Nation Building

A Debut Album from Popebama
OUT NOW // Available on CD + Digital Release

Erin Rogers // saxophones, vocals, electronics
Dennis Sullivan // percussion, vocals, electronics

“slippery duo” —New Yorker
“a jolting rush” —National Sawdust Log

“noisily virtuosic”—Cleveland Classical
“go see Popebama” —JazzRightNow

Nation Building is a 40-minute guide to forging a new sound world. Through concept, play, notation, rehearsal, performance, and extensive touring, these four original works by Rogers and Sullivan capture the duo’s hallmark performance energy in a refined studio mix. National Building is noisy, experimental, multi-instrumental, text-laden, built around custom electronics, and possesses an unwavering attention to detail. Popebama’s work applies the freshness of experimental sound and free spirit of improvisation to precise execution and formal notation. From their ambitious first ventures in 2016, seasoned composer-performer-improvisers Rogers and Sullivan pooled their collective creative selves to uncover new ground in sound and performance.

Known for her work with thingNY, Hypercube, and New Thread Quartet as a saxophonist/improviser and sought-after composer, Erin Rogers applies clever orchestration and lyrical phrasing to junky sound-makers and multitasking instrumentalists in Wormhole (2017). Rogers steps into a concerto of unconventional saxophone sounds, pushed-and-pulled by an industrial engine of wood, metal, and noise in Light-On-Light (2018).

At home in the percussion/electronics laboratory, Dennis Sullivan explores complex rhythmic and acoustic sound-blending in Shedding Waste (2016), where refined instrumental techniques are tempered by cheap, lo-fi noises at an inconceivable pace. A master solo performer, groundbreaking composer, and founding member of the electro-percussive duo Radical 2, Sullivan piles tablefuls of electric and acoustic instruments, connected through endless circuitry, in Gamma Chamber (2018), casting the listener into a dark cavern of metallic resonance, with thousands of small sounds bursting to be heard.

Nation Building encompasses four years of collaborative work and is a testament to the performing-composing duo’s signature sound. Each track, though credited to a single author, was wrought and shaped through continuous contribution by both Rogers and Sullivan. The process of building this practice is the life work of Popebama and continues beyond this snapshot in time.

Popebama is a New York-based experimental duo that focuses on exciting performances of unconventional works. The “slippery duo” (—New Yorker), of Erin Rogers (saxophone) and Dennis Sullivan (percussion), apply text, electronics, and high-energy instrumental writing to newly discovered sounds. Popebama has collaborated with yarn/wire (NYC), Tøyen Fil Og Klafferi (Oslo), Brandon Lopez (Brooklyn), Anne La Berge (Amsterdam), Hochschule fur Musik (Freiburg), Jessica Pavone (Queens), Ogni Suono (Cleveland), Rage Thormbones, and DECODER (Resonanzraum, Hamburg). In March 2020, Popebama evening-length music theatre work Fight Songs premiered at the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie as part of the “unterdeck” series with DECODER. Popebama has been featured at NYmusikk Bergen (Norway), Edmonton Fringe Festival (Canada), Splendor (Amsterdam), Le Poisson Rouge (NYC), Diabolical Records (Salt Lake City), VU Symposium (Park City), Bodies-As-Technology (Brooklyn), ReSound Festival (Cleveland), The Stone (NYC), SPLICE Festival (Kalamazoo), Second Sundays (Boston), Studio Loos (Den Haag), Chance & Circumstance Festival (Long Island City). Popebama has participated in residencies at The Walden School (New Hampshire), the Ball State Festival of New Music (Muncie, IN), and UMass Amherst, with lauded performances at the 2017 New Music Gathering and NASA 2018 Biennial (Cincinnati).