RAFT is the solo project of Pat Noecker, who has taken part in such Brooklyn legends as Liars, These are Powers and No Things. Now taking a completely different direction, Noecker is exploring the capabilities that an iPhone can have in music. That’s right, an iPhone. Noecker, who calls him self a “cell phonist,” has been using various apps on the iPhone to produce minimalist soundscapes which he runs through a simple network of loopers and delay pedals. Some pieces are of a thematic nature; for instance, at a performance at Palisades on September 11, Noecker used samples from various 911 calls on the tragic day as a memorial to those who lost their lives. Others are more abstract, running samples through various sound altering mobile apps to create minimalist ambient pieces.
Most impressive are his crowd-sourcing pieces, where he gives his phone number out to audiences and instructs them to text him during the performance, at which point he loops phrases sent to him through a text-to-speech app, resulting in an exploration of digital communication in the form of rich aural landscapes. In an essay he wrote for Periscope, Noecker explained it as, “Visions of wires projecting from me and out of the audience back to me.” While so much of music today involves incorporating visuals, Noecker rejects this, claiming his lack of visuals as a chance to focus solely on deep listening. His work is an experiment in alternative mediums, much like turntabalism from the ’80s.
Noecker is also the organizer of an event called Transmissions, an hour-long piece that involves multiple musicians and artists coming together to create a collage of soundscapes. The next installment will go down at the Ace Hotel on October 25 and will include artists Shelley Burgon, Laura Ortman, Kate Henderson, Sarah Register, Alexandra Drewchin Jr., Pat Spadine, RAFT, Austin Vaughn, Sto Len and Mike Sherba. Stream an excerpt of RAFT’s 9/11 performance below.