Laptop/Piano/Objects+: Joe Lasqo & Headboggle: Space Ghost Études — 2 pianos, 2 electronics tables, 2 sets of objects, and 2 very odd musicians ◉ + Set 1: Lucian Ban (piano) & Mat Maneri (viola) perform works from ECM album Transylvanian Concert ◉ Thu 27 Oct @ Center for New Music, San Francisco

(L → R) Lucian Ban, Mat Maneri, Joe Lasqo, Headboggle (aka Derek Gedalecia)

(L → R) Lucian Ban, Mat Maneri, Joe Lasqo, Headboggle (aka Derek Gedalecia)

I’m looking forward to join one of the Bay Area’s most exciting pianists and electronic musicians, Headboggle (Derek Gedalecia) for mano a mano, 2-piano, 2-electronics-table action in a series of Space Ghost Études.

And I’m very excited to present in the same show the wonderful music of Romanian pianist Lucian Ban & violist Mat Maneri, who are on tour from their home base in NYC to perform material from their hit ECM album Transylvanian Concert (plus new material) — a special opportunity to hear this unforgettable music live on the West Coast.

3 unique pianists + 1 virtuoso violist + an unknown quantity of electronic sonics = ∞!

Center for New Music JPGThe scene of these haunting sounds will be San Francisco’s focal point for forward-leaning music, Center for New Music (55 Taylor Street, San Francisco, CA – map), 8:00pm, Thu 27 Oct.

Advance tickets available: here

Space Ghost and friends

Space Ghost and friends

Space Ghost Études: 2 pianos, 2 electronics tables, 2 sets of objects and toys, and 2 very, very odd musicians: Set 2, 9pm

Enigmatic, ectoplasmic, culturally recycled into an ironic Cartoon Network drift-meme, and, by definition, beyond-stratospherically high, Space Ghost serves as an apt metaphor for the series of studies in synchronous & asynchronous de-coherent interstellar entanglement which Headboggle (Derek Gedalecia) & I will present.

Ghost Tantras, by MIchael McClure

Ghost Tantras, by MIchael McClure

Comprising a series of solo and duo interventions on the ether, we’ll wind up with an extended 2-piano | 2-electronics++ monster truck space voyage,  inspired by musical techniques analogous to the radical deconstruction of language in Michael McClure’s Ghost Tantras.

In honor of Space Ghost, a wide variety of sound signals derived from various planetary and astronomical objects (up to and including the sound of the Big Bang itself…), will be also employed.

A solo piano + electronics piece from me will also explore a meta-rāga built on the rare South Indian rāga Mandāri (ராகம் மந்தாரி), expanded into a bi-tonal form, and with additional electronic & non-pitch-based elements.

Headboggle is preparing some secret piano + electronics surprises as well….

It is my great pleasure and honor to revisit and explore this special double-piano sonic texture, made possible by the availability of 2 pianos at Center for New Music, with the amazing Headboggle. There is a wonderful, inspiring crunchiness in the interplay of 2 improvising pianos, especially when enhanced with spicy lashings of analog and digital electronics, objects, and strange toys.

For a previous exploration of 2-piano mano a mano at Center for New Music, see the video above of myself, the great Thollem McDonas, & 176 piano-keys in the context of a double-trio concert at C4NM in 2014.

Headboggle will sort you out...

Headboggle will sort you out…

Headboggle (piano | electronics | objects)

Headboggle (aka Derek Gedalecia)

Headboggle (aka Derek Gedalecia)

Derek Gedalecia, a.k.a. Headboggle, has been performing electronic + keyboard-based soundscapes for several years in the Bay Area in over a hundred local performances at venues ranging from GTK to YBCA. Incorporating lowbrow with highbrow art, music, and comedy, Head Boggle’s intent is to fuse together a new ecstatic improvisational performance style with a carefully crafted musical underbed layer. In his formative years, Derek studied classical and ragtime piano from noted ragtime composer/revivalist Dr. Brian Dykstra.

Headboggle (aka Derek Gedalecia)

Headboggle (aka Derek Gedalecia)

Those who have heard and seen Headboggle at the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, The Second Act, The Lab, RobotSpeak, or any of his other favorite venues, know his unique multi-dimensional sound universe; I encourage the rest to quickly make acquaintance with his art and enjoy an absolutely fresh sonic experience.

Joe Lasqo performing with Donald Robinson, 25 Aug 2013, SIMM Series, San Francisco (photo by Peter B. Kaars, www.peterbkaars.com)

Joe Lasqo performing with Donald Robinson, 25 Aug 2013, SIMM Series, San Francisco (photo by Peter B. Kaars, www.peterbkaars.com)

◉ Joe Lasqo (piano | laptop | objects)

Pianist / laptopist Joe Lasqo studied classical music in India; computer/electronic music at MIT, Columbia, Berkeley/CNMAT; has been a long-time performing modern & avant jazz musician; & has lived, played and listened in several Asian and European countries (now in San Francisco). He’s keen on the application of artificial intelligence techniques to improvisation and the meeting of traditional Asian musics with the 21st century, most recently in an AI + humans ensemble multimedia piece at Grace Cathedral for the Soundwave ((7)) Biennale.

Joe had a weekly residency for 3½ years+ in the afternoon piano series at Viracocha, with more recent residencies at San Francisco’s PianoFight. He’s appeared recently with Bruce Ackley and Steve Adams of ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra, the London Improvisers Orchestra, Phillip Greenlief’s Orchesperry, the Golden Gate Improvisers Orchestra, his own Renga-kai (連歌会), Mukaiji-kai (霧海箎会), and Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) ensembles, synthesist Thomas Dimuzio, clarinetist/vocalist Beth Custer, pianist Thollem McDonas, percussionist Suki O’Kane, technodivas / electronic musicians Pamela Z & Viv Corringham (NYC/London), saxophonists Adrian Northover & Sue Lynch (London), and many others.

Joe Lasqo & Morgana perform w Jim Ryan's Green Alembic in the sfSoundSalonSeries at Center for New Music, San Francisco, 15 Apr 2014 (Photo by Carly Hoopes)

Joe Lasqo & Morgana perform w Jim Ryan’s Green Alembic in the sfSoundSalonSeries at Center for New Music, San Francisco, 15 Apr 2014 (Photo by Carly Hoopes)

His recent album, Turquoise Sessions, is available on Edgetone Records; with new releases planned in 2016. au quotidien, a new album with German-Swedish saxist/flautist Biggi Vinkeloe, master drummer Donald Robinson, and cello madman Teddy Rankin-Parker is in production for release in 2016.

Lucian Ban (L) and Mat Maneri (R), © Claire Stefani / ECM Records

Lucian Ban (L) and Mat Maneri (R), © Claire Stefani / ECM Records

◉ Lucian Ban (piano) & Mat Maneri (viola): Transylvanian Concert, Set 1, 8pm

Transylvanian-born, NYC-based pianist Lucian Ban and violist and Grammy nominee Mat Maneri present material from their award winning 2013 ECM release Transylvanian Concert and premier new music for a follow up album: re-imagined Sun Ra & Paul Motian pieces, Transylvanian doinas, re-constructed Enescu and Bartok pieces, original compositions, microtonal songs and more.

Lucian Ban (L) and Mat Maneri (R)

Lucian Ban (L) and Mat Maneri (R)

When pianist Lucian Ban and violist Mat Maneri joined up for a concert in an opera house in Târgu Mureș in the middle of Romania’s Transylvania region, the music was, as JazzTimes puts it, “as close as it gets to Goth jazz”.

Released in 2013 by ECM Records, the Transylvanian Concert album features a program of original ballads, blues, hymns and abstract improvisations, the whole informed by the twin traditions of jazz and European chamber music. The album has won critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic, including several Best Album of 2013 awards, and has spawned continuous touring.

Transylvanian Concert, by Lucian Ban and Mat Maneri

Transylvanian Concert, by Lucian Ban and Mat Maneri

The Guardian (UK) noted  Transylvanian Concert’s “own kind of melancholy beauty and wayward exuberance”, The New York Times called it “a lovely and restive new album”, All About Jazz hailed its “moments of unanticipated beauty”,  L.A. Weekly talks about a performance that is “mesmerizing, evocative and sensually explicit” and The Village Voice said “it is one of those records that whisk you away”. Jazz Weekly talks about “A modern collection of sonatas that erase the lines between jazz and classical, a melding of sounds similar to a modern liturgy”.

Lucian Ban

Lucian Ban

Lucian Ban (piano) was raised in a small village in northwest Transylvania, in the region where Bartok did his most extensive research and collecting of folk songs, and grew up listening to both traditional and classical music. He studied composition at the Bucharest Music Academy while simultaneously leading his own jazz groups, and notes that his approach to improvisation has been influenced by “the profound musical contributions of Romanian modern classical composers like Aurel Stroe, Anatol Vieru and of course Enescu”. Desire to get closer to the source of jazz brought him to the US, and since moving from Romania to New York in 1999 his ensembles have included many of New York’s finest players.

Mat Maneri

Mat Maneri

Mat Maneri (viola), 2006 Grammy Nominee for “Best Alternative Album”. Over the course of a twenty-five year career, Mat Maneri has defined the voice of the viola and violin in jazz and improvised music. Born in Brooklyn in 1969, Mat has established an international reputation as one of the most original and compelling artists of his generation, praised for his high degree of individualism, a distinctive marriage of jazz and microtonal music, and his work with 20th-C icons of improvised music.

_____

Lokar, a regular at Club Space Ghost

Lokar, a regular at Club Space Ghost…

From Transylvania to the depths of infinite space and beyond… Why wait? Come vibrate with us at Center for New Music on Thu 27 Oct!

どうぞ。。。

Joe

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—— Past Performances ——————————————————

Note: Shows, releases, and other events below are only in approximate chronological order.

 

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AI-architect & human friends build multimedia transhumanist sacred architecture in a mandala-labyrinth, based on ancient Indian spatial sciences: Vāstu Vidyā (वास्तु विद्या) 2.0  ◳ ◱ ◰  Jorge Bachmann (electronics), Nan Busse (dancer/builder), David Hatt (cathedral organ), Joe Lasqo (MSP/laptop/piano), Maxxareddu (AI/architect/musician), Bill Thibault (algorithmic light)  ◳ ◱ ◰   Fri 29 Jul in Soundwave ((7))’s Sounding Bodies, Embodied Architecture @ Grace Cathedral, San Francisco ◳ ◱ ◰  + in earlier sets: Gabriel Gold, Agnes Szelag/Amy Lewis, & Kadet Kuhne

Labyrinth of Grace Cathedral, SF (image @ www.flickr.com:photos:cnbattson:3172607013 by SF Brit, © C N Battson, CC BY-ND 2.0)

Labyrinth of Grace Cathedral, SF (image @ www.flickr.com:photos:cnbattson:3172607013 by SF Brit, © C N Battson, CC BY-ND 2.0)

Elevation for Tibetan Buddhist temple modeled on the Zhi Tro Mandala (ཞི་ཁྲོ་དཀྱིལ་འཁོར།) of 100 peaceful and wrathful deities. Architect, Pema Namdol Thaye (པད་མ་རྣམ་གྲོལ་མཐའ་ཡས)

Elevation for Tibetan Buddhist temple modeled on the Zhi Tro Mandala (ཞི་ཁྲོ་དཀྱིལ་འཁོར།) of 100 peaceful and wrathful deities. Architect: Pema Namdol Thaye (པད་མ་རྣམ་གྲོལ་མཐའ་ཡས)

Coordinates: Grace Cathedral (1100 California St, San Francisco, CA 94108 – map), Set 4 of show starting 7pm, Fri 29 Jul

Line-up (more details below…): Jorge Bachmann, Nan Busse, David Hatt, Joe Lasqo, Maxxareddu, Bill Thibault. 

2D-wireframe for Tibetan Buddhist temple modeled on the Zhi Tro Mandala (ཞི་ཁྲོ་དཀྱིལ་འཁོར།) of 100 peaceful and wrathful deities. Architect, Pema Namdol Thaye (པད་མ་རྣམ་གྲོལ་མཐའ་ཡས)

Wireframe for Tibetan Buddhist temple modeled on the Zhi Tro Mandala (ཞི་ཁྲོ་དཀྱིལ་འཁོར།) of 100 peaceful and wrathful deities. Architect, Pema Namdol Thaye (པད་མ་རྣམ་གྲོལ་མཐའ་ཡས)

Advance tickets available at:

Soundwave ((7))’s Sounding Bodies, Embodied Architecture

Our construction site in Grace Cathedral, SF

Our construction site in Grace Cathedral, SF

I’m looking forward to perform Soundwave ((7))’s Sounding Bodies, Embodied Architecture with a unique ensemble blending software agent + humans in a multimedia ritual to generate plans in real-time & build a mandala-based structure on Grace Cathedral’s labyrinth — a living structure of sound, light, and information as well as physical elements, intended for both human and trans-human / software inhabitants.

Soundwave((7)) - Architecture 640h 1.0Soundwave is a festival of cutting-edge art & music experiences. Each 2-year festival season investigates a new idea through sound. Renowned for its thoughtful curation & unique programming in diverse spaces & places, Soundwave brings together creators from across the sonic spectrum to discover new connections through sound-making & the sound experience.

☞  Stephen Smoliar’s preview/overview of this show at The Rehearsal Studio: here

9-square Vajradhātu (Diamond World) Mandala (Tib. རྡོ་རྗེ་དབྱིངས་ཀྱི་དཀྱིལ་འཁོར།, Skt. वज्धातु मण्डल) showing architectural elements at East, West, North, & South, Central Tibet, ca. 14th century

9-square Vajradhātu (Diamond Energy World) Mandala (Tib. རྡོ་རྗེ་དབྱིངས་ཀྱི་དཀྱིལ་འཁོར།, Skt. वज्धातु मण्डल) showing architectural elements at East, West, North, & South, Central Tibet, ca. 14th-C

 

   ◳ ◱

   ◳ ◱

VĀSTU VIDYĀ (वास्तु विद्या) 2.0

When I was first learning music, the idea of having an AI bandmate was Sci-FI.

Today when I play, I routinely rely on responses, surprises, and challenges from my improvising AI-agent colleague Maxxareddu.

Tomorrow I will become increasingly interested in how to make music more beautiful for my non-human listeners, including both AIs and animals.

Soundwave ((7))’s architectural theme offered a unique opportunity to explore the interpenetration of diverse modes of being and sentience in the context of the ancient Indian Vāstu (वास्तु) system for organizing the multiple spatial energy flows of the natural site, its life, humans, and deities, by using a mandala-based plan to balance and connect different levels of being and consciousness in a resonant, energized, architectural whole.

Expressing the spirit of the site as a Vastu Puruṣa Mandala (वास्तु-पुरुष मण्डल). Slide 10 of 70, Dravidian & Nagara Temples Architecture, by Aamod Kumar Karmaksh, Arun Kumar, Naveen Sonkaria.

Expressing the spirit of the site as a Vastu-Puruṣa Mandala (वास्तु-पुरुष मण्डल). Slide 10 of 70, Dravidian & Nagara Temples Architecture, by Aamod Kumar Karmaksh, Arun Kumar, Naveen Sonkaria.

The principles of Vāstu (वास्तु) equate architectural elements to parts of a human body, to create a “living structure” in a sacralized space (the mandala). The symbol of the energy correspondences between the site and its ecosystem, the human body, the divine, and the resulting built structure, is a divine person, the Vāstu Puruṣa (वास्तुपुरुष). It’s interesting to note that the Romans, whose pre-Christian religion was part of an interrelated polytheistic Indo-European system with Hinduism, had a somewhat parallel religious concept called genius loci.

I Sing The Body Electric....Vāstu established a complex system of proportional concordance between bodies and buildings

I Sing The Body Electric….Vāstu establishes a complex system of proportional concordance between bodies, buildings, and systems

Updating the concepts of vāstu vidyā (spatial sciences) to now incorporate the AIs and systems that are pervasive elements of our modern built environment, we present a new expression of such a system, VĀSTU VIDYĀ (वास्तु विद्या) 2.0.

The Borobudur complex in Java is a 3D mandala laid out according to Vāstu principles

The Borobudur complex in Java is a 3D mandala laid out according to Vāstu principles

The Vāstu system organizes spatial energy correspondences by means of different types of mandalas containing different numbers of subdivisions and layouts, whose variety encompasses some of the most beautiful and spiritually powerful monuments of Asian civilization.

Angkor Wat (អង្គរវត្ត) in Kampuchea (Cambodia), is also designed according to principles of Vāstu (वास्तु)

Angkor Wat (អង្គរវត្ត) in Kampuchea (Cambodia), is also designed according to principles of Vāstu (वास्तु)

9-square Vajradhātu (Diamond Realm) Mandala (Tib. རྡོ་རྗེ་དབྱིངས་ཀྱི་དཀྱིལ་འཁོར།, Skt. वज्धातु मण्डल) of esoteric Buddhism, similar to the 9-square Pitha-mandala (पिठ मण्डल) we're using

9-square Vajradhātu (Diamond Energy World) Mandala (Tib. རྡོ་རྗེ་དབྱིངས་ཀྱི་དཀྱིལ་འཁོར།, Skt. वज्धातु मण्डल) of esoteric Buddhism, similar to the 9-square Pitha-mandala (पिठ मण्डल) we’re using

For our sacred architecture performance at Grace Cathedral, we’ll use a 9-square form of Vāstu mandala called Pitha (पिठ), which in ancient times became the basis of the Vajradhātu (Diamond Energy World) Mandala (Tib. རྡོ་རྗེ་དབྱིངས་ཀྱི་དཀྱིལ་འཁོར།, Skt. वज्धातु मण्डल) in Tantric Buddhism.

Correa's Jawahar Jawahar Kala Kendra Center Of The Arts (जवाहर कला केन्द्र) aerial view, showing the 9 squares of its mandala, with empty central courtyard, and opening on the Northeast

Correa’s Jawahar Jawahar Kala Kendra Center Of The Arts (जवाहर कला केन्द्र) aerial view, showing the 9 squares of its mandala, with empty central courtyard, and opening on the Northeast

The Jawahar Kala Kendra Center Of The Arts (जवाहर कला केन्द्र) in Jaipur, by Luso-Indian architect Charles Correa, was designed according to Vāstu principles (interior view)

The Jawahar Kala Kendra Center Of The Arts (जवाहर कला केन्द्र) in Jaipur, by Luso-Indian architect Charles Correa, was designed according to Vāstu principles (interior view)

It has also enjoyed a strong revival in the modern constructions of Indian architects such as Charles Correa.

The Legislative Assembly of the state of Madhya Pradesh (मध्य प्रदेश विधानसभा), another of Charles Correa's designs, is also on a 9-square mandala

The Legislative Assembly of the State of Madhya Pradesh (मध्य प्रदेश विधानसभा), another of Charles Correa’s designs, is also on a 9-square mandala

Labyrinth at Grace Cathedral, art tile available at Cathedral gift shop

Labyrinth at Grace Cathedral, art tile available at Cathedral gift shop

We’ll build on an already sacred mandala which has been powerfully activated by the meditative circum-ambulations of countless pilgrims  —  the labyrinth of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, modeled after the medieval labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France. Circumambulation is an integral part of Hindu and Buddhist devotional practice, known in Sanskrit as pradakśia (प्रदक्षिणा), as well as in mystical Christian practice.

Directional colors of the Vāstu mandala

Directional colors of the Vāstu mandala

The first step will be the projection of the directional colors of the Vāstu mandala onto the Cathedral labyrinth.

 

Room layout coming into focus...

Room layout coming into focus…

Then, based on the seed vibrations of an opening prélude on the cathedral organ by David HattMaxxareddu, our AI architect (who’s been spending a lot of time studying the laws of Vāstu), will begin to formulate room layouts and conceptual blueprints, acting as architect as well as musician.

