premiere of ‘the deformation of figures’ for tim feeney at Crane Arts in Philadelphia 3/7 at 8pm


the deformation of figures

Tim Feeney and Seth Cluett

8pm March 7, 2015
ICEBOX Project Space
Crane Arts
1400 N American St, Philadelphia, PA 19122
$10/$7 students

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ICEBOX Project Space at Crane Arts and Philadelphia Sound Forum are excited to present percussionist Tim Feeney performing a new work for large bass drum, electronics, and actuators by composer and artist Seth Cluett.

‘the deformation of figures’ is an hour-long focused work for solo bass drum and live electronics commissioned by the University of Alabama for Tim Feeney.

The work explores the embodied experience resulting from the interaction between the performer and the responsive feedback provided by the membrane of the drum head. Considering the bass drum as an architectural space, the work explores the acoustics of the interior of the drum, the nodes and anti-nodes of the drum head, and the resonances of the instrument as a whole.

Using custom hardware employing devices capable of actuating the resonant response of the instrument as well as measuring the activities of the performer (both gesturally and acoustically), the work creates a delicate dialog between the sensuous touch of the human hand and a heightened tactile response of the instrument. Rather than emphasize the technological or the purely sonic, the electronics create an amplified electronic extension of the natural response of the instrument to actions of the performer.

In this new work, Cluett uses an actuator that creates an environment, or instrumental “weather,” with which Feeney interacts. The actuator generates sound, alters the spectral characteristics of the resonance from the membrane, dampens the head at specific locations, and alters the pressure within the shell of the drum. These factors encourage or inhibit Feeney’s techniques of sound production, resulting in the emergent behavior of an unpredictable sonic landscape.

Before moving on to Alabama and New York respectively, Feeney and Cluett both worked within a community of improvisers in Boston during the late 1990s and early 2000s, interested in hypnotic and static sound textures that became termed “lowercase” music in journals such as The Wire and Signal to Noise. These interests have extended to their collaborative work with other composers and interpreters. Cluett’s new piece explores stasis and the mundane, asking Feeney to perform repetitive actions that intersect with cycles of activity from his electronic and acoustic actuators.


Tim Feeney has performed as an improviser with musicians including thereminist James Coleman, cellist/electronic musician Vic Rawlings, tape-deck manipulator Howard Stelzer, trumpeter Nate Wooley, sound artists Jed Speare and Ernst Karel, saxophonist Jack Wright, pianist Annie Lewandowski, and the trio ONDA. As an interpreter, Tim was a founding member of the quartet So Percussion, the duo Non Zero with saxophonist Brian Sacawa, and the ensemble LotUs. He has toured throughout the United States, including notable performances at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, New York’s The Stone, the Center for New Music and Audio Technology at UC-Berkeley, the Stanford Art Museum, Mills College, Princeton University, and Oberlin College. His recordings appear on the Sedimental, Soul on Rice, Audiobot, Homophoni, Full Spectrum, and Brassland labels.

Tim is currently Assistant Professor of Percussion at the University of Alabama. Previously, he was a Lecturer in Music and the Director of Percussion at Cornell University.

Video samples of Tim’s performances: