Phase Chancellor at the Stone


This past February, renowned experimental composer and harpist Zeena Parkins curated an eclectic series of events at New York's avant-garde music venue The Stone. During the last week, Parkins invited a number of guiding lights from San Francisco's experimental media scene to perform. One highlight was the synthesizer trio Phase Chancellor, an improvisational group who have made memorable, yet infrequent appearances at various art and music spaces since 2005. Comprised of video artist Nate Boyce, musician J. Lesser, and Matmos's M.C. Schmidt, the outfit channels the early investigations in electronic art and video carried out by John Cage, David Tudor, and Nam June Paik. Phase Chancellor distance themselves from their predecessors through their integration of digital technology. The backbone of the performance is Boyce's mesmeric imagery, prepared mostly through the processing software Jitter, but altered and added upon live using a hacked video mixer fed oscillations by his Korg Mono/Poly synth. (In the accompanying video, imploding circles in the center of the image are generated by the arpeggiator function on this device.) The Mono/Poly is also part of the sound mix, to which Lesser and Schmidt contribute a rich counterpoint of electronic textures, avoiding the concept of drone altogether in favor of a perplexing and ever-shifting sonic environment. - Nick Hallett

Video: Phase Chancellor at the Stone, February 22, 2008