A drummer and composer whose music enthusiastically defies category, Sean Noonan prefers the title “Rhythmic Storyteller” – an apt description for a modern-day sonic griot who spins imaginative yarns in the ancient tradition of wandering minstrels while weaving captivating narrative tapestries via his unique polyrhythmic language. His compositions portray discoveries from a "wandering folk" theory where he spans the globe collecting and adapting stories, legends and folklore of diverse cultural traditions.
"Independence might be the ruling concept of this drummer/leader’s career. It defines a common relationship not only among his hands, feet, and voice, but between his art and almost everything else in drumland". Modern Drummer Magazine
Latest News: Bartalk explores the psychological stresses caused by Solitary Confinement.
Whatever perspective one explores, be it an inmate or as we have discovered in 2020, the planet is experiencing all levels of isolation as:- quarantine, loneliness, solitude, confinement, seclusion, remoteness, insulation, retreat, separation, detachment. The pandemic has made the world stop and take a breath as well as create an understanding around the theme of isolation. Bartalk is an intimate performance on how a rhythmic storyteller has coped with isolation and entrapment.
We are trilled to announce the Arts Council of England has awarded Bartalk through the National Lottery grant scheme which will now includes a premiere and tour next year throughout the U.K with the Ligeti Quartet. There will be lots of new sounds to share and looking forward to collaborating with the Ligeti Quartet and my other partners which I will be tell you all about. This was only made possible thanks to public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England. More information about this coming soon.
New Project Coming Soon: Sean Noonan and The Polytempics
Polytemporal music is composed using two or more different simultaneous tempos or speeds. Henry Cowell first envisioned polytemporal theories of divisive rhythm in his treatise New Musical Resources (1919), discovering a way to structure rhythmic duration in a similar way that had been achieved with harmony, that pitch intervals, and polyrhythms are manifestations of the same phenomenon, differentiated only by speed. This became the main inspiration for Conlon Nancarrow's 50 Studies for Player Piano (1948-92) which synthesized the two main conventions in which rhythm is composed (divisive or additive approaches) but, crucially, were written to be played by a machine.
Nancarrow's composition process is to experiment with tempo and duration with the player piano. My practice is using the concepts from Nancarrow's player piano to expand the potential of the live performer. My objective is to experiment with tempo and duration by designing and developing technology to work with the performer rather than replace him/her by utilizing an interactive electro-acoustic drum kit utilizing contact microphones (Sensory Percussion) and computer software to analyze, compose and perform polytemporal music.
Music has many ways to distort our sense of time perception, for example, durations may seem to last longer with greater stimulus intensity in loudness or pitch. The human brain processes, adjusts and recalibrates rhythm and temporal perception from connections between the various parts of the brain, encoding and decoding sequential information allowing us to navigate in our physical world. Polytemporal music, by inflecting our perception of time intervals, time durations or judging simultaneity of events, offers opportunities to manipulate this perception of time itself; for example, by utilizing two ostinatos at ‘dissonant’ tempos of 5-against-7, the listener experiences a temporal illusion - momentarily perceiving time as slowing down, stopping, speeding up, or even running backward, as the timing and temporal order of events are misperceived. There are several types of temporal illusions in which music can manipulate the listeners' perception of time that I will explore in this new music project.
Drumavox fuses the drum set with the Sardinian a cappella choir from the Zappanation Rock Opera and on April 23, 2020 will perform music from our debut album @ Jazzino, Cagliari, Italy Though voice and percussion have a long history in human musical development, the concept of a modern music ensemble using only four voices and percussion has been rarely explored.