Every New Languages event since 2005 has been a team effort in conception and execution. When my co-founder, Aaron Shaikh, began an extended hiatus from improvised music in 2010 to attend medical school, we effectively stopped producing events for a couple of years. My gut feeling is that on some level, a sense of partnership and shared investment is what distinguishes improvised music from composition at the root. Perhaps the essential value of real time creation is the room it leaves for the voice of the other. Unfortunately, my social skills can be, let's say, below average, making me an unlikely candidate for team building, but thanks to some kindred spirits who always put music first, we're once again in the midst of some exciting projects. In 2012 Alan Sondheim spearheaded Music Factory, and now we are once again at the beginning of something new thanks to the initiative of Edward Schneider and Brett Sroka.
Holidays from the Future is the successor to Edward's series Holidays for the Future, which he ran throughout 2011 and 2012 at 16 Beaver, an anarchist space in downtown Manhattan. A year later, while performing in Andre Vida's Score and Seek project at Eyebeam Art+Technology Center, we found ourselves talking about how to take it to the next level. It was no accident that this conversation occurred in the context of Andre's work: he had constructed a performance environment out of animated, projected scores that was quite innovative, not least because the musicians and the audience faced the scores together, instead of facing each other.
Brett and Edward and I got to wondering whether a traditional theater arrangement was really as fundamental to creative music as it was ubiquitous. It does seem perfectly suited to rhetoric and drama, but for something as experiential as improvised music, where the voices are not personas but people, it can start to seem a bit two-dimensional. Perhaps if the audience wasn't asked to lose themselves in darkened rows, perhaps if the musicians were also invited to "stay in the room," to use Sonny Simmons' turn of phrase, creative music would prove to be far less abstract than is commonly assumed.
What if, like a childhood fable, audiences could cross a portal into a kind of musical parallel universe, populated by people made of music? That sounds like fun. It sounds like a great way for those outside of the cult of sound to discover what is, but shouldn't be, esoteric.