Floating Messages and Fading Frequencies

Third Ear commissioned and produced the premiere and UK tour of a major new work by Downtown New York star Annie Gosfield, written for her band alongside the Athelas Sinfonietta, Denmark’s leading new music ensemble. The project was developed in partnership with Dartington Arts through a residency, leading to the world premiere and a tour to Nottingham Lakeside Arts Centre, Huddersfield

Athelas Sinfonietta, conducted by Pierre-André Valade

Annie Gosfield (sampler keyboard)

Roger Kleier (elec guitar)

Chris Cutler (drums / percussion)

New York composer-performer Annie Gosfield creates some of the most compelling sounds in today’s new music. Finding the warmth in mechanical, musical, industrial and signal noise, her use of sampled sounds is sophisticated and captivating.

This landmark show brought together her Trio with Denmark’s leading new music ensemble for the premiere of a major new work, Floating Messages and Fading Frequencies, based on the secret radio transmissions between British Intelligence and the Resistance movements in the Second World War.

Annie’s music was born out of New York’s ‘Downtown’ scene, of which she’s a leading figure: visceral, lyrical, conceptual, energetic, brash, and seamlessly combining composition with improv, noise, and rock. Her aesthetic of recycled factory and metal sounds is inspired in part by her family history (her grandparents immigrated to the US during the industrial revolution and dealt in scrap metal), whilst her interest in the Resistance and its sounds, signals, and radio transmissions comes from her former teacher Bernard Peiffer, a classically trained pianist who fought with the French Resistance before becoming a key figure in French jazz.

“[Annie Gosfield’s] music is unlike anything in the current European chamber spectrum, coupling zest and imaginative poetics with a warming textural glow underlying the spikiness”

Rob Young

The Wire

“The most kaleidoscopic and sophisticated keyboard–sampler performance I’ve ever heard”

Kyle Gann

The Village Voice

“Gosfield is a direct successor to such twentieth century futurist composers as Edgard Varèse, Luigi Russolo, and John Cage”

The Huffington Post

The Village Voice

Athelas Sinfonietta was founded in 1990, in Copenhagen, and has rapidly become Denmark’s premier new music group, and a leading ensemble in Europe with their chief conductor Pierre-André Valade.

Under their Artistic Director, Anders Beyer, they have developed eye-opening collaborations, including with the Danish Dance Theatre on an installation by Tim Rushton, projects at the Bang On A Can Marathon in New York, with Richard Alston Dance Company, with Thomas Sandberg and Anders Nordentoft on the experimental opera performance On the Planet, and in film music by Jacob Groth and Karsten Fundal for the official opening concert of the Cannes Film Festival.

The group is now the ensemble in residence at The Culture Yard, a destination arts complex in the former shipyard at Elsinore nearby the famous ‘Hamlet’ castle.

‘If the [Bang On A Can] marathon is a barometer of anything, it may be that Denmark is the new England, a place where composers are experimenting, and ensembles are eager to help out.’

New York Times, June 2010