Kronos’ Fifty for the Future Composers

Guillermo Galindo - Mexico / USA

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Program Notes

About Remote Control, Guillermo Galindo writes:

"Digital technologies have changed the way we interact with and perceive our environment, how we conceive of time and space, and how we relate to people and nature.

"It has been proven that, in many cases, video games desensitize players to violence and alter their perception of empathy. For many players, the difference between acting in a virtual world versus in physical reality becomes unclear. The recent mass killings in American schools have raised concerns about assault weapons in the hands of children. According to The Intercept reporter Lee Fang, gun manufacturers are now targeting younger generations—the “Xbox generations” that, unlike older generations, don’t often buy guns for hunting—by emulating video game culture, and selling glow-in-the-dark handguns and accessories specifically marketed to kids so they can ‘hunt zombies in style.’

"Remote Control is a sonic representation of an alternative reality. Just like a video game, the piece is a virtual rendition of a video war game. From the perspective of a war victim, the eerie mumble of drones becomes the soundtrack of daily tragedy. By using loud sounds and intense music to create fear—just as Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries was played on airplane speakers during the Vietnam war—music becomes the ominous whisper of death. Alternative instrumental techniques imitate random events on the battle ground (barking dogs, shooting guns, children playing), and audience members stream stroboscopic videos from their phones, turning them into active participants.

"The piece winks to Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Helicopter String Quartet, in which each player performs from the air one of four military helicopters. The German voices counting down in Stockhausen's quartet are replaced by voices of child refugees counting from one to ten. Their tiny voices speak in Pashto, Dari, Arabic, Urdu, German, and English, and were recorded in refugee camps in Greece and Germany."

About Guillermo Galindo

Experimental composer, sonic architect, performance artist, and Jungian Tarotist, Guillermo Galindo redefines the conventional boundaries of music and the practice of music composition. His broad interpretation of concepts such as musical form, time perception, music notation, sonic archetypes, and his original use of sonic devices span through a wide spectrum of artistic works involving symphonic works, chamber acoustic composition, performance art, visual arts, computer interaction, electro-acoustic music, opera, film, instrument building, three-dimensional installation, and live improvisation.

Galindo’s work has been performed and presented at major music festivals, concert halls, museums, and art exhibits throughout the United States, Latin America, Europe, and Asia, and has been featured on BBC Outlook (London), Vice Magazine, (London), National Public Radio (U.S.), CBC (Canada), California Sunday Magazine, Reforma News Paper (Mexico) and the New Yorker Magazine.

A longtime resident composer of Gomez Peña’s Pocha Nostra performance art troupe, and resident composer of the Unbound Spirit AADP Dance Company, Galindo developed his own brand of sonic performance art, including real-time music scoring created in situ.

For the last several years, Galindo has created what he calls cyber-totemic sonic objects: sculptural instruments based on the Pre-Colombian belief that there is an intimate connection between the sound of an object and its material from. Each cyber-totemic instrument becomes the medium through which the spiritual animistic world around us expresses itself. His piece Voces del Desierto, commissioned by Quinteto Latino in 2012, incorporated his first set of cyber-totemic instruments—made from immigrants’ belongings and other objects found at the Mexico/US border—into a traditional Western wind quintet.

The continuation of Galindo’s border instruments project is now part of a larger collaboration with photographer Richard Misrach. Border Cantos, a cross-disciplinary collaboration between these two artists will be shown at several museums in the US and Mexico between 2016 and 2018. In 2016, the exhibit will open at the San Jose Museum of Art, and a book containing Misrach’s photographs and Galindo’s instruments and graphic scores will be released by Aperture Publications. Some of Galindo’s Border Cantos graphic scores can also be found at the Magnolia Editions website.

Guillermo Galindo is currently a senior adjunct professor at the California College of Arts. He has also taught composition at Mills College and has worked as a panelist and tutor for the Jovenes Creadores and the Sistema Nacional de Creadores music composition grants in Mexico City. Recent collaborations include the Paul Dresher ensemble with Amy X Neuburg, writer Juvenal Acosta, and Mexican photographer Maya Goded.

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