Event: OCC.0283

Weston Olencki / Laura Steenberge

June 9, 2022

Weston Olencki performed new work from “Old Time Music”, a new recording project released via Tripticks Tapes (Greenfield, MA). The record explores the relationships, contradictions, and shared qualities between experimental and traditional music, contemporary and obsolete audio technology, artificial intelligence and oral knowledge, alternative pasts/futures of Americana, and site-specific historical research and field recording. For this presentation, they presented a new version of “a vine that grew over the city and no one noticed”, which navigated through lineages of old time traditional musics, rural geography, and the material/industrial histories of the Carolinas. The piece was performed on a setup consisting of a pair of retuned and electromechanically controlled banjos, AM radios, railroad spikes, homemade electromagnetic resonators, and AI-synthesized country music – futurism of a preserved past.

Performed by Laura Steenberge Devil Works for Idle Hands was a series of folk instruments including harmonica, bowed psaltery, celtic harp and gourd viol. Somewhere in between folk and experimental music there are places where the two sensibilities coexist. Patience and timelessness, the sound for its own sake, sometimes calling for a story or explanation to make sense of it all.

Weston Olencki is a musician, composer, and sound artist. Their current work is centered around questions of instrumental music and its contexts/constructs, various mediated practices of listening and improvisation, and the technological, material, and cultural histories of rural space/time. Weston has performed and presented work at the Borealis Festival, ISSUE Project Room, REDCAT, bludenzer tage zeitgemäßer musik, Ghent Jazz Festival, Blanton Museum of Art, philharmonie luxembourg, Squeaky Wheel, Festival Musica, kalvfestivalen, the American Academy in Rome, Roulette Intermedium, Frequency Festival, Indexical, and the OPTION series, and was awarded the Kranichsteiner Musikpreis from the 2016 Darmstadt Ferienkurse. Various recording projects have been released by HatHut, Not Two, Sound American, Carrier, New Amsterdam, Clean Feed, Anticausal Systems, Dinzu Artefacts, SUPERPANG, Notice, Creative Sources, Out of Your Head, and their first solo brass release SOLO WORKS, which featured on Bandcamp Daily’s Best Experimental Music of 2020. They are an active member of RAGE THORMBONES, Ensemble Pamplemousse, the Wet Ink Large Ensemble, and perform regularly as a soloist and ensemble member on low brass instruments, handbuilt contraptions, and various electronic media.
Laura Steenberge is a composer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist at the crossroads of music and language, composition and improvisation, instrument and object, research and performance. From 2017-2018 she presented The Imaginary Music Radio Hour on NTS.com, and since 2019has been transcribing and recording 11th century Aquitanian Chant as part of the EnChanted Images project at Stanford University. Recent recordings include Harmonica Fables (Nueni Recs) and The Four Winds(New Focus Recordings). She has taught about experimental sound practices and medieval chant at the California Institute of the Arts and Stanford University and currently resides in Asheville, NC.
Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (120 College Street)