Double

2007

1. Vocalion
2. American Regina

In 1860, the double magic lantern caught the public’s imagination by projecting handpainted glass slides in churches and entertainment halls with its unheard-of technology: stacked lenses enabled it to crossfade between images, and elaborate cranks and levers made the circular slides twirl and oscillate on screen. The projections tonight borrow these images, including a popular series about a shipwreck, used to accompany hymn singing, and the chromatropes, tank slide, and mechanical draftsman — all geometrical and kaleidoscopic psychedelia of the time.

The music and visuals in Double work somewhat like these mechanisms. Musically, doublings abound, from the pairing of keyboards, to the alternations and crossfades of timbre and rhythm.
Each of the two movements is based on a familiar song, but the tunes are fractured through elastic tempos and kaleidoscopic rotations. The movements are doppelgangers, morphing now
and again into each other. The animation likewise morphs; layers of footage create a landscape in which the magic lantern slides can float, allowing images to fade in and out in tangent with the
music.

Other 19th-century mechanisms inspire Double: The Vocalion was a foot-pumped organ used in churches; it was also the name of a brand of phonograph that you could “play” like an instrument, through a remote control. The American Regina was a music box with giant tin discs, whose popularity paved the way for the phonograph. An earlier version of Double was commissioned by Gil and Mary Stott for Orchestra 2001 in Philadelphia.


Nick Brooke US

Nick Brooke mixes musical sampling, lipsynching, and theater into a genre all its own. In his works, vocalists and actors are trained over months to mimic sampled collages of sound effects, pop songs, and musical ephemera, blurring the line between recording and live performance. His work Tone Test received its premiere at Lincoln Center Festival in 2004. Brooke’s instrumental works have been performed by the Paul Dresher Ensemble, the Nash Ensemble of London, Speculum Musicae, Orchestra 2001, Dan Druckman, and New York's Gamelan Son of Lion. His work has been performed across the U.S. and in Europe, and featured at the Lincoln Center Festival, the Spoleto Festival, and the MATA Series. He has received awards and residencies from the Guggenheim Foundation, ASCAP, the Rockefeller Foundation, Djerassi, and the MacDowell Colony. Originally a clarinettist, he is also an avid instrument builder, thereminist, and researcher of early musical automata. During a two-year fellowship to Central Java, he studied gamelan and collaborated on musical projects with Javanese composers, dancers, and visual artists. He holds degrees in music composition and philosophy from Oberlin, and a Ph.D from Princeton. He teaches at Bennington College.

For more information about Nick Brooke, click here.

Nick Brooke