Zeena Parkins and Jeff Kolar SCALE
August 7, 2020

Two Rooms' fifth release, SCALE, is a new recording by experimental harpist Zeena Parkins and electronic artist Jeff Kolar. The album is currently available as an LP, CD and digital download.

Co-authored by Parkins and Kolar, SCALE addresses issues of observation, embodied transferences, telepathy and duration by employing swipes, knocks, resonators and hypnotic patterning on the acoustic harp with the less-controllable sounds of radio waves, homemade synths and feedback. The work is inspired by the timing and sensations of natural phenomena—daylight’s slow emergence at dawn and the pulsing ambiance of ocean currents—depicting nature as both utopic and disruptive. Attention is situated in an often luscious, contemplative sonic environment that shifts at varying rates, from the imperceptible to sudden, unexpected bursts. SCALE was originally commissioned by choreographer Jennifer Monson for work bend the even and performed live in its entirety at the famed Chocolate Factory Theater in Queens, New York.

Born in Detroit and based in New York, electro-acoustic composer/improviser Zeena Parkins is a pioneer of contemporary harp practices. Using expanded techniques, object preparations and electronic processing, she has re-defined the instrument’s capacities. As a composer, Parkins utilizes recombination, historic proximities, geography, tactility, spatial configurations and movement as the material of her work.

Awards include: John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for Composition, Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, DAAD Artist Residency and Fellowship, Shifting Foundation Fellowship, Foundation for Contemporary Arts “Grants to Artists” Award, Multi-Arts Production Fund, NYFA Fellowship for Composers, Meet the Composer, Atlantic Center for the Arts Master Artist-in-Residence, Herb Alpert/Ucross Prize, The Shifting Award, and three Bessies for her groundbreaking work with dance. Parkins is a multi-year recipient of the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust/Live Music for Dance Award.

Jeff Kolar is an sound artist, radio producer and curator working in Chicago. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of Radius, an experimental radio broadcast platform established in 2009. His work, described as “speaker-shredding” (Half Letter Press), “wonderfully strange” (John Corbett) and “characteristically curious” (Marc Weidenbaum), activates sound in temporary and ephemeral ways using appropriation and remix as a critical practice. His solo and collaborative projects, installations and public performances often investigate the mundane sonic nuances of everyday electronic devices.

Kolar has performed and exhibited internationally at such venues and festivals as the New Museum (New York), Museum of Arts and Design (New York), Moogfest (Durham, North Carolina), The Kitchen (New York), CTM Festival for Adventurous Music (Berlin, Germany), Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Kino Šiška (Ljubljana, Slovenia), ORF RadioKulturhaus (Vienna, Austria), Radio Revolten International Radio Art Festival (Halle, Germany), Megapolis Audio Festival (New York) and LAK Festival of Nordic Sound Art (København, Denmark), among others.

Album cover: Susan Goethel Campbell, Aerial: Other Cities #12 [detail], 2018
Woodblock print with perforations, 23 x 31 inches, Edition 4
Photo by Tim Thayer