While brass instruments and electronic music are not exactly the most obvious combination, John Adler of the University of Northern Colorado visited ETSU last Monday, Feb. 29, for his guest lecture and recital “Confronting Inertia” and proved that the two are compatible.
Using various effects run through his Macbook, Adler was able to create sounds with his trumpet no ordinary instrument could ever dare create.
Adler, who received degrees from the University of Oregon and the University of Nevada-Reno before getting his doctorate at the University of Miami, alternated between performing pieces and answering questions from students and faculty.
Adler had considerable experience as a classical and jazz musician before being introduced to electronic influences while attending a masterclass by Adam Cuthbért and being rendered “speechless.”
Adler would go on to collaborate with Cuthbért and played one of his compositions in the performance, which sounded like an unusual cross between Louis Armstrong and Skrillex.
Adler attributed this to Ableton Live software, where he gets much of his pre-recorded sounds and effects — some from other musicians and some from Adler himself. Regarding his overall style, Adler said he wanted the freedom to improvise, but for those improvisations to sound as if they were pre-written. For his second and last piece, Adler performed a movement from a piece simply titled, “Sonata.”
This piece involved much of the aforementioned improvisation backed with beats and atmospheric synths as well as distortion and delay effects on his trumpet.
With “Sonata,” Adler said he wanted a piece that involved more interaction with his effects than simply playing along with pre-recorded tracks. Adler then surprised the audience by showing some of the samples he used, which came from hip-hop artists such as Kanye West. Altogether, Adler’s demonstration was an incredible display in the use of technology in the world of music.