Articulations Podcast is a collaboration between Seattle based composer/musicians Ben McAllister and Joshua Kohl. “Unique and Innovative” can be a cypher for inaccessible. That’s not what this podcast is about: it’s about pulling up the blinds, opening windows, letting air in and making our guest’s work visible, familiar, accessible. Each episode is a conversation through a musician's motivations, how they think about their work, how they perceive the audience listening and what is generally on their minds. Care is taken to keep it down to earth, to clear a path for anyone new to their work, and at the same time to plumb the depths of each musician’s experience. It’s pretty much a freeform sequence of stories. Ben and Joshua keep them orbiting around the topic at hand: where is this musician coming from, what motivates and inspires them, where do they get the most energy in their work. We hit record, we ask “what are you working on”, and these two musical obsessives steer us to new vantage points. In a culture overtaken by rapid change, we tap the brakes and invite the listener in to stop, listen, digest, and get inspired by these amazing creators.
Ben McAllister is a composer, guitarist and technologist based in Seattle. Beginning in the 90s, he formed and toured with a string of successful, boundary-pushing groups including Medicine Hat, Degenerate Art Ensemble, Wizard Prison, C'mon C'mon and Tuktu. He’s the founder of the Guitar Cult, his current focus, a 7-piece electric guitar ensemble playing pre-composed and improvised music. His touring highlights include trips up and down the west coast with Animal Collective and X. He’s an obsessive journaler and recordist, and has contributed to over 30 releases to date, including his Karl-Ove-Knausgård-inspired My Sounds sound journal series, released through Bandcamp. He’s long been a proponent of cross-fertilization in the arts within the Seattle Area, which has led to collaborations on sound and music software of his own creation, collaborations on installation art, and many contributions to many films. Connect with him @listenfaster on Twitter.
Joshua Kohl is a composer and conductor and is the creative producer and co-founder along with choreographer Haruko Crow Nishimura of the Seattle based multi-art group Degenerate Art Ensemble (DAE) which is his primary creative outlet. He has performed with the group throughout the United States, and ten countries of Western and Eastern Europe. Recent project highlights include a major museum exhibition at the Frye Art Museum in 2011, a 2012 commission by theater Director Robert Wilson to create an interpretation of his and Phillip Glass' epic work Einstein On The Beach at the Baryshnikov Center in New York, collaborations with Kronos Quartet in 2012 and 2015, a large scale site specific work commissioned by the Seattle Center Foundation to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Seattle Worlds Fair and the group’s 2015 work Predator Songstress premiered at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Joshua is also an avid orchestral conductor of the music of his peers. In February of 2012 he conducted the music of fellow DAE composer Jherek Bischoff with the Wordless Music Orchestra in New York at Lincoln Center with vocalists David Byrne. He also conducts composer Samantha Boshnack’s big band orchestra B’shnorkestra and co-produced their debut record which made the top ten jazz albums in 2015. His and DAE’s work Red Shoes was awarded a Music Theatre Now award from the International Theatre Institute in and was part of a presentation at the Swedish Bienalen of Performing Arts in 2013. He was commissioned by the legendary Czech band Uz Jsme Doma to create an evening length suite of orchestral music inspired by the group’s music which he conducted in Prague in December of 2016 with the Southern Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Skeleton Flower, his newest work with DAE was presented as a work in progress at the Spotlight USA Festival in Plovdiv, Bulgaria in March of 2018 and will have its full premiere in February of 2019.