Established in January 2016, l’Ao is a collaborative partnership between composer- performers Melissa Grey & David Morneau. They have three expansive projects: MOTHER, a love letter to the ocean, a hand-made card from her grateful children; Photon Ecstasy, a growing catalog of compositions that engages music, sound, science fiction, and interactive light; and Soft Series, a concert series dedicated to presenting soft premieres. These projects allow l’Ao to collaborate and connect with musicians, artists, engineers, scientists, and designers.
For MOTHER, they have been selected as the 2018 Toy Piano Pioneer Resident Artists at the Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. The premiere of Photon Ecstasy was commissioned by the University of Pennsylvania’s Kislak Center in conjunction with the exhibition of Dan Rose’s artist books, Plaisirs Arbitraires | Arbitrary Pleasures. New York Arts wrote that with repeated listenings “there’s more to be moved and impressed by, to learn from [Photon Ecstasy].” Their first collaboration, Gadget Berry Dimple: A Glossary of False Translation (benjolin, Merlin, spoken word), was performed for Hans Tammen’s 100th Anniversary of Dada at Spectrum NYC and has been published by Circumference journal, which supports poetry in translation.
Soft Series has featured Craig Hultgren, thingNY / Varispeed, Miolina, Elizabeth A. Baker, The Bowers-Fader Duo, Nicole Antebi, The Ensemble of Irreproducible Outcomes, and Eve Beglarian. Soft Series is live-streamed and archived by Clocktower Radio.
2016 Tour: North Country Electronic Music Festival (Burlington, Vermont), Electroacoustic Barndance (Fredericksburg, Virginia), and twice at the University of Pennsylvania’s Kislak Center (Philadelphia). 2017 Tour: Florida International Toy Piano Festival (St. Petersburg), Electric Café at Rutgers University (Camden, New Jersey), Strange Stage Nos. 2 and 3 (Brooklyn), Soft Series No. 8: Folk Geometry with artist Nicole Antebi (NYC), North Country Electronic Music Festival, Barge Music with bass clarinetist Thomas Piercy (Brooklyn), Emmet O’Neal Library (Birmingham, Alabama), and Pete’s Candy Store (Brooklyn).
(18 August 2017)
Composer Melissa Grey’s projects include concert works, electroacoustic performances, installations, food and sound events, and frequent collaborations with artists, architectural designers, musicians and composers.
Recent projects include hyperlocal for ETHEL, and kinetic scores based on combinatorial memory wheels: blur (after blue hour) for Payton MacDonald’s Sonic Divide project and Volvelle for the Bowers-Fader Duo. She created an electronic soundscape with the modular synth benjolin to broadcast in the gallery space for the exhibition curated by artist Angela Grauerholz, Michèle Lemieux | The Whole and Its Parts, From drawing to animated films, exhibited at the Centre de design, Université du Québec à Montréal September-November 2016.
With artist and animator Nicole Antebi, she has ongoing animation-sound projects that include live performance and processing with Grey performing a vintage Merlin music machine: Procrustean Bed, composed for violinist Lynn Bechtold, premiered at the New West Electronic Arts and Music Organization Festival in San Diego; and Magic Square, a triple collaborative effort, features new music by synthpop pioneer, Vince Clarke, and premiered at the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn, New York.
With David Morneau, she has established l’Artiste ordinaire. Their recent concert-length performance, Photon Ecstasy, an adaptation of Dan Rose’s artist book The DNA-Photon Project premiered at the University of Pennsylvania’s Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts in October 2016. Grey & Morneau also direct and produce Soft Series, a concert series dedicated to presenting soft premieres, which is live streamed and archived by Clocktower Radio.
Grey teaches Sound Studies at the School of Media Studies at The New School in New York City. She is an Associate Director of Composers Concordance, and a Board Member of Miolina, the violin duo of Lynn Bechtold and Mioi Takeda.
David Morneau is a composer of an entirely undecided genre. Described by Molly Sheridan as a “shining beacon” of inspiration, his diverse work illuminates ideas about our culture, issues concerning creativity, and even the very nature of music itself. His eclectic output has been described variously as “elegantly rendered”, “happily prissy”, “impressive”, “unusual, esoteric, and offbeat”. His chiptune album, Broken Memory, “absolutely wrecks shop.… For that, David Morneau wins.”
His Not Less Than the Good, a musical celebration of morning as embraced by Henry David Thoreau in Walden, was commissioned by New Thread Quartet (a New York based saxophone ensemble) and premiered at The Morgan Library in New York, with narration performed by poet J.D. McClatchy, at the opening of This Ever New Self: Thoreau and his Journal, the exhibition celebrating the bicentennial of Thoreau’s birth.
With Melissa Grey, he has established l’Artiste ordinaire. Their recent concert-length performance, Photon Ecstasy, an adaptation of Dan Rose’s artist book The DNA-Photon Project, premiered at the University of Pennsylvania’s Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts in October 2016. Their Gadget Berry Dimple, an Oulipian translation of Hugo Ball’s Gadji beri bimba, is published in Circumference (a journal of poetry in translation). Grey & Morneau also direct and produce Soft Series, a concert series dedicated to presenting soft premieres, which is live streamed and archived on ClockTower Radio.
Morneau’s music can be found on Composers Concordance Records, Immigrant Breast Nest, and Irritable Hedgehog. His words have been published in Emergency Index (an annual document of performance practice), published by Ugly Duckling Presse.
[photo credit: Rachel Cheetham-Richard]