Dither Electric Guitar Quartet

“The electric guitar quartet Dither, typifying this nebulous twenty-first century, brings massive chops with an egalitarian sense of purpose to every piece of music.” – Free Music Archive

Heads up from the CFA: Dither is coming to Wesleyan! For those who don’t know, Dither is a New York based electric guitar quartet dedicated to an eclectic mix of experimental repertoire, which spans composed music, improvisation, and electronic manipulation. Formed in 2007, the quartet has performed in the United States and abroad, presenting new commissions, original compositions, improvisations, multimedia works, and large guitar ensemble pieces. With sounds ranging from clean pop textures to heavily processed noise, from tight rhythmic unity to cacophonous sound mass, all of Dither’s music embraces the beautiful, engulfing, and often gloriously loud sound of electric guitars. The current members of the quartet are Taylor Levine, Joshua Lopes, James Moore and Gyan Riley.

  • What: Concert by Dither Electric Guitar Quartet, featuring the world premiere of “Mi-Go” (2012) by Joshua Lopes
  • Date: Friday, November 16
  • Time: 8 pm
  • Place: Crowell Concert Hall, located at 50 Wyllys Avenue on the Wesleyan campus
  • Cost: $6 for students, $22 for the general public

For (lots) more info about Dither, click after the jump.

At Wesleyan, Dither will perform the world premiere of “Mi-Go” (2012) written by quartet member Joshua Lopes, a progressive composition similar to works by Frank Zappa. Mr. Lopes states that “Mi-Go are interstellar fungoid beings found in the works of H.P. Lovecraft. As a young boy, I spent countless weekends seeking out weird horror paperbacks in the musty used bookstores in Providence, Rhode Island, where Lovecraft had penned his tales over six decades before. I remember reading a poem called ‘Fungi from Yuggoth’, under the shadow of a dilapidated Victorian Mansion that was now a record store on Thayer Street. The poem starts off describing a young man who had walked into a creepy used bookstore and found a mysterious book. I had just come from Cellar Stories on Matthewson Street, and bought a new (for me) collection of Lovecraft and a paperback copy of the Necronomicon with the cover ripped off. I remember wondering, this poem is not about me, right?”

Also on the program at Wesleyan are two of the four movements from the work entitled “Ones” (2012) by Wesleyan graduate Jascha Narveson MA ’05 (“The Warped One” and “The Driving One”); “but because without this” (2006) by Wesleyan Assistant Professor of Music Paula Matthusen, who will be giving a pre-concert talk at 7:15pm; the early John Zorn game piece “Lacrosse” (1977); “The Garden of Cyrus” (1985) by Eve Beglarian; and “exPAT” (2007), written by Eric km Clark for Dither’s debut concert at the New York City venue The Stone. Written for “as many guitarists as possible”, “exPAT” features the unique practice of hearing deprivation—the performers’ hearing is masked through the use of earplugs and headphones playing back white noise, depriving them of their ability to effectively coordinate with one another. “exPAT” has been a controversial highlight of many Dither concerts, including the Bang on a Can Marathon in 2009. Dither will be performing “exPAT” with assistance from guitarists from the Wesleyan community.

Dither is distinguished from classical/acoustic guitar quartets by their “major jump into a new sonic world”, says quartet member James Moore. Marc Ribot was one of their primary influences, according to Mr. Moore, who met his Dither co-founder Taylor Levine at the Bang on a Can summer residency program in 2006, where they performed David Lang’s duet “Warmth”. Mr. Levine came up the group’s name, which is a technical term for “intentionally applied noise”.

Dither has worked with a wide range of artists, including Elliott Sharp, Fred Frith, Lois V. Vierk, Larry Polansky and Phill Niblock. Recent performances include the Performa Biennial, The MATA Festival, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. In the fall of 2008, the quartet traveled to Hong Kong to premiere an evening-length theatrical work by Samson Young, Hong Kong Explodes! In addition to concert programs, Dither conducts workshops with educational institutions across the country, and is a frequent visiting ensemble at Princeton University. Dither’s critically acclaimed debut album was released on Henceforth Records in June 2010.

Free Music Archive has said “the electric guitar quartet Dither, typifying this nebulous twenty-first century, brings massive chops with an egalitarian sense of purpose to every piece of music.”