Martin Espino

Martin Espino

1966 Began music; 1975 Began research music of Ancient Mexico; 1978 Graduated Bachelor of Music w/Honors from Immaculate Heart College; 1980 Pioneered Interactive Music; 1990 Began making instruments. Performing, teaching, composing,
Born: Los Angeles 1955 Coahuilteco & Zapoteco heritage.

Artist Location: Whittier, CA

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On-site event June 1st

NOISE BATH (2024) with Martin Espino & George Sarah
George and Martin will present a sonic listening experience for the audience to experience physically and emotionally various treatments of noise, from ambient to meditative to coarse. It will bet a truly Electro-Acoustic experience as George will play electronic devices like laptops and keyboard while Martin will play acoustic instruments which will be amplified. Martin will play his ancestral ancient microbial Mexican instruments as well as Noise Boxes that he builds.

This is an “Interactive Composition” made for the audience to experience sound from Noise Boxes, which mostly emit indefinite pitches and sounds, they will  benefit from the fact that people sing or play instruments together (not listen) that every area of their brain is activated and recharged, hence sound is proactive and healing. Audience members will take turns at about 3-5 minutes each playing these instruments which will be connected to my PA system with no other processing except some reverb. There will be about 4-6 of these Noise Boxes on my table. People absolutely carry last year with piece “String Tones” playing “Prepared String Instruments with various implements”.  Noise Boxes are wooden boxes fitted with various metal implements like springs, sticks, metal rods, etc and they played by bowing them, playing with the fingers or  striking with implements. They have “contact pickups” on them which amplify their sounds. I will provide all implements to play them.

On-site Event June 3rd

STRING TONOS for 1 String Guitars 
“STRING TONOS” involves making “sounds” on 1 String Guitars, by playing the instruments with clips, files, sticks, junk and more. Playing the string with these different items will create new, strange and unusual sounds. This is way of playing the instruments is based in the concept known as “Prepared Instruments”, i.e. playing any given instrument with objects not usually used to produce it’s regular sound, like placing a stick in between the strings of a violin. The works’ other intention is, being interactive with the audience because they will play these instruments. The audience will be invited to play the four “1 String Guitars. The goal is exploring the textures of sound on 1 string, taking those audience members who participate from spectator to participator, from listener to creator…so, STRING – as in a single string & TONOS – The Greek word for “tone”. Dedicated to my favorite composer, Vangelis.


Performance October 29, 2023
at Torrance Art Museum’s Nomad II

Soundscapes [audio tracks] On-site June 3rd and online June 11th

Earmaginations [silent videos] On-site June 3rd and online June 11th


Exploring the parameters of wind, the ceremonial, the meditative, the effects…Utilizing Ancient Aztec and Mayan Musical clay wind instruments and Ancestral clay sound generators reproduced by Martin Espino. He will also integrate electronic technologies into his composition.

On-site Event June 4th

This work continues my signature sound exploration of utilizing Ancient Mexican instruments with electronics.
My mission is to use these instruments and take advantage of the natural frequencies and sound qualities inherent in them. I want to send these instruments off to the future.
TONANTZIN the name of this work and it means “Mother Earth” in the Nahuatl language.
This work utilizes Earth inspired sounds via amplified suspended Tarahumara drums, Yaqui Water Drums and Electronic Processing. The audience will be invited to join in and play these in a “non-pulse oriented” and “non-rhythmic” way. I want to create a sonic earth quake and big vibration. Participants will use “hand sanitizer” before playing my drums. This work is meant to explore a deep vibration that starts with the materials coming from Mother Earth, being played and felt by everyday people, evoking community, togetherness, unity and recognition that the Earth is our mother. Conch shells and microtonal multiple flutes will be featured.
I will guide and conduct the audience members who choose to come play. Each participant can play up to 5 minutes. Participants will be replaced as the piece continues.

Exploration of the concept of death, physical, emotional, mental or spiritual… using Ancient Mexican instruments and electronic processing to create different sonorities and explore the meeting of these two.

June 5th Audioscapes

EHECATL (wind)
Exploring the parameters of wind, the ceremonial, the meditative, the effects…Utilizing Ancient Aztec and Mayan Musical clay wind instruments and Ancestral clay sound generators reproduced by Martin Espino. He will also integrate electronic technologies into his composition.