Sample Stage-3 functional room layout by Maxxareddu

Sample Stage-3 functional room layout by Maxxareddu

This part-physical multimedia construction will be built out on 3 levels, separated by bright flashes of cathedral organ sound. Only the first two of these levels will manifest physically, the 3rd level being built entirely out of light by Bill Thibault.

Maxxareddu changing over to a different room layout...

Maxxareddu changing over to a different room layout…

Types of architectural component messages Maxxareddu will relay to human colleagues

Types of architectural component messages Maxxareddu will relay to human colleagues

◉ 

◉  A core set of architectural elements/concepts is used by all performers (e.g. “door”, “window”, “column”, “pediment”, “arch”), whose number and placement are specified by Maxxareddu.

◉ 

◉ For the human musicians and Maxxareddu, the common set of architectural elements will be translated into certain musical strategies, patterns, and forms.

Frame from architectural video generated by Bill Thibault

Frame from architectural video generated by Bill Thibault

◉ For video artist Bill Thibault, the architectural elements will be represented by algorithmically generated dynamic visual elements relating to real-world architectural equivalents.

Nan Busse sourcing building materials with the help of Mike Serpa of Newby Island Recyclery

Nan Busse sourcing building materials with the help of Mike Serpa of Newby Island Recyclery

◉ These visual representations will also relay control signals to dancer/builder, Nan Busse, who’ll build out the structure.

Her interactions with the architectural elements will occur on 2 levels:

— architectural elements will be translated into movements and motion strategies, and

— she’ll interact with lightweight representations of architectural elements and symbolic objects in the “rooms” of the performance space

◉ Nan’s dance motions build the structure according to the grammar of these elements, and when the structure is complete, the performance is complete. The structure is dynamically designed by the improvisatory interaction of the AI architect, the musicians, the dancer/builder and the video artist.

     

THE CONSTRUCTION CREW

Jorge Bachmann

Jorge Bachmann

◉ Jorge Bachmann (electronics)

Sculptor, electronics master, photographer, and engineer Jorge Bachmann is a multi-disciplinary, mixed-media, and sound artist. Since the early 80s, Jorge has been exploring the strange, unique and microcosmic sounds of everyday life, collecting field recordings. The sound atmospheres created are meant for deep listening and are composed in symbiosis with the sculptural installations.

He creates equally sensual and detailed oriented photo-based work; and his art explores social and sensual constructs and experiences.

Starting his career in Bogotá, Colombia and then active for a long period in Lausanne, Switzerland, Jorge eventually relocated to the Bay Area and became a technical and artistic mainstay of MEDIATE’s Soundwave Series as well as the Engineer Scotty of the Starship SFEMF.

Now he’s returned to regularly giving solo electronic concerts such as his recent brilliant one at The Lab’s Serge 40-year Reunion.

I have been honored to work with Jorge in my film sonification ensemble Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会).

Nan Busse

Nan Busse

◉ Nan Busse (dancer / builder)

Nan Busse has been creating dance-based art works since receiving her MFA from UC-Irvine.

Collaborating with choreographer Christopher Beck she made pieces performed at Centerspace (Project Artaud) & New College; and with her partner, poet Tobey Kaplan, participated in the Link inter-disciplinary performance series.

Since about 1999 she’s been unable to stop dancing – thanks to Yvonne Caldwell, Evelyn Thomas, Roger Dillahunty, Georgia Ortega, John Tanner, and the great Cassie Terman, and has toured in Việt Nam and the US with Nguyễn Dance Company.

I’ve been honored to work with Nan in my ensembles Renga-kai (連歌会) and Mukaiji-kai (霧海箎会), as well as working together in ensembles with Viv Corringham, Jaroba, Collette McCaslin, and others.

David Hatt and friend

David Hatt and friend

◉ David Hatt (cathedral organ)

Pianist, organist, and carillonneur David Hatt has acquired an extensive concert repertoire of the standard organ literature as well as works of many lesser-known and lesser-heard composers. He’s currently involved in mastering the more undiscovered works of Max Reger and the complete sonatas of Josef Rheinberger. “That’s wonderful–I’ve never heard it before!” is a frequent reaction at his concerts.

Also a composer and pianist, his keyboard and chamber works have been performed at conventions of the Society of Composers, and by many organists nationwide. His primary influence has been composer and poet Barney Childs, a guru of Western independence and sophisticated musical thought since the 1950’s.

Of David’s piano performances, perhaps the most poignant was of Charles Ives’ Piano Sonata #1 in Palo Alto, the last known location of the original score. The most infamous was his 18-hour solo version of Erik Satie’s Vexations.

Gino Robair's opera in real time, I, Norton

Gino Robair’s opera in real time, I, Norton

In the Bay Area avant & improv scene, David has had a long association with Gino Robair, premiering Gino’s piano piece 17 Of The World’s Most Cherished Tone Rows, and performing in Gino’s operas I, Norton (on San Francisco’s Emperor Norton), The Amanuensis, and Neither Confirmed Nor Denied.

David has also contributed his own modernist compositions, such as The Continuous Life and the delightful prepared piano piece Dime Study #2.

He’s also appeared three times with the SF Symphony, and his transcription of the David N. Johnson Trumpet Tune in B has been published by Augsburg Fortress. Other compositions have been published by Wayne Leupold Editions & Darcey Press.

David has been Assistant Cathedral Organist at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco since 1998. He holds an M.A. degree from UC Riverside and studied organ with Raymond Boese and composition with Barney Childs.

Joe Lasqo performing with Donald Robinson, 25 Aug 2013, SIMM Series, San Francisco (photo by Peter B. Kaars, www.peterbkaars.com)

Joe Lasqo performing with Donald Robinson, 25 Aug 2013, SIMM Series, San Francisco (photo by Peter B. Kaars, www.peterbkaars.com)

◉ Joe Lasqo (MSP/laptop | piano | objects | programming)

Pianist / laptopist Joe Lasqo studied classical music in India; computer/electronic music at MIT, Columbia, Berkeley/CNMAT; has been a long-time performing modern & avant jazz musician; & has lived, played and listened in several Asian and European countries (now in San Francisco). He’s keen on the application of artificial intelligence techniques to improvisation and the meeting of traditional Asian musics with the 21st century.

Joe Lasqo and Morgana perform w Jim Ryan's Green Alembic in the sfSoundSalonSeries at Center for New Music, San Francisco, 15 Apr 2014 (Photo by Carly Hoopes)

Joe Lasqo and Morgana perform w Jim Ryan’s Green Alembic in the sfSoundSalonSeries at Center for New Music, San Francisco, 15 Apr 2014 (Photo by Carly Hoopes)

Joe has had long-term solo residencies at San Francisco’s Viracocha and PianoFight, and has appeared recently with Bruce Ackley and Steve Adams of ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra, the London Improvisers Orchestra, Phillip Greenlief’s Orchesperry, with synthesist Thomas Dimuzio, clarinetist/vocalist Beth Custer, pianist Thollem McDonas, percussionist Suki O’Kane, bassist Lisle Ellis, sound artists Joe Snape (UK) & Lucie Vítková (Czech Rep.), technodiva vocalists / electronic musicians Pamela Z & Viv Corringham (NYC/London), saxophonists Adrian Northover & Sue Lynch (London), and many others.

His own ensembles include Renga-kai (連歌会), Mukaiji-kai (霧海箎会), and Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会).

His recent album, Turquoise Sessions, is available on Edgetone Records. au quotidien, a new album with German-Swedish saxist/flautist Biggi Vinkeloe, master drummer Donald Robinson, and cello madman Teddy Rankin-Parker is in production for release in 2016.

Maxxareddu performs in Outsound New Music Summit, 25 Jul 2013 (visualization by video artist Warren Stringer)

Maxxareddu performs in Outsound New Music Summit, 25 Jul 2013 (visualization by video artist Warren Stringer)

Maxxareddu (improvisatory musical AI agent & architect)

Maxxareddu is a laptop-based improvisatory AI entity programmed by Joe Lasqo, and is often an unnamed co-conspirator in certain sections of Joe’s electronic performances. He has a fondness for applying and mis-applying techniques from computational linguistics and expert systems development to the creation of sound. Maxxareddu has also been, along with fellow software entity Maxine, and humans Joe Lasqo and Ritwik Banerji (ঋত্বিক ব্যানার্জী), a member of the erstwhile Half-Human Quartet.

In this project Maxxareddu comes to the fore, not only as a member of the musical ensemble, but also as the transhuman architect of the evolving multimedia performance and the architectural structure that it generates.

In this role, he acts as the Vāstu Puruṣa (वास्तुपुरुष), or “spirit of the place”, and is in turn embodied by human dancer/builder Nan Busse.

The 4 heads of Bill Thibault depicted as video Brahmā (ब्रह्मा)

The 4 heads of Bill Thibault depicted as video Brahmā (ब्रह्मा)

◉ Bill Thibault (video | projections | photon wrangling | thaumaturgical engineering | surprises)

Bill Thibault received a Ph.D. in Information & Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology (thesis: “Application of Binary Space Partitioning Trees to Geometric Modeling and Ray-Tracing”). As a Ph.D. candidate he worked at Bell Labs (now Lucent Technologies) in Murray Hill, NJ. After graduating, he took positions on the faculty of the Dept. of Math & Computer Science at California State University, East Bay and more recently, with Obscura Digital  (see Obscura Digital’s amazing projections on the buildings of the Vatican in Rome: here, and on the UAE’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque  (جامع الشيخ زايد الكبير‎‎): here).

Somewhere along the way he also turned to the Multispectral Side and became the notorious VJLove, master of the doors of visual perception, and co-conspirator in many raids on reality, with partners in crime like Kattt Atchley, Kenneth Atchley, John Bischoff, Chris Brown, Barbara Golden, Scot Gresham-Lancaster, Tim Perkis, and WIGBAND.

It has been my honor to work with Bill on a number of projects, including especially the multimedia ensemble Mukaiji-kai (霧海箎会).

◉ Note: I would also like to acknowledge the insights provided by the Vāstu scholarship of Dr. Vini Nathan (வினி நாதன்), Dean & McWhorter Endowed Chair in the College of Architecture, Design & Construction at Auburn University, and her kind assistance in providing info during the development of this project. நன்றி !

   ◱ ◰   

Gabriel Gold performs on singing bowls with White Eagle Medicine Woman & Grandmother Drum

Gabriel Gold performs on singing bowls with White Eagle Medicine Woman & Grandmother Drum

◉ Gabriel Gold: Sacred Resonant Spaces: Grace Cathedral, Set 1 (entire show starts at 7pm)

Gabriel will start the evening with a performance in his on-going Sacred Resonant Spaces Project, a series of site-specific works; this time focusing specifically on Grace Cathedral. Through vocal arrangement and handpan percussion he will sonically and prayerfully explore the acoustic environment of the cathedral as a resonant body.

Gabriel is an internationally renowned multi-instrumentalist, sound healer, composer & acoustical researcher, specializing in sacred resonant spaces. Wordless vocalization is the heart of both his solo & choral work, a foundation he often accompanies with the handpan, crystal singing bowls, & selected exotic, ethereal sounding acoustic instruments.

From facilitating the longest running, weekly singing/toning circle in San Francisco, to hosting monthly sound healing concert/workshops, Gabriel has personally supported over a thousand people on the journey of developing a fulfilling relationship to their singing voices, and through such, a deeper spiritual connection.

Praṇām (प्रणाम), award-winning yoga DVD by Sianna Sherman with music by Gabriel Gold

Praṇām (प्रणाम), award-winning yoga DVD by Sianna Sherman with music by Gabriel Gold

As a composer, Gabriel studied film composition under Keith Heffner, colleague of Kitarō (喜多郎), composing scores for a number of short and feature films. Since coming across the Halo Handpan 5 years ago, Gabriel has been drawn to explore musical composition for dance, yoga & meditation, having since composed the musical scores for four feature length ballets with Labayen Dance Co. and Mudita Arts Ballet, and for yoga gurunī  Sianna Sherman’s internationally acclaimed yoga DVD Praṇām (प्रणाम).

Gabriel has toured throughout much of the USA, Europe, & Australia, performing in churches, cathedrals and other sacred resonant spaces. In addition to his solo international tours, he’s toured Australia as a featured member of Grand Mother Drum, a transnational group of musicians and healers, working in and fundraising for Aboriginal communities, performing, teaching, and facilitating ceremony.

Yoga on the Labyrinth with Darren Main & Gabriel Gold at Grace Cathedral

Yoga on the Labyrinth with Darren Main & Gabriel Gold at Grace Cathedral

When at home in San Francisco, Gabriel performs regularly in collaboration with renowned yoga guru Darren Main for Yoga on the Labyrinth, a weekly 700+ student class taught inside Grace Cathedral.

From his installation in the De Young Museum’s Three Gems (architectural artist James Turrell’s resonant sculptural dome), to performing inside Chartres Cathedral in France, singing in Australia’s Wombeyan Caves, exploring the cairns & caves of Ireland, & visiting the many sacred sites along Spain’s Camino de Santiago, Gabriel’s interest in & passion for sacred resonant spaces has been definitive in his life & work over the past decade.

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Kadet Kuhne performs Sedimentary Noise

Kadet Kuhne performs Sedimentary Noise

◉ Kadet Kuhne: SEDIMENTARY NOISE, Set 2 (entire show starts at 7pm)

The evolution of the built environment is a mirror of our intimate relationship with the material world, & the experiential characteristics & qualities that spark when architecture & the human body unite. The layers of beliefs, perspectives, & subjective experiences that create consciousness are manifested into form, making the invisible visible.

Rosaleen Linehan as Winnie in Samuel Beckett's Happy Days

Rosaleen Linehan as Winnie in Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days

Touching on the relationship between constructed spaces and the human body, and the power and limits of the will, Sedimentary Noise references Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days, in which the central character sinks deeper and deeper into a mound of earth. Although Beckett’s Winnie cries out wearily, she also expresses the playwright’s admiration of our durability: “That is what I find so wonderful. The way man adapts himself. To changing conditions.” In Sedimentary Noise, the subject is being slowly buried in sand within a tall transparent cylinder, layer by layer, shielded from suffocation by a gas mask. As with Beckett’s character, there is an acceptance of this predicament as well as a denial of responsibility for its formation – an allegory for the ways in which humans endure and persist as an embodied encapsulation of space and time.

Kadet Kuhne

Kadet Kuhne

Kadet Kuhne is a visual and sound artist who generates synthetic stimuli as an investigation of subjectivity through systems of control and technological mediation. With a preoccupation of what constitutes consciousness, Kadet aims to prompt pre-verbal emotional and physical responses to the invisible forces of particles and vibration that construct all matter. Taking form in video, installation, album releases, performance, interactivity, 3D printing and 2D print, Kadet’s works have been presented internationally. Kadet received a Masters in Integrated Media and Music Composition in Experimental Practices from the California institute of the Arts.

«Carapace» de Mary Franck et Kadet Kuhne, à la Société des arts technologiques (SAT), Montréal, 7 fév 2015

«Carapace» de Mary Franck et Kadet Kuhne, à la Société des arts technologiques (SAT), Montréal, 07 fév 2015

Based in Oakland, CA, Kadet has collaborated with Bay Area artists Mary Franck, Allison Leigh Holt, Suki O’Kane, Paul Clipson and Gregory Dawson, and has remotely developed projects with Alba G. Corral, mem1 (Mark Cetilia + Laura Cetilia), and Kryštof Pešek. She works as an Adjunct Professor in Media Arts alongside owning a post-production sound studio, Audible Shift, and is the President of San Francisco Cinematheque’s Board of Directors.

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Agnes Szelag

Agnes Szelag

◉ Agnes Szelag: ONA, Set 3 (entire show starts at 7pm)

Musician Agnes Szelag & dancer Amy Lewis present ONA (“SHE” in Polish), a meditation on the meaning of form, architecture, & the feminine – with the body as a focal point of cosmic awareness. Our bodies speak our interior architecture to the outside world, & our voice is shaped by our architecture & carries our tune.

In the performance, Agnes & Amy seek to bring awareness to the feminine experience as a tool for re-imagining & reshaping our world through layers of voices & sine waves as they illuminate & fragment the female form.

Agnes Szelag performs James Tenney’s Cellogram at Playback Play Festival, 02 Oct 2012 @ Powiększenie, Warszawa

Agnes Szelag performs James Tenney’s Cellogram at Playback Play Festival, 02 Oct 2012 @ Powiększenie, Warszawa

Agnes Szelag experiments & designs in the convergent space between composition & improvisation, video & performance, the material & immaterial, producing electro-acoustic works, installations, & textural video pieces.  As a composer, Agnes writes for her own performances & releases, as well as collaborations such as myrmyr (w Marielle Jakobsons) and Dokuro (w The Norman Conquest); & Evon, Oakland Active Orchestra, and other ensembles. She performs using cello, voice, & electronics – often incorporating visual media into her solo performances. As an installation artist, Agnes prefers to work with specific, forgotten sites, but has also transformed gallery spaces, buildings, & objects.

“There is a poetic force in my work as it often starts with concept and writing.  Once I have the idea, the process becomes the work. I prefer not to have boundaries with the types of media that I use, and am influenced by my surroundings in two ways. Firstly, I try to use material and technology that is available to me, and secondly I try to explore space and people that I have access to.  The sound and visual media influence and inspire each other.”

Agnes has performed or collaborated with: Terry Riley, Fred Frith, James Tenney, Frances-Marie Uitti, Pauline Oliveros, Torben Ulrich, Henry Grimes, Lisle Ellis, Jon Raskin, Phillip Greenlief, Miya Masaoka (正岡みや), Double Vision, Capacitor, and many others.  She studied film/video at Northwestern University and received her MFA in Electronic Music & Recording Media from Mills College.

Amy Lewis

Amy Lewis

Amy Lewis began presenting choreography in the Bay Area in 2005, after receiving a BA in theater from UCLA & an MFA in dance from Mills College. Working as an individual artist, Amy’s work has been presented by Women’s Work, West Wave Dance Festival, 2006 & 2008, Dumbo Dance Festival, & ODC’s Pilot Program. In 2007, she founded Push Up Something Hidden, & has since created 4 seasons of work, shown at various venues in San Francisco, such as Dance Mission Theater, CELLspace, & Community Music Center. In addition, Amy recently completed a commission to create a performed walking tour of the Tendernob by Meridian Gallery, & participated in the Resident Artist Workshop program at The Garage.

Amy uses performance to examine history and presence the celebration of a flawed humanity. For Amy, the overhaul of history contains the benefit of making ordinary events seem extraordinarily fated, faulting social structures that provide limited choice. Her choreography continually references individual biographies, public, private, or imagined, reinvented in order to influence movement, creating a dichotomy between unemotional, pattern-driven choreography, and linear, dramatic stories.

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The fully 3-dimensionalized mandala of the Gyantse Kumbum (རྒྱལ་རྩེ་སྐུ་འབུམ།) in Tibet

The fully 3-dimensionalized mandala of the Gyantse Kumbum (རྒྱལ་རྩེ་སྐུ་འབུམ།) in Tibet

What is the sound of a multimedia mandala ringing?

— Come vibrate the labyrinth with us at Grace Cathedral on Fri 29 Jul and find out!

どうぞ。。。

Joe

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MSP+synth in meta-tap digital tango w Lucie Vítková, Lisa Mezzacappa, & Bryan Day Wed 06 Jul @ Canessa Gallery, SF + Set 1: Phillip Greenlief’s BARBEDWIRE, with Evelyn Davis & gabby fluke-mogul, @ 8pm

Brněnské drak (The Brno Dragon)

Brněnské drak (The Brno Dragon)

有朋自遠方來, 不亦樂乎

When friends come from afar, is there not joy?

