Post-Acoustica at .ZACK



April 9, 2022
3224 Locust St
St. Louis, MO 63103

Jlin arr. Kim and Thompson, Black Origami
Aphex Twin arr. Stefan Freund, T69 Collapse
Aphex Twin arr Hause, Omgyjya Switch7
Lucrecia Dalt, Cabeza
Igor Santos, Through Thoughts of a Different Kind
King Britt and Chris Stark, The Intention
Aphex Twin arr. Burhans, Blue Calx
SOPHIE arr. Pierson, Leopold, and Smallcomb, Faceshopping
Aphex Twin arr. Thompson, minipops 67
Tim Exile arr. Bettison, Family Galaxy


Aphex Twin arr. Freund, T69 Collapse
I was asked by Alan Pierson to create an arrangement of Aphex Twin’s T69 Collapse, my second arrangement of music by Aphex Twin, following Cock Ver/10, which was released on AWS’s original Acoustica album.

The arrangement begins with a chill tune passed around the winds with tones captured in the piano and strings to create a reverb effect. Muted drums and practice pad play light drum tracks in the background before a bassline emerges. A viola solo, colored by other instruments, introduces a second theme. This calm triadic figure alternates with active glissando gestures led by the strings. A wild breakdown makes up the middle section of the piece, featuring a sustained microtonal pyramid in the brass, wild descents in the upper winds, and violent crescendos in the percussion. The final section, which returns to a more relaxed character, includes a continuous funky bassline line and repeated keyboard progression. Short ostinato figures repeat in the other instruments, creating textures that come and go before freezing at the end.

In addition to using several extended techniques that imitate the electronic sounds of the original, the arrangement calls upon members of the ensemble to sing, play auxiliary percussion instruments, and clap besides playing their own instruments.
–Stefan Freund

Aphex Twin arr Hause, Omgyjya Switch7
Omgyjya Switch 7 is incredibly dense, fast, and percussive. It was one of the last tracks on Alarm Will Sound’s Acoustica project to be arranged, and I welcomed the challenge. At fist, I thought it would have been better suited to a large percussion ensemble than a chamber orchestra. Indeed, my final version uses has three very busy percussionists, with other members of the ensemble playing percussion in addition to their own instruments. The wind and string instruments are often utilized in a percussive way as well.

My first approach to the track was to transform it into an original, 21st-century contemporary chamber orchestra piece. Alan Pierson opened the floodgates by pushing me to do more, encouraging me to write what I really heard as specifically as possible and not to be concerned with how the sound would be made, or with the technical challenges of making it.  

The rehearsal phase was luxurious. I joined the ensemble worked with the ensemble for a week, refining ideas day and night.  The fruits of one day’s experimentation would be turned into notated music the next morning. We exhausted every resource. I even wheeled a shopping cart down from an art classroom to demonstrate a percussive effect that eventually ended up unused.  But other ideas I would never have thought of turned out to be ideal: we found a duck call and an engraving tool lying around which ended up being the best choices for the final raucous passage.
—Evan Hause

Lucrecia Dalt, Cabeza
Cabeza is the result of close collaboration between Lucrecia Dalt and Alarm Will Sound. Lucrecia is especially grateful to Tim Leopold, Matt Smallcomb, Christa Robinson , Michael Harley, Elisabeth Stimpert and John Orfe.

Igor Santos, Through Thoughts of a Different Kind
“…what does it mean when some tune follows you occurs to you […] in the middle of thoughts of a quite different kind?”

Theodor Reik (1960)

King Britt and Chris Stark, The Intention
The Intention was created through a collaborative process that was new to me as a composer. King sent me an electronic track that he created in his studio; I then composed instrumental music to accompany that track. Alarm Will Sound then workshopped and recorded that instrumental music, and King then took those recordings, reworked them, and added them to his electronic track. And, finally, I took that new track, composed more material, and made a final working score for Alarm Will Sound. It was fascinating to work collaboratively on a creative project, and I believe the result is unlike anything King or I would have made in isolation. 

