Network Music Festival

Sound without Borders // 15-18th July 2020

Go to Online Exhibition


SynthBeats, Stony Brook University’s resident laptop ensemble, performs world premiere works for networked laptop ensemble by Sam Beebe, Niloufar Nourbakhsh and Eric Lemmon.

Sam Beebe’s Pretty Saro taps into telematic latency and unstable home internet and wifi systems in order to generate a lush, glitch-rich fresco of sound played to a shared (albeit erratic) metronome, which remains silent to the audience. Similar in its minimalist aesthetics yet distinct in both its mode of production and sonic world, Eric Lemmon’s work creates an ethereal texture of bells and crunchy bass tones that slowly give way to a harmonically and visually threatening climax.

Nourbakhsh’s piece remember me draws on excerpts of Nayyirah Waheed’s poetry: Aftrica’s lament, and is sung by SynthBeats members while being harmonized through a vocoder. This piece will express a narrative journey that begins with vocoded sounds and returns them to the original voice, in order to remember the past and our ancestors. In the era of COVID-19, our day-to-day experiences have shifted from embodied to mediated interactions. It is in this way that the meta-figures of the vocoder and the natural voice also serve as a metaphor for our contemporary experience and thus demonstrate the value in not only remembering today, but also our past.

SynthBeats, Stony Brook University’s Laptop Ensemble is comprised of Stony Brook students from a variety of backgrounds in music composition and performance. The ensemble members share the desire to introduce their community to a sonic expansion of musical performance through their unconventional instrument- a conglomeration of laptops, speakers, and human performers. Founded in 2017 by Niloufar Nourbakhsh, its current members are Joseph Bohigian, Sam Beebe, Robert Cosgrove, Eric Lemmon, Chelsea Loew, Niloufar Nourbakhsh, and Taylor Long. Over the past years, SynthBeats has worked with several composers and technologists, including Mara Helmuth (Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music), Margaret Schedel (Stony Brook University), and Hannah Davis (NYU ITS) and premiered new works by many others. Feature performances include the Society of Electro-Acousic Music, the International Computer Music Conference, The New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival and an ensemble residency at EarFest.