Western Enisphere seeks to develop a body of hyper-minimalist, audio / video just intonation and microtonal works steeped in First’s concepts of Gestural Improvisation, defined as a set of procedures that isolates musical elements and elevating them to the level of most significant extrapolative detail. Comprised of some of the best, most in-demand musicians in New York City, the ensemble has worked extensively to internalize what First calls “a virtuosity of slowness and safecracker focus, with the goal of both resonating with, and attempting to subvert, the laws of nature.”
David First has always been fascinated by opposites and extremes. At age 20, he played guitar with renowned avant-jazz pianist Cecil Taylor in a legendary Carnegie Hall concert. Two years later, he was creating electronic music as an artist-in-residence at Princeton University and leading a Mummerʼs String Band in Philadelphia parades. As a composer First has created everything from finely crafted pop songs to long, severely minimalist microtonal droneworks. First’s performances often find him sitting trance-like without seeming to move a muscle, unless he is playing with his psychedelic punk band, Notekillers, at which time he is a whirling blur of hyperactive energy. He has been called “a fascinating artist with a singular technique” in The New York Times, and “a bizarre cross between Hendrix and La Monte Young” in the Village Voice. First’s most recent project, Same Animal, Different Cages (Fabrica Records), is a series of solo LPs on a variety of instruments, including acoustic guitar, analog synth, harmonica (forthcoming September 2017), and sitar (forthcoming early 2018).
David First – Guitar, Harmonica, Slide Whistle, HF signal generators/AM radios, A/V Composition + Programming
Jeanann Dara – Viola
Sam Kulik – Trombone
Jeff Tobias – Bass Clarinet
Ian Douglas-Moore – Guitar
Danny Tunick – Percussion