– Confucius (孔子)

I’m keenly looking forward to once again play with Brno-born Czech composer | accordionist | dancer | sound artist Lucie Vítková, in a unique quartet with San Francisco instrument-inventor Brian Day, and supreme bass virtuosa Lisa Mezzacappa, just back from Paris.

The show will be at the current home of the superb Meridian Gallery Composers In Performance Series, Canessa Gallery (708 Montgomery St., 2nd Fl., San Francisco, map) at 9pm (Set 2), Wed 06 Jul.

☞ Sliding scale tix at the door

☞ Examiner.com preview: here

(L→R) Bob Marsh, Joe Lasqo, and Lucie Vítková perform Lasqo's Drak nebo krokodýl?, Berkeley Arts Festival, 23 Feb 2014

(L→R) Bob Marsh, Joe Lasqo, and Lucie Vítková perform Lasqo’s Drak nebo krokodýl?, Berkeley Arts Festival, 23 Feb 2014

Last time Lucie was in town, our progamme focused on game pieces like my Drak nebo krokodýl? (Dragon or Crocodile?) and Sheldonian パチンコ….

…This time we’re going to balance chairs and turn somersaults on the ethereal tightrope of free improv… whilst tap-dancing (at least in Lucie’s case).

Lucie Vítková

Lucie Vítková

Lucie Vítková is a composer, improviser and performer (accordion, harmonica, voice and tap dance) from the Czech Republic. Her compositions focus on sonification (compositions based on abstract models derived from physical objects), while in her improvisation practice explores characteristics of discrete spaces through the interaction between sound and movement. In her recent work, she is interested in the musical legacy of Morse Code and the social-political aspects of music and art in relation to everyday life.

Lucie Vítková at the accordion

Lucie Vítková at the accordion

She graduated in accordion performance at Brno Conservatory and composition at Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts. Along with her study of music she taught tap dance at the Theatre Faculty of JAMU. She is a member of the Brno Improvising Unit, Ensemble Marijan, Dunami Ensemble, Dust In The Groove, and Pražský improvizační orchestr (Prague Improvisation Orchestra, or PIO), co-founded by Bay area expat, George Cremaschi. She is a founder of Temporary Ensemble.

Pražský improvizační orchestr (Prague Improvisation Orchestra, or PIO). Flyer for concert with guests Tim Perkis and Susanna Gartmayer @ Divus, Prague, 14 Apr 2013

One of Lucie’s contexts, the Pražský improvizační orchestr (Prague Improvisation Orchestra, or PIO). Flyer for concert with guests Tim Perkis & Susanna Gartmayer @ Divus, Prague, 14 Apr 2013

Lucie began her graduate studies at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague & at California Institute of the Arts. She’s studied with Martin Smolka, Jaroslav Šťastný, Martijn Padding, Gilius van Bergeijk, & Michael Pisaro. Her Ph.D research began at Universität der Künste, Berlin, under Marc Sabat, & now continues at Columbia University, where she’s a Visiting Scholar with George Lewis.

She’s analyzing music of Christian Wolff, researching hierarchy & social relations in his music and looking for the composition techniques which express this phenomena. Furthermore, Lucie is putting his music and scores into the context of free improvisation to explore the definitions of composition and improvisation.

 

Lucie Vítková and Pavel Korbička performing one of the Akustický obraz (Acoustic Paintings) series

Lucie Vítková and Pavel Korbička performing one of the Akustický obraz (Acoustic Paintings) series

One of the most mind-opening aspects of Lucie’s work for me is embodied in a series of pieces with collaborator Pavel Korbička under the rubric of Akustický obraz (Acoustic Paintings), which combine dance, sound production, and ritual, often employing large, or even room-size, invented instruments, sometimes augmented by sound from an unseen source that provides a stark un-physical contrast with the completely physical means of sound production that Lucie is employing. These slay me.

Check out Akustický obraz 10:

Bryan Day performs in the Active Music Series @ The Uptown, Oakland, 11 Jun 2013 (photo - John Scharpen)

Bryan Day performs in the Active Music Series @ The Uptown, Oakland, 11 Jun 2013 (photo – John Scharpen)

◉ Bryan Day (invented instruments)

Bryan Day is an improviser, instrument inventor, illustrator & installation artist based in San Francisco. His work involves combining elements of the natural and man-made world using field recordings, custom audio generation software and homemade instruments. Bryan’s work explores the parallels between the patterns and systems in nature to those in contemporary society.

Bryan Day

Bryan Day

Bryan has toured throughout the US, Europe, Japan, Korea, Argentina, the Philippines, & Mexico, performing both solo as Sistrum and Eloine, and in the Shelf Life and Seeded Plain ensembles, as well as with innumerable collaborators, and has over 40 solo and ensemble releases.

Bryan Day's kit reflects his sound universe (photo - John Scharpen)

Bryan Day’s kit reflects his sound universe (photo – John Scharpen)

Since 1997 he has been running the new music label Public Eyesore and its sister label Eh?. Through Public Eyesore and Eh?, Bryan has produced and released over 200 albums of improvised and experimental music by artists from all over the globe, in addition to curating the music series at Meridian Gallery in San Francisco.

Joe Lasqo performing with Donald Robinson, 25 Aug 2013, SIMM Series, San Francisco (photo by Peter B. Kaars, www.peterbkaars.com)

Joe Lasqo performing with Donald Robinson, 25 Aug 2013, SIMM Series, San Francisco (photo by Peter B. Kaars, www.peterbkaars.com)

◉ Joe Lasqo (keyboards | laptop | objects)

Pianist / laptopist Joe Lasqo studied classical music in India; computer/electronic music at MIT, Columbia, Berkeley/CNMAT; has been a long-time performing modern & avant jazz musician; & has lived, played and listened in several Asian and European countries (now in San Francisco). He’s keen on the application of artificial intelligence techniques to improvisation and the meeting of traditional Asian musics with the 21st century. His recent album, Turquoise Sessions, is available on Edgetone Records; with new releases planned in 2016.

Joe had a weekly residency for 3½ years+ in the piano series at Viracocha, with recent residencies at San Francisco’s PianoFight. He’s appeared recently with Bruce Ackley and Steve Adams of ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra, the London Improvisers Orchestra, Phillip Greenlief’s Orchesperry, his own Renga-kai (連歌会), Mukaiji-kai (霧海箎会), and Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) ensembles, synthesist Thomas Dimuzio, clarinetist/vocalist Beth Custer, pianist Thollem McDonas, percussionist Suki O’Kane, technodivas / electronic musicians Pamela Z & Viv Corringham (NYC/London), saxophonists Adrian Northover & Sue Lynch (London), and many others.

Joe Lasqo and Morgana perform w Jim Ryan's Green Alembic in the sfSoundSalonSeries at Center for New Music, San Francisco, 15 Apr 2014 (Photo by Carly Hoopes)

Joe Lasqo and Morgana perform w Jim Ryan’s Green Alembic in the sfSoundSalonSeries at Center for New Music, San Francisco, 15 Apr 2014 (Photo by Carly Hoopes)

au quotidien, a new album with German-Swedish saxist/flautist Biggi Vinkeloe, master drummer Donald Robinson, and cello madman Teddy Rankin-Parker is in production for release in 2016.

Late July will bring a networked collaboration based on the ancient Indian Vāstu architectural system between Joe, electronic musician Jorge Bachmann, algorithmic video artist Bill Thibault, pipe organist David Hatt, dancer Nan Busse, and improvising AI agent / architect, Maxxareddu. The project,  Vāstu Vidyā (वास्तु विद्या) 2.0, will be performed on 29 Jul at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral as part of the Soundwave((7)) Biennial.

Lisa Mezzacappa

Lisa Mezzacappa

◉ Lisa Mezzacappa draws on a palette of sinister drones, punchy vamps and acoustic bass manipulations to weave storylines through gnarly rhythms, pointillistic shapes and ecstatic melodies.

“…mysterious, complexly textured improvisations that sometimes take shape as the aural equivalent of abstract expressionist paintings, whether the ethereal, mystical canvasses of Mark Rothko or the jittery, splatter techniques of Jackson Pollock.”

— Derk Richardson, KPFA radio host and music critic

Lisa Mezzacappa is a bassist, bandleader, composer, curator and producer. She leads her own groups Bait & Switch, Nightshade, Eartheaters & the Lisa Mezzacappa Trio, and co-leads the ensembles BODABODA, duo B., Cylinder, the Mezzacappa-Phillips Duo, and the Caribbean folk band Les Gwan Jupons. Lisa also performs as a sideperson in original jazz, improv and chamber ensembles led by esteemed bandleaders and West Coast musical visionaries, like Phillip Greenlief, Aaron Novik, Beth Custer, Randy McKean, Marco Eneidi, Vijay Anderson, Aaron Bennett, Myles Boisen, Steve Adams, Graham Connah, Jon Raskin, Cory Wright and Ross Hammond, and as well collaborates frequently with Vinny Golia, Katy Stephan, Aram Shelton, Kjell Nordeson, Murray Campbell, Dina Maccabee, Noah Phillips, Rob Ewing, Kasey Knudsen, Sam Ospovat, John Hanes, and many many others.

Lisa & Anti-Lisa Mezzacappa (photo - Peter Gannushkin/downtownmusic.net)

Lisa & Anti-Lisa Mezzacappa (photo – Peter Gannushkin/downtownmusic.net)

Lisa’s most recent triumph on our shores was the acclaimed Glorious Ravage, a panoramic free jazz multimedia song cycle based on writings of lady explorers of the 19th century, which toured northern and southern California in fall 2015.

She’s followed that up with another big ambitious project developed during her recently completed residency at Paris’ Cité Internationale des Arts, ORGANELLE, which models music on bioprocesses, and has recently received performances in Napoli, Roma, and Köln. It will receive its US premier later this year at Berkeley’s BAMPFA.

Phillip Greenlief performs at the Headlands Center, Marin County, CA, 2013

Phillip Greenlief performs at the Headlands Center, Marin County, CA, 2013

◉ Phillip Greenlief’s BARBEDWIRE: 37 graphic scores for trio (selections), Set 1, 8pm

BARBEDWIRE is a series of 37 new graphic scores, composed by Phillip Greenlief in Dec 2014 during a composing retreat in coastal Maine, and performed tonight by Phillip Greenlief (reeds), Evelyn Davis (voice | electronics) and gabby fluke-mogul (violin).

These works were recently featured on the Crosswinds Program on KALW, National Public Radio, and you can hear Phillip talk about them from that show: here.

Aside from the raw beauty and intensity of these works, as I’ve heard them realized by various of Phillip’s trios, I’m fascinated by them structurally.

Score for BARBEDWIRE #18, by Phillip Greenlief

Score for BARBEDWIRE #18, by Phillip Greenlief

Looking at the score above, you can see the starting points for the 3 players, #1 in the upper right, #2 in the lower right, and #3 in the lower left. They advance along their paths at will, but they’re also constrained to cross paths with and interact with their trio partners.

Although notated very differently, this system of free progressions, constrained to sync and interact with partners at path-crossings, is mappable to the system used by John Cage in his Two², which I had the pleasure to perform with Patti Deuter, and which also served as the basis for an expanded methodology which we’ve used in the large-scale Renga-kai (連歌会) ensemble.

Phillip Greenlief performs at the Luggage Store Gallery (Photo by Peter Kaars, www.peterbkaars.com)

Phillip Greenlief performs at the Luggage Store Gallery (Photo by Peter Kaars, www.peterbkaars.com)

“The Bay Area’s do-it-yourself ethos has produced a bevy of dazzlingly creative musicians, but few have put the philosophy to work as effectively as Phillip Greenlief.” – Andrew Gilbert, San Francisco Chronicle

Internationally acclaimed saxophonist/composer Phillip Greenlief began early as a guitarist and trumpet player, later gravitating towards the sax. His playing reveals an expansive sound vocabulary, extreme dynamic range, a deep regard for melody and form, and a rollicking humor and wit. As a free improviser, he’s performed solo; in duo with David Boyce, Fred Frith, Joëlle Léandre, Thomas Dimuzio, Trevor Dunn, Scott Amendola, & choreographer Michelle Ellsworth; in trios with John Bischoff & Karen Stackpole, w Ken Filiano & Andrew Drury, in FPR w Frank Gratkowski & Jon Raskin, and in The Lost Trio with Dan Seamans and Tom Hassett; in the metal/thrash band PG13, in the LA noise-hop trio Skeleton Wire; and in the large ensembles Orchestra Nostalgico and OrcheSperry.  As a composer, he has created over 400 works for practically every configuration, including solo sax, jazz ensembles, chamber groups, electro-acoustic improvisers, film soundtracks, live theater, dance companies, and works for large ensemble and orchestra with choir.

(L→R) David Boyce and Phillip Greenlief perform at the Luggage Store Gallery, 06 Aug 2009

(L→R) David Boyce and Phillip Greenlief perform at the Luggage Store Gallery, 06 Aug 2009

Phillip is the founder of Evander Music, an independent record label presenting original composition, improvised music, and jazz. Since 1986, his recordings and performances have received critical acclaim in Down Beat, All About Jazz, Jazz Times, Cadence, Modern Saxophone, and European periodicals.  His duo recordings of improvised music with bassist Trevor Dunn and drummer Scott Amendola received 5 stars in the Music Hound Jazz Essential Album Guide. He is a recipient of the San Francisco Bay Guardian Goldie Award and recently completed an artist residency at the Marin Headlands Center for the Arts.

 

Evelyn Davis

Evelyn Davis

◉ Evelyn Davis (voice | electronics)

Detroit native and general wanderer Evelyn Davis is an inside/prepared/new music pianist, improvisor, pipe organist, composer, vocalist, synthesist, teacher, songstress, and maker of / participator in oddly shaped musics with an occasional side of performance art. Most recently this last propensity manifested in joining with Bay Area weirdos Jack o’ the Clock, Cheer Accident, and longtime indie-pop band Lunchbox, outside of which life is full of the constant hum of teaching, song-writing and recording, exploring classical music, and improvising with friends.

Evelyn studied music at Southwestern Community College, the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, and most recently earned a Master’s in Performance and Improvisation from Mills College.

An instigator of supremely cool organ-related events such as Drone Church, Evelyn has contributed to some of the Bay Area’s most intriguing avant duos and trios, including musicians such as Jason Hoopes, Jennifer Wilsey, and Phillip Greenlief, with vocals, electronics, and a complex — simultaneously forceful and delicate — approach to the piano, focusing on the soundboard and interior playing area and unusual piano preparations. Recent appearances at the Makeout Room gave samples of how Evelyn’s unique aesthetic projects into the vocal/electronic space she’ll use in this show.

gabby fluke-mogul performs No Sound Is Innocent at TEDx, Hampshire College, Nov 2012

gabby fluke-mogul performs No Sound Is Innocent at TEDx, Hampshire College, Nov 2012

◉ gabby fluke-mogul (violin)

gabby fluke-mogul is a performing, teaching, composing & collaborating-improviser based out of the Bay Area. ((gabby has existed as a violin-body//body in South Florida, Western Massachusetts, & the wider New England area.))

gabby performs in & with a variety of projects, installations, bodies, & instrument-bodies in addition to facilitating community-based workshops, & teaching (toddlers-adults) in public, private, & non-profit learning spaces. their compositions//text-scores take up intimate issues of the politic & poetic of improvising bodies.

gabby has worked with Pauline Oliveros, Fred Frith, Zeena Parkins, Roscoe Mitchell, Kala Ramnath (கலா ராம்நாத்), & Kara Davis at Mills College in the MFA program for improvisation performance, collaborating with Nava Dunkelman, kelley kipperman (as neem), Adam Hirsch & John McCowen (as room 47), Christina Carter, & Aurora Josephson, & throughout the years with Chelsea Dunn (as patchwrk), Jordan Kneckt & Ryan Mihaly (as knekt), Baron Collins-Hill, & Lucy Hollier at Hampshire College in amherst, ma where gabby received a B.A. in improvisation, education, & childhood studies.

_____

Accordions, tap dance, BARBEDWIRE — what could go wrong…? Come vibrate with us at Canessa Gallery on Wed 06 Jul!

Joe

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The Golden Gate Improvisers Orchestra’s BIG BANG ◉ Using the LIO language for large-scale conducted electroacoustic improv ◉ Aaron Bennett, Tom Djll, Ron Heglin, Joe Lasqo, Jason Levis, Scott R. Looney, Joshua Marshall, David Michalak, Suki O’Kane, Tim Perkis, Mika Pontecorvo, Donald Robinson, Rent Romus, John Shiurba, & Scott Walton ++ the language of the London Improvisers Orchestra ◉ Sat 11 June @ The Second Act, SF

GGIO Rising

GGIO Rising

Coordinates: The Second Act, SF, 1727 Haight St, SF (between Shrader & Cole – map), 8pm, Sat 11 Jun.

Line-up (more details below…): Aaron Bennett, Tom Djll, Ron Heglin, Joe Lasqo, Jason Levis, Scott R. Looney, Joshua Marshall, David Michalak, Suki O’Kane, Tim Perkis, Mika Pontecorvo, Donald Robinson, Rent Romus, John Shiurba, Scott Walton

☞ Advance tickets available at a discounthere

☞ Examiner.com preview: here

I keenly look forward to another show at The Second Act, the wonderful performing arts space and restaurant zone that Jack & Betsy Rix, members of the original Red Vic collective, have now created in the Red Vic’s former site.

The Second Act, the next generation of the Haight's Red Vic

The Second Act, the next generation of the Haight’s Red Vic

The “Third Wednesday” series run there by James Decker, proprietor/perpetrator of Resipiscent Records, has created a powerful electronic music dipole traversing Haight St., resonating with the Lower Haight’s mutant sound scene @ ROBOTSPEAk.

The throbbing avant energy unleashed at The Second Act has not only attracted a large and actively engaged audience, but has recently erupted into the visual dimension as well, starting a new film + music series last August, including Ben Tinker’s film + music project That Hideous Strength and my own ensemble Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会).

LIO — The London Improvisers Orchestra

LIO — The London Improvisers Orchestra

GGIO — The Golden Gate Improvisers Orchestra

GGIO — The Golden Gate Improvisers Orchestra

While playing with the London Improvisers Orchestra (LIO) on a recent UK tour, I was very impressed with their well-developed language for conducting large-scale improvisations — fun, easy to use, expressive, and musically powerful.

Also impressive was the body of shared practice and community this has fostered in London — based on a common language for silently communicating musical intent. The musical results were stunning.

I thought, why not have a new Bay Area outpost of LIO’s hand-signal language for improv — a Golden Gate Improvisers Orchestra (or GGIO) — and start a similar series here?

The Second Act have kindly agreed to host us, and we present our BIG BANG show!

The London Improvisers Orchestra in action

The London Improvisers Orchestra in action

The London Improvisers Orchestra was formed by Steve Beresford, Evan Parker, & Ian Smith after their tour with Butch Morris in 1997.

Top – Steve Beresford, L – Evan Parker, R – Ian Smith

Top – Steve Beresford, L – Evan Parker, R – Ian Smith

They were shortly joined by two more co-conspirators, Caroline Kraabel & Pat Thomas, who also wanted to continue this approach to creative music-making, and they put together an orchestra of improvisers that gathered regularly, trying to evolve and improve listening and playing skills for both conducted and sustained, completely free improvisation by a really large group.

Pat Thomas (Photo - Siobhan Bradshaw) & Caroline Kraabel

Pat Thomas (Photo – Siobhan Bradshaw) & Caroline Kraabel

Since then, LIO have continued playing concerts monthly for almost 30 years, using, refining, & extending Morris’ conduction hand-signal language for large groups of improvisers, have issued many albums, and have been the highlight of the long-running London Freedom of the City festivals. Concerts include at least one completely free improv in addition to conductions.

