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Proximity Exercises

 

Monday, June 21, 2021. 8:00 pm

Multi-instrumentalist and performer Ka Baird returns to Roulette (NYC) on the Summer Solstice to present Proximity Exercises—a new work utilizing voice, flutes, electronics, field recordings, installation, and movement. The piece explores relations of proximity and perspective, acoustic density, and physical distancing.

 

Ka Baird: voice, flutes, recorder, electronics, composition

Aliya Ultan: cello

Lester St. Louis: cello

Ryan Sawyer: percussion

Max Eilbacher: acoustic processing

LONGFORM EDITIONS releases "Brooding Exercises I (Second Movement)"

This recording is from a performance that was filmed on my Greenpoint Brooklyn studio rooftop at sunset on October 9, 2020 for The Kitchen's (NYC) On Screen series. The piece was timed to capture the eclipse of the day’s light, incorporating peaked ambient sounds of the outdoors environment and cityscape; a contact mic’d ground surface; and closed-off, direct input sounds from voice, electronics, and digital piano. My contribution to the Longform Editions is the second movement of this performance where I play plodding piano chords as the sun eclipses. The piece can be divided into five distinct Broods, with electronics and field recordings at time of shoot bridging the five parts together. The electronics were provided by Baltimore intermedia artist Max Eilbacher, who mostly processed and synthesised the sounds of the digital piano to create textures and drones. 

 

The piece felt “of the times”, in a time of great suspension and uncertainty, especially in the US in October. Not only were we facing a long winter of the pandemic but also an election that seemed of absolute urgency and importance. The external world seemed to be in such a precarious place. My best and only defence was to slow down and listen. I am hovering here on the unknown, needing to meditate on the spaces between notes more than ever. 

 

Listening is a portal that keeps opening up further portals. In other words, the more you listen the more you realise how much there is to listen to. Listening is political, a way of making space. Over time, we create habits and patterns of action and thought that block out certain stimuli from the outside. Deep listening or concentrated listening is a way of opening that back up, a technique for meditation and dissolving the separation between the self and its environment. It goes in with open ears, leaving judgments of right or wrong or any other types of qualitative descriptions in suspension. It is to encounter that sound as if for the first time. 

 

released February 15, 2021

Ka Baird with Camilla Padgitt-Coles: Ictum Exercises (Polyrhythmic Studies) is an audiovisual performance that takes a single randomized pattern through several permutations using electronics, recorder, breath and voice overlaid with sound reactive color fields and pulses by multimedia artist Camilla Padgitt-Coles. This piece was commissioned for the December 2020 Experimental Intermedia series curated by Phill Niblock. Although usually a live performance in the space, this year's series was online due to the pandemic.

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Ka Baird’s Vivification Exercises, a recording for piano, voice, and electronics that references an invigorated consciousness, is primarily based on a presentation at Roulette’s Brooklyn theater in May of 2018. The event added to Baird’s history of performances that embrace the physical and visceral, though the musical, provocative sounds this time exorcised from both her body and the piano’s.

 

When an artist commits mind, body, and the elusive rules of instinct to their practice, there are risks and consequences with the promise of reward and transformation. As the five sections of Vivification Exercises are revealed, patterns unfold and fold over, and the experience is like watching a split screen of both speed chess and slow motion origami with insistent non-verbal vocals evoking an underpinning fantasy or conspiracy.

 

Baird approaches the piano like the grooming of a sleeping beast in need of unknotting, literally pulling fur from the piano keys. And yet there is a breeze blowing through it all, as electronic weather drifts over and under the sound of the piano, seeps through the cracks, and gently tickles without threatening. If not musical magic, Vivification Exercises is a musical truth.

ODER Below: 

The Kitchen (NYC) OnScreen: Ka Baird with Max Eilbacher: The Brooding Exercises

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Ka Baird presents a new video work entitled The Brooding Exercises with Max Eilbacher, filmed outside at an undisclosed Brooklyn location. In part a response to their piece "Vivification Exercises II"  that was meant to be presented at The Kitchen the first weekend of April 2020 and cancelled in response to COVID-19, this new video work airs on The Kitchen OnScreen, Sunday, October 18, at 5:26pm EDT. The video will remain available to watch on The Kitchen OnScreen following the premiere.

Curated by Matthew Lyons. 

 

Premieres on The Kitchen OnScreen, Sunday, October 18, 5:26pm EDT

Ka Baird with Max Eilbacher: The Brooding Exercises is made possible with endowment support from Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust; annual grants from The Amphion Foundation, Inc., The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Howard Gilman Foundation, and The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation; and in part by public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.  

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Curated by Jonathon Williger for Chicago's Experimental Sound Studio's Quarantine Concerts, Ka Baird presents "The Florian Exercises," a tribute to legendary Kraftwerk founder and flautist Florian Schneider.

Various Artists presents: Ka Baird w Chris Corsano  "Kinematics"

V/A006: KA BAIRD with CHRIS CORSANO: KINEMATICS (7")  

Edition of 100

Hand cut 7" Mono lathe recording on lacquer with laser etching. 

Full color archival pigment print sleeve. Buy HERE

Kinematics is the explosive first time collaboration between multi instrumentalist Ka Baird and percussionist Chris Corsano. Side A, Ordinate, is a frenetic weave of bamboo reed pipe, bubbling vocal utterances and drums, sounding much like a cart-full of shimmering dodos on the loose with the wheels flying off. Side B, Abscissa, is a more focused beating drone that mixes layered tones from an Asian battery operated tone generator (used to practice scales) with slide clarinet and homemade timpani-snare. 

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 "Respires" AVAILABLE NOW through RVNG Intl 

  ORDER  HERE

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Respires, the second solo album by Ka Baird, blurs the line between word and action, definition and possibility. Spirited yet restrained, bearing its wildly thrummed heart strings and inner calm alike, Respires ventures toward the unknown, charting the shifting ground of experimental music and the rewards born of risk.

 

Tapping the ecstatic energy and cathartic experience of Baird’s live sets, pushing the extremes of psychological and physical release, Respires represents an unquestionable leap for an artist already out on a limb. Largely written and recorded across the length of 2018, the eight pieces align as a series of visceral actions, captured, culled, and intricately shaped by Baird, then expanded with contributions from Zach Rowden (bass), Max Eilbacher and Andrew Fitzpatrick (synths), and Greg Fox (drums). 

 

Respires was born from the intertwined etymologies of spirit and breath, the results of Baird’s singular approach to extended vocal technique and radical notions of “body music” which push her performances to uncompromising extremes. Channeling a raw energy from an internal depth, the genetics of Respires construct new bridges of communication, reaching across the perceptual boundaries of spiritual and physical.

 

Informed by indigenous, sacred flute music of New Guinea and vocal music of Burundi, Can, Maryanne Amacher, Don Cherry’s Organic Music Society, and Chaitanya Hari’s Kundalini Meditation Music, and driven by a fearless quest for musical discovery, Respires offers a glimpse into a sacred space of the musical avant-garde. 

 

From the unusual folk music of Spires That In The Sunset Rise, to her many collaborative and solo efforts, Baird’s careful artistry and years of experimental exploration, placed in connection with the raw power unleashed by the body, lungs, and reeds, represents an intersection of possible futures on Respires. Tapping the primitive, immediate, unnameable, and fundamentally human, it’s an album which proves the impossibility of failure, when the risk of failure is embraced. 

 

An answer - or continuation of - Joan la Barbara’s long standing indication of the voice as “original instrument,” Respires is spirit, movement, and an immersive life force manifested as sound. A sound in which the self is lost, and becomes something universal.

            ---Bradford Bailey