Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1965, David Shea is a composer, turntable artist, club DJ, and improviser who explores the possibilities of electronic and acoustic traditions. Closely associated with the New York Downtown music scene, Shea is inspired by compositional methods forged from early electronic experimentalists such as John Cage, Morton Feldman, Iannis Xenakis, and Gyorgi Ligeti. Throughout the years of his career, Shea has collaborated with Zeena Parkins, Jim Pugliese, Karole Armitage, Fred Frith, John Zorn, and Anthony Coleman. Accompanied by Parkins, Coleman, Shelly Hirsch, David Weinstein, and Ikue Mori, Shea presented three live ensemble pieces—Shock Corridor, Trio For Samplers, and Solo for Four Turntables—during his first appearance at The Kitchen in 1991. Employing samplers, drum machines, and sequencers, Shea adds digital sound design and manipulation to his music that amalgamates different musical genres and cultural references, including Chinese traditional music, American pop, exotica, and allegorical Chinese theatre. Deriving raw elements from his existing recordings and favorite Hong Kong action films, Shea’s 1996 performance Tower of Mirrors at The Kitchen was a detailed soundscape fusing Eastern and Western traditions. With a persistent interest in cultural fusion, Shea has continued to explore the interconnections between styles, histories, languages, and mediums through his own musical development.
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