Prior outposts of the LIO language are the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra, the Toronto Improvisers Orchestra, the St. Petersburg Improvisers Orchestra (Санкт-Петербургский оркестр импровизации), the Royal Improvisers Orchestra of Amsterdam, the Seattle Improvisers Orchestra, the Tokyo Improvisers Orchestra (東京インプロヴァイザーズオーケストラ), the Berlin Improvisers Orchestra (Ber.I.O.), and others.

St. Petersburg, Glasgow, Tokyo, Royal, and Berlin Improvisers Orchestras

St. Petersburg, Glasgow, Tokyo, Royal, and Berlin Improvisers Orchestras

The LIO improv conduction language can express the most spontaneous and unplanned of musical gestures via an orchestra of many players, — or, paradoxically, can even be used to create “composed improv” pieces for large ensembles, for example, Steve Beresford’s great 3-movement piano improv Concerto For Soft-Loud Key-Box (a play on Beethoven’s description of the pianoforte as a „Schwach-stark-tasten-kasten“).

The results of either approach are fluidly pyrotechnic.

A list of the many brilliant improvising musicians who have played with LIO over the years can be found: here.

GGIO’s Big Bang appropriately features a rare encounter of 3 master percussionists (as well as another power trio of saxists) and a crew of the Bay Area’s most adventurous improvisers:

Aaron Bennett: saxes

Tom Djll: prepared trumpet | electronics

Ron Heglin: voice | trombone | tuba

Joe Lasqo: MSP/laptop | piano | objects

Jason Levis: drums

Scott R. Looney: piano | electronics

Joshua Marshall: saxes

David Michalak: SkatchArt (invented instrument designed by Tom Nunn…)

Suki O’Kane: percussion

Tim Perkis: electronics

Mika Pontecorvo: guitar | electronics | flute

Donald Robinson: drums

Rent Romus: saxes | flutes | joik | toys | invented wind instruments

John Shiurba: guitar | prepared guitar

Scott Walton: contrabass

_____

Aaron Bennett

Aaron Bennett

◉ Aaron Bennett (saxes)

Leader of groups Go-Go-FightmasterElectro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra and monster saxist in the Oakland Active OrchestraLisa Mezzacappa’s Bait & SwitchVijay Anderson QuartetGuerrilla Hi-Fi, and Black Water Gold, Aaron has composed for large ensembles, chamber groups, plays, films, dance performances, wind quintet, saxophone quartets and trios as well as pieces for solo instruments.

It has been my great honor and pleasure to work with Aaron’s unique graphic scores in his inimitable Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra.

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

◉ Tom Djll (prepared trumpet & electronics)

Tom Djll has spent over twenty years developing the trumpet’s wide sonic array of extended techniques. His musical language incorporates complex noises and gritty, unheard textures from electronica into melodic gestures and building asymmetrical formal structures. His electronic and MIDI-hack music displays a unique unsettling derangement.

A member of too many avant-music groups to list in this space, Tom has been a key weirdness generator in my film sonification group, Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会).

Ron Heglin (photo - Joel Deuter)

Ron Heglin (photo – Joel Deuter)

◉ Ron Heglin (voice | trombone | tuba)

Ron Heglin is a trombonist, vocalist (and sometimes…  tuba player!), working with extended technique on the trombone and with spoken and sung imaginary languages as a vocalist. His vocal music has been influenced by his study of North Indian vocal music. He is a founding member of the groups Music For All Occasions, Rotodoti, and Brassiosaurus, and has performed with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Wadada Leo Smith, Henry Brant, Logos Duo, Tim Perkis, John Bischoff,Tom Djll, and Toyoji Tomita (富田豊治).

Joe Lasqo performing with Donald Robinson, 25 Aug 2013, SIMM Series, San Francisco (photo by Peter B. Kaars, www.peterbkaars.com)

Joe Lasqo performing with Donald Robinson, 25 Aug 2013, SIMM Series, San Francisco (photo by Peter B. Kaars, www.peterbkaars.com)

◉ Joe Lasqo (piano | laptop | objects)

Pianist / laptopist Joe Lasqo studied classical music in India; computer/electronic music at MIT, Columbia, Berkeley/CNMAT; has been a long-time performing modern & avant jazz musician; & has lived, played and listened in several Asian and European countries (now in San Francisco). He’s keen on the application of artificial intelligence techniques to improvisation and the meeting of traditional Asian musics with the 21st century.

His ensembles include Renga-kai (連歌会), Mukaiji-kai (霧海箎会), and Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会).

au quotidien, a new album with German-Swedish saxist/flautist Biggi Vinkeloe, master drummer Donald Robinson, and cello madman Teddy Rankin-Parker is in production for release in 2016.

Jason Levis performing with Cory Wright and Rob Ewing, 07 Oct 2013, Nebraska Mondays Series, Sacramento

Jason Levis performing with Cory Wright and Rob Ewing, 07 Oct 2013, Nebraska Mondays Series, Sacramento

◉ Jason Levis (drums)

The music of composer, drummer, and percussionist Jason Levis lives in the rich spaces where styles intersect and musical languages merge. Active in jazz, contemporary improvisation, and modern classical composition, his wide-ranging creative efforts are fueled by his innate sense of timbre, sonic space, rhythmic force, and his insatiable interest in discovery. Over the years his passion and curiosity have led him to search out the intersections of musical paths less traveled (spectralist jazz, anyone?), and the resulting unique perspective is reflected in his music. Jason holds a Ph.D. in composition from UC Berkeley. Recently returned from Berlin, he currently teaches at the California Jazz Conservatory.

Scott R. Looney

Scott R. Looney

◉ Scott R. Looney (piano | electronics)

Scott is a pioneer in expanding the timbral possibilities of the piano, and using pianists such as Denman Maroney as a starting point, has forged a signature style using the inside and outside of the piano, plucking strings, using metal implements and other quick preparations, in combination to playing the piano normally.

He has also developed a flexible, expressive voice with electronics using Max/MSP which is as effective and original as his kaleidoscopic piano textures.

Joshua Marshall performs w Opera Wolf @ the 2013 Outsound New Music Summit (Photo by Peter. B. Kaars, www.peterbkaars.com)

Joshua Marshall performs w Opera Wolf @ the 2013 Outsound New Music Summit (Photo by Peter. B. Kaars, www.peterbkaars.com)

◉ Joshua Marshall (saxes)

A highly sought-after contributor to many of the Bay Area’s improvising ensembles, Oakland-based saxophonist and composer/improviser Joshua Marshall‘s amazing technique shatters the mirror of reality into a geometry of cracked multi-phonics, exotic trills, and unique timbre tremolos.

In addition to work with Opera Wolf, Joshua has worked with Ikue Mori (もりいくえ), Rent Romus’ Lords of Outland, Architect/Enchantress, Medium Sized Band, Josh Allen’s Deconstruction Orchestra, Key West, DunkelpeK, and Modest Machine.

David Michalak

David Michalak

◉ David Michalak: SkatchArt (invented instrument designed by Tom Nunn…)

David has made 50+ films w original soundtracks, e.g. Dreamlife, Inside-Out (score written w Nik Phelps, played by Club Foot Orchestra), When The Spirit Moves, Firefly, & Regenbogen. Reel Change, a soundtrack ensemble formed to play live scores for David’s films & other classics, has featured: Andrew Voigt, Joe Sabella, David Michalak, Phillip Greenlief, Adam Hurst, George Cremaschi, Tom Nunn, Kyle Bruckmann, Theresa Wong (天欣), & Tom Djll, releasing the CD Open In Total Darkness.

David Michalak joins other spooks in Ghost in the House

David Michalak joins other spooks in Ghost in the House

David has added his unique ectoplasmic exuberance to many of the Bay Area’s avant ensembles (most recently the wonderful Ghost In The House), as well as some very unusual duos, like T.D. Skatchit (w Tom Nunn) and Dr. Bob (w Bob Marsh), playing a variety of invented instruments, lap steel guitar, and FX.

Suki O'Kane

Suki O’Kane

◉ Suki O’Kane: percussion

Suki O’Kane is a classically trained mallet percussionist, a composer and an instigator working with artists from a wide array of of music, movement & public art genres. One of the founding members of the lo-fi sampling ensemble The Noodles (w Michael Zelner), Suki plays percussion with Moe! Staiano’s Moe!kestra!, Dan Plonsey’s Daniel Popsicle, Big City Orchestra and is an ensemble member of Thingamajigs, performing new works by Edward Schocker, Dylan Bolles and Zachary James Watkins.

It has been my honor & pleasure to have Suki as a member of my ensembles Renga-kai (連歌会)Mukaiji-kai (霧海箎会), and Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会)

TIm Perkis

TIm Perkis

◉ Tim Perkis: electronics

Tim has been working in the medium of live electronic and computer sound for many years, performing, exhibiting installation works and recording in North America, Europe and Japan. His work has largely been concerned with exploring the emergence of life-like properties in complex systems of interaction.

Groups he’s contributed to include the League of Automatic Music Composers and The Hub — pioneering live computer network bands — Rotodoti, the Natto Quartet, Fuzzybunny, All Tomorrow’s Zombies and Wobbly/Perkis/Antimatter. He has been composer-in-residence at Mills College, artist-in-residence at Xerox PARC, and designed musical tools and toys at Paul Allen’s legendary think tank, Interval Research.

The Polychromatic Mika Pontecorvo

◉ Mika Pontecorvo (guitar | electronics | flute)

Band leader & composer/improvisor Mika Pontecorvo’s work is informed by his computer science research and technical/generative design consulting, using emergent structures of improvisation based on live interaction architectures & systems he constructs in Max/MSP and other hardware/software elements.

His early work with prepared guitar, unorthodox playing techniques, synthesizers, and tape led to studies under electronic music pioneer Vladimir Ussachevsky (Владимир Усачевский), working with classical electronic music techniques of composition and performance as well as algorithmic composition. His current work draws on his research in evolution and intelligent simulations, developing compositions & compositional systems in the framework of architectural systems, relying of the paradigms in Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) theory, the practices of evolutionary creative computing, and artificial life.

Mika Pontecorvo

Mika Pontecorvo

Notorious as the organizer of series and festivals like the Next Now Series and All Tomorrow’s Afterparties, Mika can often be found playing with his ensembles Cartoon Justice and Feral Luggage.

Donald Robinson, percussion dervish, performs w Larry Ochs' Sax & Drumming Core

Donald Robinson, percussion dervish, performs w Larry Ochs’ Sax & Drumming Core

◉ Donald Robinson: drums

Master drummer Donald Robinson, whom Coda Magazine has described as a “percussion Dervish”, has worked with Alan Silva, Anthony Braxton, Oliver Lake, Glenn Spearman, Larry Ochs, Cecil Taylor, Wadada Leo Smith, George Lewis, Bobby Few, Raphé Malik, Joe McPhee, John Tchicai, Marco Eneidi, Miya Masaoka (正岡みや), Paul Plimley & Matthew Goodheart.

Donald has long worked with bassist Lisle Ellis, especially in the band What We Live w Larry Ochs, sometimes with special guests like Dave Douglas, Wadada Leo Smith or Kazakh vocalist Saadet Türköz (Саадет Туркёз). His longest musical association was with the late Glenn Spearman; they appear on close to a dozen CDs together in sextets, quintets, & quartets, w several tours to Europe. After coming up in the hothouse of the Paris free jazz scene, Donald’s been a stalwart of both the SF Bay Area & European avant-garde/jazz scenes, frequently touring there with Biggi Vinkeloe & Larry Ochs.

It’s been my honor and pleasure to collaborate with Donald on various electroacoustic projects such as the Biggi Vinkeloe Roughtet, IBIM LAB, and the occasional quartet of Bruce Ackley – Lisle Ellis – Joe Lasqo – Donald Robinson, as well as in duo format.

Rent Romus, Godfather of Avant Soul

◉ Rent Romus: saxes | flutes | joik | toys | invented wind instruments

Rent Romus, saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, and producer, goes beyond standard forms of composition and improvisation and focuses on presenting and supporting the local experimental and avant-garde community. Rent has recorded and released 25+ recordings as a leader of groups and duos such as Lords of Outland, The Abstractions, Life’s Blood, Bloom Project (w Thollem McDonas), Jazz On The Line, Guinea Pig, and the PKD [Philip K. Dick] Vortex Project, as well as collaborating with innumerable avant & free jazz players.

As a producer and artist business activist he runs Edgetone Records a label for all forms of improvisation and experimentation. Rent is also the founder and Executive Director of Outsound Presents under which he curates the SIMM Series, the Luggage Store Series every Thursday, both in San Francisco, and The Outsound New Music Summit, a national experimental music festival held in the San Francisco Bay Area every summer in July.

John Shiurba (L) & Kjell Nordeson (R), photo by Dill Pixels

John Shiurba (L) & Kjell Nordeson (R), photo by Dill Pixels

◉ John Shiurba: guitar | prepared guitar

John Shiurba is a composer and guitarist whose musical pursuits include improvisation, art-rock, modern composition and noise. John has recorded and toured the U.S. and Europe as a member of the bands Eskimo, The Molecules and Spezza Rotto, as a member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and the sfSound ensemble, his own Triplicate and 5×5 ensembles, for the sfSound Ensemble, and with collaborators including Anthony Braxton, Eugene Chadbourne and Jack Wright, as well as many of the great improvisers of the Bay Area scene.

As a guitarist John has developed a unique and personalized approach to the guitar. Through the use of extended techniques and unusual preparations, he expands the traditional sound range of the instrument, producing stunning, often unrecognizable results.

Scott Walton

Scott Walton

◉ Scott Walton: contrabass

Scott Walton is a bassist and pianist whose music negotiates the terrain between jazz, free improvisation, and classical avant-garde. He has performed throughout North America and Europe in a host of collaborative contexts, and has recorded with Vinny Golia, Nels Cline, Myra Melford, and Bobby Bradford. Current projects include duos with Steve Adams, Tim Perkis, and Gilbert Isbin, the Michael Vlatkovich Quartet, the Bill Horvitz Sextet, and Alex Cline’s Flower Garland Orchestra.

Every time I play with Scott, I am amazed all over again by the speed, ease, and precision with which he finds just the right unexpected notes at the right time, for always surprising, cleanly articulated, virtuoso lines with intriguing gaps, which he somehow makes look easy.

_____

Experience the real-time organization of masses of radical, beautiful sound by one of the finest tools ever devised for this purpose, the LIO improv hand-signal language — come vibrate with us at San Francisco’s home for cutting-edge film and music, The Second Act.

どうぞ。。。

Joe

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Electric Shadow Theater: Film Truth + Surreal Sound by Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) ◉ sonified films by Jean Cocteau, and Robert Florey / Slavko Vorkapić ◉ with music by Beth Custer, Thomas Dimuzio, Tom Djll, Joe Lasqo, David Michalak, and special guest from Sweden, Biggi Vinkeloe, Thu 26 May @ The Second Act, SF

Cocteau — Orphée

Cocteau — Orphée

Coordinates: The Second Act, SF, 1727 Haight St, SF (between Shrader & Cole – map), 7:30pm, Thu 26 May.

Advance tickets available at a discount: here

☞ Examiner.com review of our 17 Apr performance of this program: here

I’m excited to play again at The Second Act, the terrific performing arts space and restaurant zone that Jack & Betsy Rix, members of the original Red Vic collective, have now created in the Red Vic’s former site — and what better site than this pioneering art film house in San Francisco’s cultural history for silent film + music!

The “Third Wednesday” series run there by James Decker, proprietor/perpetrator of Resipiscent Records, has created a powerful electronic music dipole traversing Haight St., resonating with the Lower Haight’s mutant sound scene @ ROBOTSPEAk.

The Second Act, the next generation of the Haight's Red Vic

The Second Act, the next generation of the Haight's Red Vic

The throbbing avant energy unleashed at The Second Act has not only attracted a large and actively engaged audience, but has recently erupted into the visual dimension as well, starting a new film + music series last August with Ben Tinker’s film + music project That Hideous Strength.

I’m excited to again add to this wayang sinema series with new ensemble Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) and some of the freshest, most exciting films ever made.

The founder of the first "Paranormal Research Society" (Fushigi Kenkyūkai : 不思議研究会), in 1886, Enryō Inoue (井上円了)

The founder of the first "Paranormal Research Society" (Fushigi Kenkyūkai : 不思議研究会), in 1886, Enryō Inoue (井上円了)

Since the founding of Clubfoot Orchestra in 1983, San Francisco has been a leader in pairing film classics with composed or improvised scores. Not only is Clubfoot Orchestra still scaling new heights, but a rich new crop of ensembles for film + sound have created a second wave of Bay Area shadow play for the 21st century.

Fushigi Kenkyūkai are a collective of film and sound artists, mixing veterans of Bay Area “wayang sinema” ensembles like Clubfoot Orchestra & Reel Change with pioneers of electronic, computer-based, and invented instruments.

The name Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) means “Paranormal Research Society”. The truth is out there.

The program uses a French surrealist film classic and an experimental American short full of masks and shadows to find it.

Line-up:

Beth Custer (bass & other clarinets | vocals)

Thomas Dimuzio (electronics)

Tom Djll (surrealist prepared trumpet | electronics)

Joe Lasqo (keyboards | laptop | objects)

David Michalak (skatchbox | lap-steel guitar | film curator)

& special guest from Sweden — Biggi Vinkeloe (sax | flute)

Program

Part 1: Short (13 min, with short break for reel change following)

Robert Florey / Slavko Vorkapić: The Life and Death of 9413: a Hollywood Extra

Part 2: Main Feature (95 min)

Jean Cocteau: Orphée

Jean Cocteau and friend

Jean Cocteau and friend

Orphée by Jean Cocteau

Orphée by Jean Cocteau


Orphée, by Jean Cocteau (95 min)

Continuing from our sonification of Blood Of A Poet (Le sang d’un poète), the first film in Cocteau’s Orphic Trilogy, we move to the second, Orphée, a high peak of post-WW2 cinema.

As Cocteau said of Orphée: “Le sang d’un poète was based on the poet’s need to go through a series of deaths and to be reborn in a shape closer to his real being. There, the theme was played with one finger… in Orphée, I have orchestrated the theme”.

Jean Marais stars as Cocteau's Orphée

Jean Marais stars as Cocteau's Orphée

The repeated multi-perspective “cubist” deaths and rebirths of Blood Of A Poet are now interwoven into the grand dialog of death with song encoded in the Orpheus archetype.

As Roger Ebert summarizes, “Orpheus is a Greek myth about a musician who descends into the underworld to reclaim his dead wife, and so enchants the gods with the music of his lyre that they permit her to return to the land of the living–on the condition that he never look at her. Jean Cocteau set his 1949 film of the story in modern-day Paris, and added twists that would have startled the Greeks, especially a romantic triangle with Death as the third partner…

Orphée listens to the number stations of the Underworld on the car radio of Death's Rolls-Royce for poetic inspiration

Orphée listens to the number stations of the Underworld on the car radio of Death's Rolls-Royce for poetic inspiration

The story in Cocteau’s hands becomes unexpectedly complex; we see that it is not simply about love, death and jealousy, but also about how art can seduce the artist away from ordinary human concerns, so that after Orpheus astonishingly returns from the land of death, he is more concerned with the nonsensical radio transmissions [from Death’s car radio] than with his wife who loves him.”.

Orphée glimpses Eurydice in the rear-view mirror

Orphée glimpses Eurydice in the rear-view mirror

The resonant symbolism of mirrors established by Cocteau in Blood Of A Poet is further extended in this second installment of the trilogy, a symbolism deeply intertwined with mortality (Cocteau: “Mirrors are the doors through which death comes and goes. Look at yourself in a mirror all your life and you’ll see death do its work.”)

Underworld bikers as Angels of Death in Cocteau's Orphée

Underworld bikers as Angels of Death in Cocteau's Orphée

As Adam Scovell says, “Mirrors become liquid gateways to the underworld where the dead work for bureaucrats and live in a disheveled and battered place, while angels of death take the form of two mysterious bikers.”.

