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MP3 John Berndt - The Private Language Problem (New Electro-Acoustic Compositions, 2001-2007)

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MP3 John Berndt - The Pr
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Electro-acoustic compositions performed on a variety of handmade and sculptural instruments. The compositions vary from filling large rooms with a continuous wash of sound to the heady pans of pure electronic tones.

8 MP3 Songs in this album (60:31) !
Related styles: AVANT GARDE: Electro-Acoustic, AVANT GARDE: Process-Generated

People who are interested in Edgard Varèse should consider this download.


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One of the most active experimental music performers on the East Coast for the past decade, John Berndt began his musical career by composing wildly abstract electro-acoustic and conceptual tape music in 1978 at the tender age of 11. His first compositions in this mode premiered on the radio at age 14, and by his late teens, he was active in an international cultural scene that included some of the most radical cultural activists of the 80's and 90's. From the beginning his work was singular, ranging over the disjoint subcultures of sound art, improvised music, industrial, musical instrument design, and language experimentation. He has been an extremely prolific and varied composer and improvisor, performing over 600 concerts of his own music and published on over 40 recordings of highly non-commercial work. His solo CDs are available on Stereosupremo (Italy), HereSee (Baltimore), Abstract On Black (Pittsburgh), and Sprout (Philadelphia) and he has many published recordings of collaborations.

Berndt began as a composer with a distinctly "inhuman" style and severe set of conceptual preoccupations, but in an unusual development process expanded his sensibility in a variety of contradictory directions, such that his work today is so aesthetically varied as to seem the work of a number of unrelated artists. In 1991 Berndt had heard saxophonist Jack Wright, who became his saxophone teacher, and as a result began to focus on developing his abilities in spontaneous instrumental performance to a high degree. His rigorously strange aesthetic then broadened to incorporate lessons from a variety of clashing modalities: jazz, Indian and African music, and extreme modernist instrumental technique. In this transformation, he was also highly influenced by another collaborator and teacher, the philosopher Henry Flynt, whose critique of the western computational mind-set greatly enabled Berndt's own critical path.

Despite being first and foremost a solo performer and composer, Berndt has always had a wide range of intensive ensemble projects, many of which are only now receiving attention outside of Baltimore. Since 1992, his duo THUS with Neil Feather has produced an entirely unique idiom of "very strange" music on an orchestra of original instruments they invent. As a part of THAT NOTHING IS KNOWN, a quartet with Jack Wright, Michael Zerang, and Bob Marsh, Berndt participated in some of the most inspired free improvised music of the 90's. Today, he performs regularly with his groups DEATH IN THE MAZE (a post-reductionist chamber improvisation ensemble), GEODESIC GNOME (a super-group performing Berndt's "Impossible" conceptual compositions), and participates in EXPLODING GARDENS (a post-jazz composers collective with Katte Hernandez, Gordon Beeferman, and Will Redman).

In ad hoc improvisation situations and on recordings, Berndt has been privileged to collaborate frequently with many of the greats of contemporary music, including Joe McPhee, Le Quann Ninh, Eugene Chadbourne, Kaffe Mathhews, Michel Doneda, Bhob Rainey, Audrey Chen, Mathias Kaul, and many others. His growing collaborations with improvising dancers have included work with Stephanie Scura, Nicole Bindler, and Asimina Chremos. He is an installation artist, film-maker, occasional curator, and writes philosophy on the status of rational knowledge and on the possibility of massive social transformations. He was the founder and a driving force in the High Zero Foundation, a highly successful radical culture presenting organization in Baltimore, presenters of the Red Room performance space (https://www.tradebit.com) and the yearly High Zero Festival (https://www.tradebit.com).


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