Brooklyn, New York
RVNG Intl., Drag City, Wooden Leg Print & Press, Secret Eye, Commend There
Ka Baird is a musician, performer, composer and sound designer based in New York City. They are known for their live performances which include extended voice and microphone techniques combined with electronics and psychoacoustic interplay of flutes and other woodwinds. They create a present tense sound with a vigorous, ritualistic delivery that seeks extreme release through physical exertion and psychic extension. They have worked/collaborated with many other musicians, artists, filmmakers and choreographers, both in structured compositions and in their dedicated practice of improvisation and interdisciplinary work.
They are one of the core members of Spires That In The Sunset Rise, founded in Chicago in 2001. Their debut solo album "Sapropelic Pycnic" was released through independent Chicago label Drag City in 2017. Their latest recording "Respires" was released through Brooklyn based imprint RVNG Intl in October 2019. Recent national and international engagements have included performances at Unsound Festival (Krakow, PL), Lampo (Chicago, IL), Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, IL), MoMA PS1 (Queens, NY), Issue Project Room (Brooklyn, NY), The Kitchen (NYC), The Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia, PA), TUSK Festival (Newcastle, UK), Incubate (Tilburg, NL), KRAAK (Brussels, BE), Le Guess Who (Utrecht, NL), and the Festival Of Endless Gratitude (Copenhagen, DK). They have been artist-in-residence at We Jazz Festival (Helsinki, FI), Sonoscopia (Porto, PT), Inkonst (Malmo, SE), Experimental Sound Studio (Chicago, IL), and Pioneer Works (Brooklyn, NY). They have been a recipient of the Foundation of Contemporary Art's Emergency Grant, a Jerome Foundation Artist-In-Residence at Roulette Intermedium, and is currently a Jerome Hill Artist Fellow through 2023-25.
''If the voice is the original instrument, as the experimental singer and composer Joan La Barbara once posited, Ka Baird’s Respires retreats into breath itself. Here, in trance-inducing studies for drums and voice, breath and heartbeat are laid bare as the sources of all expression. The New York musician’s often wordless vocalizations are cushioned by audible lungfuls of air; ritualistic incantations come in a lattice of hissing and huffing. What is normally silent becomes as palpable as a heavy sigh on a winter’s day. Even Baird’s instrument of choice, the flute, is itself a kind of breath incarnate, the edges of its tone wispy and diffuse. It’s a reminder that sound is just stirred air, a disturbance of the invisible. If that sounds almost mystical, well, so does she: On Respires, her chanted mantras often sound like she is snatching phantoms out of the very ether.'' - Philip Sherburne (Pitchfork)
"Superb curio from NYC-based Kathleen Baird, now Ka Baird for the purposes of this LP, sweeping from alien/avian electronics to Sun Ra-meets-Pekka Airaksinen electro-jazz freenuss, iridescent string and flute movements, and one a-m-a-z-i-n-g piece of flute, vox and pulsing bass that sounds like a winged sister of Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe - practically worth it for this one alone! Seriously - one of the most original and brilliant things we've heard this year..." - Boomkat