On Sunday (Dec. 2) at Kings Road Park Pavilion in West Hollywood, The Society for the Activation of Social Space through Art and Sound (SASSAS) presents an afternoon concert featuring solo sets by CalArts alumni Fahad Siadat (Music MFA 09, DMA 18) and Stephanie Cheng Smith (Music MFA 11). Both artists perform multilayered works created from the combination of acoustic and electronic instruments.
Performer/composer Siadat explores the possibilities of voice through innovative and adventurous music. His work, according to his website, “focuses on interdisciplinary storytelling, folding together words, sound and movement into mythic narratives.”
Siadat performs solo regularly throughout Los Angeles, including performances at the Hear Now Festival, Tuesdays@MonkSpace and the Masters in the Chapel Concert Series. He is also actively involved with C3LA: The Contemporary Choral Collective of Los Angeles and HEX Vocal Ensemble, for which he is artistic director.
In a 5.5 Questions Interview on SASSAS’ blog, Siadat talks about why he started working with electronics:
Mostly it started as a practical choice. I liked the flexibility and mobility of having a solo set I could perform with minimal fuss, but once I got into the world of electronics I fell for the expansive sound palette. I think it has allowed us to replace the dinosaur of the symphonic orchestra; now we can get all that sound and power with just a single performer without compromising the diversity of sounds available.
An inventor, composer, performer and programmer, Smith creates interactive pieces, installations, improvisations and through-composed works. One of the instruments she made most recently is the bell controller, which has a motor control interface for 15 vibration motors and LEDs attached to jingle bells. Her work with motor arrays was featured in the 2016 issue of Experimental Music Yearbook. Additional music projects include: Stephie’s Castle, the name she uses for electronic music performances; the networked music ensemble bitpanic; and Dog Star Orchestra. She also serves on the wulf’s Artistic Advisory Board and curates and produces experimental music concerts in Los Angeles.
Also interviewed for SASSAS’ blog, Smith talks about her musical background:
Musically, I grew up a violinist, but I was always interested in technology and programming. I studied experimental sound practices at CalArts, and that gave me the time and space to experiment with combining my musical and technical interests. It’s taken shape in two branches: making installations and instruments (i.e. the bell controller) and improvising with a combination of violin, laptop, and synthesizer. The instrument-making arose from building installations–I found that I enjoyed using the prototypes as instruments, so I started building performance-focused interfaces for them.
The organization SASSAS supports experimental art and sound practices in the greater Los Angeles area with a wide range of music programs and events.
Check out Smith's Motor Array performance excerpt from the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA below:
SASSAS Concert Features CalArtians Fahad Siadat and Stephanie Cheng Smith
Sunday, Dec. 2, 3 pm
Kings Road Park Pavilion
1000 N Kings Rd
West Hollywood, CA