About chris

Baltimore City
Chris Mandra is a composer and performer whose work has been heard in Europe, Asia, Canada and the United States. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in composition from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA; a certificate of study from the Liszt Ferenc Zeneakademia (Franz Liszt Academy) in Budapest, Hungary; two Master's degrees - one in music composition and one in computer music, both from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University where he also completed all of the… more

kataStatik: velocityBomb (unreleased album)

"kataStatik" is the alias I use when I release electronic music. "velocityBomb" is the title of the album that I started while living at "Artists Housing" at the corner of Baltimore and Caroline streets. It's a "concept album", the concept being somewhat loosely about the idea for the creation of binary representations of data being a "bomb" hurled at the earth by aliens, making the infinite discrete, allowing for the possibility of random access and arbitrary speed and causing love, a heretofore linear process of sorts, to become impossible. It is meant to be listened through as a whole.

velocityBomb, which I called a "drum and bass opera" or an "electropera" was the thing that got me signed to Unschooled Records in 2004, shortly after coming back from working on the manDrum at STEIM in Amsterdam. It was, however, never released by the label, because it was judged "too eclectic" to be marketed. After going on a 6000 mile tour with labelmates "Plat" (Iceland) and "doofgoblin' (Rhode Island), but without an album of my own to sell, I convinced label owner Howard Hecht to allow me to release an "much more straight ahead" EP called "blow" (detailed in another of my projects on this site). I assured him it would get notice. I was right. It spent a month in the CMJ top 20 chart of electronic music in 2006. Shortly after that the label ceased to exist, but by then I was already occupied with TELESMA (detailed as a separate entry/entity on this site)
BTW -although this project is made up of 15 discrete pieces, I've uploaded it as ONE continuous file. I recommend letting it play in the back ground as you go about your business, or listening intently. Altered consciousness will be rewarded, but is by no means necessary. Also, please note that I use, with permission from the Roy Export Company, 1'38" from Charlie Chaplin's film "The Great Dictator".
  • velocitybombcontinuous
    this is my concept album velocityBomb as a continuous file (which is how it's supposed to be experienced anyhow).
  • katastatikcdinsert-back
  • katastatiktraycard-back
  • katastatikcdinsert-front

kataStatik: Blow

"Blow" is an EP I released in early 2006 on the Unschooled Records label. It has four tracks: S.O.L., Blow, Ballsy Frank, Why and was on the CMJ top 20 for electronic music for a month in Jan '06
  • 01 s.o.l.
  • 02 blow
  • 03 ballsyfrank
  • 04 why
  • blow


notmares was written as a world premiere for the 40th anniversary of the Peabody Electronic and Computer Music Studio in November 2009.

I wrote it as a collaboration with soprano/violinist Bonnie Lander. It is rather "cheeky" insofar as the worst possible thing that could happen at a computer music concert isn't really that terrible. I tried to repurpose and remember things from the 20 years I'd been in Baltimore. Here's the program note I wrote for the premiere:

Dreams are the gestalt of our past and future experiences.

Using years of found sounds, found algorithms, digital signal processing, interactivity, improvisation and chance, we explore the intersection of anxiety, performance, logic, the surreal, the dreaming, the dreamt and synthesize a kind of "ambient storytelling". We make the micro macro, the macro micro, the soloist the accompanist and the leader the pack. We look inward outwardly. Sometimes waking, from even the most mundane of dreams, is a relief and a disappointment.
  • notmares
    This is a live recording of the world premiere of this piece, November '09 at Peabody's Friedberg Hall. I was asked to write a new piece for the 40th Anniversary of the Peabody Electronic and Computer Music Studio. This is it.
  • notmarespg1
  • notmarespg2

kataStatik live improv performances

I have performed extensively using a wearable performance interface I invented called "the manDrum" - It allows me to play drums on my body. I interface that with a program I wrote in Max/MSP (a visual, object oriented programming environment) that allows me to generate audio - e.g. bass and chords in arbitrary timbres on top of the drums I'm playing. Since I'm triggering MIDI events, instead of recording audio, I can orchestrationally change the sounds of what's being played on the fly . The program, which I call "Xtrakt.32" acts as a sort of attentive performance partner: When I play it's listening. When I stop it plays. On top of the rhythmic bed I create with this, I loop my voice, play my fretless bass and sometimes use usb game controller called the p5 VR glove like a 5 fingered theremin of sorts. I'm including a video demo of the manDrum from 2006 when I was a teacher at the Baltimore LAB school and my most recent solo show I did in October 2010 at the "fidget space" in Philadelphia where I'm an artist in residence. There's plenty more, but this is a reasonable place to start...
  • katastatix at fidget solo 9.25.10
    My solo improv at the fidget space in philly 9.25.10
  • The manDrum Demo Video
    This is a short demo I made of my performance system "the manDrum". I made it while I was a teacher at the Baltimore LAB School in 2006
  • KataStatik @ the Stoop
    I was the first musical performer at the first Stoop Storytelling Series in 2006
  • kataStatik @ the Stoop
    I was the first musical performer at the first Stoop Storytelling Series in 2006
  • katastatik-manic-repression
    This is an improv I did in 2005 in my basement for a netlabel. Everything happened exactly as it was heard. I used software I wrote, played manDrum, didn't quantize anything (if I messed it up it remained messed up, because that's how life is) :)
  • katastatik-bloozymonk-05070703
    I don't remember where this was recorded. It's live, and me looping my voice etc.
  • katastatik-08060501-so_far_away
    This is me doing an improv @ a show called "input/output" in '05
  • katastatik-longwav-050105
    This is a piece I came up with on the spot while on tour.
  • katastatik-london-05070701
    Again, I don't remember where this was. Live, improv. Maybe e+@13?
  • fucko
    This is the first thing I ever did in ableton live, and I did it as one big improv thing at my desk in my house. Parts of this are out of phase and "disappear" when summed to mono (I just found that out :p ) feb, 2004