NATIVE PLANTING - This volume contains concert and studio improvisations realized during a three year period in Ann Arbor, Michigan, my hometown. I returned here in 1995 after 18 years in the Eastern US. These pieces represent a significant personal and musical integration of ideas, methods and materials with which I have been working for many years.
The selections come from four evolutions of my solo work from 2001-2004: 'Raga in Seven Parts Plus', 'Passage', 'Almost Unplugged' and 'String Theory - First Draft.' In an effort to assemble my best playing and writing from this period, I have included cuts from live performances as well as from studio rehearsals. Some are excerpts from longer improvisations so as to allow for a wider spectrum of material. All work is performed live in a single pass, with no editing or postprocessing.
* electric nylon-string guitars
* amplified sitar
* processed voice
* realtime powerbook based MIDI and sound synthesis algorithms
ROBERT SPALDING NEWCOMB - An artist people consistently find difficult to categorize, especially in a music scene as diverse and challenging as the one in his hometown, Ann Arbor, MI. A composer, multi-instrumentalist, computer programmer, theorist, writer, and poet, who combines elements of numerous musical disciplines and cultural domains into a performance style that is truly a unique matrix of energies. Creative explorations focus on the study of musical and linguistic structure, complex systems, cognition, transcendent states, and improvisational performance.
Aesthetic niches, adjectives, labels and comments from audiences describing the solo concerts: ...a riveting performance, intense, profound, challenging, minimal, magical, just amazing, avant garde, free improvisation, experimental, spontaneous composition, technical but not techno, computer music, raga-like, mystical, a meditation, an original paradigm, computer algorithms, new forms, razor edge guitar solos, meditative sitar improvisations, compelling poetry/spoken word, and most often, 'unlike anything else.'
Newcomb has immersed himself in a wide range of musical exploration including traditional folk and blues traditions of the British Isles and the US, classical guitar technique, jazz theory, improvisation, composition, digital audio, computer music programming, advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning, and Indian Classical Music.
He has toured India (2005) as a guest of the US Embassy. He has published his compositional theories and described his unique music software in the Cambridge University Press (UK) journal, 'Organised Sound' (1998). He has produced six self-published albums of original music (1986, 1991, 2000, 2004, 2007, 2008) . He has designed and implemented complex computer systems for the New York Stock Exchange, Chemical Bank, and Manufacturers Hanover Trust/Prodigy in New York City (1983-1989). His computer music has been featured in electronic music festivals and conferences worldwide (1993-1999). He has been commissioned to compose music for dance, yoga and carillon. From 1995-1998, Newcomb was Computer Systems Consultant for the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance; from 1998-2007, Director of Information Technology; and is currently Program Manager for Business Information and Network Security.