BigSphinx Press Release: May 27, 2005

BigSphinx Press Release: May 27, 2005

BigSphinx, an amorphous new music ensemble, will coalesce on June 11th, at 7:30, for a special one-time all-star performance of new compositions and improvisations, at USC's Gambrell Hall. Several exiles and expatriates from the Columbia area will take part, unless the authorities catch wind of all this beforehand.

The core members of bigSphinx are Tom Law (synthesizer) and Patrick Boland (keyboards, xylophone). Joining them for this performance will be Ri Crawford (electric guitar, laptop, stop-motion animation), Ben van Wyke (voice, acoustic guitar, cheeks), Kevin Green (percussion and allsorts), and, in spirit only, Sandra Santana (poetry).

Boland and Law met while studying piano with the wonderful Bong Hi Kim at USC in the mid 1970's. After Kim's untimely death, Boland emigrated to Austin, Texas, only to suddenly resurface last year, when he contacted Law from an undisclosed location in Asheville, NC. They arranged a meeting, and soon began producing curious noises in Boland's studio. They then secretly agreed to perform their "music" at an unsuspecting Presbyterian church in Asheville. The enthusiastic audience response at that concert only encouraged Boland and Law to continue their peculiar activities.

Ri Crawford inadvertantly joined the ensemble when his grandmom met Law's oldest friend's mom at a local retirement home. They somehow veered onto the topic of "people we know who make weird noises", and decided that Crawford, who had already produced a cd of music created entirely from frog sounds, needed to meet Law, who had shown an historic tendency over the past 20 years to produce odd music for dance and theater ensembles. So the two met, and almost immediately commenced to emit a strange and raucous racket.
Daunted by the notoriety and general adulation that soon followed, Crawford thought it prudent to move to Oakland California, where he studies guitar and composition with Fred Frith and others at Mills College. He will be returning to SC under cloak of darkness, only hours before the performance.

Ben Van Wyke, a long-time cohort of Crawford, was forced to enroll as a member when it was revealed that he was living in Madrid, Spain. Law and his wife tracked him down there, and, after an intense and harrowing evening of beer and tapas, persuaded him to turn over his hidden documents, which turned out to consist of English translations of Spanish poems by Madrid resident Sandra Santana. So, by sheer accident of association, Santana too has unfortunately been caught up in this awful web of BigSphinx membership.
Van Wyke is already lurking in the Columbia area, although he normally resides in Binghamton NY, where he is involved in Translation Studies (whatever THAT is). Santana will be unable to attend the performance, due to the large ocean which separates Madrid from Columbia.

Kevin Green (impresario, batterer of drums, and amplifier of unnecessary sounds) has been a puzzling fixture of the Columbia music scene for over 25 years, much to everyone's dismay.

And so a time has been set for this public performance of English translations of Spanish poems set to Unusual Music, along with some intervals of unpredictable improvised sounds, not to mention a few minutes wherein a feature animation recently produced by Mr. Crawford himself will be projected onto a large screen for general viewing. And the time that has been set is 7:30, on Saturday, June 11th, 2005. The location will be Gambrell Hall, on the USC campus. An admission fee of $3 will be levied upon each and every audience member, without exception. Attendance is mandatory.

Recordings of bigSphinx's nefarious audio experiments may be heard in advance, at

Long ago, BigSphinx was known as the "My Big Sphinx Of Quartz Animation Orchestra", which presented multimedia performances centered around Law's music and computer animation. At various times, members included Jamie Price (dance), Luke Phillips (poetry/voice), and Steve Silverstein (woodwinds/electronics). But all of those members mysteriously vanished soon after the ensemble's last performance. Weird.

This event will be sponsored by the Creative Music and Film Society (USC). For more information, please email, or call Tom Law at 461-0597.

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