Surround Sound Salon Series #7

Presented by Center for New Music

John Bischoff “Surface”

This show headlines the new album release “Surface” by John Bischoff, on Artifact Recordings, CDs will be available for purchase at the show.


The music was created in the mid-1990s and is related to his album “The Glass Hand” from the same period. The pieces are the result of extensive experimentation using real-time MIDI System-Exclusive codes to drive synthesizers into noise states of varying qualities. As MIDI note-on messages pummel the synthesizer 10 times a second, Sys-Ex messages sent in tandem alter the synthesizer’s voice definition—picture a bell continuously struck while imagining its shape is deformed in any dimension. The pieces were composed for live performance and therefore recorded in studio in real-time in one pass. For this concert Bischoff has arranged the stereo recordings for diffusion in 8 channels.


“Imagine a rolling landscape divided into areas of differing surface texture. A vehicle speeds over the landscape, the wheels generating continuous noise in contact with each surface. At area boundaries the noise quality shifts suddenly. The vehicle is silent, the surface sound all encompassing.” — from the CD program notes


Bio: John Bischoff (b. 1949) is an early practitioner of live computer music. He is known for his solo constructions in real-time synthesis as well as the development of computer network music. His recent performances combine hands-on analog circuitry and digital synthesis in open dialog. His focus continues to be on material properties elicited from the electronic instrumentation, highlighting mechanisms either built-in or fabricated by the composer through play and investigation.


David Michalak “The Secret Opera”

performed by Doctor Bob, Surround Sound mix by David Michalak

Bob Marsh as Grum – vocals

David Michalak – lap steel, Skatchbox, & sonic architecture


An Opera singer, Grum, excited by his debut, develops this joyous habit of mimicking the sounds of his surroundings, matching pitches and singing back to the sounds of everyday life. As he walks to his performance on opening night he is lured by the sound of a woman’s voice. It's coming from a movie theater where he is seduced by the image of Aleyesha’s eyes on the movie screen, rendering him speechless…still he must perform his opera and though his vocalizing contains the necessary emotion, he cannot form words. Some say it was anxiety. Others say it was an apparition; the hypnotizing eyes & voice of Aleyesha that made him lose his words and left him doomed to vocalize his opera to a crumbling empty house, forever.

This is the first studio recording to include the Skatchbox, a musical invention by Thomas Skatchit. (A Skatchbox is a cardboard box with objects attached like toothpicks, nails & washers that are stroked or "played” with combs.)


Bio: David Michalak has been making films and performing since 1971. He plays lap steel guitar, phantom harp and the Skatchbox. He has founded T.D. Skatchit & Co., Reel Change, Ghost in the House and Dr. Bob playing on and engineering many recordings. His films have been shown at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Castro Theater, Cannes Film Festival, The Roxie Theater and many other less impressive venues.

City: San Francisco
Price Range:
$15 General $10 Members & Students


John Bischoff electronics
David Michalak electronics
Chris Brown electronics

Center for New Music

Center for New Music

55 Taylor Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States