Analog Tara Puts Techno-Feminist Theory Into Practice (NPR Music)

NPR Music article on Analog Tara“A modern mainstay of feminist electronic music discourse, the printed Pink Noises upholds the primacy of women across the electronic world’s lifespan by way of close examination, first by scrutinizing how female-identifying artists orbited about the music and its machines, then by investigating how lines of gendered history were contained and contested. …

This past month, Rodgers’ decision to finally and formally release an album feels necessarily tangled in her lifelong historiographic work. Animated by the perpetual need to clear space for women’s work in the form, Fundamentals, her aptly-titled EP, places imagined pressure on electronic music’s history, fitting itself into the music’s long continuum uncannily like a key element of its past and its present at once.

You don’t need to know much about techno for Fundamentals to register as something special. … A beautifully austere, four-track exercise in quality control and rigorous decision… it is assertive work, bold in the precision and subtlety it takes to mix such signals with thrill and grace and restraint.”

Read the full review on NPR Music.

Interview: Analog Tara (Truants)

Analog Tara interview at Truants“The artist, composer, scholar and educator Dr. Tara Rodgers (aka Analog Tara) began her involvement with music very early in life, learning to play piano by ear before age two. Born in upstate New York, she grew up listening to jazz records and was making her own recordings on a hi-fi cassette deck from a young age. …

Now based in Washington, DC, Rodgers has come off a 15-year hiatus from releasing recordings as Analog Tara with a new EP, titled Fundamentals, on the DC label 1432 R. Fundamentals is an amalgamation of the artist’s influences and personal experiences, exploring everything from techno, electro, analog sound sources, jazz, funk keyboard performance, sound art and explorations of sound as sculptural material. The music is soulful, serene and celebratory, featuring jubilant rhythms, magnetic synths and an overall free-flowing energy. …

In the following interview, we delve into her childhood interactions with music and technology, the impact of women on her work, her creative processes and inspirations, and the role of online communities and feminism in electronic music. …”

Read the interview with Truants.

Analog Tara is bringing her ‘homemade techno’ back to the outside world (Washington Post)

Washington Post article on Analog Tara“The most instantly satisfying thing about “Fundamentals” — the first saucer of vinyl that Tara Rodgers has released under her nom de techno, Analog Tara, in 15 years — is how balanced it feels. Top to bottom, this is well-crafted dance music — the kind that makes the floor feel sturdier beneath your feet while still allowing your head to get all-the-way loose.

Maybe that’s because Rodgers has spent the past two decades thinking hard about craft. She quite literally wrote the book on women in electronic music…”

Read the full review in The Washington Post.

Analog Tara – Propulsion (Resident Advisor)

Analog Tara Resident Advisor preview“Academic, musician, writer and activist Tara Rodgers revisits her Analog Tara alias for rising D.C. label 1432 R. Like fellow multidisciplinary artist Terre Thaemlitz, Rodgers’ dance floor material is warm and immersive. Body music from a heady source.”

Preview the track “Propulsion” from the Analog Tara Fundamentals EP on Resident Advisor.

Analog Tara – Strawberry Moon Mix for Extended Family DC (2018)

Analog Tara Strawberry Moon mix“When I first walked into Tara Rodgers’ house, the sounds of Kamasi Washington are floating through the space, as his sounds tend to do, and I try my best not to break the spells of his music as I hurriedly take my boots off as not to track water over her hardwood floors. The boots are soaking wet from another overcast and drizzly day in Washington D.C., a city not known for pleasant weather. Somehow, despite the gray murk wrapping the environment, there is a rosy light in the house; it feels like a warm and restful shelter of ease. It’s snug like you would imagine a bed of velvet roses without the thorns, and it’s not long before I realize that the light is not coming from the house of brick and plaster, but rather from Tara herself.

Rodgers, or Analog Tara, seems at once thoughtful, deliberate, and careful, yet in a way that seems delightedly open to new textures and perspectives. She somewhat sheepishly shows me her studio, a room with a perimeter stacked of modular synthesizers and pretty drum machines. …”

Read the full article and listen to Analog Tara’s 30-minute Strawberry Moon mix for Extended Family DC at Head Shoppe.

