talking stjörnur

This past September at the Arteles Creative Center in Finland I contributed sound to a site specific, light mapping installation by French multi-media artist Barthélemy Antoine-Lœff. Bart is a brilliant person, versed in sculpture, video, theater, digital arts, installation and co-founder of the Paris-based collective Iduun, and I hope we can collaborate again soon.

talking stjörnur – site specific installation from Barthélemy Antoine-Loeff on Vimeo.

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Get a clue

From Novembers NYC Jazz Record

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André Vida’s Moving Scores installation and performance

I was really thrilled earlier this year to be a part of saxophonist Andre Vida’s Moving Scores. The Wire published this wonderful video documentation of it on their site.
André Vida’s Moving Scores was an installation of films and animated musical notations that took place at Eyebeam space between10–13 April 2014 as part of The Tri-Centric Music Festival and Eyebeam’s CT-SWaM series. Over the course of three days a group of musicians spent time in the installation, developing their individual interpretations of the piece. The event culminated with a final long duration performance of Moving Scores on 13 April.

Interpretations by:
Sara Shoenbeck – bassoon
Christa Robinson – english horn
Loren Dempster – cello
Brett Sroka – trombone
Jay Rozen – tuba
Jordan Mclean – piccolo trumpet
Daniel Neumann – spatial reconfigurations
André Vida – C-melody saxophone

Video shot and edited by Ross Karre

For more information about Moving Scores contact

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Musiikkia Brooklyn – Kalmaa

Finnish Kantele and Jouhikko player Rauno Nieminen and New York based composer and computer musician Brett Sroka have developed a new collaboration while Sroka is in residence at the Arteles Creative Center, in Haukijärvi, Finland. Through Sroka’s live computer processing of Nieminen’s music, the duo create rich tapestries of electro-acoustic sound, exploring Finnish music in new and experimental ways and finding commonalities of cultures, history and technology.

Sunday, September 8, 2014 4pm
Sorkkistentie 9
27510 Eura, Finland

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At last, Sine Qua Non, the page!!!

Greetings from Tallinn, Estonia where I’m presently an artist in residence at Ptarmigan. I finally made a web page for Sine Qua Non, the performance/installation that Carl Maguire and I premiered at Roulette earlier this year. Please have a look:

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Shirin Neshat & Cherubim

Not a collaboration exactly… My friend Sujin Lee (text, video and performance artist) put together this promo video for Iranian contemporary artist Shirin Neshat’s retrospective at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea and the opening montage features music from Cherubim’s show last fall at Spectrum.

You can listen to a longer excerpt here:

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The 2013 Sroky’s are in…

As some of you may know, in 1897 my great great great aunt Godzislawa, thrice removed, started the Srokasonic Awards as an excuse to go on a three and a half day bender and angrily rant about the invention of the Telharmonium.  So in that spirit, I welcome you to the 117th annual Srokasonic Awards (or Sroky’s)!

The Sroky for best drum solo of 2013 goes to Gerald Cleaver, for “Cracking Hearts” on Craig Taborn trio – Chants.  I don’t even know what that is, I think I heard some dried leaves crackling, some demolition happening in the next apartment, possibly somebody doing a slappy on a curb down the street, but all at once and coming from different directions.  Damn.  Listening to these guys play together is like trying to spy on a triple headed hydra through a prism. 

The Sroky award for baby making music from outer space goes to James Blake – Overgrown.  Stark, strange, sexy, a lot of soulful humming, I feel weird saying that. Really far out production, I keep coming back to this record, wondering how it’s even possible.

The Sroky for achievements in filial inspiration goes to Molly Drake. Wow.

The Sroky for music I’m most embarrassed to have enjoyed goes to Vampire Weekend.  It’s just embarrassing to like a band with such a stupid name.

The Sroky for diaphenous, blissful melancholy goes to this Skuli Sverisson & Oscar Gudjonsson for The Box Tree.

The 2013 Sroky for lifetime achievement goes to the Flaming Lips. Had they tried to continue recreating their biggest hit (which was “She Don’t Use Jelly” from ’93 and was performed live at The Peach Pit on Beverly Hills 90210) they never would have lasted 25 years. Their 13th record, The Terror, is a disorienting and aggressive trip. I’ve been a fan for like ten years and I’m not even sure how I feel about it, but I’m glad they’re still out there, keeping it weird for the rest of us.

Very honorable unmentionable in this category go to Sigur Ros, who are still kicking after almost 20 years with Kveikur, and the Necks, who have been mining the same territory for almost 25 years with their latest, Open, and somehow it’s still startlingly original. These guys have The Shining, go figure.

The Sroky for totally unbiased admiration of friends go to Andrew Mckenna Lee and his project The Knells, Kaoru Watanabe’s beautiful album, Convergence, of traditional and modern Japanese music with Kenny Endo, and Toby Driver’s 7th Kayo Dot record, Hubardo . The reason I live in a shit hole like New York is because I get to be surrounded with artists of this caliber, and even be friends with them. I feel like I know them better for having this magic jangle my earbones. I can only imagine what a complex, interior journey it was to have brought these to fruition and I’m grateful.

The Sroky for being down to make music at any time or place go to Yuko Pepe and Shawn Baltazor. Big respect and inspiration, glad to know you both. I loved making this music with Yuko, and not to worry Ergo has something coming too.

…and of course the 2013 Sroky for best song in a skate video goes to Bob Seeger – Night Moves, for Cory kennedy’s part in Pretty Sweet (at 0:11:47).  Plus, front half-cab to front feeble down a nine stair handrail… come on.

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Sine Qua Non premiere at Roulette 1/20/14

I’m very pleased to announce the premiere of Sine Qua Non this month at Roulette, with my friend and longtime collaborator, pianist Carl Maguire. This work is an electro-acoustic improvisation that transforms into a generative sound installation, developed in part at Alfred University’s Institute of Electronic Arts and the Vilnius Academy of Art, Nida Art Colony in Lithuania.

Monday, January 20, 2014, 8pm

Sine Qua Non with Carl Maguire
509 Atlantic Ave
Brooklyn, NY 10002

In an improvisational dialogue Carl is sampled and processed, his playing becomes his accompaniment and foil in something like a mobius strip of sonic ideas, continuing through electronic abstraction and acoustic response. 

As the performance concludes the sampled fragments slowly take over, transforming through generative processing.

With the outputs of the Max/MSP instrument each mapped to a separate speaker, the room is immersed in an ever-changing abstraction of the performance. In this way, Sine Qua Non, which means, “the essential part,” offers each listener a unique experience of the whole through their engagement with the space.

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The Joyful Shrieks of the Cherubim!

“I heard the joyful shrieks of the cherubim singing and shouting ‘Hosannah,’ and the thundering shout of rapture from the seraphim, which made heaven and all creation shake.” -Ivan Karamazov (The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky)

I hope you’re all enjoying this lovely fall, wherever you are.  Cherubim, the project I began last year with guitarist Yuko Pepe has just released our debut recording, “The Joyful Shrieks of the Cherubim!” on the Zeromoon label for intelligent noise music.  Cherubim is a completely improvised amalgam of drones, pulses, melodies and noise, and is unlike anything I’ve done before; in large part due to Yuko’s beautifully unorthodox playing and partly due to the playing and developing I’ve done with my Max/MSP software instrument over the past few years.  One of my favorite tracks is “Tincture”, a dark, noisy rabbit hole of an improvisation; each time I get into the middle of it I wonder where I am and how I got there. We’re offering it with the option to “name your price,” so please listen to it and own it for whatever you can afford.

get it from:


like Cherubim on Facebook:

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Ergo recording fund SALE!!!

Soon Ergo will record our fourth album, As Subtle As Tomorrow. To help fund it I’m offering this sale of our last two CD’s for only $10 each (plus shipping)! Every purchase comes with a free copy of our debut album, “Quality Anatomechanical Music Since 2005.” If you’ve ever considered owning one of our recordings now would be a great time to do so and help fund the next one in the process. Thanks for your support.

sincerely, Brett Sroka

“This wildly experimental electro-acoustic ensemble… concocts some strangely compelling music. From the droning, Terry Riley-inspired loops of “Sorrows of the Moon” to the exquisite music box pointillism of “Two For Joy” and the free-jazz vehicle “Little Shadow”, nothing is predictable or tame on If Not Inertia.”
- Jazz Times

“[Ergo] has a deft touch when it comes to molding silence and drones into rich celestial balladry. The subtleties of the new multitude, solitude are a nifty confluence of George Lewis’s dreamscapes and Miles’s Lonely Fire, and while it’s a record that invites you to watch the embers glow, it does its fair share of shooting off sparks.”
- The Village Voice

“…part of a generation for which Autechre and Sigur Ros are as pressing concerns as Armstrong and Sun Ra. That’s certainly evident in the timbral sophistication, spacey contours and slinky grooves of the band’s debut record, Quality Anatomechanical Music Since 2005.”
- Time Out, New York

(please calculate the appropriate shipping amount for overseas orders. Thank you.)

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