Curated by PUBLICS, co-presented with Performa & Pioneer Works, and co-produced by PALO Art Productions, SONIC TONIC ASSEMBLY is a listening program of innovative sound artists using location-specific field recording as their starting point to create aural worlds at the intersection of sonic poetry, abstracted music, and experimental black and global feminist technologies. SONIC TONIC ASSEMBLY, co-commissioned by Performa & PUBLICS, has two overlapping episodes of an extended unfolding event that sounds out and listens in.
Episode one, entitled “Sonic Wilderness,” features performances by AGF, Islaja, Lau Nau, and Cucina Povera. It interweaves with Episode two, “Sounding a Black Grammar,” which convenes around black audio culture to expand and complicate forms. From minimalism, improvisation, and experimental music to ambient and techno genres, “Sounding a Black Grammar” features performances and work by KMRU, Tony Cokes, and DeForrest Brown, Jr. (aka Speaker Music) with Chris Williams x Lester St. Louis, Lamin Fofana, and Bhavisha Panchia.
SONIC TONIC ASSEMBLY is a listening program of innovative sound artists using location-specific field recording as their starting point to create aural worlds at the intersection of sonic poetry, abstracted music, and experimental black and global feminist technologies.
Antye Greie-Ripatti (aka AGF) is a vocalist, musician, composer, and new media artist based in the island of Hailuoto, Finland, since 2008. AGF has released 30 long player records and numerous collaborations, for example with the award-winning classical composer Craig Armstrong. Other projects include The Lappetites, AGF/ DELAY (with Vladislav Delay), Eliane Radigue, Kaffe Matthews, Rupert Huber, TBA aka Natalie Beridz. In 2004 AGF won an Award of Distinction at the 2004 Ars Electronica festival. In 2011 Greie-Ripatti founded the arts organization Hai Art in Hailuoto and practices as artistic director and workshop leader.
Bhavisha Panchia is a curator and researcher of visual and audio culture. Her work engages with artistic and cultural practices under shifting global conditions, focusing on anti/postcolonial discourses, imperial histories, and networks of production and circulation of media. She is the founder of Nothing to Commit Records, a label and publishing platform committed to the production and expansion of knowledge related to the intersection of contemporary art, literature and music within and across the Global South.
Cucina Povera is the solo project of vocalist-composer and sound artist Maria Rossi from Finnish Karelia. It has been described as one the most striking new voices from the European underground music scene. Cucina Povera is the solo project of Finnish-Karelian-Luxembourgish sound artist and composer Maria Rossi, focusing on the marginal and the observational. The repeated motifs in their work are an uncanny testament to the beauty of banality, infused with the mysticism of everyday life and a love for accessible sound sources such as creaky tenement floors, boiling kettles and leaky taps – stories told by means of cheap and rudimentary equipment. Like in the titular practice of peasant cooking, Rossi takes simple ingredients and makes a stylistically resourceful, spontaneous and swirling alchemy that doubles as a creative respite from the hubbub of the metropole.
The improvisatory electro-acoustic duo of Lester St. Louis and Chris Williams (HxH) utilizes a mix of trumpet, cello and electronics to build worlds traversing through acoustic sound, grainy textures, expansive pools of sounds, breaks, cuts and beats. The approach is conceived as an expansiveness that holds a personal intimacy. HxH wants to bring the listeners in, tune them to the experience and take a long trip. HxH functions as a vehicle to bring together the mass of references and influences Chris and Lester share and create ways to crystalize those ideas in real, expanded time to an experience over minutes or hours. Along with creating their own body of original music, the duo also work as sound and installation designers; collaborating with other artists and institutions. HxH has performed on series and venues such as Pioneer Works, The Kitchen, Public Records, Roulette Intermedium, Musik Installationen Nürnberg, T- Space Rhinebeck, The Lot Radio and Abasement among others. In June 2023, HxH was awarded a music residency at Pioneer Works. The duo has also collaborated with artists and organizations such as Torkwase Dyson, Fields Harrington, Black Science Fiction, Found Sound Nation, TAK Ensemble, and The International Contemporary Ensemble to name a few.
