The Squid's Ear Magazine

TAK + Brandon Lopez

Empty And/Or Church of Plenty [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD]

TAK + Brandon Lopez: Empty And/Or Church of Plenty [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (Tripticks Tapes)

Rich sound worlds or mysterious space and controlled chaos in this work commission by the TAK ensemble, the score devised partly in text and partly through instruction, giving directions for interpretation to the performers--Laura Cocks, Madison Greenstone, Marina Kifferstein, Charlotte Mundy, Ellery Trafford & Lopez himself--allowing each to become part composer, part improviser.

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product information:

Label: Tripticks Tapes
Catalog ID: TTT011
Squidco Product Code: 31628

Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: USA
Packaging: Cassette
Recorded by Bob Bellerue.


Laura Cocks-performer (flute)

Madison Greenstone-performer

Marina Kifferstein-performer (violin)

Charlotte Mundy-performer (voice)

Ellery Trafford-performer (percussion)

Brandon Lopez-performer (bass)

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Sample The Album:

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Empty And/Or Church of Plenty was a commission by TAK ensemble for Brandon Lopez. The score was part in text and part through conversation; the directions given by Lopez foreground the intuitive and concrete technical aspects of the performance. The idea was to create a complex sound-world through collaboration and seemingly simple means.

The action of performing the work is a democratic and collaborative process, and each individual plays a part in the work's creation. The democratization of this process is an important means of opposing European hierarchies in thought-aural transmission versus written scores works as a means of decolonization of the process of composition... each player in the ensemble made part-composer. The resultant sound-world is simultaneously iridescent and murky, ecstatic and foreboding."-Tripticks Tapes

Artist Biographies

"Laura Cocks is a New York based flutist who works in a wide array of creative environments as a performer and promoter of contemporary music. Laura is the flutist and executive director of TAK ensemble, and a member of the Nouveau Classical Project and the Association of Dominican Classical Artists. She has performed across the Americas and Europe as a soloist and chamber musician in ensembles such as The London Sinfonietta, International Contemporary Ensemble, Talea Ensemble, Wet Ink Ensemble, and Ensemble Dal Niente. They can be heard with TAK, International Contemporary Ensemble, Talea, Wet Ink Ensemble, and others on labels such as Carrier Records, ECM, Centaur Records, New Focus Recordings, Sound American, Denovali Records, Orange Mountain Music, Chambray Records, Amplify, TAK editions, Double Whammy Whammy, Winspear, Supertrain, and Gold Bolus with upcoming records coming out TAK editions, Sideband Records, Tripticks Tapes, and Carrier Records."

-Laura Cocks Website (

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"Madison Greenstone was born in California, and completed her Bachelor of Music degree at the Eastman School of Music in 2014. She was a receiver of a DAAD (Deutscher Akademisher Austausch Dienst) that enabled her to teach English at the Universität zu Köln during the 2014/15 academic year.

She has participated in the Darmstadt Ferienkurse für Neue Musik (2012/14), Manifeste Académie (2013), the IMPULS Akademie (2015), and the Klangspuren International Ensemble Modern Akademie (2015), and has studied with Kenneth Grant, Jon Manasse, and Carl Rosman. Aside from clarinet, she is also interested in the metaphysics of wordplay, translation and hearing, ideas of Being, and speculative philosophy. Currently, she is creating on a text that works to pull these seemingly disparate areas together to illuminate and articulate the ineffable in music.

Madison studies at UC San Diego, where she is pursuing her Master of Music in contemporary music performance, where she studies with Anthony Burr. She is the clarinetist in the [Switch~ Ensemble]."

-NewMusic USA (

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"Marina Kifferstein is a violinist, composer, and educator based in NYC. Equally comfortable in major international venues and DIY spaces, she enjoys a multifaceted career with a focus on contemporary chamber music. She is a founding member of TAK ensemble and The Rhythm Method string quartet, and has performed across the US and internationally with these groups as well as with ensembles including the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Talea, Wet Ink, Signal, the Da Capo Chamber Players, the Ensemble of Lucerne Festival Alumni, and others.

A strong supporter of new music, Marina has performed and commissioned an extensive repertoire of music by living composers. She has worked closely with 20th century masters such as Helmut Lachenmann and the late Pierre Boulez, as well as a multitude of composers ranging from early career to highly acclaimed; as a soloist and chamber musician, she has premiered hundreds of new works. Her own compositions have been performed across the U.S. and Europe. She is also an avid improviser, and has collaborated with musicians including Brandon Lopez, Weston Olencki, Austin Wulliman, Nina Dante, and xbucket, her electronic noise project with Sam Tarakajian and Alex Van Gils. She is a co-founder and administrator of the Open Improvisations series, with Carrie Frey and Alec Goldfarb.

Marina has been a featured performer at international music festivals including the Sacrum Profanum festival in Krakow, Poland, Festival Musiques démesurées in Clermont-Ferrand, France, Musiikin Aika in Viitasaari, Finland, the Delian Academy in Mykonos, Greece, and works regularly with the Lucerne Festival on projects in Switzerland and internationally. She has performed at the Lincoln Center Festival and the Mostly Mozart Festival in NYC, the Omaha One Festival in Nebraska, the Cluster Festival in Winnipeg, and others.

