The music is a mixture of fixed-media electronic music and music for acoustic instruments and electronic sound. The human musicians are Laura Cocks (flute), Dan Lippel (acoustic and electric guitars), and Ensemble U:, Estonia's premier new music ensemble. The video and filmmakers I collaborated with and whose work we will see at the concert include Rein Zobel (Tallinn), Mark Zaki (Princeton), Rosemary Williams (St Paul), Ted Moore (Chicago), Ron Gregg (NYC), and Paul Clipson (San Francisco). Paul tragically passed away on February 3 this year, and the concert is dedicated to his memory.
When I started proposing music to New Focus Recordings that I wanted to include on the CD, it became clear that I have worked with a lot of film and video artists and so this seemed like a great way to revisit the original works and also forge new collaborations. I was simultaneously involved in a separate project developing the virtual reality (VR) concert version of the composition Raba. Eventually I realized that this composition complemented perfectly the other works on the CD, so it was included and also became the title track.
The musical composition, Raba, was originally commissioned by Spitting Image Collective. Raba (which means “bog” in Estonian) is inspired by the Marimetsa Raba, located about an hour drive from Tallinn. I wrote it following my first visit to Marimetsa as a Fulbright Scholar at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in 2014. This new version was created with support from a St. Cloud State University 2017 Research Faculty Improvement Grant and Eesti Kultuurkapital. Raba is experienced by the audience seated in swiveling chairs while wearing VR headsets. Audience members visually explore a 360º film while Ensemble U: performs the synchronized music. The ensemble and speakers (for the electronic sound in the music) physically surround the audience, unifying the audience experience with a live, immersive audio performance while each audience member has a unique, individual immersive visual experience. I am really interested in producing collective audience experiences through live performance. What is exciting to me about Raba is that the audience is immersed in the sonic reality of the space, surrounded by the performers and electronic sound, while they are visually immersed in the unique beauty of the Marimetsa Raba.
We won’t have Ensemble U: present at this concert, but I have created a version that can be experienced using VR headset and headphones with music from the CD recording made by U:. Folks can have an individual VR experience before and after the concert.
--Scott L. Miller
SCOTT L. MILLER & DAN LIPPEL
RABA CD/DVD RELEASE SHOW
Admission includes a free copy of the Raba CD
A concert at Studio Z in Lowertown, St. Paul celebrating the release of Scott L. Miller's Raba (available on New Focus Recordings, March 16). Guitarist Dan Lippel will perform works from the CD and film premieres from the Raba DVD will be screened. Limited Edition DVDs of the Raba audio-visual pieces will be for sale ($20). Audience members will also have an opportunity to experience the Virtual Reality studio version of the title piece. An evening of immersive audio, video, and comfort food.