In Islaja’s haunting vocals and shamanic melodies, Finnish composer and musician Islaja takes her audience on a journey to other worlds. Since the experimental, psychedelic folk music of her early albums, she has long embraced "warped and left-field" electronics. She has been compared to Björk, Syd Barrett, and Nico. Islaja lived and worked in Berlin for over ten years. She moved back to Helsinki in 2022. Other Power will release Islaja’s seventh album Angel Tape in October.
Joseph Kamaru, aka KMRU, is a Nairobi-born, Berlin-based sound artist whose work is grounded on the discourse of field recording, noise, and sound art. His work posits expanded listening cultures of sonic thoughts and sound practices, a proposition to consider and reflect on auditory cultures beyond the norms. An awareness of surroundings through creative compositions, installations, and performances. He has earned international acclaim from his performances in far-flung locales such as the Barbican, Berlin Atonal, CTM festival, Dekmantel, Le Guess Who, and his profound releases on Editions Mego, Subtext, Seil Records, and Injazero. 2022 saw him supporting Big Thief in the UK/EU and touring with Fennesz in the US. KMRU has carved out a serious and definitive space on the list of essential authors in ambient-experimental music––one of the most prolific and innovative artists in his field.
Lamin Fofana is an artist and musician currently located in New York. His music contrasts the reality of our world with what’s beyond, and explores questions of movement, migration, alienation and belonging. Fofana’s overlapping interests in history and the present, and his practice of transmuting text into the a ective medium of sound, manifests in multisensory live performances and installations featuring original music compositions, eld recordings and archival material. His latest releases include Ballad Air & Fire, Shafts of Sunlight, and The Open Boat (an album trilogy). Recent exhibitions include JMW Turner with Lamin Fofana: Dark Waters (2022) at Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, England; Preis der Nationalgalerie (2021) at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, Germany; a call to disorder (2021) at Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany; Life and Death by Water (2021) at the Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, England; BLUES (2020) at Mishkin Gallery at Baruch College, City University of New York; Refracted Gazes/Fugitive Dreams (2019) at Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany; WITNESS at 57th Venice Biennale, Italy; and performances at Documenta 14 (2017), Kassel, Germany and Athens, Greece. In 2021, Fofana was awarded a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists and was nominated for the National Gallery Prize in Germany. Fofana hosts a monthly radio show on NTS Radio, an online station based in London.
Lau Nau, aka Laura Naukkarinen, is a Finnish composer whose music is imbued with an idiosyncratic, finely honed sound world. Her palette often consists of traditional instruments, singing voice, modular synthesisers, reel-to-reel tape recorders and field recordings. To date Lau Nau has released nine albums on record labels in Europe, USA, and Japan and a large number of collaborative releases. The most recent solo album 5 x 4 (Fonal Records & Beacon Sound 2023), is made with the Buchla 200 synthesiser at Elektronmusikstudion Stockholm. Lau Nau is also known for her music to films and multi-channel sound installations. In her role as a sound designer, she won the Finnish State Prize for the Performing Arts 2021. She has toured abroad for over 20 years, playing in venues such as Super Deluxe in Tokyo, the Lab & Castro Theatre in San Francisco and Blank Forms & Issue Project Room in New York.
Tony Cokes is an artist and professor in the Department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University, Rhode Island. Cokes’ work has been exhibited internationally and was most recently featured in solo exhibitions at Dia Art Foundation / Dan Flavin Art Institute, Bridgehampton (2023); Haus der Kunst and Kunstverein Munich (2022); MACRO Contemporary Art Museum, Rome (2021); CIRCA, London (2021); Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Barcelona (2020); ARGOS center for audiovisual arts, Brussels (2020); Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (2020); BAK,basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht (2020); Luma Westbau, Zurich (2019); Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, London (2019); The Shed, New York (2019); Kunsthall Bergen (2018); and REDCAT, Los Angeles (2012). Cokes has screened works in group exhibitions at venues including the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Hammer Museum, Tate Modern, and Carnegie Museum.