Shortly after the film opens a Dark Princess makes a dramatic entrance at the Café des Poètes, with her kept poet, Cègeste, in train. “Do you know who I am?” the Princess asks Cègeste. “I am your death.” Drunk, Cègeste soon becomes disorderly; when the cops arrive he tries to flee, but is then run down by two bikers.

The jouney to the Underworld in Cocteau's Orphée

The jouney to the Underworld in Cocteau's Orphée

The Princess bundles Orphée into her Rolls-Royce to help her “take Cègeste to the hospital”, but it soon becomes clear their destination lies elsewhere as they traverse a negative landscape, accompanied by the two bikers as dada poetry comes over the car radio.

Death, The Poet, and biker angels in the underworld, in Cocteau's Orphée

Death, The Poet, and biker angels in the underworld, in Cocteau's Orphée

This first shamanic visit to the Underworld gives Orphée two unusual gifts — an addiction to the poison nectar of the car radio’s dada poetry for his inspiration and a practical knowledge of the Underworld which is useful in his quest to redeem his wife Eurydice’s soul when she dies shortly after his return.

Death hovers over Eurydice in Cocteau's Orphée

Death hovers over Eurydice in Cocteau's Orphée

Though Orphée is able to bring back Eurydice from the Underworld on the condition that he never gaze on her, his increasing attraction to the Dark Princess and his growing addiction to the dada poetry coming from the car radio in her Rolls (which she keeps conveniently parked in his garage…) weave the threads of Eurydice’s ultimate undoing. Reduced to visiting Orphée in the back seat of the Rolls in the garage where he is continuously listening to the meaningless words, her eyes catch Orphée’s in the rear-view mirror,and all is lost… or is it?

María Casares, who played the Dark Princess in Cocteau's Orphée, painting by Leonor Fini (1955) 520v 1.0

María Casares, who played the Dark Princess in Cocteau's Orphée, painting by Leonor Fini (1955) 520v 1.0

A tumultuous series of final plot twists then leaves everyone oblivious or exhausted. As the Princess, turning to her chauffeur, sums up, “If this were our former world, I’d say, ‘Let’s have a drink.'”

———

The Life and Death of 9413: a Hollywood Extra, by Robert Florey & Slavko Vorkapić (13 min, followed by reel change…)

Frame from The Life and Death of 9413 - A Hollywood Extra, by Robert Florey and Slavko Vorkapić

Frame from The Life and Death of 9413 - A Hollywood Extra, by Robert Florey and Slavko Vorkapić

A film miracle that was made in in 1928 for $96 (almost $1,350 in today’s dollars), the nothing budget forced the film-makers into radical effects experiments based on shadow-puppetry and popsicle sticks. “The sets were made of toys and cardboard buildings that were projected like shadows. Paper cut outs and spare film stock litter the background to create a thriving metropolis” (Nathanael Hood)

Jules Raucourt plays the actor in The Life and Death of 9413 - A Hollywood Extra, by Robert Florey and Slavko Vorkapić

Jules Raucourt plays the actor in The Life and Death of 9413 - A Hollywood Extra, by Robert Florey and Slavko Vorkapić

An aspiring actor with stars in his eyes comes to Hollywood for a meeting with the Producer, Mr. Almighty, who brushes aside his letter of introduction to scrawl the number 9413 on his forehead.

The hapless transformation of the actor into 9413 in The Life and Death of 9413 - A Hollywood Extra, by Robert Florey and Slavko Vorkapić

The hapless transformation of the actor into 9413 in The Life and Death of 9413 - A Hollywood Extra, by Robert Florey and Slavko Vorkapić

9413 learns what it really take to be a star from observing the meteoric rise of #15, who attains fame and fortune by donning a series of plastic masks and blabbering gibberish instead of lines.

9413 rages against the machine in The Life and Death of 9413 - A Hollywood Extra, by Robert Florey and Slavko Vorkapić

9413 rages against the machine in The Life and Death of 9413 - A Hollywood Extra, by Robert Florey and Slavko Vorkapić

Nonetheless — after being beaten, bruised, and indeed killed by Hollywood, 9413’s spirit gets a vindication of sorts.

———

Carrying on the traditions of and sharing members with “wayang sinema” ensembles like Clubfoot Orchestra & Reel Change, Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) is comprised of:

Beth Custer (Photo - Anne Hamersky)

Beth Custer (Photo - Anne Hamersky)

◉ Beth Custer (bass & other clarinets | vocals) is a San Francisco based composer, clarinetist, vocalist, bandleader, and the proprietor of BC Records.

An original member of the Club Foot Orchestra, a trailblazing ensemble who pioneered scoring and performing with silent films (Pandora’s Box, Sherlock Jr., Metropolis, etc.), Beth is also a founding member of the 4th-world ensemble Trance Mission, the trip-hop duo Eighty Mile Beach, and leads the quartet of esteemed jazz clarinetists Clarinet Thing, as well as The Beth Custer Ensemble. The Pacific Film Archive commissioned Beth to compose a live score for My Grandmother / ჩემი ბებია / Моя Бабушка, a rare Soviet film, which she toured internationally in Russia, Czech Republic, Ireland, and England, supported by Trust for Mutual Understanding and Mid Atlantic Arts Fund awards.

She composes for theatre, film, dance, television, installations and the concert stage and has created scores for the contemporary chamber ensembles Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Zeitgeist, Earplay, City Winds, + Turtle Island and Kronos String Quartets; for the theatre productions of Campo Santo Theatre, Berkeley and San Diego Repertory Theatre, Magic Theatre, California Shakespeare, Overtone Industries, A Traveling Jewish Theatre, and Cornerstone Theatre; for dancers and troupes Joe Goode Performance Group, Flyaway Productions, Osseus Labyrinth, AXIS Dance Company, and butō (舞踏) masters Harupin Ha (ハルピン派), Koichi Tamano (玉野黄市) and Ledoh (レドー). Her score for JGPG’s The Maverick Strain, which won an Isadora Duncan Award, excerpts enjoyed a run at the Joyce Theater in NYC during April ’09.

Beth has performed and recorded with a diverse array of artists including inventor Trimpin; artists Vladimir Kokolia and Billie Grace Lynn; musicians Stephen Kent, Fred Frith, Miya Masaoka (正岡みや), Joan Jeanrenaud, Amy Denio, Tin Hat, Tango № 9, Pamela Z, Will Bernard, Sex Mob, John Schott, Grassy Knoll, ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Violent Femmes, J.A. Deane, the late, great Snakefinger, Greg Goodman, William Cepeda, Elaine Buckholtz, Mark Eitzel, Penelope Houston, Anna Homler, Ollin, and Connie Champagne.

She has over 35 recordings out with her ensembles Eighty Mile Beach, Clarinet Thing, Trance Mission, The Beth Custer Ensemble and Club Foot Orchestra.

Beth Custer performs "For the Grace of Any Man" at the Red House Speak Easy, San Francisco, June 2012

Beth created KQED’s Independent View theme with her band Eighty Mile Beach and composed for CBS/Film Roman’s Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat with Club Foot Orchestra, as well as creating music for the films of Cathy Lee Crane, Melinda Stone, Betsy Bayha, Julie Wyman, George Spies, Karina Epperlein, Will Zavala, Peter MacCandless, and Koohan Paik (구한). Beth created four musicals with award winning writer Octavio Solis in LA & SF, and her collaborative scores with inventor and MacArthur Fellow Trimpin led her to compose Vinculum Symphony, a site-specific, large-scale work that unites chamber musicians with experimental instrument builders.

Stephen Kent and Beth Custer perform in the Sanctuary of Dawn at the Garden of Memory event, Chapel of the Chimes, Oakland, 21 Jun 2012

Beth has performed and recorded with a diverse array of artists including inventor Trimpin; artists Vladimir Kokolia and Billie Grace Lynn; musicians Stephen Kent, Fred Frith, Miya Masaoka (正岡みや), Joan Jeanrenaud, Amy Denio, Tin Hat, Tango № 9, Pamela Z, Will Bernard, Sex Mob, John Schott, Grassy Knoll, ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Violent Femmes, J.A. Deane, the late, great Snakefinger, Greg Goodman, William Cepeda, Elaine Buckholtz, Mark Eitzel, Penelope Houston, Anna Homler, Ollin, and Connie Champagne.

She has over 35 recordings out with her ensembles Eighty Mile Beach, Clarinet Thing, Trance Mission, The Beth Custer Ensemble and Club Foot Orchestra.

Thomas Dimuzio

◉ Thomas Dimuzio (electronics)

Thomas Dimuzio is a composer, multi-instrumentalist & electronic musician, mastering engineer, sound designer, and label proprietor based in San Francisco.

Long regarded as a musical pioneer for his innovative use of live sampling and looping techniques to create compelling works, Thomas is a true sonic alchemist who can seemingly create music events out of almost anything. Listed sound sources on his various CDs include everything from ‘modified 10 speed bicycle’ and ‘resonating water pipe’ to short-wave radios, loops, feedback, samplers, and even normal instruments such as clarinet and trumpet, while his current work is facilitated by the deep expanses of modular synthesis.

His use of signal processing, custom crossfade looping, and algorithmic mixing fuels a synergy of man and machine in his live performances, while intercepted signal feeds from collaborators, wild sources of MIDI-controlled feedback, modular synthesizers, circuit-bent toys, or ambient microphones on the streets, become integrated as sound sources within his system of live interactive electronics, effortlessly moving from electroacoustic and noise to glitch, dark ambient, improv and drone.

Thomas Dimuzio

In his work as a sound designer, Thomas has worked with synthesizer and processor manufacturers such as Kurzweil, Lexicon, and OSC to create custom presets and sample libraries, and he has collaborated with Fred Frith, Tom Cora, and ROVA Saxophone Quartet to create sound libraries for Rarefaction and Big Fish Audio. Thomas also continues to play a key role in the development of Avid’s industry standard Pro Tools HD recording and mixing system, as he has for the past 20 years.

As a collaborator, Thomas works with numerous artists and ensembles such as Dimmer (with Joseph Hammer), Chris Cutler, Fred Frith, Dan Burke/Illusion of Safety, Nick Didkovsky, ISIS, Negativland, Arcane Device (David Lee Myers), Matmos, Wobbly (Jon Leidecker), Poptastic, 5uu’s, Tom Cora, Mickey Hart, Paul Haslinger, Arte Saxophone Quartett, Due Process, and Voice Of Eye.

Thomas Dimuzio

As a mastering engineer, Thomas has worked with independent artists and labels through his own Gench Studios since the early 1990’s. Among his clients are Matmos,NegativlandISISAMMCaptain AhabDoctor NervePsychic TV3Xiu Xiu, Devin Hoff, GG AllinKK Null (Kazuyuki Kishino岸野 一之), Joey P, Fred Frith, Scott Amendola, and many others.

Thomas Dimuzio’s recordings have been released internationally by ReR Megacorp, Asphodel, RRRecords, No Fun, Sonoris, Drone, Record Label Records, Odd Size, and other independent labels.

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

◉ Tom Djll (surrealist prepared trumpet | electronics)

Tom Djll has spent over twenty years developing the trumpet’s wide sonic array of extended techniques. His musical language incorporates complex noises and gritty, unheard textures from electronica into melodic gestures and building asymmetrical formal structures. Tom has made a lifelong study of the art of improvised music, and has been actively performing since 1980.

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll’s approach to playing the trumpet has been characterized from its inception by an anti-professionalism that locates itself within a political rather than musical continuum. Although he had studied composition with AACM masters Roscoe Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, Wadada Leo Smith, and others, inspired by punk and DIY approaches to performance and soundmaking (Trans MuseqPiL, The Contortions, Alterations, Eugene Chadbourne), Tom eschewed formal training in lieu of nearly fifteen years of blazing an idiosyncratic pathway through the instrument based on his studies and performances of analog electronic music. Working with a Serge Modular Synthesizer until the turn of the century, Tom described his trumpet sounds as products of an “analog lip synthesizer,” among other colorful epithets.

Mutootator, by Tom Djll and various accomplices

Mutootator, by Tom Djll and various accomplices

In 1989 Tom’s trumpet+electronics breakthrough was realized with the recording of TOMBO, using the Serge system’s endlessly disruptive causation chains to process, feedback-process, and process-feedback all sorts of trumpet and mouth sounds, culminating in Mutootator, the apex of his trumpet/Serge development. This set of improvised duets used a hybrid analog/digital live sampling and processing system (the “Mutootator”) of Tom’s own design, and featured William Winant, Tom Nunn, Jack Wright, Myles Boisen, and many others.

Lava, by Chris Brown

Subsequently, Tom studied in the graduate program at the Mills College Center for Contemporary Music, a period which saw his trumpet noises featured in Chris Brown’s ferociously difficult LAVA (for brass, percussion, and electronics, recorded on Tzadik). Tom continued working with Chris Brown in live performances of LAVA and other works (Brown, DUETS, Artifact) as well as with other Mills faculty (William Winant, Alvin Curran, John Bischoff) and eminent visitors to the school such as James Tenney, Bun-Ching Lam (品晶), “Blue” Gene Tyranny, Tim Perkis, and Pauline Oliveros (with whom he had previous studied her Deep Listening techniques). Others of Tom’s gurus include Karl Berger, Lester Bowie, and George Lewis.

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

In the new millennium, Tom’s resolutely nonprofessional performance practice has centered itself in live instrument re-building, wherein the trumpet’s identity is broken down and reassembled onstage, using bits of plastic tubing, rubber bands, whistles, squeakers, toys and other horn parts. More recent performances have seen the re-entry of actual electronic sounds into the language. The festering soundworlds arising from this gallimaufry of resonator/muters suggest a parade of chancy characters; Tom gives them monikers such as Whirly Honkblatter, Zeppelin Launch Simulation Drone, the Nude Rubberlips Orgasm Chanter, and the Dissociative Tubular Identity Disorder Scalar Ambiguation Horn.

Current and recent projects include:

Grosse Abfahrt (w Gino Robair, Tim Perkis, John Shiurba, Matt Ingalls and international guests), Quartet (w Tim Perkis, Matt Ingalls & Scott Walton), Space Junk (w Jordan Glenn & Scott Brown), Beauty School (w Jacob Felix Heule & Matt Chandler), Mockracy (co-operative orchestra, actors, and maxed media), All Tomorrow’s Zombies (w Tim Perkis & Gino Robair), Dynosoar (w Ron Heglin & “Gongwoman” Karen Stackpole),  Kinda Green (w Tim Perkis), John Shiurba’s 5×5, Gino Robair’s I, Norton Opera Company, sfSound Group, led by Matt Ingalls, and Tender Buttons (w Tania Chen & Gino Robair)

Joe Lasqo & Morgana perform w Jim Ryan's Green Alembic in the sfSoundSalonSeries at Center for New Music, San Francisco, 15 Apr 2014 (Photo by Carly Hoopes)

◉ Joe Lasqo (keyboards | laptop | objects)

Pianist / laptopist Joe Lasqo studied classical music in India; computer/electronic music at MIT, Columbia, Berkeley/CNMAT; has been a long-time performing modern & avant jazz musician; & has lived, played and listened in several Asian and European countries (now in San Francisco). He’s keen on the application of artificial intelligence techniques to improvisation and the meeting of traditional Asian musics with the 21st century. His recent album, Turquoise Sessions, is available on Edgetone Records; with new releases planned in 2016.

Joe had a weekly residency for 3½ years+ in the afternoon piano series at Viracocha, and has started a new residency at San Francisco’s PianoFight. He’s appeared recently with Bruce Ackley and Steve Adams of ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra, the London Improvisers Orchestra, Phillip Greenlief’s Orchesperry, his own Renga-kai (連歌会), Mukaiji-kai (霧海箎会), and Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) ensembles, synthesist Thomas Dimuzio, clarinetist/vocalist Beth Custer, pianist Thollem McDonas, percussionist Suki O’Kane, sound artists Joe Snape (UK) & Lucie Vítková (Czech Rep.), technodivas / electronic musicians Pamela Z & Viv Corringham (NYC/London), saxophonists Adrian Northover & Sue Lynch (London), and many others.

au quotidien, a new album with German-Swedish saxist/flautist Biggi Vinkeloe, master drummer Donald Robinson, and cello madman Teddy Rankin-Parker is in production for release in 2016.

David Michalak

◉ David Michalak (skatchbox | lap-steel guitar | film curator)

David Michalak has made over 50 films with original soundtracks, including 3 features, starting out on the East Coast.

After decades of films such as Dreamlife, Inside-Out (featuring The Kate Foley Dance Company and score written with Nik Phelps, performed by the Club Foot Orchestra), When The Spirit Moves, featuring (Joe Goode) dancer Vong Phrommala & silent-movie style actress Billie-Marie Gross, Firefly, and Regenbogen, a soundtrack ensemble was formed to play live scores for David’s movies and other film classics. The group, called Reel Change has featured: Andrew Voigt, Joe Sabella, David Michalak, Phillip Greenlief, Adam Hurst, George Cremaschi, Tom Nunn, Kyle Bruckmann, Theresa Wong (天欣), and Tom Djll, releasing the CD Open In Total Darkness.

David Michalak joins other spooks in Ghost in the House

David Michalak joins other spooks in Ghost in the House

David has added his unique ectoplasmic exuberance to many of the Bay Area’s avant ensembles (most recently the wonderful Ghost In The House), as well as some very unusual duos, like T.D. Skatchit (w Tom Nunn) and Dr. Bob (w Bob Marsh), playing a variety of invented instruments, lap steel guitar, and FX.

Biggi Vinkeloe (photo M.C. Jones, www.mcjonesphotography.com)

Biggi Vinkeloe (photo M.C. Jones, www.mcjonesphotography.com)

◉ — plus — special guest from Sweden — Biggi Vinkeloe (sax | flute)

I’m delighted to once again work with Biggi Vinkeloe, a sorceress of avant / jazz wind energy, and veteran of stellar collaborations with Roberto Bellatalla, Alberto Braida, Chris Brown, Lisle Ellis, Marco Eneidi, Ken Filiano, Gianni Gebbia, Vinny Golia, Giancarlo Locatelli, Miya Masaoka (正岡みや), Barre Phillips, Gino Robair, Donald Robinson, Damon Smith, Cecil Taylor, Peeter Uuskyla, Marie Wärme, and Mark Weaver, among many others.

We’re fortunate to have her joining us from Sweden in this show!

Something that always excites me about playing with Biggi — besides her uncompromisingly beautiful, exploratory work on sax & flute — is working with her sound samples and field recordings, especially ones recorded during her tour of India under the auspices of the Goethe Institut.

A pioneer of blending voice samples and “found music” with wind instruments, Biggi’s samples will be featured in this show.

One of Biggi’s recent projects whose beauty is compelling is:

JADE: New Spiritual Music, by Biggi Vinkeloe, François Lemonnier, Karin Nelson, Maria Forsström, and the Volcanic Choir

JADE: New Spiritual Music, by Biggi Vinkeloe, François Lemonnier, Karin Nelson, Maria Forsström, and the Volcanic Choir

JADE: New Spiritual Music

This unusual project combines the talents of Biggi Vinkeloe on sax and flute with avant trombonist François Lemonnier, organist Karin Nelson, soprano Maria Forsström, and the female Volcanic Choir to re-imagine a 21st-century sacred music drawing from jazz, free improv, Gregorian chant, Scandinavian folk melodies, Erik Satie, and other surprising influences. The interplay of the brilliant vocal arrangements with the unsual instrumentation in this music is haunting and will stay in your ear.

An in-depth review of this unique project by Craig Matsumoto is available: here.

———

Experience a shamanic journey to worlds on the other side of the mirror as your consciousness streams to surrealist music — come flicker with us at San Francisco’s home for film and music, The Second Act.

