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Adventures in loudspeakers and Stockhausen will introduce composer Nathaniel Bartlett to Philly in a new series at Crane Arts

Nathaniel Bartlett | photo courtesy of the artist
Nathaniel Bartlett | photo courtesy of the artist

Major changes in life are always followed by a period of readjustment and acclimatization. Having recently moved to the Philadelphia area from his native Madison, Wisconsin, composer and percussionist Nathaniel Bartlett has decided to take the initiative and introduce himself to his newfound community via a five-concert series beginning Wednesday night and continuing monthly at the Crane Arts Old School White Space.

“My experience in the past has been that if you go to a new city and give one concert, it just doesn’t make a very big impact,” Bartlett says. “Doing it piecemeal just doesn’t seem to achieve a critical mass. I’m hoping this series will introduce interested people in Philadelphia to what I do.”

The series, dubbed “Sound-Space Audio Lab,” will provide an introduction not just for Bartlett but for his unique, technologically inventive approach to composing and performing. Bartlett’s music augments his five-octave acoustic marimba with high-definition electronic sound, utilizing his 8-channel loudspeaker cube. The system surrounds the audience with eight speakers, allowing for an immersive, highly dimensional sound space.

Bartlett revealed a nascent version of his loudspeaker rig to Philly audiences at a Bowerbird-presented concert in 2006, while he was briefly residing in Bryn Mawr. He’s had several years to tinker with the idea since, and will arrive at Crane Arts with a far more developed set-up this time around. “If you’ve ever listened to a really good, well-made audio recording on a properly set-up stereo system,” Bartlett says, “you’ll notice that the sound exists seamlessly between the loudspeakers. This idea takes that concept, where the sounds can exist anywhere between the speakers, and applies it to a much, much larger and truly 3D space.”

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