The Morgan Fellows at Antioch College present renowned multimedia and sound artist and composer Brian Harnetty, who will perform his recent sound collages, including his work with singer/actor Will Oldham (aka Bonnie 'Prince' Billy) at the Herndon Gallery, South Hall, Antioch College on December 4, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Brian Harnetty's work transforms overlooked sound material—including field recordings, old radio shows, oral histories, rustic instruments, and more—into personal aural worlds. Harnetty's presentation will feature Appalachian-rooted work from two recent albums, Silent City and American Winter (Atavistic Records), both based on his research in the Appalachian Sound Archives at Berea College, Kentucky. He will also introduce a new installation derived from the innovative jazz composer Sun Ra's sound collection at Experimental Sound Studio, Chicago.
The indie-folk blog Songs: Illinois calls Brian Harnetty a “modern version of Alan Lomax,” but points out that he is never content to just catalog American folk music; instead, he chooses to interact with it “by creating collages, contemporary compositions and new ways for archival music to breathe again.”
Harnetty has performed his music and presented aural installations at locations all over the world, including London, Berlin, Dijon, Trieste, Geneva, New York, Washington, DC., Chicago, and his current hometown of Columbus, Ohio. Harnetty has received numerous grants and awards and been an artist in residence at a number of institutions, including Appalshop in Whitesburg, Kentucky; Berea College, Berea, Kentucky; and the Headlands Center for the Arts, Headlands, California.
Harnetty is also co-founder of the art collective Fossil Fools, which creates artwork on topics related to energy, sustainability, and social justice. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music in London, he is currently on the faculty of Goddard College, Vermont.
Paste Magazine describes American Winter, his first album inspired by the Berea archives, as “chock-full of found sounds—the story of a 1928 outdoor funeral, a crackly-voiced woman singing a song called 'Drunkard’s Dream,' another woman struggling to remember the words to a song— all interwoven with Harnetty’s airy, unobtrusive instrumentation, evoking a ghostly, eavesdropping experience.” On his second Appalachian album Silent City, Harnetty is joined by Bonny 'Prince' Billy, the indie singer-composer-actor Will Oldham, to an other-worldly effect. Paste insists that Silent City “demands—and deserves—undivided attention in a darkened room...In that environment, you might just be transported to the mythological small town Harnetty imagined while recording."