Ethan Marks

Ethan Marks

Ethan Marks is an experimental trumpet player and producer whose work deals with the collision between body and instrument. His music is usually improvised, sometimes silly, and has involved feedback, video, noise, household objects, power tools, and plundered recordings. Two self-released albums, dune and bloom, are about smells and biomes. He directs a DIY noise series, Sounds Poetic, in downtown Los Angeles, and co-directs High Desert Soundings, in Wonder Valley, outside of Joshua Tree. Ethan lives in LA with his cats, Leela and Morbo.

Artist Location: Los Angeles, CA

Social Media:


On-site event June 1st

“A secure and pleasant vessel, carrying inside it a disaster retold” 

Olga Ravn, The Employees

VESSEL is a long-form performance installation for trumpet, mutes, speakers, fixed media, and feedback. 

Traditionally, the constant airflow required to play the trumpet is so taxing that the instrument can typically only be played in short bursts. The amount of pressure can cause stroke, even death. 

VESSEL removes the physiological demands by reversing the flow of air: a 5” speaker pumps sound into the bell and out of the mouthpiece. The air normally blown by the trumpeter is mimicked by a fixed-media recording of steam engines. A contact mic in the mouthpiece sends the trumpet-altered recording back into the speakers, wrapping the sound on itself in a feedback loop mimicking the trumpet’s slides. 

An expanded duration is possible. Death is pleasantly averted. The performer is less musician and more sculptural caretaker, securing the system, ensuring that the disaster inside is retold.

Soundscapes [audio tracks] On-site and online June 4th

Overgrowth is the third section of Bloom, an imagined aural response to Richard Powers’s novel, The Overstory. It is made of various inputs from around the trumpet, processed so that particular just-intuned frequencies resonate at varying, intersecting times. The work also has synaesthetic roots, as candles whose components comprise sage, lavender, grass, bergamot, violet, orange blossom, jasmine, and woods sandal and cedar were burned at the times of reading and recording. The processing and structuring are an attempt to realize in sound this quote from the novel: “There is a world alongside ours – vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us.”

Heat Rejection Fluid Pump
Heat Rejection Fluid Pump is made from audio recorded from the Perseverance rover as it traveled through interplanetary space to Mars. Listening to the original audio, Ethan was struck by two thoughts: 1) drifting through space and seeing a craft approach, pass by him, and recede into blackness; 2) the “subdued whirring of the rover’s heat rejection fluid pump” is too subdued (quotes from NASA). This work is an attempt to evoke the former and rectify the latter.

Return to Artists Past & Present page

Posted in Artists.