nF Presents: Black Meridian by MIATp

Black Meridian is approximately 70 minutes long and is performed without intermission and without applause breaks between compositions (although applause at any time during is welcomed)


Part One: Event Horizon

Prelude: Once Upon Another Time – Sara Bareilles

Constant – Jeremy Valley & Alan Theisen *

Quand le bleu rencontre le vert – Scott Johnson *

The Clockmaker’s Doll – Mara Gibson *

Dark Star – Garrett Schumann *

||: Pop, Chew, Swallow :|| – Neil Anderson-Himmelspach

Part Two: Singularity

ein ton, eher kurz, sehr leise. – Antoine Beuger

Postlude: Outside of Space and Time – David Byrne & St Vincent

* composed for MIATp

Artists' Statement and Listening Guide

Black Meridian is a theatrical recital of new music for voice, saxophone, and electronics. The show takes as its central theme the distortion of space and time around the presence of black holes; a metaphor is drawn between this astonishing cosmic phenomenon and the inevitable tragedy of relationships marred by miscommunication and disastrous personal choices.

Part One, “Event Horizon,” shares its name with the boundary defining the region of space around a black hole from which nothing (not even light) can escape. Once an object crosses the threshold of the event horizon, it is doomed to be pulled into the black hole. Part One consists of six compositions arranged to parallel such a gradual, inexorable trajectory.

Singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles’ Once Upon Another Time functions as Black Meridian’s prelude, a memory of optimism, autonomy, and purpose. Constant (music, lyrics, and track production all co-created by songwriting team Jeremy Valley and Alan Theisen) is the “thesis statement” of the show, dramatically presenting the statement you are reading now. Quand le bleu rencontre le vert by Scott Johnson acts as a playful vocalise – a sultry, bluesy, flirty exchange between the two characters. This is the calm before the storm.

The Clockmaker’s Doll by Mara Gibson (after a poem by Rebecca Morgan Frank) flashes us backward a few centuries to examine Descartes’ grief after the death of his daughter. Gibson’s work is the motivating trauma behind the narrative tension of Black Meridian. Garrett Schumann’s Dark Star, on the other hand, is its responsorial rage aria. One envisions the protagonist invoking supernatural forces to cope with suffering articulated in Clockmaker’s Doll. Through this necronomicon heavy-metal demon-summoning phantasmagoria we are thrust headlong toward the event horizon. ||: Pop, Chew, Swallow :|| pushes the listener over that edge. Neil Anderson-Himmelspach’s composition is a deeply personal confession of the pleasures of opiates, the fury toward corporate exploitation, and the determination to break the cycle of addiction. The piece accelerates to a breakneck, breathless velocity. Annihilation appears inescapable. For some, a black hole is an abstract concept of physics; for too many others, it materializes in the shape of a small round pill.

At the center of every black hole exists a “Singularity” (the title of Part Two), a one-dimensional point in which gravity becomes unlimited and space-time curves infinitely. Here, the laws of physics as we know them cease to operate.

Music by the Wandelweiser Group is characterized by sparse, quiet soundscapes and ein ton. eher kurz. sehr leise. by member composer Antoine Beuger is no exception. Lasting at least twenty minutes, two performers alternate sounding a single tone (in this case the G above middle C) within the confines of their own 30-second time span. One of the performers will eventually choose permanent silence, leaving the other in bare isolation. When the still-questing partner abandons hope and embraces silence as well, the piece has concluded. The dimensions of time and space have been shattered for performers and audience alike.

A sphinxian ballad by eminent indie pop artists David Byrne and St. Vincent serves as a final reflection on our narrative. Perhaps time has reversed to the beginning of our story. Or possibly we find ourselves in a parallel universe wherein Byrne/St. Vincent’s song is the start of a new tale, much as Bareilles’ launched this one. Lessons have been learned, change has occurred, roles have been swapped, connections reformed.

Maybe it will be different this time.

About MIATp

MIATp is an avant-pop band making voice/saxophone/electronic sound worlds that are ancient and futuristic, funky and fragile. MIATp (AKA Megan Ihnen & Alan Theisen present…) had its roots as a contemporary classical duo but now combine experimental music, multiple pop genres, and theatre. With influences ranging from Björk to Sun Ra to Ligeti, MIATp shows have been praised as “a fresh look at what it means to be artists in the 21st century.” Microtones, hip hop beats, prog rock, jazz, silences, heavy metal – anything is possible at an MIATp show.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.