John Lane

percussionist | composer



Episode 28: John Roach

Photo by Alec Miller

Photo by Alec Miller

John Roach is a California-born, Brooklyn based artist who, in his own words, is most happy when he is, "jamming things together that don't seem to fit." He works in a variety of media including sculpture, video, installation, internet collaboration and sound art. John is an intensely curious person, which comes across in his art. Whether he is using robots to create a live score for musical performance, harnessing the power and fluctuation of the internet to drive a sound composition, or building instruments from rubber bands, he is often setting processes and procedures to work that produce interesting and indeterminate outcomes. 

In this episode we discuss many of his works and various collaborations, which is a key element of his practice. Drawing on his long-time teaching career at Parsons: The New School for Design in NYC, John has excellent insight and perspective on teaching. John also has some great advice about finding and maintaining a path as a creative artist.

Selected Works/Links:

A Nice Stone Foundation - Found Audio, Monument Beach, MA

The Dictionary Project is a computer-based collaborative compositional environment.

The Bandophone and other invented instruments.

NOTE: Obviously, this is not John Roach, but he turned me on to this fascinating documentary about the work of Max Eastley. Made in 1986, it features sequences of sound sculptures in natural settings, plus Eastley accompanying them in the studio. It also includes extracts from performances of 'Whirled Music' (with Steve Beresford and David Holmes), a sequence composed jointly with David Toop and Kazuko Hohki, and a duo with Evan Parker in a cave in Devon.

The Pilchuck Glass School

Forest ((Noise)) Floor

Installation, performance and participatory event staged at Pilchuck Glass School in Washington on June 16, 2015. In Forest ((Noise)) Floor, The people of Pilchuck were invited to create their own horns to be played as part of the project and were invited to a particular location in the woods where the event unfolded. They were provided with basic instructions for their participation. The location, just below the popular "Inspiration Point" had particular resonance for me primarily because of its LACK of resonance. In this dense spot in the tree farm, trees were planted too closely together and so the lower two thirds of the trees, receiving too little light, were almost entirely dead. As a result the forest floor was smothered by a thick acoustic blanket of pine needles. Credits: Concept and installation by John Roach Glass Percussion by Ben Portnoy Glass Percussion objects by Dan Friday, Ray Friday and Tyler Gordon Camera by Jay Galbreath and Heather Sutherland Editing by Jay Galbreath Additional Editing by John Roach Special thanks to: Tyler Gordon Tina Aufiero The staff, faculty and students of Pilchuck Glass School Aaron Moore (for inspiration)

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