どうぞ。。。

Joe

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Piano: Jazz++ residency, continuing Wed 27 Apr @ PianoFight, “SF’s Next Landmark Entertainment Venue”: Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Thelonius Monk, Oliver Nelson, Steve Adams, Darren Johnston, Larry Ochs, Georges Gurdjieff (Георгий Гурджиев), Komitas (Կոմիտաս), Bollywood & more…

The splendid Californicorn presides over PianoFight's musical and spiritual offerings

The splendid Californicorn presides over PianoFight's musical and spiritual offerings

I’m delighted to continue my second Jazz++ residency @ PianoFight, “SF’s Next Landmark Entertainment Venue”, 144 Taylor St., SF (map), 5:30-8pm++, 4th Wednesdays, next show: Wed 27 Apr.

+ see also: Examiner.com write-up of this residency: here

Formed by Rob Ready, Dan Williams and Kevin Fink (called “the bad boys of San Francisco theatre” by Theatre Bay Area), PianoFight has successfully managed venues (Off-Market Theater Complex); recklessly invited audiences to Throw Rotten Veggies at the Actors; formed two critically acclaimed sketch comedy groups (Mission CTRL and ForePlays); and built a three-man producing team into a 46-member company of artists.

PianoFight, SF's Next Landmark Entertainment Venue

PianoFight, SF's Next Landmark Entertainment Venue

Their latest adventure is PianoFight — a new theater complex at the former site of the San Francisco landmark restaurant Original Joe’s, 144 Taylor Street, with two theaters in the back of house, + in the front of house a 60-seat restaurant and bar with a full liquor license — and a cabaret stage, the site of my latest adventure.

This great new venue, in the heart of SF’s Central Market Arts District, takes forward the development of a music axis on Taylor Street, stretching from the Luggage Store, the Warfield, and Center For New Music to its northernmost and newest boîte.

My totem animal, Morgana, keenly looks forward to again joining forces with PianoFight’s totem animal, the Californicorn. We’ll be there on 4th Wednesdays.

Joe Lasqo performing with Donald Robinson, 25 Aug 2013, SIMM Series, San Francisco (photo by Peter B. Kaars, www.peterbkaars.com)

Joe Lasqo performing with Donald Robinson, 25 Aug 2013, SIMM Series, San Francisco (photo by Peter B. Kaars, www.peterbkaars.com)

On offer will be classic modern jazz from the “Birth of the Cool” era to the best of current Bay Area jazz composers and more (some of these standards noted in the captions below).

Blue In Green & So What?, from Kind Of Blue, by Miles Davis

Blue In Green & So What?, from Kind Of Blue, by Miles Davis

Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, from Mingus Ah Um, by Charles Mingus

Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, from Mingus Ah Um, by Charles Mingus

Humpty Dumpty, from This Is Our Music, by Ornette Coleman

Humpty Dumpty, from This Is Our Music, by Ornette Coleman

Round Midnight from Thelonius Monk, Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 1

Round Midnight from Thelonius Monk, Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 1

Stolen Moments, from The Blues And The Abstract Truth, by Oliver Nelson

Stolen Moments, from The Blues And The Abstract Truth, by Oliver Nelson

The cool energy of classics by Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Thelonius Monk, Oliver Nelson

… plus the fresh compositions of today’s Bay Area greats like Darren Johnston, Steve Adams, Larry Ochs, and others provide the jazz backbone of the repertoire on offer.

Apples, by Darren Johnston

Steve Adams

Squeamish, by Steve Adams

Failure, by Larry Ochs

Tyāgarāja (త్యాగరాజు)

Every now and then bit of India, Bollywood…

Georges Gurdjieff (Георгий Гурджиев)

Georges Gurdjieff (Георгий Гурджиев)

Portrait of Komitas (Կոմիտաս), 1969, by Tiraturyan Karapet (Կարապետ Տիրատուրյան)

Portrait of Komitas (Կոմիտաս), 1969, by Tiraturyan Karapet (Կարապետ Տիրատուրյան)

or the mystic songs of Georges Gurdjieff (Георгий Гурджиев), Komitas (Կոմիտաս), Stockhausen and other modern composers will appear as a basis for improvisation.

Stockhausen, WDR Studio, 1962

Listeners who have heard me in the erstwhile afternoon piano series at Viracocha (21st & Valencia, SF) will find this repertoire both familiar but also containing some beautiful new material.

———

Joe Lasqo and ASHA The Cat @ Viracocha, drawing by Jenna Paul-Schultz (jpstravels.wordpress.com)

Joe Lasqo and ASHA The Cat @ Viracocha, drawing by Jenna Paul-Schultz (jpstravels.wordpress.com)

Bio: Pianist / laptopist Joe Lasqo studied classical music in India; computer/electronic music at MIT, Columbia, Berkeley/CNMAT; has been a long-time performing modern & avant jazz musician; & has lived, played and listened in several Asian and European countries (now in San Francisco). He’s keen on the application of artificial intelligence techniques to improvisation and the meeting of traditional Asian musics with the 21st century. His recent album, Turquoise Sessions, is available on Edgetone Records; with new releases planned in 2015.

Joe had a weekly residency for 3½ years+ in the afternoon piano series at Viracocha, and has started a new residency at San Francisco’s PianoFight. He’s appeared recently with Bruce Ackley and Steve Adams of ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra, the London Improvisers Orchestra, Phillip Greenlief’s Orchesperry, his own Renga-kai (連歌会), Mukaiji-kai (霧海箎会), and Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) ensembles, synthesist Thomas Dimuzio, clarinetist/vocalist Beth Custer, pianist Thollem McDonas, percussionist Suki O’Kane, sound artists Joe Snape (UK) & Lucie Vítková (Czech Rep.), technodivas / electronic musicians Pamela Z & Viv Corringham (NYC/London), saxophonists Adrian Northover & Sue Lynch (London), and many others.

au quotidien, a new album with German-Swedish saxist/flautist Biggi Vinkeloe, master drummer Donald Robinson, and cello madman Teddy Rankin-Parker is in production for release in 2016.

———

Join me for food, drink, jazz, and improvisatory adventure after work on 4th Wednesdays at PianoFight, “SF’s Next Landmark Entertainment Venue”:

どうぞ。。。

Joe

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Electric Shadow Theater: Film Truth + Surreal Sound by Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) ◉ sonified films by Jean Cocteau, Fernand Léger, and Maya Deren ◉ with music by Steve Adams, Bryan Day, Tom Djll, Joe Lasqo, John McCowen, David Michalak, Sat 02 Apr @ The Second Act, SF

Cocteau applies the finishing touches to cast member Barbette - « Le sang d'un poète »

Cocteau applies the finishing touches to cast member Barbette - « Le sang d'un poète »

Coordinates: The Second Act, SF, 1727 Haight St, SF (between Shrader & Cole – map), 8pm, Sat 02 Apr.

Advance tickets available at a $5 discount: here

It will be a great pleasure to play again at The Second Act, the terrific performing arts space and restaurant zone that Jack & Betsy Rix, members of the original Red Vic collective, have now created in the Red Vic’s former site — and what better site than this pioneering art film house in San Francisco’s cultural history for silent film + music!

The Second Act, the next generation of the Haight's Red Vic

The Second Act, the next generation of the Haight's Red Vic

The “Third Wednesday” series run there by James Decker, proprietor/perpetrator of Resipiscent Records, has created a powerful electronic music dipole traversing Haight St., resonating with the Lower Haight’s mutant sound scene @ ROBOTSPEAk.

The throbbing avant energy unleashed at The Second Act has not only attracted a large and actively engaged audience, but has recently erupted into the visual dimension as well, starting a new film + music series last August with Ben Tinker’s film + music project That Hideous Strength.

I’m excited to again add to this wayang sinema series with new ensemble Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) and some of the freshest, most exciting films ever made.

The founder of the first "Paranormal Research Society" (Fushigi Kenkyūkai : 不思議研究会), in 1886, Enryō Inoue (井上円了)

The founder of the first "Paranormal Research Society" (Fushigi Kenkyūkai : 不思議研究会), in 1886, Enryō Inoue (井上円了)

Since the founding of Clubfoot Orchestra in 1983, San Francisco has been a leader in pairing film classics with composed or improvised scores. Not only is Clubfoot Orchestra still scaling new heights, but a rich new crop of ensembles for film + sound have created a second wave of Bay Area shadow play for the 21st century.

Fushigi Kenkyūkai are a collective of film and sound artists, mixing veterans of Bay Area “wayang sinema” ensembles like Clubfoot Orchestra & Reel Change with pioneers of electronic, computer-based, and invented instruments.

The name Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) means “Paranormal Research Society”. The truth is out there.

The program uses two surrealist film classics and a cubo-futurist mechanical “ballet” to find it.

Line-up:

Steve Adams (elctronics)

Bryan Day (invented instruments)

Tom Djll (surrealist prepared trumpet)

Joe Lasqo (keyboards | laptop | objects)

John McCowen (dada prepared clarinet + drum resonator)

David Michalak (skatchbox | lap steel guitar | film curator)

Program

Part 1: Cubist Culottes / Surrealist Shorts (33 min, with show break following)

Fernand Léger: Ballet mécanique

Maya Deren (Майя Дерен): Meshes Of The Afternoon

Part 2: Main Feature

Jean Cocteau: Blood Of A Poet (Le sang d’un poète) 55 min.

Jean Cocteau and friend

Jean Cocteau and friend

Blood Of A Poet (Le sang d’un poète), by Jean Cocteau

Cocteau described his first film, Blood Of A Poet (Le sang d’un poète) as “a descent into oneself, a way of using the mechanism of the dream without sleeping, a crooked candle, often mysteriously blown out, carried about in the night of the human body.”

A tall smokestack starts to collapse…

« La solitude du poète est si grande et qu'il vit tellement ce qu'il crée, que la bouche d'une de ses créatures lui reste dans la main comme une blessure… » (The poet's solitude is so great, he so lives what he creates, that the mouth of one of his creations lives in his hand like a wound...) - Cocteau

« La solitude du poète est si grande et qu'il vit tellement ce qu'il crée, que la bouche d'une de ses créatures lui reste dans la main comme une blessure… » (The poet's solitude is so great, he so lives what he creates, that the mouth of one of his creations lives in his hand like a wound...) - Cocteau

A mouth in an artist’s sketch starts moving, wanders off the paper and occupies the artist’s hand, then finally finds a home on a statue in the studio, making it come alive…

Travel between worlds via mirror in Cocteau's « Le sang d'un poète » - Boarding phase

Now able to talk, the statue tells the artist how to pass through mirrors to another world, where he voyeuristically peeps on tableaux of levitating children, ambiguous sexuality, and opium dreams through keyholes at the «Hôtel de Folies Dramatiques», culminating in his suicide, resurrection, and return through the mirror…

Danger de mort! à l'Hôtel de Folies Dramatiques - « Le sang d'un poète », by Jean Cocteau

Danger de mort! à l'Hôtel de Folies Dramatiques - « Le sang d'un poète », by Jean Cocteau

A young school boy is murdered by a snowball in a courtyard — that turns out to be a stage where a card-game is being played before an audience of aristocrats watching from boxes.

Will the black guardian angel keep the dead boy’s Ace of Hearts from the artist, who has become the card-shark?

After we find out the answer, a tall smokestack continues to collapse…

« Le sang d'un poète », by Jean Cocteau

« Le sang d'un poète », by Jean Cocteau

About this first installment of the Orphic Trilogy, Cocteau said:

“My relationship with the work was like that of a cabinetmaker who puts together the pieces of a table whom the spiritualists, who make the table move, consult.”

“I was the only one of this minority [the surrealists] to avoid the deliberate manifestations of the unconscious in favor of a kind of half-sleep through which I wandered as though in a labyrinth.”

Blood of a Poet draws nothing from either dreams or symbols. As far as the former are concerned, it initiates their mechanism, and by letting the mind relax, as in sleep, it lets memories entwine, move and express themselves freely. As for the latter, it rejects them, and substitutes acts… that the spectator can make symbols of if he wishes.”

« Le sang d'un poète », by Jean Cocteau

« Le sang d'un poète », by Jean Cocteau

Jean Cocteau started a long string of technical film-making discoveries with his first film by turning mistakes that he didn’t have the money or technology to undo into profoundly inspired excuses for improvisatory cinematography, incorporating even the dust kicked up by cleaners in the studio to provide surrealistic effects, and pioneered trick shot techniques to realize strange effects like the sideways gravity of the «Hôtel de Folies Dramatiques» and the mirror portal between worlds.

« Quand il joue cette partie de cartes avec sa Muse, avec sa Gloire, avec sa Destinée, il triche en prenant sur son enfance ce qu'il devrait puiser en lui-même » (When he plays the card game with his Muse, his Glory, with his Destiny, he cheats by drawing from his childhood instead of from within himself) - Lee Miller in Cocteau's « Le sang d'un poète »

« Quand il joue cette partie de cartes avec sa Muse, avec sa Gloire, avec sa Destinée, il triche en prenant sur son enfance ce qu'il devrait puiser en lui-même » (When he plays the card game with his Muse, his Glory, with his Destiny, he cheats by drawing from his childhood instead of from within himself) - Lee Miller in Cocteau's « Le sang d'un poète »

Another highlight of the film is the only extensive film appearance of surrealist & documentary photographer Lee Miller, who plays the living statue of the film as well as the antagonist of the card-shark near the film’s conclusion, she of whom Cocteau said, “I could tell you that the snowball fight represents the poet’s childhood and that when he plays the card game with his Muse, his Glory, with his Destiny [Lee Miller], he cheats by drawing from his childhood instead of from within himself.”

Portrait of Space, by Lee Miller

Portrait of Space, by Lee Miller

Brilliant collaborator and lover of Man Ray, Lee Miller, met him, as described by Jonathon Keats (link), “in the spring of 1929 at a Paris bar called the Bateau Ivre. Miller was seeking photography lessons. Ray said he didn’t take students, and was leaving for vacation in Biarritz. “So am I,” she responded, starting one of the most tempestuous and creative relationships in the history of 20th century art.”

(L→R) Enrique Riveros & Lee Miller in Le sang d'un poète, by Jean Cocteau

(L→R) Enrique Riveros & Lee Miller in Le sang d'un poète, by Jean Cocteau

Later the wife of British surrealist painter Roland Penrose and documentary photographer of the Nazi concentration camps at Buchenwald and Dachau, Lee Miller numbered among her friends and photographic clients Picasso, Joseph Cornell, Paul Éluard, Eileen Agar, Jean Cocteau, Dorothea Tanning, Henry Moore, Max Ernst, and Jean Dubuffet.

Documenting the horrors of the Holocaust left Lee Miller in a life-long struggle afterward with what would later be called PTSD, and she was after the war investigated on suspicion of being a Soviet spy by Britain’s MI5.

———

Ballet électromécanique, by Fernand Léger — with new electronic score

Poster for Fernand Léger's « Ballet mécanique »

Poster for Fernand Léger's « Ballet mécanique »

Ballet mécanique marks a turning point in both film and music history.

The film is usually credited to Fernand Léger, with large contributions from Dudley Murphy and Man Ray, and with a lot of uncertainty about who did what. For the sake of simplicity, let’s consider it Léger’s film here.

« Les joueurs de cartes » (The Card Players), by Fernand Léger

« Les joueurs de cartes » (The Card Players), by Fernand Léger

Recovering from the mustard gas attack that nearly killed him toward the end of World War 1, Léger began to integrate his wartime experiences with the machinery and inhumanity of the front into his art, producing paintings with machine-like figures, like The Card Players.

He said of this period:

“…I was stunned by the sight of the breech of a 75mm in the sunlight. It was the magic of light on the white metal. That’s all it took for me to forget the abstract art of 1912–1913. The crudeness, variety, humor, and downright perfection of certain men around me, their precise sense of utilitarian reality and its application in the midst of the life-and-death drama we were in … made me want to paint in slang with all its color and mobility.”

Frame from Fernand Léger's « Ballet mécanique »

Frame from Fernand Léger's « Ballet mécanique »

This cubo-futurist period in Léger’s work was propelled by a kinetic esthetic that emphasized movement, repetition and a nascent transhumanism in its fluid and porous boundaries between human and machine.

One of Léger's animation sequences from « Ballet mécanique »

One of Léger's animation sequences from « Ballet mécanique »

The film is laced with additional spice pellets in the form of Fernand Léger’s animation sequences bearing strange oblique references to Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times.

George Antheil and instruments from his « Ballet mécanique »

George Antheil and instruments from his « Ballet mécanique »

Intertwined with Ballet mécanique the film is another Ballet mécanique — the musical piece by George Antheil.

Originally conceived of as the soundtrack for the film, the two pieces drifted apart in production, with the music winding up 1½ times as long as the film.

The orchestration was: 16 player pianos (or pianolas) in four parts, 2 regular pianos, 3 xylophones, at least 7 electric bells, 3 airplane propellers, siren, 4 bass drums, & 1 tam-tam.

The synchronization of the 16 player pianos was technically impossible in that MIDI-less era, but perhaps that only added to the fun of the affair….

Antheil — as assiduous a marketer as the later John Cage (who appeared on game shows to pursue nationwide broadcast performance opportunities for his pieces) — vigorously hyped his bizarre baby by arranging to appear to have been kidnapped before the first performance (whose patroness was at the end of the concert tossed in a blanket by 3 baronesses and a duke…) and hiring professional provocateurs to infiltrate the audience and heighten the sense of scandal at later performances.

Other Minds' brilliant revival recording of George Antheil's « Ballet mécanique »

Other Minds' brilliant revival recording of George Antheil's « Ballet mécanique »

Despite the glorious music, which you can check out in a superb revival recording from Other Minds, the severe length mismatch kept the music and the film in separate universes until the advent of modern editing technology in the 90’s when clever cutting and sewing created the illusion of synchronization in a length-matched compressed-music version.

Up to then, the music had been performed (very rarely…) as a stand-alone “ballet” (with the exotic stage machinery standing in for dancers).

The film was premiered silently, without the intended music, and then became fair game for various musicians and composers to have at it, which is exactly our plan — to salute the singularity with a new 21st-century electronics-enhanced version in a Ballet électromécanique.

———

Maya Deren (Майя Дерен) in her film Meshes Of The Afternoon

Maya Deren (Майя Дерен) in her film Meshes Of The Afternoon

Maya Deren (Майя Дерен) said of her Meshes Of The Afternoon that it “does not record an event which could be witnessed by other persons”.

A shifting exploration of ambiguous transitions between sleep and waking, life and death, self and double(s) that’s imbued with an eerie and indescribable coherence, Meshes Of The Afternoon achieves its impact by means of brilliant and very musical use of a number of motifs that it puts through set-theoretic permutations in a way that would have made Milton Babbitt proud, but retains a mysterious human poetry.

Frame from Maya Deren's Meshes Of The Afternoon

Frame from Maya Deren's Meshes Of The Afternoon

A flower on a long driveway, a knife in a loaf of bread, a phone off the hook, a Grim Reaper with a mirror instead of a face, a key falling, a phonograph, and other motifs all participate in a spiraling fugue where potential meanings are developed and abandoned like polyphonic lines.

As Robert Robertson says in Cinema And The Audiovisual Imagination: Music, Image, Sound, “Taking the model of chamber music, she advocated its lyrical qualities, it’s abstract forms, its economy, but also its virtuosity, as an example for what she called ‘chamber films’.”

Traveling across many stairs, pathways, and physical levels of a house and its environments, the protagonist encounters various doubles, mirrors, and situations reflected between dreams and what passes for the film’s reality.

Montage of scenes from Meshes Of The Afternoon by Maya Deren (Майя Дерен)

Montage of scenes from Meshes Of The Afternoon by Maya Deren (Майя Дерен)

We’ll map and reshape these motivic lines, inversions, and transformative repetitions in a new electronic score for what, due to its musical qualities, has become one of the greatest “standards” for film+music sonification.