Pink Noises in Artforum’s Top Ten

Pink Noises in Artforum “Each [interview] is extremely personal but also technical and conceptual, exploring the artist’s unique relationship to sound and space…”

Pink Noises is on the May 2018 Artforum Top Ten list by Lyra Pramuk, the American singer, composer-producer, and performance artist based in Berlin.

Read the article on Artforum.

Music for INSERT [     ] HERE (2013-15)

The INSERT [     ] HERE project is a performative experiment in embodiment, co-directed by contemporary dance artists Nick Bryson and Sharon Mansur, employing imaginative notions of insertion via kinetic, spatial, aural and visual realms. This work evolved from Mansur and Bryson’s unique international partnership, involving creative practices in somatics and dance, along with contributions from collaborating artists.

The collaborative video INSERT [coda] HERE (2015) is a continuation of this work, with Sharon Mansur (performance), Tara Rodgers (music), and Brian Harris (photography, edit).

INSERT [coda] HERE has screened around the world, including at Citizen Jane Film Festival (Columbia, MO), Project 1612 Film Fest (Peoria, IL), Artcroft Film & Video Festival (Carlisle, KY), Greensboro (NC) Dance Film Festival, Detroit (MI) Dance City Festival, DanceBARN Screendance Festival (Battle Lake, MN), Tiny Dance Film Festival (San Francisco, CA), Midwest RAD Fest (Kalamazoo, MI), 2016; and Light Moves screendance festival (Limerick, Ireland), 2015.

Tara also contributed music and sound for performances of INSERT [    ] HERE at the Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts, University of Maryland, and Dance Place, DC (2013-14). Following is a version of the score used in these performances. Segments of the music are made to be started anytime in relation to one another, layered in combination, played on their own or through multiple channels. The first 8 min. of this mix stack several segments at once, followed by breakouts of individual parts. Featuring Alexa Cantalupo on violin & viola da gamba; Tara Rodgers on piano, analog synths, bass, voice, and other instruments.

The development of INSERT [ ] HERE was supported in part by a University of Maryland Creative and Performing Arts Award, UMD School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts, Dance Place (DC), and the Birr Theatre and Arts Centre, Ireland.

View additional video documentation of the project.

Tara Rodgers – Butterfly Effects (2007)

Album cover for Butterfly Effects by Tara RodgersA four-channel, generative composition in SuperCollider. Its structure is derived from behaviors of migratory monarch butterflies and inspired by the “butterfly effect” concept of chaos theory, which suggests that the flapping of one butterfly’s wings can cause significant changes in how a weather system unfolds over time. Custom software, real-time generation of 4-channel audio, open-ended duration.

Project Details

Butterfly Effects was awarded a Frog Peak Experimental Music Prize (2006) and the New Genre Composition Prize from the International Alliance for Women in Music (2007).

A four-channel computer music composition made in the programming environment SuperCollider, with a generative structure that unfolds unpredictably and differently each time it is executed. Its structure is derived from behavioral aspects and ecosystem dynamics of migratory monarch butterflies and inspired by the “butterfly effect” concept of chaos theory, which suggests that the flapping of one butterfly’s wings can cause significant changes in how a weather system unfolds over time.

Each synthesized sound event represents either a butterfly behavior (like flying or clustering), or an environmental condition (like wind or sunlight). All sequences of sound events result from the interdependence of fluctuating elements in the whole system. SuperCollider code becomes a poetic as well as a functional programming language, as data objects that are created and destroyed reference the life cycles of living things. Although the composition generates indefinitely, most sound elements cycle through in a 24-minute period (where each minute represents one hour in the synthesized environment).

Butterfly Effects has been presented at Stamp Gallery, University of Maryland; Mills College, Oakland (CA); Galerie B312, Montreal (QC); Santa Fe (NM) International Festival of Electroacoustic Music; Harvest Moon Festival, Concordia University, Montreal; Wild Information Network outdoor installation, Catskills (NY); and at academic conferences in Portland (ME) and College Park (MD). It has played as a 4.1-channel installation (preferred), as stereo playback in a concert hall and through headphones, and as a stereo installation outdoors.

