Ruth Saxelby

I woke up to birdsong this morning. That might seem idyllic, but it is odd. Flocks of sparrows regularly fight over snack debris near the bodega on my corner in Ridgewood, Queens, but I usually wake up to car horns or chatter on the street outside my window.

The acorn must crack in order for the seedling to sprout. That's the energy I felt when I saw Rashad Becker, a German mastering engineer and artist, perform his own music live at London's multi-venue MODE Festival back in September. The setting was a gutted building in the middle of the city's shopping district, which added its own layer of dissonance.

It's a Friday night in London, but the cityscape is far from sight. On a small stage, the silhouettes of two dancers undulate in double time, then half-time, their limbs slicing through the red-lit fog that blurs their outline. A digitally frayed, hummed refrain keeps the pace in and out of which they keep moving, as the rise and fall of composer and sound artist Klein's amplified breath signals her impending arrival through the crowd.