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Bhob Rainey is a composer / performer. He has a long and well-regarded history as an improviser, known for a masterful yet often understated technique that transforms the soprano saxophone into an electronic-like, textural, or percussive device. He is also known for his ongoing critique of improvisational practice, which has brought influential concepts and stylistic components into the practice as a whole. While Rainey has worked with numerous improvisers globally, he is best known for his solo work, Nmperign (with trumpeter Greg Kelley), and his direction of the improvising large ensemble, The BSC.
Rainey also works in the realm of electronic and algorithmic composition. He finds sounds inside forlorn flagpoles and discarded trash or through chaotic equations and simulated schools of fish. He takes concepts like artificial life and machine learning and puts them into dialog with aesthetic aspirations. The rough, unheard, and unloved sounds are given voice, producing a music that is complex yet strangely approachable; weird but welcoming. His collaborations in this area are not only with algorithms and electrons, but also with regarded composers such as Ralf Wehowsky, Jason Lescalleet, and Chris Cooper.
In 2013, Rainey was awarded the prestigious Pew Fellowship in the Arts for his work in these areas.