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«Stay Logged In On This Trusted Device»

Stay Logged In On This Trusted Device highlights the breadth of the rich musical vision of the American, New York-based innovative double bass player, featuring four experimental compositions – for solo double bass in Just Intonation scordatura with Autonomous Mechanical Instrument Array, for a saxophone quartet, for the Ghost Ensemble, and a composition that was written and recorded in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic, and represents the acute feelings of disassociation from reality that marked those days.

«Almostness (2023)» for solo double bass in Just Intonation scordatura, players by Ilgenfritz and augmented by live interactive electronic sound and the Autonomous Mechanical Instrument Array (AMIA), a family of mechanical six “characters” who respond to data transmitted via Mari Kimura’s MUGICTM motion sensor. That data is distributed to the six mechanical instruments, and throughout the performance, the AMIA will move in response. This complex composition demands patience and attention to necessitate mindfulness and suggests a deep-toned calm stillness despite its otherworldly eerie electronic sounds.

«Trust Fall» (2018) for New Thread Quartet, featuring Quartet soprano sax player Geoffrey Landman, alto sax player Kristen McKeon, tenor sax player Erin Rogers and baritones sax player Zach Herchen, organizes discrete sound worlds into a series of scenes that inform each other and ultimately form a network of interwoven approaches to gesturality. Its sections focus on particular saxophone techniques, such as slap tongue, multiphonics, glissando, or different types of air sounds. The subtle ideas grow together organically in a conversational and emphatic manner and provide a feeling of continuous intuitive invention and movement, towards or away from primary thematic material.

«Apophenia V: Outmoded Large Crumbling Oval Lime-Green Midwestern Plastic-Frame Reading Glasses» (2019) for the chamber, nine-musician Ghost Ensemble conducted by Carl Bettendorf, with Ilgenfritz as one of the two double bass players, relates to the term apophenia describing humans’ tendency to perceive patterns within randomness. The Apophenia series of compositions explores the possibility of a collective of musicians creating a coherent narrative from a set of discrete fragments of information. The eight-part «Apophenia V» refers to the order in which English language speakers combine adjectives: opinion-size-age-shape-color-origin-material-purpose. The eight pages of composed material should be played in a different order each at each performance, but the harpist and double bass soloist have a set of improvisation strategies that should be followed in the same order each time, regardless of the order in which the composed material is played. The Ghost Ensemble offers a mischievous and subversive interpretation of this thought-provoking composition.

«Subject-Object-Abject» (2021) For Hypercube quartet (sax player Erin Rogers,  guitarist Jay Sorce, pianist-accordionist Andrea Lodge,  and percussionist Chris Graham) reflects on the self and the other, and the liminal space in between: What is the self, what is not the self, and the ambiguous discomfort associated with the uncertainty that surrounds matters that do not comfortably fit into the self-other binary. This mysterious composition acts like a hall of mirrors, where we see distorted representations of ourselves. It challenges the performing musicians – and the listeners –  to distinguish those subtle distortions that come from the environment and those that originate in our own consciousness.

Eyal Hareuveni

James Ilgenfritz (double bass); New Thread Quartet: Geoffrey Landman (soprano saxophone), Kristen McKeon (alto saxophone), Erin Rogers (tenor saxophone), Zach Herchen (baritone saxophone). Ghost Ensemble: Ben Richter (accordion), Breana Gilcher (oboe), Margaret Lancaster (flute), Chris Nappi (percussion), Lucia Stavros (harp), Cassia Streb (viola), Jennifer Bewerse (cello), James Ilgenfritz (double bass), Scott Worthington (double bass), Carl Bettendorf (conductor). Hypercube: Erin Rogers (saxophones), Jay Sorce (electric guitar), Andrea Lodge (piano, accordion), Chris Graham (percussion)