Peak Time RBMA Interview

I was interviewed live on RMBA Radio for Peak Time, starting about 1 hour into the show. Listen below.

The avant-garde flautist and composer discusses his ode to New York loft music and his debut solo album.

John Also Bennett, otherwise known as JAB, has been operating in the avant-garde underground of New York for the better part of a decade. He’s currently a member of kosmiche trio Forma, one half of the ambient-exploring duo Seabat and has collaborated with countless like-minded artists such as Jon Gibson, Christina Vantzou, American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME), Peter Burr, Zin Taylor and many others. The creative energy that drives JAB is unparalleled — last year he released an album with Vantzou, plus new albums with both Forma and Seabat. This March he finally put out his solo debut album, a project ten years in the making. Erg Herbe, its title, is a phrase that combines a word meaning “a sea of desert dunes” with the French word for grass; it calls to mind an imaginary place that echoes the perplexing but dreamy mixture of synthetic and organic instruments. Bennett says the record is “strange and thoughtful music that reflects a genuine inner vision of self.” He joins Vivian in the studio today to discuss the technicalities of mixing disparate sonic elements and the imagined spaces where he hopes his listeners might go.


by Peter Burr, Mark Fingerhut, and Forma

In 1562, Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder completed a painting called "The Triumph Of Death". In this panoramic landscape the sky is blotted out by black smoke; ships and dead fish litter the ocean shore; and an army of skeletons experiment with myriad death techniques. The living are badly outnumbered and the variety of fated tortures seems endless. There is little room for whimsy in this tableaux.

Over 200 years earlier, a nasty plague, commonly known as "The Black Death", left a cruel and massive mark on European civilization, wiping out half of Europe’s total population. This was a quiet pervasion of death - an invisible pathogen carried by herds of tired rats. This plague triggered a series of social and economic upheavals with profound effects on the history of medieval Europe, guiding its survivors into the sort of self-inflicted darkness pictured by the Elder Bruegel.

Looking back at this historical trajectory, Peter Burr, Mark Fingerhut, and Forma have created a spiraling interdimensional narrative aptly titled DESCENT - a meditation on one of humanity’s blackest hours. Taking the form of a desktop application, descent.exe gives the user a brief glimpse of a world descending into darkness - an unrelenting plague indifferent to the struggles of the user. There is a silver lining, however, tucked into the software’s final sweep. An equanimous watcher, reduced to a single eye, looks on as the plague of rats that has infested your desktop destroys itself.

This video is a recording of descent.exe running alongside Fingerhut's deepdesktop.exe.