———

Carrying on the traditions of and sharing members with “wayang sinema” ensembles like Clubfoot Orchestra & Reel Change, Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) is comprised of:

Steve Adams

Steve Adams

◉ Steve Adams (electronics)

ROVA-ite Steve Adams needs little introduction to lovers of jazz and new music, having been a long-standing key player in various East & West Coast scenes. His work on various saxes, flutes, electronics and as a composer combines probing originality, playful improv structures and swing with a very specific angular momentum.

Steve Adams

Steve is best known as a member of ROVA Saxophone Quartet, whom he’s been with for more than 20 years. Steve is also a member of the Bill Horvitz Band, various Matt Small ensembles, and the Vinny Golia Large Ensemble, as well as leading his own projects.

Steve lived in Boston in the ’70s and ’80s, where he was a member of Your Neighborhood Sax Quartet, Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic, and Composers In Red Sneakers among others. A remarkable collaboration with avant jazz bassist Ken Filiano, which we in the Bay Area have the pleasure of hearing on Ken’s swings to the West Coast, was formed in this period.

Here we focus on Steve’s wonderful electronic work, which has also been displayed to stunning effect in various duos and small ensembles with Scott Walton, John Hanes, and others.

Bryan Day performs in the Active Music Series @ The Uptown, Oakland, 11 Jun 2013 (photo - John Scharpen)

◉ Bryan Day (invented instruments)

Bryan Day is an improviser, instrument inventor, illustrator & installation artist based in San Francisco. His work involves combining elements of the natural and man-made world using field recordings, custom audio generation software and homemade instruments. Bryan’s work explores the parallels between the patterns and systems in nature to those in contemporary society.

Bryan Day

Bryan has toured throughout the US, Europe, Japan, Korea, Argentina, the Philippines, & Mexico, performing both solo as Sistrum and Eloine, and in the Shelf Life and Seeded Plain ensembles, as well as with innumerable collaborators, and has over 40 solo and ensemble releases.

Bryan Day's kit reflects his sound universe (photo - John Scharpen)

Bryan Day's kit reflects his sound universe (photo - John Scharpen)

Since 1997 he has been running the new music label Public Eyesore and its sister label Eh?. Through Public Eyesore and Eh?, Bryan has produced and released over 200 albums of improvised and experimental music by artists from all over the globe, in addition to curating the music series at Meridian Gallery in San Francisco.

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

◉ Tom Djll (surrealist prepared trumpet)

Tom Djll has spent over twenty years developing the trumpet’s wide sonic array of extended techniques. His musical language incorporates complex noises and gritty, unheard textures from electronica into melodic gestures and building asymmetrical formal structures. Tom has made a lifelong study of the art of improvised music, and has been actively performing since 1980.

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll’s approach to playing the trumpet has been characterized from its inception by an anti-professionalism that locates itself within a political rather than musical continuum. Although he had studied composition with AACM masters Roscoe Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, Wadada Leo Smith, and others, inspired by punk and DIY approaches to performance and soundmaking (Trans MuseqPiL, The Contortions, Alterations, Eugene Chadbourne), Tom eschewed formal training in lieu of nearly fifteen years of blazing an idiosyncratic pathway through the instrument based on his studies and performances of analog electronic music. Working with a Serge Modular Synthesizer until the turn of the century, Tom described his trumpet sounds as products of an “analog lip synthesizer,” among other colorful epithets.’

Mutootator, by Tom Djll and various accomplices

Mutootator, by Tom Djll and various accomplices

In 1989 Tom’s trumpet+electronics breakthrough was realized with the recording of TOMBO, using the Serge system’s endlessly disruptive causation chains to process, feedback-process, and process-feedback all sorts of trumpet and mouth sounds, culminating in Mutootator, the apex of his trumpet/Serge development. This set of improvised duets used a hybrid analog/digital live sampling and processing system (the “Mutootator”) of Tom’s own design, and featured William Winant, Tom Nunn, Jack Wright, Myles Boisen, and many others.

Lava, by Chris Brown

Subsequently, Tom studied in the graduate program at the Mills College Center for Contemporary Music, a period which saw his trumpet noises featured in Chris Brown’s ferociously difficult LAVA (for brass, percussion, and electronics, recorded on Tzadik). Tom continued working with Chris Brown in live performances of LAVA and other works (Brown, DUETS, Artifact) as well as with other Mills faculty (William Winant, Alvin Curran, John Bischoff) and eminent visitors to the school such as James Tenney, Bun-Ching Lam (品晶), “Blue” Gene Tyranny, Tim Perkis, and Pauline Oliveros (with whom he had previous studied her Deep Listening techniques). Others of Tom’s gurus incude Karl Berger, Lester Bowie, and George Lewis.

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

In the new millennium, Tom’s resolutely nonprofessional performance practice has centered itself in live instrument re-building, wherein the trumpet’s identity is broken down and reassembled onstage, using bits of plastic tubing, rubber bands, whistles, squeakers, toys and other horn parts. More recent performances have seen the re-entry of actual electronic sounds into the language. The festering soundworlds arising from this gallimaufry of resonator/muters suggest a parade of chancy characters; Tom gives them monikers such as Whirly Honkblatter, Zeppelin Launch Simulation Drone, the Nude Rubberlips Orgasm Chanter, and the Dissociative Tubular Identity Disorder Scalar Ambiguation Horn.

Current and recent projects include:

Grosse Abfahrt (w Gino Robair, Tim Perkis, John Shiurba, Matt Ingalls and international guests), Quartet (w Tim Perkis, Matt Ingalls & Scott Walton), Space Junk (w Jordan Glenn & Scott Brown), Beauty School (w Jacob Felix Heule & Matt Chandler), Mockracy (co-operative orchestra, actors, and maxed media), All Tomorrow’s Zombies (w Tim Perkis & Gino Robair), Dynosoar (w Ron Heglin & “Gongwoman” Karen Stackpole),  Kinda Green (w Tim Perkis), John Shiurba’s 5×5, Gino Robair’s I, Norton Opera Company, sfSound Group, led by Matt Ingalls, and Tender Buttons (w Tania Chen & Gino Robair)

Joe Lasqo & Morgana perform w Jim Ryan's Green Alembic in the sfSoundSalonSeries at Center for New Music, San Francisco, 15 Apr 2014 (Photo by Carly Hoopes)

◉ Joe Lasqo (keyboards | laptop | objects)

Pianist / laptopist Joe Lasqo studied classical music in India; computer/electronic music at MIT, Columbia, Berkeley/CNMAT; has been a long-time performing modern & avant jazz musician; & has lived, played and listened in several Asian and European countries (now in San Francisco). He’s keen on the application of artificial intelligence techniques to improvisation and the meeting of traditional Asian musics with the 21st century. His recent album, Turquoise Sessions, is available on Edgetone Records; with new releases planned in 2015.

Joe had a weekly residency for 3½ years+ in the afternoon piano series at Viracocha, and has started a new residency at San Francisco’s PianoFight. He’s appeared recently with Bruce Ackley and Steve Adams of ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra, the London Improvisers Orchestra, Phillip Greenlief’s Orchesperry, his own Renga-kai (連歌会), Mukaiji-kai (霧海箎会), and Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) ensembles, synthesist Thomas Dimuzio, clarinetist/vocalist Beth Custer, pianist Thollem McDonas, percussionist Suki O’Kane, sound artists Joe Snape (UK) & Lucie Vítková (Czech Rep.), technodivas / electronic musicians Pamela Z & Viv Corringham (NYC/London), saxophonists Adrian Northover & Sue Lynch (London), and many others.

au quotidien, a new album with German-Swedish saxist/flautist Biggi Vinkeloe, master drummer Donald Robinson, and cello madman Teddy Rankin-Parker is in production for release in early 2016.

John McCowen performs his piece BONE(THIN)

John McCowen performs his piece BONE(THIN)

◉ John McCowen (dada prepared clarinet + drum resonator)

John McCowen’s musical path is rooted in the DIY culture of American hardcore music. John was a vocalist in hardcore music until he heard the music of Albert Ayler. At that point, he began channeling his energy through the saxophone, and was further influenced by the music of Eric Dolphy and John Coltrane.

After a few years as a touring musician and independent study, he entered academia at Southern Illinois U. and studied clarinet with Eric P. Mandat, who opened his eyes to microtonality and extended techniques. John remains a member of the Chicago musical community while now living in Oakland, and plays in Wei Zhongle (衛仲樂/卫仲乐), Vibrating Skull Trio, and John McCowen Clarinet Quartet.

John is currently studying with Roscoe Mitchell and others at Mills College, and has been astonishing a steadily increasing circle of Bay Area listeners by seemingly discovering entire new unexplored continents of extended clarinet technique.

Those who have heard his brilliant solo shows at the Luggage Store Gallery and elsewhere already know the virtuosic, pioneering, and thoroughly original sound universe he’s created — the rest of you will be dumbfounded at the new sonic horizons he opens up.

David Michalak

◉ David Michalak (skatchbox | lap-steel guitar | film curator)

David Michalak has made over 50 films with original soundtracks, including 3 features, starting out on the East Coast.

After decades of films such as Dreamlife, Inside-Out (featuring The Kate Foley Dance Company and score written with Nik Phelps, performed by the Club Foot Orchestra), When The Spirit Moves, featuring (Joe Goode) dancer Vong Phrommala & silent-movie style actress Billie-Marie Gross, Firefly, and Regenbogen, a soundtrack ensemble was formed to play live scores for David’s movies and other film classics. The group, called Reel Change has featured: Andrew Voigt, Joe Sabella, David Michalak, Phillip Greenlief, Adam Hurst, George Cremaschi, Tom Nunn, Kyle Bruckmann, Theresa Wong (天欣), and Tom Djll, releasing the CD Open In Total Darkness.

———

Experience travel between worlds on the other side of the mirror as your consciousness streams to surrealist music — come flicker with us at PianoFight, “SF’s Next Landmark Entertainment Venue”.

どうぞ。。。

Joe

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Electric Shadow Theater: Film Truth + Surreal Sound by Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) ◉ sonified films by Jean Cocteau, and Robert Florey / Slavko Vorkapić ◉ with music by Steve Adams, Bryan Day, Thomas Dimuzio, Tom Djll, Joe Lasqo, and John McCowen, Sun 17 Apr @ PianoFight, SF

Cocteau — Orphée

Cocteau — Orphée

I’m very excited to once again bring Electric Shadow Theater to PianoFight, “SF’s Next Landmark Entertainment Venue”, 144 Taylor St., SF (map), with new ensemble Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会), 7pm, Sun 17 Apr and some of the freshest, most exciting films ever made.

☞ Advance tickets available at a discount: here

Formed by Rob Ready, Dan Williams and Kevin Fink (called “the bad boys of San Francisco theatre” by Theatre Bay Area), PianoFight has successfully managed venues (Off-Market Theater Complex); recklessly invited audiences to Throw Rotten Veggies at the Actors; formed two critically acclaimed sketch comedy groups (Mission CTRL and ForePlays); and built a three-man producing team into a 46-member company of artists.

Their latest adventure is PianoFight — a new theater complex at the former site of the San Francisco landmark restaurant Original Joe’s, 144 Taylor Street, with two theaters in the back of house, and a 60-seat restaurant and bar with a full liquor license and a cabaret stage at the front of the house.

PianoFight, SF's Next Landmark Entertainment Venue

PianoFight, SF's Next Landmark Entertainment Venue

This great new performing arts complex, in the heart of SF’s Central Market Arts District, takes forward the development of a music axis on Taylor Street, stretching from the Luggage Store, the Warfield, and Center For New Music to its northernmost and newest boîte.

Meanwhile, its two black-box theaters have expanded the “San Francisco off-off-Broadway” that includes CounterPulse, EXIT Theater, and Cutting Ball Theatre.

My totem animal, Morgana, has enjoyed joining forces with PianoFight’s totem animal, the Californicorn during my solo residencies and previous film+music shows there, and we both keenly look forward to performing there again…

The founder of the first "Paranormal Research Society" (Fushigi Kenkyūkai : 不思議研究会), in 1886, Enryō Inoue (井上円了)

The founder of the first "Paranormal Research Society" (Fushigi Kenkyūkai : 不思議研究会), in 1886, Enryō Inoue (井上円了)

Since the founding of Clubfoot Orchestra in 1983, San Francisco has been a leader in pairing film classics with composed or improvised scores. Not only is Clubfoot Orchestra still scaling new heights, but a rich new crop of ensembles for film + sound have created a second wave of Bay Area shadow play for the 21st century.

Fushigi Kenkyūkai are a collective of film and sound artists, mixing veterans of Bay Area “wayang sinema” ensembles like Clubfoot Orchestra & Reel Change with pioneers of electronic, computer-based, and invented instruments.

The name Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) means “Paranormal Research Society”. The truth is out there.

The program uses a French surrealist film classic and an experimental American short full of masks and shadows to find it.

Line-up:

Steve Adams (electronics)

Bryan Day (invented instruments)

Thomas Dimuzio (electronics)

Tom Djll (surrealist prepared trumpet | electronics)

Joe Lasqo (keyboards | laptop | objects)

John McCowen (dada prepared clarinet + drum resonator)

Program

Part 1: Short (13 min, with short break for reel change following)

Robert Florey / Slavko Vorkapić: The Life and Death of 9413: a Hollywood Extra

Part 2: Main Feature (95 min)

Jean Cocteau: Orphée

Jean Cocteau and friend

Jean Cocteau and friend

Orphée by Jean Cocteau

Orphée by Jean Cocteau


Orphée, by Jean Cocteau (95 min)

Continuing from our sonification of Blood Of A Poet (Le sang d’un poète), the first film in Cocteau’s Orphic Trilogy, we move to the second, Orphée, a high peak of post-WW2 cinema.

As Cocteau said of Orphée: “Le sang d’un poète was based on the poet’s need to go through a series of deaths and to be reborn in a shape closer to his real being. There, the theme was played with one finger… in Orphée, I have orchestrated the theme”.

Jean Marais stars as Cocteau's Orphée

Jean Marais stars as Cocteau's Orphée

The repeated multi-perspective “cubist” deaths and rebirths of Blood Of A Poet are now interwoven into the grand dialog of death with song encoded in the Orpheus archetype.

As Roger Ebert summarizes, “Orpheus is a Greek myth about a musician who descends into the underworld to reclaim his dead wife, and so enchants the gods with the music of his lyre that they permit her to return to the land of the living–on the condition that he never look at her. Jean Cocteau set his 1949 film of the story in modern-day Paris, and added twists that would have startled the Greeks, especially a romantic triangle with Death as the third partner…

Orphée listens to the number stations of the Underworld on the car radio of Death's Rolls-Royce for poetic inspiration

Orphée listens to the number stations of the Underworld on the car radio of Death's Rolls-Royce for poetic inspiration

The story in Cocteau’s hands becomes unexpectedly complex; we see that it is not simply about love, death and jealousy, but also about how art can seduce the artist away from ordinary human concerns, so that after Orpheus astonishingly returns from the land of death, he is more concerned with the nonsensical radio transmissions [from Death’s car radio] than with his wife who loves him.”.

Orphée glimpses Eurydice in the rear-view mirror

Orphée glimpses Eurydice in the rear-view mirror

The resonant symbolism of mirrors established by Cocteau in Blood Of A Poet is further extended in this second installment of the trilogy, a symbolism deeply intertwined with mortality (Cocteau: “Mirrors are the doors through which death comes and goes. Look at yourself in a mirror all your life and you’ll see death do its work.”)

Underworld bikers as Angels of Death in Cocteau's Orphée

Underworld bikers as Angels of Death in Cocteau's Orphée

As Adam Scovell says, “Mirrors become liquid gateways to the underworld where the dead work for bureaucrats and live in a disheveled and battered place, while angels of death take the form of two mysterious bikers.”.

Shortly after the film opens a Dark Princess makes a dramatic entrance at the Café des Poètes, with her kept poet, Cègeste, in train. “Do you know who I am?” the Princess asks Cègeste. “I am your death.” Drunk, Cègeste soon becomes disorderly; when the cops arrive he tries to flee, but is then run down by two bikers.

The jouney to the Underworld in Cocteau's Orphée

The jouney to the Underworld in Cocteau's Orphée

The Princess bundles Orphée into her Rolls-Royce to help her “take Cègeste to the hospital”, but it soon becomes clear their destination lies elsewhere as they traverse a negative landscape, accompanied by the two bikers as dada poetry comes over the car radio.

Death, The Poet, and biker angels in the underworld, in Cocteau's Orphée

Death, The Poet, and biker angels in the underworld, in Cocteau's Orphée

This first shamanic visit to the Underworld gives Orphée two unusual gifts — an addiction to the poison nectar of the car radio dada poetry for his inspiration and a practical knowledge of the Underworld which is useful in his quest to redeem his wife Eurydice’s soul when she dies shortly after his return.

Death hovers over Eurydice in Cocteau's Orphée

Death hovers over Eurydice in Cocteau's Orphée

Though Orphée is able to bring back Eurydice from the Underworld on the condition that he never gaze on her, his increasing attraction to the Dark Princess and his growing addiction to the dada poetry coming from the car radio in her Rolls (which she keeps conveniently parked in his garage…) weave the threads of Eurydice’s ultimate undoing. Reduced to visiting Orphée in the back seat of the Rolls in the garage where he is continuously listening to the meaningless words, her eyes catch Orphée’s in the rear-view mirror,and all is lost… or is it?

María Casares, who played the Dark Princess in Cocteau's Orphée, painting by Leonor Fini (1955) 520v 1.0

María Casares, who played the Dark Princess in Cocteau's Orphée, painting by Leonor Fini (1955) 520v 1.0

A tumultuous series of final plot twists then leaves everyone oblivious or exhausted. As the Princess, turning to her chauffeur, sums up, “If this were our former world, I’d say, ‘Let’s have a drink.'”

———

The Life and Death of 9413: a Hollywood Extra, by Robert Florey & Slavko Vorkapić (13 min, followed by reel change…)

Frame from The Life and Death of 9413 - A Hollywood Extra, by Robert Florey and Slavko Vorkapić

Frame from The Life and Death of 9413 - A Hollywood Extra, by Robert Florey and Slavko Vorkapić

A film miracle that was made in in 1928 for $96 (almost $1,350 in today’s dollars), the nothing budget forced the film-makers into radical effects experiments based on shadow-puppetry and popsicle sticks. “The sets were made of toys and cardboard buildings that were projected like shadows. Paper cut outs and spare film stock litter the background to create a thriving metropolis” (Nathanael Hood)

Jules Raucourt plays the actor in The Life and Death of 9413 - A Hollywood Extra, by Robert Florey and Slavko Vorkapić

Jules Raucourt plays the actor in The Life and Death of 9413 - A Hollywood Extra, by Robert Florey and Slavko Vorkapić

An aspiring actor with stars in his eyes comes to Hollywood for a meeting with the Producer, Mr. Almighty, who brushes aside his letter of introduction to scrawl the number 9413 on his forehead.

The hapless transformation of the actor into 9413 in The Life and Death of 9413 - A Hollywood Extra, by Robert Florey and Slavko Vorkapić

The hapless transformation of the actor into 9413 in The Life and Death of 9413 - A Hollywood Extra, by Robert Florey and Slavko Vorkapić

9413 learns what it really take to be a star from observing the meteoric rise of #15, who attains fame and fortune by donning a series of plastic masks and blabbering gibberish instead of lines.

9413 rages against the machine in The Life and Death of 9413 - A Hollywood Extra, by Robert Florey and Slavko Vorkapić

9413 rages against the machine in The Life and Death of 9413 - A Hollywood Extra, by Robert Florey and Slavko Vorkapić

Nonetheless — after being beaten, bruised, and indeed killed by Hollywood, 9413’s spirit gets a vindication of sorts.

