My column in this week's New Yorker makes brief reference to the Irish-born composer-vocalist Jennifer Walshe. Above is an excerpt from Walshe's video-and-live-performance piece The Total Mountain, which was presented at the most recent Donaueschingen Festival, at the invitation of the late and widely lamented Armin Köhler. It's hazardous to generalize about what is going on, but we here see a variety of composer-generated personae vocalizing happenstance tweets: one is fixated on the young males who constitute the pop band One Direction; another is very much concerned with secret incursions of the Illuminati into pop culture; and a third recites lines from the work of Harold Pinter. You can sample more of Walshe's work on the We Are Grúpat YouTube channel — Grúpat being an one-woman art collective in which Walshe assumes nine different alter egos.
I also mention Corey Dargel, whose new album, It's OK It's Not OK, will appear in late January on the New Amsterdam label. The I Care If You Listen blog has a preview of one of the tracks. Dargel's 2009 NewMusicBox essay on "artsongwriters" is an important document of the hard-to-define tendency I discuss in the column. This is the place for a fond reminiscence of the now apparently dormant Professor Heebie McJeebie.
UCLA's Center for the Art of Performance will present Gabriel Kahane's The Ambassador in February.