upgrade (2017/19)

for vintage toy organ, voice, and electronics

It was such an honor to write a piece for Molly Joyce, one of my best friends and biggest musical inspirations. The piece questions how technology enables and hinders us. At times, the live performer and the unique toy organ act in complete symbiosis with a fixed electronic track. This relationship breaks down throughout the piece, interrupted by moments of violent stasis. The performer’s raw, unprocessed voice and instrument are only heard in the last section of the piece, still modulated by percussion in the electronics.  The piece’s structure resembles that of a drastically slowed-down social media feed, in which various data sources inhabit and take up mental space in mundane but subliminally powerful ways. This formal structure illuminates the drastic complexity imbalance between the highly dense and active electronics, with the static and simplistic live performer’s part, examining the power of queer consumption in a primarily capitalist-heteronormative society. Finally, the soloist’s body is also choreographed, drawing a parallel between the composer-performer relationship and the manner in which we embody the functions of technology and social media.