We here at AB are already big fans of Raleigh-based Christina Cucurullo’s experimental project, Spookstina. She is a tour de force and a feature at noise fests in far-flung locales, so it’s a treat to see her performing in the Triangle. She gave us a few moments of her precious time to tell us about her current setup (which includes a Moog Werkstatt and scrap metal), her favorite artists, and what she loves about Manifest.
Where are you from? Where are you now?
I’m originally from New Jersey, but have lived in North Carolina most of my life. I currently reside in Raleigh.
Tell me about the music you make.
My performance centralizes around creating and decaying sounds and textures. It’s an improvised performance, and with the exception of a cassette tape here and there (generally of nature sounds or lectures), all sound is created in real-time. I don’t use samples or anything pre-programmed; I prefer to build everything live piece by piece, and then manipulate and destroy what I’ve created. The main tools I’m using in my current setup are a Moog Werkstatt synth, a contact mic, a vocal mic, a bass (usually my Epiphone Newport), instrumental and vocal loopers, a line of pedals which changes from set to set (my favorite mainstays would probably be Red Panda’s Context and Fuzzrocious’ M.O.T.H.), one or more cassette players, a variety of toy instruments and a bunch of extraneous pieces of scrap metal (chains, screwdrivers, rebar, etc.). Depending on the length of time I have to perform, and the audience and environment of the show, my instrumentation expands and contracts – generally for a noise fest, my sets are more performance-based and brutal given the short length of performance time, whereas for a two-hour improv set, things have a longer ebb and flow, and are more of a sonic journey than an assault on the senses.
Why are you excited about Manifest?
2017 will be Manifest’s sophomore year as a festival here in the Triangle, and it is already one of the most important festivals happening in our area. Erika Libero and Sarah Shook have done an amazing job curating Manifest the past two years, and it’s become a strong showcase of female, POC and LGBT artists from up and down the east coast. I’m excited to see this year’s acts, and to make lasting connections with other musicians. More than that, I’m looking forward to the waves of change the festival is bringing to make our own local music scene more inclusive.
Who inspires you? Why?
One of my current inspirations is Polish visual artist and photographer, Laura Makabresku. Her pieces are portals into a mystical world of dark folktales and fairytales. As put in a curatorial text by Magdalena Kownacka, “Death in this land is liberating, a kind of good dream into which we tumble, searching for eternity, and which exists within us as constellations…” As death and impermanence are recurring themes in my own work, it is lovely to take in another artist’s translation of these same types of thoughts and explorations. (You can visit her website at http://lauramakabresku.com/)
Any other Southern women or non-binary or trans Southerners making music that we should know about?
Elisa Faires is one of the most exquisite artists I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this year. A vocalist and pianist (amongst many other things) currently residing in Asheville, her sets are a variety of ethereal textured vocal loops which wrap the listener in a cozy esoteric blanket. Each time I’ve experienced her performance, I am floored by her ingenuity and innovative use of the voice as an instrument and vehicle for performance. (You can visit her Bandcamp page at https://elisafaires.bandcamp.com/)