released December 15, 2015
Mirror Shards can be interpreted as the result of all the artistic development based on the self-interests of composer/percussionist/improviser Joe Formanek, such as amplified micro- sound percussion instrumentation, electroacoustic laptop-drumset improvisation, experimenting with recording and mixing techniques, free improvisation, modern electronic music, and composing with field recordings just to point out some salient ones. Another way Mirror Shards can be interpreted is to consider its strict yet unique conceptual and technical approach to creating music. Conceptually, there are four principle disciplines being exercised with their own techniques and aesthetics while complimenting the others: improvisation, composition, electroacoustic techniques, and, what Joe has invented, the concept of auto-history. The innovative concept of auto-history can be understood as a methodology to improvisation and composition that keeps constant sonic contact with the artists former self, thus the music being not only a composition of a single moment but of several moments throughout the artist’s life, allowing a new kind of reflective insight into the time-based evolution of the artist’s personal development. Technically, employing an electroacoustic apparatus (aka Mirror Shards), which is at once a laptop-drumset using digital signal processing and a history-database DJ station. With a massive collection of recorded improvisations and compositions organized onto a database, all of which are at a fingers touch during a live improvisation and in the studio, the most distinctive characteristic of Mirror Shards is the quality of improvising with the history of one’s self. The experience of “driving” the apparatus is a surreal encounter with one’s previous stages of artistic development, forcing a critical reflection and interaction with one’s past. Another interpretation could be on how Mirror Shards is rooted in similar disciplinary mindsets as musician/composer Anthony Braxton, Steve Lehmann and Vijay Iyer, tackling the age old question of combining improvisation with composition. After many years of honing conventional and especially unconventional skills as a drummer and as an electronic musician, Joe demonstrates an exercise of concepts, such as the interplay of time and non-time based styles, traditional and extended instrumental techniques, field recordings, micro sampling, and sophisticated software resampling. This is a highly collaborative project and has been involved with Francisco Lopez (composer), Chris Formanek (composer), François Ducat (film director), Hervé Perez (sax, composer), Elm Records Collective and Mangoest Records.