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Christina Wheeler Shares New EP 'That Was Then, This Is Now'


The new EP is now streaming on Bandcamp.

Christina Wheeler Shares New EP 'That Was Then, This Is Now'

Berlin/Los Angeles-based composer, musician and multimedia artist, Christina Wheeler, shares her entrancing new EP That Was Then, This Is Now, today. Wheeler is widely known for her iconic performances with David Byrne from his U.S. tour in 1997 and 1998. Wheeler made her television debut in 1997 with Byrne on "The Late Night Show with David Letterman," as well her PBS "Sessions at West 54th".

Now as a soloist, Wheeler takes center stage to sculpt her own personal message to be heard. With the release of That Was Then, This Is Now, Wheeler thematically reckons with the challenging questions of life, for which there are never easy answers. Each song addresses a different emotion and issue that Wheeler has grappled with throughout her life, from the question of the human desire for connection, the difficulty of being an open individual, the passing of time, the heartbreak of regret, and the resolution of unfulfilled dreams.

The EP starts with "One," a track that embodies the human need for connection. The lush track combines Wheeler's expressive voice with subtle synth beats and autoharp strums to create a shimmering effect as she sings, "All we have is here and now." Wheeler, depicting the theme of the song says, "'One' is a meditation on the numbers one and two relative to our notions of separation and connection in our larger, universal life experiences, and the song addresses what we are to do with these conundrums in the here and now."

Following is "Open," which combines uplifting rhythms and lush notes with passionate lyrics to encompass feelings of connectivity. Wheeler describes the track as a "...profound, intimate connection experience that confronts how we try to keep staying open in the face of everything that draws us to want to break down connection with others, separate, and remain alone."

As the EP continues, Wheeler dives into questions of humans' time on earth with "Never Know." Wheeler's voice acts a wave, transitioning from belts to the breathy soft lyrics, with the soft tapping on the drum. Through "Never Know," she speaks about "...the preciousness of our moment to moment experience in the present and how we let time slip away and, in the face of time, we have no idea what happens after our experience of time is done."

Each song weaves together to act as a journey to explore the varying lifelong questions Wheeler continues to engage with. Wheeler recorded each of the six songs in one-take, with no edits and no auto-tune. By recording the songs with this raw process, Wheeler felt that she captured each song's true essence.

Composer, vocalist, multi-instrumental electronic musician, and multimedia artist Christina Wheeler's sonic explorations include forays in a myriad of styles and forms. She blends an amalgam of improvised electronic music from an array of sources: processed vocals, vocal loops, hand-triggered sampler, theremin, Q-chord, autoharp, and electric mbira. Previous band projects include Wiremouth, Floating People, and BlowOut, and current and recent projects span solo song-cycle series, solo instrumental improvisational compositions, immersive solo and ensemble-based multimedia performance and generative installation projects, and collaborations with Nicole Mitchell, Laraaji, Vernon Reid, Hprizm/Priest, Greg Tate, and Satch Hoyt.

A Los Angeles native, Wheeler is a graduate of Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and Manhattan School of Music. She has performed and recorded internationally with numerous artists, including John Cale, Talvin Singh, Marc Ribot, Chris Whitley, Zeena Parkins, John Carter, Fred Hopkins, and Andrea Parkins. Wheeler was a featured artist with David Byrne: the band toured internationally and performed on The Late Show with David Letterman, and on PBS's Sessions at West 54th Street. Wheeler performed at Central Park Summerstage's Joni's Jazz concert, featuring Joni Mitchell's music, with Chaka Khan, PM Dawn, Ravi Coltrane, and Vernon Reid.

Wheeler has presented at many New York venues, including Issue Project Room, P.S. 1, Roseland, Bowery Ballroom, Irving Plaza, The Anchorage, The Kitchen, Joe's Pub, Knitting Factory, Soundlab, Unity Gain, Roulette, and Tonic, where she also curated. At Lincoln Center, she premiered Randall Woolf's The Trick is to Keep Breathing and reprised the piece with the Sirius String Quartet. The New York Underground Film Festival commissioned her and DJ Olive's live score for the Japanese silent classic, A Page of Madness.

She was featured on the New York episode of Tvframes, (Citytv, Toronto). Wheeler collaborated with choreographers Sally Silvers and Jodi Melnick. Wheeler performed with Ryuichi Sakamoto for his Chasm album release, presenting a new solo set remixing the album, and also performing collaboratively with Sakamoto.

She debuted at the Berlin Philharmonie with their Jazz Chamber Ensemble and performed with Murcof at Berghain. Leonardo Music Journal featured her work in their 20th anniversary "Improvisation" issue. Recordings include work with Vernon Reid, Mocky, Jamie Lidell, Fred P, Benjamin Brunn, Shinedoe, and solo work on Elliott Sharp's State of the Union. MTV featured her music on their electronic program AMP.

Wheeler collaborated with Laraaji, Vernon Reid, Abdou Mboup, and HPrizm: this concert aired on Roulette TV. Issue Project Room commissioned Part I of her multimedia performance/generative installation work, The Magical Garden: Wheeler received a 2016 Harvestworks Media Center Artist Residency to develop the project technology. She opened JazzFest Berlin in Matana Roberts' Sextet and performed at the 2017 Ableton LOOP Technology Summit. In 2019, she and Nicole Mitchell opened the Angel City Festival, and Wheeler joined Roscoe Mitchell and the Art Ensemble of Chicago for their 50th Anniversary album and concert season.

The Bang on a Can Marathon commissioned A Coda to the Totality of Blackness Trilogy, and CTM Festival commissioned Surrender to the Totality of Blackness online. MaerzMusik Festival/Bang on A Can Festival commissioned and premiered Wheeler's piece Missing/Still. Next, she will release an EP, That Was Then, This Is Now, and two albums, Songs of S + D and Tres Es un Número Mágico, and continue to develop and present new, immersive, multimedia works.

Listen to the new EP here:

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From This Author Michael Major