Music Now with Tara Rodgers

Monday, September 30, 2019

12:00pm - 1:00pm

Orwig Music Building


Music Now is an informal forum series for Brown’s community of composers and music scholars. These talks are free and open to the public.

About this talk

Playing Like You Have Lived Before: Embodying History in Electronic Music Production

My work as a composer and scholar is broadly concerned with understanding what is happening - personally, culturally, technically, politically - when electronic sound is made through the interfacing of performers and music technologies. I am interested in the personal and aesthetic complexities of these moments and in the myriad and long histories that converge to enable them. Through ethnographic research, the Pink Noises project documented how several women DJs, electronic musicians, and sound artists consider issues of identity and embodiment in relation to the technologies they use for sonic expression. My research on the history of synthesized sound examined audio-technical discourse to locate enduring metaphors that inform sonic epistemologies, instrument designs, and imaginitive spaces of electronic music in the present. This presentation will review themes in this work and propose outstanding questions and additional methods for theorizing performative moments of electronic sound creation. By discussing process and form of my recent techno and ambient music, I will trace lines of influence in my practice of learning to play music by ear and address the central roles that intuition and improvisation can play in solo studio practice.

About Tara Rodgers

Dr. Tara Rodgers is a multi-instrumentalist composer and historian of electronic music and sound. She graduated from Brown with an AB in American Studies and earned an MFA in Electronic Music from Mills College and a PhD in Communication Studies from McGill University. She is the author of several essays on music, technology, and culture, and of Pink Noises: Women on Electronic Music and Sound (Duke University Press, 2010), which received the 2011 Pauline Alderman Book Award from the International Alliance for Women in Music (IAWM). She composes music in a range of electronic and experimental genres. “Butterfly Effects,” a generative four-channel composition written in SuperCollider, received the 2007 IAWM New Genre Prize. Her electroacoustic works with piano and other sound sources have been featured in performances by the dance artists Sharon Mansur and Nick Bryson (Insert [ ] Here, 2013-15) and Thomas F. DeFrantz (CANE, 2013-18). As Analog Tara, she released the techno album Fundamentals in 2018, described by NPR Music as “suggestive of the perfect geometries in natural constructions, like that of spider webs or nautili or stone ridges - consummate, authorless, made by math and magic.” Recent public events include MUTEK (Montreal), Crosstown Arts (Memphis), Ableton Loop Summit (Berlin), and Sound:Gender:Feminism:Activism (London).