gbjjck is an experimental sound trio performing structured live musical improvisation
at home both in the late-night scene and in the concert hall. Using a hadrosaur skull instrument,
overtone singing, scordatura cello, and live laptop processing, we investigate how our instruments and
sounds intertwine, inhale, and exhale, creating new spaces and viscosities. We play with vocalities:
the hadrosaur skull instrument gives voice to the extinct dinosaur; avant-garde exchange leverages
traditional Mongolian overtone singing; voicings of musical and amusical sounds through the cello’s
corpus seeks to consider the materiality of musical voice.
From initial conditions set before each performance, we seek to move towards complexity. Thus,
we pay very special attention to the decisions we make as an ensemble: firstly, the act of organizing
this trio in order to diverse sound sources together, but also in the choices we make in tailoring our
interactive musical systems. By exploring these decisions together, we hope to bring about new constellations
As individual performers, our interactive sound systems determine to varying degrees the
morphology of our sound; as an ensemble, our sonic identity is emergent in shared navigations
of our performance practices.
We dialogue to determine simple procedural rules to dictate macro-form. In
determining the form of the performance featured in our documentation, we used
different culinary textures (fluffly tira misu, caramel cheesecake, graham cracker crumbles)
as metaphorical shorthand for musical textures. During performance, these textures shift
as we make room for micro-musical digressions affecting larger disruptions, offsetting,
and realignment of the macro-form.
Courtney Brown explores the performatice practice of her NIME
rawr!, a 3D-printed Corythosaurus skull
and larynx. A Corythosaurus is a lambeosaurine hadrosaur, a duck-billed dinosaur. Scientists
hypothesize this dinosaur used its hollow crest for sound resonation. The dinosaurian sound is
processed and looped in real-time. Additionally, she is a classically-trained soprano, and
occasionally she employs this training, along with extended vocal techniques, in her improvisation.
Justin Leo Kennedy draws vocally from the traditions of Mongolian overtone singing, specifically the
techniques of khöömii, kharkhiraa, and skakhai. Also incorporated into his vocal choices are modal
chant-like melodies and guttural singing timbres found in various types of rock music. He lightly
processes his live vocals, commonly using granular synthesis, feedback, and filtering in an
attempt to obscure the delineation between vocal and electronic sounds.
Garrett Laroy Johnson bridges these unusual timbral characters with an instrument more familiar:
the violincello. Said musician explores an improvised musicality through a process
of unlearning the cello. Some of these techniques consider carefully the
physical affordances of the instrument: scordatura limits and delimits certain
tonal configurations and favor different spectral centroids; extension of the cello corpus’s
sounding techniques reveals refreshing new reverberances. Most of his approaches, however,
transform the cello’s sounds through alternating subtle as well as more potent effectations.
gbjjck’s distinct sound emerges from their shared navigation and investigation of
new performance practices. An improvisatory composer-performer group based in Tempe, Arizona,
the members of gbjjck have been making music and sonic interfaces together for several years in
various configurations. The ensemble’s unique instrumentation is comprised of a hadrosaur sonic
skull instrument (Rawr!), Mongolian-inspired overtone singing, scordatura cello, and live electronic
processing. All performers of gbjjck are all former or current
directors of the Laptop Orchestra of Arizona State (LORKAS).