top of page

MUSIC

Original Compositions
and Collaborations

THE PRECIPICE

Created by KARL

from Text and Music by Grey Grant and Karl Ronneburg

Workshop Premiere Production

Directed, Choreographed, Designed, Costumed, and Lit by Corey Smith

April 29-30, 2023 Riverside Arts Center, Ypsilanti, MI

A Fifth Wall Performing Arts Production

Commissioned by Contemporaneous

 

CAST in order of appearance:

Grey's Voice Double: Allison Prost

Karl's Voice Double: David Magumba

Grey: Grey Grant

Karl: Karl Ronneburg

 

BAND

Daniel Johnson, Music Director

Clarinet: Eric Schweizer

Violin: Taylor Tookes

Cello: Julia Knowles

Electric Guitar: Jeremy Esquer

Electric Bass: Ben Willis

Piano: Melissa Coppola

Percussion: Chris Sies

Sound Design: Peter Littlejohn

Coming to NYC June 27-28, 2024! Get tickets here.

 

for our friends:

find a place to watch and look out, a cliff by the beach, an edge in the sunlight

chase that open empty, the feeling of turning a corner, the boundary of now and whenever

this is two parallel lives, this is in and out (and in and out) of love,

 

this is leaving and jumping and getting lost and maybe moving on

this is our precipice:

 

"roar, lion of the heart, and tear me open" - Jalal al-Din Rumi

Weaving together text and music from journal entries, poems, and voice memos by Karl Ronneburg and Grey Rose Grant, THE PRECIPICE is a 100-minute abstract chamber-rock opera that tells the story of two parallel journeys of becoming and self-mythologizing, from both a trans/queer perspective and a cis/straight one. The "precipice" itself represents irreversible change–growing up, leaving home, and moving on from past places, relationships, and visions of self. The show asks: is making ourselves a tragic act, a leap from the precipice, a great wrenching? How do the metaphors and myths by which we construct our identity hold us back? How do you leave behind a relationship, place, or vision of self without losing the part of it that made you who you are? And finally, do we do this alone? Is the formation of self an individual act or a collective one?

ARRHYTHMIA

Eric Puente, Synthesizers, Vocals, and Field Recordings Jason Treuting, Drums, Vocals, and Field Recordings

Karl Ronneburg, Vibraphone, Vocals, and Field Recordings

Performed at the (all-virtual) So Percussion Summer Institute 2021

Arrhythmia is a heart condition I have personal experience with in which the heart beats with an irregular or abnormal rhythm. Arrhythmias come in many forms and can be benign or dangerous. My musical explorations recently have focused on microrhythms, which are kind of like musical arrhythmias, and how they can be intentionally shaped (see the "Microrhythms" section below.) The goal of this project was to use sound recordings gathered by the musicians to generate arrhythmic patterns in which the tempo and rhythm fluctuate in ways difficult to notate using traditional Western notation--but possible to understand through technology and emulate with practice! Objects and sound recordings have been chosen based on their inherent arrhythmic qualities as well as their sentimental value.

I. I read the news today (arrhythmic patterns following speech rhythms in an expanding structure)

II. Rock Song (arrhythmic patterns following rocks rolled along the ground, arranged into a rock-song structure)

III. DANGER MUSIC (arrhythmic patterns chaotically arranged, based on bursting and cutting sounds)

Coda: Souvenirs  (just some pleasant textural memories, no rhythms necessary)

Microrhythms

Essay on Microrhythmic Composition:
Score for
BDA-GOON-KA:
Score for 
Microgrooves 1-5:

Click for SuperCollider screenshots and the annotated rhythmic structure of iso+micro :

I’m investigating the possibilities of composing with microrhythmic inflections, studying how subtle changes of tempo and note placement can open up new realms of rhythmic creation and perception. This can come in the form of rhythmic frameworks, like inventing a new kind of Viennese Waltz or a new system of swing, or can be used as a more flexible compositional tool, adding varying amounts of rhythmic warping and nuance throughout a particular piece.

I built a sequencer interface in SuperCollider to help me design and explore these rhythmic ideas, which I then turned into MIDI, audio, and transcriptions to create the following tracks and short pieces. Included above is my electronic collaboration with Elliot Cole iso+micro, my open-instrumentation piece BDA-GOON-KA (performed here with the improv punk band Sickmorley's), and a collection of demo recordings I made of microrhythmic drum loops, called Microgrooves.

Patience

Performed by Karl Ronneburg, Vibraphone

Video and Audio recorded and edited by Spiff Wiegand

Brooklyn, February 2020

Approaching the 1 year anniversary of New York City's shut down for the COVID-19 pandemic, patience has been on my mind. Waiting for vaccines, waiting to perform again in public, waiting for life to return to normal. For much of this music, the vibraphone's pedal is held down, and I wait for dissonances to fade instead of resolve--accentuated by the dimes I've placed across the instrument. The drone, played here by placing a can full of spare change onto my keyboard, is a persistent presence--it can be ignored, but it will never go away. Like life during the pandemic, while waiting for it to end, you may even get used to it.

TALK / Pop Song

Thes