malcolm X show what lies hidden in unspoken moments, the breath as a mirror to the soul. For while MLK’s breaths are peaceful, calm, and slow like the ocean, Malcolm X’s are all power and fire — sudden gasps in between each word that force and thrust his ideas forward into the world. Both are important figures who were consistently called upon during our current and agonizingly longtime struggle against racism and hatred. The duration of Gasp is significant; it is the amount of time that passed from the moment George Floyd became fully unconscious (while pinned under the knee of the murderous Minneapolis police officer) until Floyd was finally taken in an ambulance.

The collected breaths — here acting as an archive of the moments within this capsule of time — are what connects us all, for we live with these breaths or die without them. They burn, strain, and struggle for us as we gasp for air. They also have the power to bring life; they heal, balance, and purify. With their exhale they allow a letting-go and a release of pain, and of thoughts and ideas that no longer serve us. Breathing, in this way, manifests not only our fragility and our environment within this moment in history; but our ability to recover, heal, and go forth.

An ancient hymn sings of the river that will wash away our sins before we die or before we can live, and becomes the backdrop to this cacophony of breaths and cries. Evidence of the heart-wrenching pleas of the forsaken bystanders at George Floyd’s murder, his own cries for help, and the anguished folks who lost homes in the fires all ring out. Sounds of breathing through an oxygen mask, the sputtering racket of ventilators like those that occupied our thoughts at the beginning of the pandemic, and even the squeaky sounds of a newborn are all there, representing, and this mass of interconnectedness, this communion — the effects of which have rippled far into 2022 — is codified and captured in the wideness of our collective action of breathing.

— Gina Biver

June, 2021

Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to create a series of sculptures, Marc Didou’s idea of resignation to shun away the creator’s subjectivity renders stillness as a proactive exercise of agency. Within spliced planes and pixelated surfaces to render a perception of flatness, Giulia Biasibetti’s photograph of Didou’s “Échos” in Turin, Italy emanate vibrations transcending the photograph’s two dimensional space. First presented in Cities and Memory’s “Sound Photography” (2018), Hanggang sa Takipsilim (Until Dusk) responds to this particular photograph with recorded Philippine indigenous instruments and narrated histories to challenge the flatness of time and space. Crude methods of microsampling — manually pixelating and splicing recordings into shreds — paved the way for stitching and creating tapestries of rough textures and echoing vibrations. Similar to the avoidance of automating such processes, the political voices of the diaspora lean towards negating Didou’s “resignation as creation:” actors and historical agents can never passively stand still in creating ongoing histories. Ironically, Didou’s open-mouthed sculpture stretches one’s imagination as if one calls out echoes of pasts, presents, and futures within intermingling spaces. In this regard, Hanggang sa Takipsilim juxtaposes recordings of indigenous instruments by Jayson Palolan with an excerpt of Hannah Leah Guanlao’s “Choose Your Own Perspective” (2016) to capture a Filipino-Canadian millennial’s response to present-day historical revisionism surrounding the brutal dictatorship of Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos during the 1970s and 1980s.

— Juro Kim Feliz

Scores

Water Birds

Mara Helmuth and Andrea Vos-Rochefort

View Score

green line 2065 (excerpt)

Avik Chari

View Score