The Intention is ultimately a dialogue between electronic and acoustic modes of music-making. The episodic form moves through variations on minimalist patterns, brief melodic fragments, a synth bass line, and a Philly-inspired drum groove. A meditative electronic pulse stitches them together.
-Chris Stark 

The song exemplifies how I feel when putting intention into action. The power of our thoughts cannot be stopped if the intention is true and from the heart. I use my intentions for the good of mankind. Bless Alarm Will Sound for the opportunity to share this with the world.
-King Britt 

SOPHIE arr. Pierson and Leopold Faceshopping

@alarmwillsound Recreating “Faceshopping” by SOPHIE. #alarmwillsound #pushmusic #acoustica #cover #SOPHIE #snaredrum ♬ original sound – Alarm Will Sound



minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix] – Aphex Twin, arr. Chris Thompson
Over three decades and hundreds of releases, the music of Richard D. James (a.k.a. Aphex Twin) has always raised perplexing questions, and minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix] is no exception. The track opens his 2014 album, Syro, Aphex Twin’s first official release in over 10 years. It is known to be named after a piece of musical equipment that James used for the album: the Korg minipops drum machine. And the track raises the kinds of unanswered questions that make being an Aphex Twin fan such fun: what is that devilish voice saying and what processing was used to mask it? What gear and techniques did James employ to get such a luxuriously human feel and sound out of electronic machines? Fans obsess over these questions in countless internet chat boards. And the graphics of studio expenses and instruments that James includes in the album art offer almost no clear information, just adding to the fascinating ambiguity. 

The imaginative challenges of arranging this music for acoustic instruments was a formative experience in the development of Alarm Will Sound as a band. Now it plays a big part in the inspiration for the Alarm System project as a whole, which utilizes those experiences as a toolbox for collaboration with new music creators working outside of new music’s traditional methods. Not having been with the group at the time of the original Aphex Twin project, I was delighted to contribute this arrangement at a moment when James is suddenly releasing so much new music into the world once again.
-Chris Thompson

Alarm Will Sound gratefully acknowledges our individual donors and the following foundations for their support: Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Amphion Foundation, Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, BMI Foundation, Cheswatyr Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

Additional Support provided by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature; and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Alarm Will Sound bio

Alarm Will Sound is a 20-member band committed to innovative performances and recordings of today’s music. They have established a reputation for performing demanding music with energetic skill. Their performances have been described as “equal parts exuberance, nonchalance, and virtuosity” by the Financial Times of London and as “a triumph of ensemble playing” by the San Francisco Chronicle. The New York Times says that Alarm Will Sound is “one of the most vital and original ensembles on the American music scene.”

With classical skill and unlimited curiosity, Alarm Will Sound takes on music from a wide variety of styles. Its repertoire ranges from European to American works, from the arch-modernist to the pop-influenced. Alarm Will Sound has been associated since its inception with composers at the forefront of contemporary music, premiering pieces by John Adams, Steve Reich, David Lang, Michael Gordon, Aaron Jay Kernis, Augusta Read Thomas, Derek Bermel, Benedict Mason, and Wolfgang Rihm, among others. The group itself includes many composer-performers, which allows for an unusual degree of insight into the creation and performance of new work.

Alarm Will Sound is the resident ensemble at the Mizzou International Composers Festival. Held each July at the University of Missouri in Columbia, the festival features eight world premieres by early-career composers. During the weeklong festival, these composers work closely with Alarm Will Sound and two established guest composers to perform and record their new work.

Alarm Will Sound may be heard on fifteen recordings, including including For George Lewis | Autoshchediasms, their most recent release featuring music of Tyshawn Sorey; Omnisphere, with jazz trio Medeski Martin & Wood; a collaboration with Peabody Award-winning podcast Meet the Composer titled Splitting Adams; and the premiere recording of Steve Reich’s Radio Rewrite. Their genre-bending, critically acclaimed Acoustica features live-performance arrangements of music by electronica guru Aphex Twin. This unique project taps the diverse talents within the group, from the many composers who made arrangements of the original tracks, to the experimental approaches developed by the performers.  

