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Testa, Carl

Sway Prototypes - Volume 2

Testa, Carl : Sway Prototypes  - Volume 2 (Sway)

2nd volume of bassist Carl Testa's Sway electroacoustic interactive software, taking the individual playing of Erica Dicker on violin, Junko Fujiwara on cello, Louis Guarino Jr. on trumpet, Andria Nicodemou on vibraphone, Carl Testa on bass & electronics, and Anne Rhodes on voice, Testa's software generating responses that push and pull the musician in unique directions.

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product information:

Label: Sway
Catalog ID: 0002
Squidco Product Code: 27921

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2019
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Emergence was recorded at Firehouse 12, in New Haven, Connecticut, on October 9th, 2018, by Greg DiCrosta.

Bloom was recorded at Best Video, as part of the 2018 New Haven Noise Festival, in Hamden, Connecticut, on October 17th, 2018, by Hank Hoffman and Carl Testa.


Erica Dicker-violin

Junko Fujiwara-cello

Louis Guarino Jr.-trumpet

Andria Nicodemou-vibraphone

Anne Rhodes-voice

Carl Testa-bass, electronics

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Artist Biographies:

"A proponent of new music, Erica Dicker is committed to creative collaboration with living composers and innovation in both the classical concert hall and nontraditional contexts. Erica is a founding member of the contemporary chamber music collective Till By Turning, an ensemble devoted to reinforcing the modern canon and linking educational programs to their repertoire. As part of the New York-based horn trio, Kylwyria, Erica and her colleagues, Julia Den Boer (piano) and John Gattis (horn), work to generate interest in and develop adventurous chamber music repertoire for their unique instrumentation through dynamic programming and commissioning. Erica is also violinist in Katherine Young's Pretty Monsters, as well as Vaster Than Empires, an electro-acoustic collaboration with composer and sound artist Paul Schuette and percussionist Allen Otte. She has premiered works by many composers including solo works written for her by Olivia Block, Turkar Gasimzada, Ryan Ingebritsen and Katherine Young. Erica also writes and performs her own music, exploring the idiomatic modalities and textures of her instrument. Taking Auspices, her debut solo album, is released by Tubapede Records as a digital download and limited edition vinyl LP.

Erica serves as concertmaster of Anthony Braxton's Tri-Centric Foundation Orchestra, an ensemble founded to document and disseminate the operas by composer and multi-reedist Anthony Braxton, and has also performed with Braxton's Falling River Quartet and Diamond Curtain Wall Quartet at festivals in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Macedonia, Poland, and Turkey and appeared with the 12 + 1-tet at the 2012 Venice Biennale. Erica also writes about and curates performances of Braxton's work, most recently for the International Contemporary Ensemble at the 2017 Ojai Music Festival.

A passionate advocate for preserving the vitality of orchestral performance, Erica also lends her talent to orchestras across the Midwestern United States, such as the Grand Rapids Symphony. She previously served as associate concertmaster of the Peoria Symphony and associate principal second violin of the South Bend Symphony, and held leadership roles in festivals including Spoleto USA and the National Repertory Orchertra. In Germany Erica was part of the Bergische Symphoniker and performed with the Bachakademie Stuttgart International Festival Orchestra under the direction of Helmut Rilling.

Erica received her training at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (BM), the University of Minnesota (MM), and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (DMA). Her primary teachers include Gabriel Pegis, Marilyn McDonald, and Jorja Fleezanis.

Erica resides in Astoria, New York with her husband and creative collaborator, tubist Dan Peck."

-Erica Dicker Website (

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"Junko Fujiwara, based in Haverhill, Massachusetts, is a professional cellist who performs live, plays on various recordings, and offers cello lessons. An accomplished musician, Ms. Fujiwara possesses a Bachelor of Music degree from Lawrence University and a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University.

Ms. Fujiwara currently holds faculty positions at Boston College, Governor's Academy, Masconomet Regional Schools, and Ipswich Public Schools. She is also affiliated with the Northeast Massachusetts Youth Orchestra, where she coaches chamber groups."

-Junko Fujiwara Website (

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"Trumpeter Louis Guarino Jr. may have made his debut in 2002, but he had years in the jazz world before putting together his first solo album. Attracted to the instrument through traditional jazz players that he discovered as a teen, Guarino Jr. began playing and soon was sitting in with Dixieland bands after finishing high school. A few years in the U.S. Navy managed to expose him to many other jazz sounds, and soon he was back in the States and putting together his own music. Joining several R&B bands while also hitting the improv circuit, he began moving closer to funk-based music and incorporated these new influences into his playing. Joining several improv organizations, he became bored with the stale club scene that he had outgrown. Concentrating on his own compositions, he fed off of the experimental music he had been exposed to and put together a combination of avant garde jazz, world beat, and funk fusion. Calling the record Spiritual Awakenings, he released it in the fall of 2002 and hit the road with his unique sound."

-All Music (

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"Andria Nicodemou is a multifaceted musician from Cyprus, specializing in vibraphone and improvisation. She is a graduate from Corfu University in Classical Percussion and has received a Master's Degree from the New England Conservatory, in Contemporary Improvisation.

She has been working in diverse interdisciplinary art projects, with multi-media artists, dancers and actors in Europe and USA. She has worked with musicians such as Joe Morris, Anthony Coleman, Marty Ehrlich, Ikue Morri, Tayler Ho Bynum, Tatsuya Nakatani, Ab Baars, Anne La Berge, Gianni Lenoci, Jim Hobbs, Marc Sanders, among others. She was a guest performer at the London Improvisers Orchestra (2015) and the Royal Improvisers Orchestra in Amsterdam (2014).