Documentation

Artist statement about Butterfly Effects in Leonardo Electronic Almanac (2006)

Tara Rodgers, Butterfly Effects at Stamp Gallery, 2012

Butterfly Effects installed at Stamp Gallery, University of Maryland, August 2012, part of the solo exhibition Patterns of Movement: Data and Sound Works, 2005-12.

Tara Rodgers, Butterfly Effects code excerpt, 2007

Excerpt of SuperCollider code for Butterfly Effects, Tara Rodgers, 2007

Stream or download Butterfly Effects on Bandcamp.

Tara Rodgers – Resolutions (2008/12)

Image of Resolutions by Tara Rodgers, Stamp Gallery, 2012

Tara Rodgers, Resolutions, at Stamp Gallery, 2012

A self-portrait in which a recording of the artist’s voice speaks pixel data from a digital photograph. This piece explores how self-representations and lived realities are rendered by processes of digital encoding. Color information contains racial and ethnic genealogies; wrinkles and blemishes from age and stress; light, shadows, and dust from a transient time and situation. For all that it captures, digital encoding also leaves much out, or otherwise alters the details of lived experience.

Color information is read from each pixel, left to right across the image, one row at a time. The end of each line is marked with a breath. This 30-minute audio excerpt represents a small area of the forehead.

Digital photograph, custom software, stereo audio, unknown duration (30 min. excerpt)
Photo by Abe Doherty, Oakland, CA, 2006; custom software created in 2008; audio re-recorded in 2012.

Stream or download Resolutions on Bandcamp.

Tara Rodgers – sand, snow, breeze (2012)

A series of audio-visual compositions using digital photographs and computer-generated noise to represent landscapes and weather events. RGB color data from the photographs are converted into filtered brown, white, and pink noise using GraphicConverter and the programming environment SuperCollider. A touch of postproduction is done with an FMR Really Nice Compressor and a Moog MF-101 Lowpass Filter. Sound selections and data mapping choices are crafted to evoke the place and experience in the photographs.

Brown Noise / Sand (2005/2012)
1 digital image, custom software, stereo audio, 15+ min.

BrownNoise_Sand.jpg

A single digital photograph of a rock on the beach, taken on Block Island, RI, ca. March 2005; reduced in size to 40×30 pixels. RGB color data from each pixel are used to shape a granular synth that processes and filters a segment of brown noise. Pixel data are read left to right and top to bottom across the image, with resulting sounds randomly panned in stereo. A small area of sand is expanded to 16 minutes of granulated brown noise.

White Noise / Snowstorm (2008)
10 digital images, custom software, stereo audio, 10 min.

WNsnow_600w

Time-lapse digital photographs, 1 per second for 10 seconds, taken from a window during a snowstorm on Ile-des-Soeurs, Québec, 10 Dec 2008. Images are reduced in size to 20×15 pixels. RGB color data from each pixel are converted to filtered white noise, reading left to right and top to bottom across each image, with resulting sounds randomly panned in stereo. 10 seconds of snow are expanded to 10 minutes of white noise.

Pink Noise / River Breeze (2009)
10 digital images, custom software, stereo audio, 40+ min.
PNbreeze_600w

Time-lapse digital photographs, 1 per second for 10 seconds, of a tree by the river on a windy day, Ile-des-Soeurs, Québec, 21 May 2009. Images are reduced in size to 20×15 pixels. RGB color data from each pixel are converted to filtered pink noise, reading left to right and top to bottom across each image, with resulting sounds randomly panned in stereo. 10 seconds of breeze are expanded to 40 minutes of pink noise.

Stream or download Sand, Snow, Breeze on Bandcamp.

Photos of White Noise/Snowstorm and Pink Noise/River Breeze installed at Stamp Gallery, University of Maryland, August 2012, part of Tara Rodgers’s solo exhibition: Patterns of Movement: Data and Sound Works, 2005-12.

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