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Breaking down the elements of sound with Philly composer Bhob Rainey

Bhob Rainey | via bhobrainey.net
Bhob Rainey | via bhobrainey.net

Philadelphia performer/composer Bhob Rainey has developed a global reputation for his ability to reshape the raw material associated with sound— air, resonance, vibration, decay, silence—into delicately arranged sonic shrapnel with hallucinatory effects.

Whether improvising alongside trumpeter Greg Kelley in “lowercase” duo Nmperign, composing multichannel computer music inspired by the neural activity of squid, or designing sound for New Paradise Laboratories’ acclaimed 2014 Fringe Festival production, The Adults, Rainey’s M.O. is just as much about drawing connections between disciplines as it is about exposing “cracks in the symmetry of the world.” Continue reading →

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The Art of Sound: Discussing the sound design of The Adults with composer Bhob Rainey

Bhob Rainey
Bhob Rainey | photo via www.bhobrainey.net

There’s no short version of the story with Bhob Rainey.  The local composer and sound experimenter’s personal history is as complex as the realm of improvised music he’s been exploring for the past four decades: an introduction to the saxophone in middle school, a summer at the immersive and intensive Governor’s School for the Arts, a suppressive and then expressive college experience in Miami, a collaborative stint in Boston and finally a fruitful career in Philadelphia all helped to shape and funnel the Hatfield native’s hunger for true improvisation into the boundary-eschewing amalgamation it is today.

With an arsenal of non-traditional compositions under his belt, Rainey now works primarily in quilting together field recordings and coded computational sounds.  The Pew Fellow’s current effort comes in collaboration with New Paradise Laboratories‘ production of The Adults, a staged play with Rainey providing sound design and a live score.  The show, which was inspired by Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull and the artwork of Eric Fischl, follows two families as they “gather at a vacation house to let loose, play out a classic comedy of manners that never existed, and prod each other with intimate cruelty.”  It premieres tonight at the Painted Bride in conjunction with this year’s Fringe Festival.

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