Andria is the co-founder of the Thread Ensemble, a story-telling, improvisatory trio a result of a 2012 Ensemble Fellowship in NEC's Community Performances & Partnerships Department. With their unique teaching approach, Thread Ensemble has been performing and giving interactive workshops in the Boston Public Schools, ever since.

With her unique voice she has established herself as one of the important emerging musicians in the experimental, improvised music idioms.

In July of 2014 she received the honorary visa for prominent artistic personalities, 'Artist with an extraordinary ability in the fields of art' from the USA."

-Evil Clown Website (

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"Based in New Haven, CT, Anne Rhodes (b. 1976) performs a broad range of experimental, improvised, and classical music. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from Boston University, an M.A. in Experimental Music Performance from Wesleyan University, and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois. She has premiered solo, opera, and chamber works by more than thirty composers, and is considered one of the foremost interpreters of the vocal works of Anthony Braxton, with whom she has performed and recorded extensively. Rhodes performs as a member of various ensembles, including Braxton's Tri-Centric Vocal Ensemble and Pine Top Aerial Music Sextet; Carl Testa's Sway; and the trio Broadcloth. Her solo project, Red Rainbow, incorporates voice and electronics, looping sounds as diverse as extended techniques and bel canto vocalises to create layer upon layer of dissonance, harmony, and noise. As a composer, she creates unique embroidered graphic scores. She is also the Archivist for Oral History of American Music at Yale University."

-Anne Rhodes Website (

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"Carl Testa (b. 1984, Chicago, IL) is a multi-instrumentalist and composer at the intersection of improvised, electronic, experimental music, and new media. As a performer/improviser, he is equally comfortable on string bass, electronics, lighting, and combinations thereof. As a composer, he has written acoustic and electronic music for configurations ranging from solo to chamber orchestra, including multimedia pieces that incorporate electronics, lighting, dance, and theater. His work has been performed throughout the US and Europe, and is documented on many recordings, most recently "Iris (for solo bass and electronics)" (Lockstep Records 2013), and "Sⁿ (for prepared guitar and electronics)", a collaboration with guitarist Christopher Riggs (Gold Bolus Records 2015).

In addition to his work as a leader/collaborator, he performs regularly with composers Anthony Braxton, Mario Pavone, and Tyshawn Sorey. He serves as the Director of Publishing and Creative Technology for Braxton's Tri-Centric Foundation where he manages all facets of the production of digital and print scores for the organization. He is the production manager for noted jazz venue and record label Firehouse 12. He also organized The Uncertainty Music Series from 2007-2017, which was a monthly concert series in New Haven, CT featuring improvised, electronic, and experimental music. He has received support from the State of CT as a 2018 Artist Fellow, from the New Haven Department of Cultural Affairs, and from NewMusicUSA. He lives in New Haven with his wife, vocalist Anne Rhodes, and their son, Florian."

-Carl Testa Website (

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track listing:

1. Emergence 45:37

2. Bloom 21:40

sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Sway is an interactive live electronic processing environment for any number of musicians. Development of this work started in mid-2017 and is in constant development. This volume series presents the various performances using Sway in a variety of contexts."-Carl Testa

Sway - live electronic processing environment

Sway is the name I have given to my live processing environment for any number of musicians. It is an example of an interactive music system like George Lewis's Voyager or Pauline Oliveros's Expanded Instrument System. It differs from those systems in that it is an autonomous system focused on live processing audio input. Any number of inputs can be processed, the only limitation is that of the host computer's processor speed/memory and number of microphone inputs available. The goal of the system is to create a dynamic, constantly shifting electro-acoustic environment around a group of musicians that embodies my compositional aesthetics around live electronic processing. The practical result is that I can return to performing on string bass and leave the processing role to be done solely by the computer. In addition, future notated works of mine will use this system to generate the electronics components of the pieces.

The system is written in the SuperCollider programming environment which I've been using for the past 14 years (as of 2018). The system conducts audio analysis on each channel to determine the type of processing to be used as well as the exact moment-to-moment parameters of the selected processing type. Each musician's amplitude, density, and pitch clarity is tracked and determines where each musician is assigned to on a grid of four processing possibilities. For example, at the beginning of a performance a musician is assigned to the center of the grid which denotes no processing. If the musician's playing increases in density with a high pitch clarity that would move the musician into the upper right quadrant of the grid (quadrant I) and initiate a delay processing effect. The average amplitude, density, and pitch clarity over the past second determines the values of parameters like the delay time and feedback level. What results is rapid and responsive change to the effects parameters in real-time. When this is expanded to several musicians, the sheer number of control signals being generated would be beyond the scope of one musician controlling the live processing to manage. This analysis controlling processing technique enables massive processing collages to be very dynamic musically.

Over the course of the performance the amount of time each musician spends in each quadrant is tracked and once time in one area has reached a threshold that will trigger a change to occur in the processing of that quadrant. This is to ensure that each musician's processing grid stays fresh and that each musician's grid changes individually over the course of the performance. The system also tracks what is happening with all of the channels as a whole unit. For example, the system can tell if only one person is playing at the moment or if all the musicians are playing above their amplitude threshold. If the system catches one of these instances then it will enact changes across the whole system. This might include mapping all channels to process a single musician, or change the processing grid of each musician to a new setting, or turn off processing all together. These are a few of a number of possibilities and are an attempt to ensure a unique set of processing results for each performance."-Carl Testa

"Sway gives the computer the combined role of live-dub remixer and composer: using prearranged criteria it can evaluate what a musician is playing, and nudge them to move on by changing their sound. Provided the computer running it has enough speed, memory, and microphone inputs, Sway can be used by any number of players"-January 10th, 2019 - Chicago Reader, by Bill Meyer "Carl Testa's Sway gives the computer a say"

This album has been reviewed on our magazine:

The Squid
The Squid's Ear!
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Electro-Acoustic Improv
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Sextet Recordings

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