elcome to the third edition of Wet Ink Archive, an online journal dedicated to adventurous musicmakers. Archive 03, “Future Visions”, highlights the work of seven decidedly future-oriented artists: Peter Evans & Sam Pluta; Marina Kifferstein; and Erin Rogers, Ashkan Behzadi, Erin Lesser & Mariel Roberts. In addition to sharing their innovative work as composers and creative improvisers, these seven musicians write about their artistic ideals, their challenges in the face of pandemic and institutional brokenness, and their visions for holistic music making with a level of honesty and openness that is refreshing in our often career-driven arts world.
Peter Evans (composer/trumpeter) and Sam Pluta (composer/electronic musician) have been improvising together and writing music for each other in various contexts for over a decade. In their article, Future Visions, Evans and Pluta discuss wide-ranging topics from creative process and technology to altered brain-states. Partly an analysis of Evans’ recent work for piccolo flute, Message From The Stars, and partly a collective rumination on artistic practice, the conversation ultimately coalesces around a pointed and timely critique of the new music scene that Evans and Pluta inhabit and love.
In Toward Greater Intentionality, violinist and composer Marina Kifferstein reflects on her growth as a creative artist while taking a hard look at the circumstances, systems, and feedback mechanisms that molded her path as a classical violinist turned composer/improviser/new music specialist. Especially from one so accomplished as Kifferstein - a founding member of TAK ensemble and The Rhythm Method string quartet, and a busy freelancer with groups such as the International Contemporary Ensemble and the Wet Ink Large Ensemble - it is inspiring to be reminded that resilience through challenges and setbacks defines the path to mastery.
Earlier this summer, in an effort to support composers and performers during the pandemic, The Library of Congress commissioned ten new works for online presentation as part of The Boccaccio Project. Wet Ink is proud to have been involved in two of these premieres: Erin Rogers’ Hello World, written for Wet Ink flutist Erin Lesser, and Ashkan Behzadi’s Lobelia, written for Wet Ink cellist Mariel Roberts. In Boccaccio Responsori, Rogers, Lesser, Behzadi, and Roberts reflect on the challenges and rewards of making socially distanced adventurous music, while sharing an artists’ perspective on the emotional trauma that has become woven into daily life as multiple national crises continue to unfold.
I am grateful to all of these musicians and friends - Peter, Sam, Marina, ErinR, ErinL, Ashkan, and Mariel - for sharing their brilliant work for Archive 03 with such forthrightness. The attitude of these writings embodies a sort of anti-careerist philosophy that I’ve long admired in these artists and others like them, and that perhaps is bubbling to the surface even more during this difficult period. If that’s the case, I’m all for it. As Peter put it, “people put up all kinds of walls in their scenes/worlds to protect themselves from competition, maintain legitimacy, or maintain the illusions of normality/universality.” As the new music community continues to grapple with the human and economic impact of the pandemic and the unacceptable reality of systemic racism in this country, I hope that, in our artistic work, we can proceed as these seven musicians have: with a willingness to critique and break down our scenes and selves, while continuing to focus on making the art we want to make with intention and honesty.
On behalf of Wet Ink, wishing all the best to you and your loved ones. And as always, thanks for reading!