David Shea

Melbourne, AU
Artist / Band / Musician
Experimental / Classical / Live Electronics
Metta Editions, Tzadik, Sub Rosa
David Shea is a composer working with combinations of samplers and live musicians, centered on the possibilities of electronic and acoustic traditions. The focus is on the interconnections between styles, histories and mediums with single pieces containing multiple layering's of compositional methods, electronic and acoustic orchestrations - Drawing from experimental music and film music influences as well as traditional musics from both eastern and western cultures, many pieces are based on films, novels, mythology and visual sources. -----------------------------------------------------------------

Studying at the Indianapolis School of the Arts at Broadripple in 82-84 and The Oberlin Conservatory 84-85 He moved to New York in 85 and began living in the East Village performing as a free improvisor, collage performance composer and soon after a turntable player. Through these performances he came in contact many artists centered around the scenes of the downtown new music and art and began working with John Zorn after a performance of Cobra in 87. Over the next ten years he was a member of many of Zorn's ensembles, recording projects and tours as well as a respect and friendship with many of the players and artists around the downtown free improv scene throughout the late 80s and early 90s such as Anthony Colman, Mark Ribot, Cyro Baptiste, Jim Pugliese, Zeena Parkins, Ikue Mori, Christian Marclay, Otomo Yishihide, Bobby Previte, Erik Friedlander, Dave Douglass, Tom Cora, and many others, as well as a life changing experience with the great Derek Bailey and his free improv London based event - Company in 92. For a short period he survived between improv works, writing for dance and theatre, as a turntable player in various groups and as a club DJ, and being involved in projects as a side man in many of Zorns produced projects such as the classical work Elegy and the Mr. Bungle first record. Around 92 the first recording for Zorn's label of Shea's own work entitled Shock Corridor appeared and began a series of recordings and tours in the US, Europe, Asia and the Pacific which continued until around 2005. --------------------------------------------------

Concentrating on works which involved samplers, live ensembles and combinations of Asian influences, film music, music concrete, Exotica, Hip Hop and early techno, visual sources, and collaged sampled archives,these works were collages which searched for interconnections between pre-exsisting traditions, states of conciousness, and a type of 'theater of references and memory'. Moving to Brussels, Belgium in 2000 the concentration on contemporary classical works became central and New York became less his base. The recordings on Zorns Tzadik label continued as well as the more electronic based works throughout the 90's with the Brussels based label Sub Rosa. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Through this period contact with the Euro-electronica scenes played a central role with duos and projects in and around electro-types such as Scanner, DJ Olive, Hip Hop DJ Grazzhopper, Matt Wand of Stockhausen and Walkman, DJ Vadim, and others with the primary touring focus on solo sampler works with and without video collage.

Asian mythologies and films become sources of musical forms as with the CD Tower of Mirrors and Hsi-Yu Chi which led to a focus on the Asian region and Buddhist inspired works. Film scoring culiminated in this period with work on the film about airplane hijacking, Dial History by Johan Grimonprez as well as many sound installatiion works some which can be seen in the Centre Pompidou permanent collection. Dance works for the Karole Armitage Ballet and many other collaborations for film, theatre, performance continued through out this time. Work with traditional folk musicians in the north of Italy with the producer/impressario Tullio Angellini produced three CDs of combination works of electronic and deeply traditional pieces on the More Music label. Some work at the IRCAM center in Paris also centered around developing new sampling software and machines and new classical/electronic works, as well as two Chamber Symphonies with the great new music ensemble Ictus and Ensemble Musique Nouvelle, and many ensemble works most recently the viola and piano work, The Book of Scenes. The selected list of performances, recordings and festivals can be seen at the website www.dshea.net --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Touring to Australia in 1999 led to a six year on-off transition from New York and Europe to being based in Melbourne Australia and a new living focus on the Pacific and Asian region. Starting his own label Metta edition in 2006 he has been touring less and combining new recordings and commisions with a new focus on combining traditional folk music with electronic and experimental traditions in ensemble formations and solo works. The Symphony of Scenes and Chronopolis were commisioned in 05 and 06 for the Melbourne Film Festival and involved full components of video collage and musical interaction. A series of talks has become a new feature lately around Australia and during tours, centered at the VCA's Center for Ideas program in Melbourne. The most recent work is a radio play score for Manchester based writer David Butler which will be issued on Metta (see the blog) and a collection of Asian ghost and spirit stories narrated in the original languages in a type of sound-film where the collage, electronics and traditional musics play the story telling characters to be released on Tzadik, more on this soon.
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