Concerto solo engagements include the premiere of Ryan Pratt's K. Tracing with the Wet Ink Ensemble under the direction of Eric Wubbels, Luciano Berio's Corale with the Tactus ensemble under the direction of Kyle Ritenauer, as well as the North American premiere of Hindemith's Kammermusik No. 4 with the Oberlin Wind Ensemble under the direction of Timothy Weiss. As an orchestral musician, Marina has held concertmaster positions with orchestras including the Orchestra of Lucerne Festival Alumni, the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra, and the Orchestra for the Next Century, and has played under the batons of conductors such as Pierre Boulez, Sir Simon Rattle, David Robertson, Riccardo Chailly, and many others. She has performed solo, chamber music, and orchestra concerts across America and internationally, in venues such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall, as well as across Europe and Asia in venues such as the KKL Lucerne, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Kölner Philharmonie, Paris's La Salle Pleyel, the Beijing Concert Hall, Reykjavík's Harpa Concert Hall, and the Esplanade Singapore.

Outside of the realm of performance, Marina's writings have been published by the Wet Ink Archive, WQXR's Q2 Music, and I CARE IF YOU LISTEN, and she was formerly a staff writer for the Oberlin Conservatory Communications office. She holds the position of "Contemporary Leader" for the Lucerne Festival, which entails festival curation and design in addition to frequent performance engagements in and around Lucerne. Marina is on violin faculty at the United Nations International School in Manhattan, and at the Composers Conference summer festival. Former teaching positions include the Washington Heights Community Conservatory, where she maintained a private studio and conducted the orchestra, and Oberlin Conservatory (secondary instruction). She has held chamber music residency positions at Stanford, Columbia, Bowling Green State University, McGill, New York University, and the Zurich University of the Arts, among others.

Marina is currently pursuing a DMA at the City University of New York Graduate Center. She holds a Masters degree in contemporary performance from the Manhattan School of Music, where she was the recipient of a full scholarship. She received a BM in Violin Performance and a BA in English with a Creative Writing Concentration from Oberlin College and Conservatory in 2012, where she was the recipient of a Conservatory Dean's Talent Award and a John Frederick Oberlin Scholarship. Primary teachers include Mark Steinberg, Laurie Smukler, Curtis Macomber, Milan Vitek, and Ecaterina Gerson."

-Marina Kifferstein Website (

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"Charlotte Mundy is a classically trained, "mesmerizing...preternaturally focused Canadian soprano" (NYTimes) who is passionate about working closely with others to explore the newest fringes of music and performance. She "slays the thorniest material like it's nothing" (WQXR) with TAK ensemble, whose debut album, Ecstatic Music, was album of the week on Q2 Music and Named a Top 10 Classical Recording of 2016 by the Boston Globe. She sings stratospherically high microtonal lines with Ekmeles vocal ensemble at venues such as The Metropolitan Museum, The Kitchen, National Sawdust and Music Mondays. She oscillates between thorny new complexity duels and supremely beautiful duets with guitarist Jordan Dodson. As a soloist she has given critically acclaimed performances of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire, Boulez's Le Marteau sans Maître, and Feldman's Three Voices. She has performed in staged works at the BAM Next Wave Festival, Abrons Arts Center, The Metropolitan Museum, the Under the Radar Festival, St. Ann's Warehouse, and the Park Avenue Armory working with theater makers Paul Lazar, Cynthia Hopkins, Katie Brook and Rachel Chavkin, visual artist Martin Creed and choreographer Miro Magloire. Mundy is honoured to sing sixteenth century mass settings every Sunday at the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin under David Hurd. She hosted weekday afternoons on Q2music, a Peabody Award-winning affiliate of WQXR dedicated to contemporary music, from 2012-16.

Mundy holds degrees from the Manhattan School of Music's Contemporary Performance Program, where she studied with Lucy Shelton, and the University of Toronto Faculty of Music."

-Charlotte Mundy Website (

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"Ellery Trafford is a New-York-based percussionist specializing in cotemporary chamber music who thrives on the search for new means of expression, musical and otherwise. Originally from Georgia, he holds degrees from Georgia State University, Bowling Green State University and the Manhattan School of Music and has studied with Stuart Gerber, Roger Schupp, Jeffrey Milarsky and John Ferrari. Trafford has attended festivals such as the Sō Percussion Summer Institute, the Bang On A Can Summer Festival, the Third Practice Electroacoustic Festival, the Spark Electronic Arts Festival and the Beijing Modern Music Festival. He has performed at venues domestic and abroad from the eminent to the underground, such as the National Performing Arts Center in Beijing, Harpa in Reykjavík, to Carnegie Hall, the Stone, Roulette and many more in New York.

Ellery is a founding member of the TAK Ensemble, which has performed across the US and Europe, and regularly holds residencies at universities such as Columbia, Stanford, Cornell, Harvard and more. The group has released four studio albums to date, the last two of which were put out on the TAK Editions label."

-Ellery Trafford Website (

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"[..] Composer/bassist, Brandon A. Lopez, deemed "The Ubiquitous Free Improv Bass Ace" by the Village Voice and said to play with a "Bruising Physicality" by the Chicago reader.

He was born and raised in the splendors of Northwestern New Jersey, in the shadow of the (New York) city. It was there that he cultivated a taste for the left of center musics and subsequently, dug graves.

He's had the pleasures of working with many of the world's luminary weirdos. Here's a list: Nate Wooley, William Parker, Chris Corsano, Justice Yeldham, Weasel Walter, Peter Evans, Tyshawn Sorey, Gerald Cleaver, Ingrid Laubrock, Tom Rainey, Tony Malaby, Paul Lytton, Mette Rasmussen, Jooklo Duo, Michael Foster, Leila Bordreuil, Jaimie Branch, Joe Morris, Brandon Seabrook, Cactus Truck, John Dykeman, Daniel Carter, and many others.

He's currently leads a trio dubbed "The Mess", another one called the Brandon Lopez Trio, works as a soloist and is formerly/currently/latterly writing more and more music. He may play some it sometime soon (see "gigs").

He attended New England Conservatory."

-Brandon Lopez Website (

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Track Listing:


1. Untitled 19:57


1. Untitled 20:13

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