In 2016, Alarm Will Sound in a co-production with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, presented the world premiere of the staged version of Donnacha Dennehy’s The Hunger at the BAM Next Wave Festival and the Touhill Performing Arts Center. Featuring Iarla O’Lionárd (traditional Irish singer) and Katherine Manley (soprano) with direction by Tom Creed, The Hunger is punctuated by video commentary and profound early recordings of traditional Irish folk ballads mined from various archives including those of Alan Lomax.

In 2013-14, Alarm Will Sound served as artists-in-residence at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. During that season, the ensemble presented four large ensemble performances at the Met, including two site-specific productions staged in museum galleries (Twinned, a collaboration with Dance Heginbotham and I Was Here I Was I, a new theatrical work by Kate Soper and Nigel Maister), as well as several smaller events in collaboration with the Museum’s educational programs.  

In 2011, at Carnegie Hall, the group presented 1969, a multimedia event that uses music, images, text, and staging to tell the compelling story of great musicians—John Lennon, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Paul McCartney, Luciano Berio, Yoko Ono, and Leonard Bernstein—striving for a new music and a new world amidst the turmoil of the late 1960s. 1969’s unconventional approach combining music, history, and ideas has been critically praised by the New York Times (“…a swirling, heady meditation on the intersection of experimental and commercial spheres, and of social and aesthetic agendas.”)

Alarm Will Sound has been presented by Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, (le) Poisson Rouge, Miller Theatre, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Kitchen, the Bang on a Can Marathon, Disney Hall, Kimmel Center, Library of Congress, the Walker Arts Center, Cal Performances, Stanford Lively Arts, Duke Performances, and the Warhol Museum. International tours include the Holland Festival, Sacrum Profanum, Moscow’s Art November, St. Petersburg’s Pro Arte Festival, and the Barbican.

The members of the ensemble have also demonstrated our commitment to the education of young performers and composers through residency performances and activities at the Community Music School of Webster University, Cleveland State University, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Missouri, Eastman School of Music, Dickinson College, Duke University, the Manhattan School of Music, Harvard University, New York University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

For more information and to join the mailing list, visit Alarm Will Sound’s website at

Alan Pierson bio

Alan Pierson has been praised as “a dynamic conductor and musical visionary” by the New York Times, “a young conductor of monstrous skill” by Newsday, “gifted and electrifying” by the Boston Globe, and “one of the most exciting figures in new music today” by Fanfare. In addition to his work as artistic director of Alarm Will Sound, he is Principal Conductor of the Dublin-based Crash Ensemble, has served as Artistic Director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and has guest conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Steve Reich Ensemble, Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble ACJW, the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, the New World Symphony, and the Silk Road Project, among other ensembles. He is Principal Conductor of the Dublin-based Crash Ensemble, co-director of the Northwestern University Contemporary Music Ensemble, and has been a visiting faculty conductor at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, the Eastman School of Music, and at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity. Mr. Pierson has collaborated with major composers and performers, including Yo Yo Ma, Steve Reich, Dawn Upshaw, Osvaldo Golijov, John Adams, Augusta Read Thomas, David Lang, Michael Gordon, La Monte Young, and choreographers Christopher Wheeldon, Akram Khan and Elliot Feld.  Mr. Pierson received bachelor degrees in physics and music from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a doctorate in conducting from the Eastman School of Music. He has recorded for Nonesuch Records, Cantaloupe Music, Sony Classical, and Sweetspot DVD. 


Erin Lesser, flute
Andrew Nogal, oboe
Bill Kalinkos, clarinets, saxophone
Elisabeth Stimpert, clarinets
Michael Harley, bassoons
Nicolee Kuester, horn
Tim Leopold, trumpet
Michael Clayville, trombone
Chris Thompson, percussion
Matt Smallcomb, percussion
Megan Arns, percussion
Peter Ferry, vocoder
John Orfe, piano, synth, celesta
Courtney Orlando, violin
Patti Kilroy, violin
Caleb Paxton, viola
Eli Lara, cello
Miles Brown, bass
Ryan Ferreira, electric guitar
Daniel Ruder, Audio Engineer
Alan Pierson, conductor and Artistic Director

Gavin Chuck, Executive Director
Jason Varvaro, Production Manager
Annie Toth, General Manager
Chihiro Shibayama, Librarian

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