On Friday, February 17, 2023, the TIMARA faculty returned for their third concert at the Irene and Alan Wurtzel Theater in Oberlin, Ohio. This iteration featured a special collaboration with the Oberlin Percussion Group, led by Associate Professor of Percussion and Oberlin alum, Ross Karre ’05. It was a unique opportunity to experience a wide range of musical styles and techniques exploring the intersection of technology, music, and percussion.

“Field of Bokeh” by Christopher Poovey opened the concert, featuring four percussion players and interactive electronics. The piece was divided into four phases, imitating different levels of un-focus and incorporating varying levels of player choice. The live instruments were combined with electronic sounds to create a temporal blur reminiscent of a photograph taken with a slow shutter speed. In Abby Aresty’s new work, “limit/switch,” a piece investigating relationships between technology and humanity, Ross Karre improvised live with a custom, motorized noise machine, built out of cardboard boxes, hot glue, and duct tape by TIMARA technical director Abby Aresty with assistance from Miles Berry, Phillip Chao, and Nolan Chen. 

Ross Karre sits on stage in front of large noise machine built of cardboard boxes
Ross Karre performs limit/switch

Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste’s mixed-media sound installation, “I Would Prefer Not To (Say Cool),” was featured in the lobby of the Wurtzel theater. The work misuses a decommissioned military-issue Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), placing inverted riot shields on oscillating fans to deflect the sound from potential targets and refract it back to its source. The project was partially funded by a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant and serves as a commentary on the weaponization of technology against civilian populations.

The performance also included works by Ash Fure (’04), Jesse Marino, and Yvette Janine Jackson. Ash Fure’s “Shiver Lung 2” was the second piece, and featured solo percussion by Ross Karre. Fure’s piece delved into the physicality of sound, creating an intense and visceral experience for the audience. Following Fure’s piece, Jesse Marino’s “Ritual Series 1 :: Commitment :: BiiM” was performed by TIMARA and percussion double major Orson Abram. Yvette Janine Jackson’s “DELIBERATE (Afraid of Nothing)” followed in a captivating performance by Brin Jaeger on solo drum set.

Additional concert highlights included visiting assistant professor Hunter Brown’s “Stoppages Vol. 1,” a collection of unedited recordings synthesized by an algorithm that produced streams of numbers that could approach or reach infinity via divide by zero errors and Associate Professor Aurie Hsu’s “imprints: blue grey silhouette,” a collection of storytelling performances that combine text, movement, projection, wearable robotic instruments, and electronic sound. The concert closed with Professor Tom Lopez’s “In C+,” inspired by Terry Riley’s “In C.” The work focuses on rhythm instead of pitch, using percussionists on various instruments to play through a sequence of rhythmic fragments. Lopez’s original work was premiered in 2017 by the Oberlin Percussion Group, and this new version incorporates live electronics. 

The Oberlin Percussion Group, led by Ross Karre, delivered a fantastic performance. The group’s technical skill and musicality were evident throughout the evening. The concert was a unique opportunity to experience a range of musical styles and techniques that explored technology in music and related arts.