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Gahlord Dewald

Burlington, VT            

There are deep sounds near to the earth. The sounds that surround you while standing or walking or running or resting. The sounds that shake along your body. These are the sounds in which Gahlord Dewald specializes on double bass, electric bass, modular synthesizer, and just about anything else he can get his hands on.

Being a fearless improviser and experimenter, he also takes full advantage of the unique physical properties of sound, wood, wire, and waves to pull forth spectral sounds that are at first hidden but then revealed in gentle ripples of the air, the stippling shadows of the fundamental bass.

Dewald grew up on the High Plains of the United States before moving East in his 20s to pursue music where block heaters are not required. While attending Marlboro College he fell into the emerging improvisation and noise scene of Western Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley, playing with musicians such as Ilyas Ahmed, Raphe Malik, and Attila Zoller who lived in nearby Brattleboro. Later, after a summer in Bulgaria studying with Petya Bagovska, he moved to Burlington, Vermont where he’s remained ever since. From this foothold on the banks of Lake Champlain, he travelled to study with Dr. Mark Morton (at that time in Ohio) and Barre Phillips in France.

He constantly seeks out new observations and new perspectives for his music. As a result, Dewald’s musical colleagues span a wide musical territory: collaborating with experimental guitarist Sandy Ewen, playing modular synth in The Yes & with violist Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti, double bass in a noise jazz trio with Greg Davis and JB Ledoux, free improvisation with bass clarinetist and poet Toussaint St Negritude. Dewald’s studies in classical and extended techniques has allowed him to work with new music groups such as Anne Decker’s TURNmusic, Melissa Grey and David Morneau’s l’Artiste Ordinaire, and Meerenai Shim’s A/B Duo.

He also expands his musical palette by commissioning new works for the double bass. To date he has commissioned ten new works by composers such as Alexandra Gardner, Jen Wang, Shelley Washington, Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti, Chrysanthe Tan, and Jessica Rudman. Each new work brings another dimension to Dewald’s conception of sound and music.

Gahlord has shared his experience of sound with audiences at The Tank Center for Sonic Arts, Pushing a Brain Uphill Noise Festival, Invisible Rail, New Music Gathering, Bonnie Kane’s Thursday Experiment, Thrive Music Series, and Waking Windows Music Festival among others.

Lately, Dewald has started the Community of Sound experimental music incubator. As part of this organization he’s been able to steadily release new recordings such as Arousing//Fenestration (a work for no-input mixer), 100.100 , a body of work focusing on specific sound experiments for double bass, and New Function, a body of work exploring sound as texture via modular synthesis. Many of his live improvisations also find their way to release as well.

He currently lives in Vermont on the banks of the Winooski River and drinks an awful lot of coffee.

Articles by Gahlord Dewald:

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