Kyle’s music is as diverse as his whole magnum of creative endeavors; he is genre-fluid within his sonic realm. Influences include, but are not limited to, Erik Satie, Anton Webern, Carl Stalling, Dead Kennedys, and Serge Gainsbourg. His technical abilities lie in the classical training he received at SUNY Fredonia coupled with a love for punk music with its brevity and chaos.
Tradition as modernity is a running theme within all of Kyle’s art and music. However, his work for chamber ensembles has also been likened to “a French Webern.’’ It is a mirror of his bipolar disorder – short, often dynamic, pieces move through quick changes that maintain coherence through sustained elements. For instance, as one parameter changes another stays the same such as when a timbral element changes the harmony remains static. Harmonies are often extended triads in nature while rhythms vary in degree since Kyle is also a trained percussionist and self-taught drummer. From waltzes to minimalism Kyle’s chamber work expands through a wide range of styles and this wide range often exhibits itself within one given piece or set of pieces.
The Lucky Trikes
The Lucky Trikes is a storytelling chamber band that performs for groups of all ages anywhere there is a gathering space and a few pairs of open ears. We grew out of a chamber band, The Lucky Bikes, in 2014 while performing Stories Wrapped in String at the William Harris Lee & Co. luthier shops in Chicago’s Fine Arts Building and Wilmette. Each storytime is curated around a theme and includes well-known and award-winning books, new publications, improvised and classical music, original stories and songs. Musicians from Chicago’s thriving new music and free jazz scenes join storyteller-musicians Deirdre and Kyle for each performance.
Kyle’s turntable project utilizes three turntables, DJ mixer with effects, and an RC-20 loopstation to create new polyphonic compositions based on primarily monophonic recordings. When polyphonic records are introduced, the total number of records and/or loops being played is diminished so as not to oversaturate the sound and destroy independence of voice. This independence of voice is analogous with the classical format of Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass (SATB) or the string quartet set-up of cello, viola, violin 1 and violin 2, in the sense that each voice maintains its registral independence while creating a grand, full-spectrum shape. Some records have been manipulated via record-splicing, off-center spindle holes, prepared skips, and broken record layering. The records may also be manipulated by speeding up and slowing down the vinyl, starting and stopping, playing with the record while it is under the needle and hip-hop style scratching courtesy of the mixer’s cross-fader. Utilization of the needle as a contact mic is also a part of the total sound by using such things as rubber bands to create ”bass” lines and simply tapping on the needle cartridge to create percussive sounds. These manipulations are applied to a grouping of samples that is diverse in source and therefore freshly recontextualized. Some of the raw material are sound-effect and Morse code records. Some are ethnomusicology recordings and some are recent recordings of Chicago-based experimental musicians. One prominent set of peices used are Berio’s Sequenzas which is, of course, classic 20-century repertoire.
Kyle’s improvisations are much akin to his chamber music: short and dynamic. Or, if longer in form, fast changes occur within one single improvisation. Typically on the drum-set, he moves quickly when playing yet he allows for space and even utilizes silence in each spontaneous composition. He uses extended percussion techniques with atypical mallets and sticks creating timbres beyond the standard sounds of his small, jazz influenced drum-set. Other instruments that show up include the glockenspiel, bugle, turntables, auxiliary percussion and found-objects. He is not afraid to vocalize either, although he typically avoids semantics within his extemporization and tends towards extended vocal techniques. His collaborations are vast having worked with a large variety of musicians and artists including dancers, architects and videographers.
The Kyle’s avant-pop engulfs his love of both classical music and punk music with a slighted reference to what most typically and simply call ‘’pop music’’. Often melodic in nature with standard triadic chords (although sometimes extended into 9ths and beyond), the progressions digress from the standard I-IV-V-I often found in mainstream music. Such references include Felix Kubin, They Might Be Giants and Weird Al Yankovic.