CTRL+ALT+REPEAT is an experimental music series that focuses on cutting edge electronic music, improvisation, contemporary classical music, and sound art. This concert is a collaboration with Community MusicWorks, an after-school music education and mentoring program that builds meaningful long-term relationships between musicians and 100 children in the West End and South Side neighborhoods of Providence. The evening will feature performances by string players from Community MusicWorks and local experimental electronic musicians. On the program is “String Quartet in Four Parts” by John Cage and “As Far As The Crow Can Fly” by Forrest Larson for cello and electronic sound, performed by Rob Bethel. Also on the program are performances by AREA C (guitar and electronics), Forrest Larson (oscillator boxes and analog signal processors), and the electroacoustic duo Mem1 (cello and laptop).


Erik Carlson formed AREA C in 2003 in order to turn analog sound sources such as field recordings, guitar, organ and percussion into manipulated but recognizably organic sonic landscapes. The compositional and live improvisational techniques for AREA C are meshed with studio recording techniques. Using looping software, effects pedals and real-time manipulation of the tape recorder itself, AREA C strives for the creation of both subtly textural and overtly dynamic sounds through acts of sonic manipulation. AREA C’s music has also been influenced by Erik Carlson’s work as an architect. For the past five years he has worked with the award-winning Cambridge, MA firm Single speed Design, and he recently collaborated with architect Meejin Yoon on “Lo Rez / Hi Fi,” a permanent interactive public art installation in Washington, DC which is currently on display at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Recordings have appeared on various labels, including Last Visible Dog, Handmd, and Free Matter for the Blind. Currently projects for Sloowtapes, Trensmat and several sound installations are in the works, as well as a dual Farfisa album for Last Visible Dog. Erik Carlson lives in Providence, RI, where he also performs and collaborates with Joel Thibodeau in Death Vessel.


The roots of Forrest Larson’s music are in extensive work with analog electronic instruments and reel-to-reel tape machines. Some pieces combine electronics and live acoustic instruments as well. He takes inspiration from a natural inclination to pay attention to the actual qualities of sound itself, such as tone color and texture, and not work from preconceived formal structures. Other music written includes solo works for violin and cello as well as string orchestra, and music for abstract films. A current project is a piece for wind band that incorporates actual sounds of birds such as puffins and terns. His music has been performed locally at various venues as well as at Carnegie-Mellon University, Washington and Jefferson University, Southern Oregon University and in Iceland.


John Milton Cage Jr. (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992) was an American composer, philosopher, poet, music theorist, artist, printmaker, and amateur mycologist and mushroom collector. A pioneer of chance music, electronic music and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde. Critics have lauded him as one of the most influential American composers of the 20th century. He was also instrumental in the development of modern dance, mostly through his association with choreographer Merce Cunningham, who was also Cage’s romantic partner for most of their lives.

Cage is perhaps best known for his 1952 composition 4’33”, the three movements of which are performed without a single note being played. The content of the composition is meant to be perceived as the sounds of the environment that the listeners hear while it is performed, rather than merely as four minutes and thirty three seconds of silence, and the piece became one of the most controversial compositions of the twentieth century. Another famous creation of Cage’s is the prepared piano (a piano with its sound altered by placing various objects in the strings), for which he wrote numerous dance-related works and a few concert pieces, the best known of which is Sonatas and Interludes (1946–48).

His teachers included Henry Cowell (1933) and Arnold Schoenberg (1933–35), both known for their radical innovations in music, but Cage’s major influences lay in various Eastern cultures. Through his studies of Indian philosophy and Zen Buddhism in the late 1940s, Cage came to the idea of chance-controlled music, which he started composing in 1951. The I Ching, an ancient Chinese classic text on changing events, became Cage’s standard composition tool for the rest of his life. In a 1957 lecture, Experimental Music, he described music as “a purposeless play” which is “an affirmation of life – not an attempt to bring order out of chaos nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply a way of waking up to the very life we’re living”.


Community MusicWorks Players is a flexible ensemble which includes members of the Providence String Quartet, participants in our Fellowship Program, and guest artists. The creation of the CMW Players allows Community MusicWorks to present more varied repertoire, include more musicians, and provide additional concerts for audiences in Rhode Island and beyond. They will be performing John Cage’s String Quartet in Four Parts.


Mem1 is an electroacoustic hybrid that seamlessly blends the sounds of cello (Laura Thomas-Merino) and electronics (M. Cera) to create an original and cohesive performance. Rather than a duet between two individuals, listeners experience a single voice, exploring a limitless palate of sonic possibilities. Mem1’s sound is a constant yet subtle evolution of textures, ranging from sparse to dense, ambient to beat-driven, tranquil to volatile. Listeners are submerged in layers of distinctive and complex patterns, creating an aural experience that moves beyond melody, lyricism, and traditional structural confines to arrive at a new sense of organically revealed narrative. Mem1 has collaborated with the Penderecki String Quartet and performed at REDCAT (Walt Disney Hall), the Orange County Museum of Art, and at numerous galleries and festivals throughout Southern California and the East Coast. Mem1 has been awarded a 2007 artist residency at Harvestworks in New York City. Their second full-length album, Alexipharmaca, was recently released by Interval Recordings.