Concrète Jungle is a conversation between New York past and New York present, about New York’s future.
Concrète Jungle is a work of sound art performed live by composer Dan Siegler and special guests. The piece is inspired by and takes its title from musique concrète, an electroacoustic genre in which readymade sounds are employed in place of instrumentation. Featuring hundreds of intricately edited New York voices, Concrète Jungle highlights borough-specific accents, linguistic filler and word repetitions to form assembled sentences and musical grooves. Siegler has pointilistically sequenced these recordings, creating a work that contains both pre-arranged and improvisational components. Layered under the dialogue, Siegler transforms harsh urban street noise, filtering it through digital delay, reverb and echo effects, rendering it meditative and ambient.
Connected to his father’s loss of language from dementia, Siegler attempts to create order out of verbal chaos, removing words from their original context and intended meaning and reassembling surprisingly comedic, often poignant invented dialogue between people who have never met. A native New Yorker, Siegler grew up in Greenwich Village at a time when artists and middle-class families could afford to live there. Concrète Jungle contrasts that era’s debates with today’s public discourse, illustrating the value of meaningful conversation around challenging subjects across generations. The piece engages the audience in what composer Pauline Oliveros called “deep listening”.
About Dan Siegler
Dan Siegler is a Bessie Award-winning composer, producer and writer from New York City. His work combines electronic and organic elements, incorporating references to jazz, blues and folk. These “sound-first” compositions are strongly influenced by musique concrète, employing a mixture of analog synthesizers, glitch materials, field recordings and orchestration for strings, horns and woodwinds.
Since 2016, Siegler has moved his recording process out of studio isolation, inspired by Hildegard Westerkamp’s “sound walks” and the need for connection in dark times. From Ontario’s glacial lake beaches to Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires to sites across the US, Siegler records the natural sounds of his environment and converses with people about their lives and surroundings—dialogue that has become as integral to his work as melody.
Siegler’s collaborations with Pam Tanowitz have been performed at Works & Process at the Guggenheim Museum, The Joyce Theater, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Danspace Project, ADI and many other venues. They were awarded a choreographer + composer residency (2015) administered by Exploring the Metropolis. His sound installation and composition, Ghost Sentence, were part of the opening of the Faena Forum for Art Basel Miami (2016) with Tanowitz and Shohei Shigematsu/OMA. He has composed for a wide variety of choreographers and musicians including Yanira Castro, Dylan Crossman and String Noise. He received the Abe Olman Scholarship from the National Academy of Popular Music and a composer’s residency at Wildacres. At his own Saturnfoot Studio, Siegler has worked on projects for HBO, Showtime, and David LaChapelle.
Dates + Times
Thursday, October 17, 7:30pm
Friday, October 18, 7:30pm
$10 Suggested Donation
The Main Gallery
51 Bergen St.