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A Recording Award for California Composers

  1. Night Ascends from the Ear like a Butterfly (8:20) by Hideko Kawamoto
  2. Currents (9:43) by Kevin Shea Adams
  3. Aphasia (11:33) by Damon Waitkus
  4. Uzumaki (5:47) by Cheryl E. Leonard
  5. Already Forming Lake (11:47) by Marielle Jakobsons aka. Darwinsbitch


This award is made possible in part through a Community Partnership Grant through the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the American Composer’s Forum and support from the Argosy Foundation Contemporary Music Fund. We would like to thank Michael Romanowski for his excellent job as Mastering Engineer and educator.

Northern California boasts a wide range of musical traditions ranging from psychedelia, garage-punk, hip-hop, bluegrass, reggae, classical, and more. How do these distinct aesthetic trajectories and California's ethnic diversity inform contemporary experimental electro-acoustic music? Embracing the notion of hybridity, Sounding Out California is a NEXMAP national competition. This CD features contemporary innovations in California.

Through its Call for Recorded Original Composition, "Sounding Out 07" invited five selected composers living and operating in California to master an existing pre-recorded acoustic, electronic, or electro-acoustic work ranging in duration from 5-20 minutes using state of the art post-production facilities. Juried by Linda Bouchard (Director, NEXMAP), Naut Humon (Co-Founder, Asphodel, Ltd., & Recombinant Media Labs - RML), French composer Francis Dhomont, Guillermo Galindo (Curator, San Francisco Electronic Music Festival), "sounding Out" features these cutting-edge innovative works.

- Night Ascends from the Ear like a Butterfly is inspired by the desert landscape described in Haruo Shibuya’s poem, Collision in the Desert. Born in Japan and currently based in Portola Hills, CA, Hideko Kawamoto has received awards such as the Concorso Internazionale "Luigi Russolo" (1st Prize, Italy), Pierre Schaeffer International Computer Music Competition (2nd Prize, Italy), Bourges International Competition of Electroacoustic & Sonic Art (Mention Award, France), Ear 01 International Electroacoustic Music Composing (Honorable Mention, Hungary) and Sonic Circuits International Festival Electronic Music Art (composition awards, USA).

- Sourced from an old Wurlitzer organ, a nylon string guitar, vinyl pops, drum machines, gravel, branches and rocks, Currents consists of rhythmic phrases that invoke a sense of anchorless, as if pummeled around in heavy surf. Based in Oakland, CA, Kevin Shea Adams received an MFA from Mills College and an undergraduate degree in philosophy from UC Berkeley where studied computer programming and interactive musical systems at the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT).

Composed in response to the onset of Alzheimer's renders the musician’s father increasingly isolated and nonverbal, Aphasia meditates on the border between language and preverbal emotional component of vocal sounds that induces simultaneous feelings of terror and fascination. Based in Alameda, CA, Damon Waitkus has received awards such as the Elizabeth Mills Crother Award for excellence in Composition from Mills College where he received an MA. Waitkus actively records and performs with his experimental folk group Jack o’ the Clock and plays banjo and hammer dulcimer with singer/songwriter Eli Wise.  His instrumental works have been performed by pianist Regina Schaffer, The Quartet San Francisco, The Presidio Ensemble, The Mandolin Orchesra, MIT Wind Ensemble, the bass clarinet duo Sqwonk, and others.

Uzumaki, the Japanese word for whirlpool or eddy, is a composition inspired by and generated from spiral motions and vortices. Cheryl Leonard’s compositions have been performed at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the San Francisco Butoh Festival, the Big Sur Experimental Music Festival, SoundCulture 96, the National Conference of the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music, and featured on KQED TV's local arts program Spark and in Tim Perkis's documentary film Noisy People. Based in San Francisco, Leonard has been awarded grants from the National Science Foundation, ASCAP, American Composers Forum, and Meet the Composer, and residencies at the Djerassi Program, Villa Montalvo, and Oberpfalzer Kunsterhaus.

Sourced from a water harp, violin, sine waves, guitar, battery-powered fountain, metal pans, rocks, and wind-blown twigs, Already Forming Lake is a title taken from folklore about a glacier which has slowly retreated since the last Ice Age, revealing a vast underlying lake. A classically-trained violinist and pianist, Marielle V. Jakobsons performs regularly with many collaborators, her bands "myrmyr" and "TrioMetrik", and her solo project "darwinsbitch.” She received the Elizabeth Mills Crawford award in Composition, received her MFA in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College, and before moving to Oakland, CA, spent a year in Paris, France composing computer music with Iannis Xenakis' UPIC machine at the CCMIX.

Directed by composer Linda Bouchard, NEXMAP: New Experimental Music, Art, Production is a non-profit organization dedicated to the production and appreciation of contemporary, experimental art.