Using Elana Mann's mechanisms and modes of acoustic sculptures and listening, DECAY/DECODE relies on ensemble playing and group communication. The work incorporates percussive tropes and pitched contours based on morse code, sign language-based Simultaneous Communication (SimCom), directed improvisation, and traditional compositional techniques found in baroque era chorales and fugues. The composition focuses the sonic terrain on and around the sculptures which act as idiophonic bodies sounded both directly and indirectly, and as 3-dimensional scores which the performers (individually and collectively) decipher and musically interpret according to the “rules” of the score. And by calling for directed and free improvisatory sections, the work allows for informed real-time musical composition, relying on the performers to survey, analyze, and musically unpack the environs and its attendant significance.
About the Artist
Allison Johnson received degrees in music from Stanford University (BA), CalArts (MFA), and UC San Diego (PhD), and studied Javanese gamelan with Djoko Walujo and with Suhardi in Surakarta, Java. Her compositions and multi-media works have been performed at the New West Electro-Acoustic Music Festival, the New Directions in Asian-American Music Festival, the California Biennial, Feminist Theory & Music, La Jolla Athenaeum, Parallel 66, and Frau Musica (nova) Festival in Cologne, among others. She has received grants, awards, and residencies from American Composers Forum, the American Music Center, the Luce Foundation, the Durfee Foundation, the Irvine Foundation, Centrum Arts, and the Getty Foundation, and her theater collaborations have been performed at the Berlin Volksbühne, the Colony Theatre in Burbank, and Occidental College's Keck Theatre. She has published and presented papers on such subjects as Asian American hip hop, film music, women composers, and sign/gesture technology, and has been a guest lecturer at Freie Universität Berlin, University of Southern California, UC San Diego, California State University San Marcos, and Foothill College, among others. She currently teaches composition and world music at Soka University in Aliso Viejo, California.
Side Street Projects 730 N Fair Oaks Ave. Pasadena, CA 91103
This project is made possible through a grant from The Pasadena Department of Cultural Affairs Arts and Culture Commission and an ARC grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation.