“Concrète Jungle” is a work of sound art performed live by composer Dan Siegler and special guests. The piece is inspired by and takes its title from musique concrète, an electroacoustic genre in which ready made sounds are employed in place of instrumentation. Featuring hundreds of intricately edited New York voices, “Concrète Jungle” highlights borough-specific accents, linguistic filler and word repetitions to form assembled sentences and musical grooves. Siegler has pointilistically sequenced these recordings, creating a work that contains both pre-arranged and improvisational components. Layered under the dialogue, Siegler transforms harsh urban street noise, filtering it through digital delay, reverb and echo effects, rendering it meditative and ambient.
Connected to his father’s loss of language from dementia, Siegler attempts to create order out of verbal chaos, removing words from their original context and intended meaning and reassembling surprisingly comedic, often poignant invented dialogue between people who have never met. A native New Yorker, Siegler grew up in Greenwich Village at a time when artists and middle-class families could afford to live there.”Concrète Jungle”contrasts that era’s debates with today’s public discourse, illustrating the value of meaningful conversation around challenging subjects across generations. The piece engages the audience in what composer Pauline Oliveros called “deep listening.”
The world premiere performance includes collaborative performers, including dancer Pam Tanowitz, vocalist Christina Campanella and violinist Tomoko Omura, improvising onstage with the electronic sounds manipulated by Siegler in real time.