Proposed work as accepted for soundpedro 2021:

Dedicated to “El Dia de Los Muertos” (The day of the dead). No matter where we’re from, who we are, what we do, we all will experience death. It is part of life the past from one place to the next. There is nothing bad or morbid about it. Most simply put, celebration as done in Mexico simply just acknowledges that we pass onMost simply put, celebration as done in Mexico simply just acknowledges that we pass on to another phase that really know nothing about. It is a recognition of the cycle of life. That’s all, nothing scary nothing monstrous. In this same way, my composition honors the “End of being” as part of the natural order of things! In Mexico, our ancient leaders were also poets, many of them wrote poems concerning life and death and many of these poems were committed to memory and passed on to be recited as the years went on. This work, explores, via the use of ancient Mexican melodic and noise generating instruments with electronics, the different kinds of deaths that there are: obviously the physical, but even acknowledging mental and spiritual death, even emotional death, like the end of a love relationship.

So the mystery is, where do we go when it’s all over, how do we go I know we have beliefs, but where do we really go since the physical being deteriorates in the electromagnetic waves go on or do they get integrated and recycled into the universe. Like I said we have beliefs and all that but no one‘s really been there and come back and that is the “mystery!”

…and like many of those ancient poems, the intention of this work is the same. Mysterious and strange sounds are representative of the unknown landscape that we enter once we pass on. I tried to make my mysterious and strange sounds representative of the unknown landscape that we enter once we pass on, no matter what kind of death we experience. MYSTERIO ends with the optimism that we live this present life now but we not able to remain here forever. Like the ancient poets express, I invite you to “Live your life now because it is short”. I’m not talking about partying, I’m talking about educating yourself, making yourself the best person, waking up and being aware of who you are and actualizing what your potential is, and, as our ancient king, Nezahualcoyotl once said, “We are here to sing, to make our hearts divine and to speak real words of truth”.

This is what my compositions‘ intention is. As Nezahualcoyotl said “May your heart find its way”… I would also like to add my philosophy every minute you don’t spend together with love, peace, understanding and talking to each other is a waste of every precious second you’re alive.

This work explores vibration and it’s effect of people, was accepted last year but there was a misunderstanding; only one section of my work was played, I made the mistake of sending separate tracks not a stereo WAV mix down. My work was not represented as intended. Please reconsider it.
If the health crisis improves, this piece was originally intended as an “interactive” piece for me and the audience! 5 people at a time, for 5 minutes would be playing (with nylon gloves, I’d bring a box) rainsticks and suspended bass drums.

Proposed work as accepted for soundpedro 2020:
Vibration Experience

“Vibration Experience”, is a composition of 20 minutes approx., repeating that evening, is based on Martin’s work on how deaf and hard of hearing people, and the hearing community as well, “experience“ sound or rather vibration.

The piece will utilize repeating and resonating pad of low tones more on the spectrum of vibrations that can be felt. This piece is “interactive” in that the public will be play instruments, that Espino made.

Audience plays 3 large Tarahumara frame drums, suspended & amplified. 5 Thunder Gourds.
Espino performs on Conch Shell Trumpets the soundwaves can be felt.

The Instruments arranged so audience steps into performance area, where Espino will discuss how to perform the work and how to respect the Instruments.
Experiencing vibration is part of hearing and touch, as the sound waves will be felt. Espino will utilize harmonious tones that will be give an enjoyable, relaxing, stress relieving experience!

Many in the audience will experience the work as being what could be called proactive as well as healing. 

Contacts from the deaf and hard of hearing community will be invited.

Last year at SOUNDPEDRO, Martin Espino presented FUEGO, a work about the element of fire and the relationship to fire that humanity has had with it for millenia! This year, with the new work AGUA, the element and concept of “Water” will be explored sonically, visually. kinetically and nueralogically. This is a continuance of his musical statements of human unity. We are all made of water, water covers most of the world and no matter what race you are or what you believe, we need water to stay alive! This work pays homage to all forms of water!

To create the work and it’s mood, Espino will perform “live” on two things: acoustic and electronic instruments/software. He will perform on certain natural instruments of Ancient Mexico, like the Water Whistles, Rainsticks Sounds and Water Drums, he will play them in their natural state and through the processor. Espino will also be utilizing sounds of water, in their natural and processed states.

This year with AGUA, the same ensemble of artists will contribute to the sound work. Brazilian cinematographer, Ivan Cordeiro, filmed many videos of water. These videos will be mixed and manipulated “live” by Long Beach visionary, Bill Almas

The audience will take part by adding the one of sounds water makes, “white noise” using multitudes of Rainstick instruments. The public will interact with the music and thus become part of it. White noise, nuerologically, causes the brain to relax and basically go into an involuntary state of relaxation, so it will be a nice effect on the listener.

FUEGO is a meditation of sounds representing fire, it’s qualities and meanings to world cultures. His performance with ancient Mexican wind and percussion instruments will utilize “extended performance techniques” as well as sound processing devices. Bill Almas, a Long Beach visual artist will incorporate an intense psychedelic live video processing on the fire theme.

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