———

Carrying on the traditions of and sharing members with “wayang sinema” ensembles like Clubfoot Orchestra & Reel Change, Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) is comprised of:

Steve Adams

Steve Adams

◉ Steve Adams (electronics)

ROVA-ite Steve Adams needs little introduction to lovers of jazz and new music, having been a long-standing key player in various East & West Coast scenes. His work on various saxes, flutes, electronics and as a composer combines probing originality, playful improv structures and swing with a very specific angular momentum.

Steve Adams

Steve is best known as a member of ROVA Saxophone Quartet, whom he’s been with for more than 20 years. Steve is also a member of the Bill Horvitz Band, various Matt Small ensembles, and the Vinny Golia Large Ensemble, as well as leading his own projects.

Steve lived in Boston in the ’70s and ’80s, where he was a member of Your Neighborhood Sax Quartet, Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic, and Composers In Red Sneakers among others. A remarkable collaboration with avant jazz bassist Ken Filiano, which we in the Bay Area have the pleasure of hearing on Ken’s swings to the West Coast, was formed in this period.

Here we focus on Steve’s wonderful electronic work, which has also been displayed to stunning effect in various duos and small ensembles with Scott Walton, John Hanes, and others.

Bryan Day performs in the Active Music Series @ The Uptown, Oakland, 11 Jun 2013 (photo - John Scharpen)

◉ Bryan Day (invented instruments)

Bryan Day is an improviser, instrument inventor, illustrator & installation artist based in San Francisco. His work involves combining elements of the natural and man-made world using field recordings, custom audio generation software and homemade instruments. Bryan’s work explores the parallels between the patterns and systems in nature to those in contemporary society.

Bryan Day

Bryan has toured throughout the US, Europe, Japan, Korea, Argentina, the Philippines, & Mexico, performing both solo as Sistrum and Eloine, and in the Shelf Life and Seeded Plain ensembles, as well as with innumerable collaborators, and has over 40 solo and ensemble releases.

Bryan Day's kit reflects his sound universe (photo - John Scharpen)

Bryan Day's kit reflects his sound universe (photo - John Scharpen)

Since 1997 he has been running the new music label Public Eyesore and its sister label Eh?. Through Public Eyesore and Eh?, Bryan has produced and released over 200 albums of improvised and experimental music by artists from all over the globe, in addition to curating the music series at Meridian Gallery in San Francisco.

Thomas Dimuzio

◉ Thomas Dimuzio (electronics)

Thomas Dimuzio is a composer, multi-instrumentalist & electronic musician, mastering engineer, sound designer, and label proprietor based in San Francisco.

Long regarded as a musical pioneer for his innovative use of live sampling and looping techniques to create compelling works, Thomas is a true sonic alchemist who can seemingly create music events out of almost anything. Listed sound sources on his various CDs include everything from ‘modified 10 speed bicycle’ and ‘resonating water pipe’ to short-wave radios, loops, feedback, samplers, and even normal instruments such as clarinet and trumpet, while his current work is facilitated by the deep expanses of modular synthesis.

His use of signal processing, custom crossfade looping, and algorithmic mixing fuels a synergy of man and machine in his live performances, while intercepted signal feeds from collaborators, wild sources of MIDI-controlled feedback, modular synthesizers, circuit-bent toys, or ambient microphones on the streets, become integrated as sound sources within his system of live interactive electronics, effortlessly moving from electroacoustic and noise to glitch, dark ambient, improv and drone.

Thomas Dimuzio

In his work as a sound designer, Thomas has worked with synthesizer and processor manufacturers such as Kurzweil, Lexicon, and OSC to create custom presets and sample libraries, and he has collaborated with Fred Frith, Tom Cora, and ROVA Saxophone Quartet to create sound libraries for Rarefaction and Big Fish Audio. Thomas also continues to play a key role in the development of Avid’s industry standard Pro Tools HD recording and mixing system, as he has for the past 20 years.

As a collaborator, Thomas works with numerous artists and ensembles such as Dimmer (with Joseph Hammer), Chris Cutler, Fred Frith, Dan Burke/Illusion of Safety, Nick Didkovsky, ISIS, Negativland, Arcane Device (David Lee Myers), Matmos, Wobbly (Jon Leidecker), Poptastic, 5uu’s, Tom Cora, Mickey Hart, Paul Haslinger, Arte Saxophone Quartett, Due Process, and Voice Of Eye.

Thomas Dimuzio

As a mastering engineer, Thomas has worked with independent artists and labels through his own Gench Studios since the early 1990’s. Among his clients are Matmos,NegativlandISISAMMCaptain AhabDoctor NervePsychic TV3Xiu Xiu, Devin Hoff, GG AllinKK Null (Kazuyuki Kishino岸野 一之), Joey P, Fred Frith, Scott Amendola, and many others.

Thomas Dimuzio’s recordings have been released internationally by ReR Megacorp, Asphodel, RRRecords, No Fun, Sonoris, Drone, Record Label Records, Odd Size, and other independent labels.

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

◉ Tom Djll (surrealist prepared trumpet | electronics)

Tom Djll has spent over twenty years developing the trumpet’s wide sonic array of extended techniques. His musical language incorporates complex noises and gritty, unheard textures from electronica into melodic gestures and building asymmetrical formal structures. Tom has made a lifelong study of the art of improvised music, and has been actively performing since 1980.

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll’s approach to playing the trumpet has been characterized from its inception by an anti-professionalism that locates itself within a political rather than musical continuum. Although he had studied composition with AACM masters Roscoe Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, Wadada Leo Smith, and others, inspired by punk and DIY approaches to performance and soundmaking (Trans MuseqPiL, The Contortions, Alterations, Eugene Chadbourne), Tom eschewed formal training in lieu of nearly fifteen years of blazing an idiosyncratic pathway through the instrument based on his studies and performances of analog electronic music. Working with a Serge Modular Synthesizer until the turn of the century, Tom described his trumpet sounds as products of an “analog lip synthesizer,” among other colorful epithets.

Mutootator, by Tom Djll and various accomplices

Mutootator, by Tom Djll and various accomplices

In 1989 Tom’s trumpet+electronics breakthrough was realized with the recording of TOMBO, using the Serge system’s endlessly disruptive causation chains to process, feedback-process, and process-feedback all sorts of trumpet and mouth sounds, culminating in Mutootator, the apex of his trumpet/Serge development. This set of improvised duets used a hybrid analog/digital live sampling and processing system (the “Mutootator”) of Tom’s own design, and featured William Winant, Tom Nunn, Jack Wright, Myles Boisen, and many others.

Lava, by Chris Brown

Subsequently, Tom studied in the graduate program at the Mills College Center for Contemporary Music, a period which saw his trumpet noises featured in Chris Brown’s ferociously difficult LAVA (for brass, percussion, and electronics, recorded on Tzadik). Tom continued working with Chris Brown in live performances of LAVA and other works (Brown, DUETS, Artifact) as well as with other Mills faculty (William Winant, Alvin Curran, John Bischoff) and eminent visitors to the school such as James Tenney, Bun-Ching Lam (品晶), “Blue” Gene Tyranny, Tim Perkis, and Pauline Oliveros (with whom he had previous studied her Deep Listening techniques). Others of Tom’s gurus include Karl Berger, Lester Bowie, and George Lewis.

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

In the new millennium, Tom’s resolutely nonprofessional performance practice has centered itself in live instrument re-building, wherein the trumpet’s identity is broken down and reassembled onstage, using bits of plastic tubing, rubber bands, whistles, squeakers, toys and other horn parts. More recent performances have seen the re-entry of actual electronic sounds into the language. The festering soundworlds arising from this gallimaufry of resonator/muters suggest a parade of chancy characters; Tom gives them monikers such as Whirly Honkblatter, Zeppelin Launch Simulation Drone, the Nude Rubberlips Orgasm Chanter, and the Dissociative Tubular Identity Disorder Scalar Ambiguation Horn.

Current and recent projects include:

Grosse Abfahrt (w Gino Robair, Tim Perkis, John Shiurba, Matt Ingalls and international guests), Quartet (w Tim Perkis, Matt Ingalls & Scott Walton), Space Junk (w Jordan Glenn & Scott Brown), Beauty School (w Jacob Felix Heule & Matt Chandler), Mockracy (co-operative orchestra, actors, and maxed media), All Tomorrow’s Zombies (w Tim Perkis & Gino Robair), Dynosoar (w Ron Heglin & “Gongwoman” Karen Stackpole),  Kinda Green (w Tim Perkis), John Shiurba’s 5×5, Gino Robair’s I, Norton Opera Company, sfSound Group, led by Matt Ingalls, and Tender Buttons (w Tania Chen & Gino Robair)

Joe Lasqo & Morgana perform w Jim Ryan's Green Alembic in the sfSoundSalonSeries at Center for New Music, San Francisco, 15 Apr 2014 (Photo by Carly Hoopes)

◉ Joe Lasqo (keyboards | laptop | objects)

Pianist / laptopist Joe Lasqo studied classical music in India; computer/electronic music at MIT, Columbia, Berkeley/CNMAT; has been a long-time performing modern & avant jazz musician; & has lived, played and listened in several Asian and European countries (now in San Francisco). He’s keen on the application of artificial intelligence techniques to improvisation and the meeting of traditional Asian musics with the 21st century. His recent album, Turquoise Sessions, is available on Edgetone Records; with new releases planned in 2015.

Joe had a weekly residency for 3½ years+ in the afternoon piano series at Viracocha, and has started a new residency at San Francisco’s PianoFight. He’s appeared recently with Bruce Ackley and Steve Adams of ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra, the London Improvisers Orchestra, Phillip Greenlief’s Orchesperry, his own Renga-kai (連歌会), Mukaiji-kai (霧海箎会), and Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) ensembles, synthesist Thomas Dimuzio, clarinetist/vocalist Beth Custer, pianist Thollem McDonas, percussionist Suki O’Kane, sound artists Joe Snape (UK) & Lucie Vítková (Czech Rep.), technodivas / electronic musicians Pamela Z & Viv Corringham (NYC/London), saxophonists Adrian Northover & Sue Lynch (London), and many others.

au quotidien, a new album with German-Swedish saxist/flautist Biggi Vinkeloe, master drummer Donald Robinson, and cello madman Teddy Rankin-Parker is in production for release in early 2016.

John McCowen performs his piece BONE(THIN)

John McCowen performs his piece BONE(THIN)

◉ John McCowen (dada prepared clarinet + drum resonator)

John McCowen’s musical path is rooted in the DIY culture of American hardcore music. John was a vocalist in hardcore music until he heard the music of Albert Ayler. At that point, he began channeling his energy through the saxophone, and was further influenced by the music of Eric Dolphy and John Coltrane.

After a few years as a touring musician and independent study, he entered academia at Southern Illinois U. and studied clarinet with Eric P. Mandat, who opened his eyes to microtonality and extended techniques. John remains a member of the Chicago musical community while now living in Oakland, and plays in Wei Zhongle (衛仲樂/卫仲乐), Vibrating Skull Trio, and John McCowen Clarinet Quartet.

John is currently studying with Roscoe Mitchell and others at Mills College, and has been astonishing a steadily increasing circle of Bay Area listeners by seemingly discovering entire new unexplored continents of extended clarinet technique.

Those who have heard his brilliant solo shows at the Luggage Store Gallery and elsewhere already know the virtuosic, pioneering, and thoroughly original sound universe he’s created — the rest of you will be dumbfounded at the new sonic horizons he opens up.

———

Experience a shamanic journey to worlds on the other side of the mirror as your consciousness streams to surrealist music — come flicker with us at PianoFight, “SF’s Next Landmark Entertainment Venue”.

どうぞ。。。

Joe

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Electric Shadow Theater: Film Truth + Surreal Sound by Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) ◉ sonified films by Jean Cocteau, and Robert Florey / Slavko Vorkapić ◉ with music by Steve Adams, Bryan Day, Thomas Dimuzio, Tom Djll, Joe Lasqo, and John McCowen, Sun 17 Apr @ PianoFight, SF

Electric Shadow Theater: Film Truth + Surreal Sound by Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) ◉ Films: Jean Cocteau, Fernand Léger, & Maya Deren (Майя Дерен) ◉ Music: Jorge Bachmann, Beth Custer, Bryan Day, Thomas Dimuzio, Tom Djll, Joe Lasqo, David Michalak, & Suki O’Kane ◉ Tue 23 Feb @ PianoFight, SF

Cocteau applies the finishing touches to cast member Barbette - « Le sang d'un poète »

Cocteau applies the finishing touches to cast member Barbette - « Le sang d'un poète »

I’m very excited to return to PianoFight, “SF’s Next Landmark Entertainment Venue”, 144 Taylor St., SF (map), with new ensemble Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会), 8pm, Tue 23 Feb and some of the freshest, most exciting films ever made.

☞ Advance tickets available at a discount: here

Formed by Rob Ready, Dan Williams and Kevin Fink (called “the bad boys of San Francisco theatre” by Theatre Bay Area), PianoFight has successfully managed venues (Off-Market Theater Complex); recklessly invited audiences to Throw Rotten Veggies at the Actors; formed two critically acclaimed sketch comedy groups (Mission CTRL and ForePlays); and built a three-man producing team into a 46-member company of artists.

Their latest adventure is PianoFight — a new theater complex with restaurant and bar at the former site of the San Francisco landmark restaurant Original Joe’s, 144 Taylor Street, with two theaters in the back of house, and a 60-seat restaurant and bar with a full liquor license and a cabaret stage at the front of the house.

PianoFight, SF's Next Landmark Entertainment Venue

PianoFight, SF's Next Landmark Entertainment Venue

This great new performing arts complex, in the heart of SF’s Central Market Arts District, takes forward the development of a music axis on Taylor Street, stretching from the Luggage Store, the Warfield, and Center For New Music to its northernmost and newest boîte.

Meanwhile, its two black-box theaters have expanded the “San Francisco off-off-Broadway” that includes CounterPulse, EXIT Theater, and Cutting Ball Theatre.

My totem animal, Morgana, has enjoyed joining forces with PianoFight’s totem animal, the Californicorn during my solo residencies and previous film+music shows there, and we’re both keenly looking forward to performing there again…

The founder of the first "Paranormal Research Society" (Fushigi Kenkyūkai : 不思議研究会), in 1886, Enryō Inoue (井上円了)

The founder of the first "Paranormal Research Society" (Fushigi Kenkyūkai : 不思議研究会), in 1886, Enryō Inoue (井上円了)

Since the founding of Clubfoot Orchestra in 1983, San Francisco has been a leader in pairing film classics with composed or improvised scores. Not only is Clubfoot Orchestra still scaling new heights, but a rich new crop of ensembles for film + sound have created a second wave of Bay Area shadow play for the 21st century.

Fushigi Kenkyūkai are a collective of film and sound artists, mixing veterans of Bay Area “wayang sinema” ensembles like Clubfoot Orchestra & Reel Change with pioneers of electronic, computer-based, and invented instruments.

The name Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) means “Paranormal Research Society”. The truth is out there.

The program uses two surrealist film classics and a cubo-futurist mechanical “ballet” to find it.

Line-up:

Jorge Bachmann (electronics)

Beth Custer (bass & other clarinets | vocals)

Bryan Day (invented instruments)

Thomas Dimuzio (electronics)

Tom Djll (surrealist prepared trumpet)

Joe Lasqo (keyboards | laptop | objects)

David Michalak (skatchbox | lap steel guitar | film curator)

Suki O’Kane (percussion allsorts)

Program

Part 1: Cubist Culottes & Surrealist Shorts (33 min, with short break following)

Fernand Léger: Ballet électromécanique

Maya Deren (Майя Дерен): Meshes Of The Afternoon

Part 2: Main Feature

Jean CocteauBlood Of A Poet (Le sang d’un poète) 55 min.

Jean Cocteau and friend

Jean Cocteau and friend

(1930) ◉ Blood Of A Poet (Le sang d’un poète), by Jean Cocteau

Cocteau described his first film, Blood Of A Poet (Le sang d’un poète) as “a descent into oneself, a way of using the mechanism of the dream without sleeping, a crooked candle, often mysteriously blown out, carried about in the night of the human body.”

A tall smokestack starts to collapse…

« La solitude du poète est si grande et qu'il vit tellement ce qu'il crée, que la bouche d'une de ses créatures lui reste dans la main comme une blessure… » (The poet's solitude is so great, he so lives what he creates, that the mouth of one of his creations lives in his hand like a wound...) - Cocteau

« La solitude du poète est si grande et qu'il vit tellement ce qu'il crée, que la bouche d'une de ses créatures lui reste dans la main comme une blessure… » (The poet's solitude is so great, he so lives what he creates, that the mouth of one of his creations lives in his hand like a wound...) - Cocteau

A mouth in an artist’s sketch starts moving, wanders off the paper and occupies the artist’s hand, then finally finds a home on a statue in the studio, making it come alive…

Travel between worlds via mirror in Cocteau's « Le sang d'un poète » - Boarding phase

Now able to talk, the statue tells the artist how to pass through mirrors to another world, where he voyeuristically peeps on tableaux of levitating children, ambiguous sexuality, and opium dreams through room keyholes at the «Hôtel de Folies Dramatiques», culminating in his suicide, resurrection, and return through the mirror…

Danger de mort! à l'Hôtel de Folies Dramatiques - « Le sang d'un poète », by Jean Cocteau

Danger de mort! à l'Hôtel de Folies Dramatiques - « Le sang d'un poète », by Jean Cocteau

After this shamanic journey is complete, a young school boy is murdered by a snowball in a courtyard — that turns out to be a stage where a card-game is being played before an audience of aristocrats watching from boxes.

Will the black guardian angel keep the dead boy’s Ace of Hearts from the artist, who has become the card-shark?

After we find out the answer, a tall smokestack continues to collapse…

« Le sang d'un poète », by Jean Cocteau

« Le sang d'un poète », by Jean Cocteau

About this first installment of the Orphic Trilogy, Cocteau said:

“My relationship with the work was like that of a cabinetmaker who puts together the pieces of a table which the spiritualists, who make the table move, consult.”

“I was the only one of this minority [the surrealists] to avoid the deliberate manifestations of the unconscious in favor of a kind of half-sleep through which I wandered as though in a labyrinth.”

Blood of a Poet draws nothing from either dreams or symbols. As far as the former are concerned, it initiates their mechanism, and by letting the mind relax, as in sleep, it lets memories entwine, move and express themselves freely. As for the latter, it rejects them, and substitutes acts… that the spectator can make symbols of if he wishes.”

« Le sang d'un poète », by Jean Cocteau

À l'Hôtel de Folies Dramatiques - « Le sang d'un poète », by Jean Cocteau

Jean Cocteau started a long string of technical film-making discoveries with his first film by turning mistakes that he didn’t have the money or technology to undo into profoundly inspired excuses for improvisatory cinematography, incorporating even the dust kicked up by cleaners in the studio to provide surrealistic effects, and pioneered trick shot techniques to realize strange effects like the sideways gravity of the «Hôtel de Folies Dramatiques» and the mirror portal between worlds.

« Quand il joue cette partie de cartes avec sa Muse, avec sa Gloire, avec sa Destinée, il triche en prenant sur son enfance ce qu'il devrait puiser en lui-même » (When he plays the card game with his Muse, his Glory, with his Destiny, he cheats by drawing from his childhood instead of from within himself) - Lee Miller in Cocteau's « Le sang d'un poète »

« Quand il joue cette partie de cartes avec sa Muse, avec sa Gloire, avec sa Destinée, il triche en prenant sur son enfance ce qu'il devrait puiser en lui-même » (When he plays the card game with his Muse, his Glory, with his Destiny, he cheats by drawing from his childhood instead of from within himself) - Lee Miller in « Le sang d'un poète »

Another highlight of the film is the only extensive film appearance of surrealist & documentary photographer Lee Miller, who plays the living statue of the film as well as the antagonist of the card-shark near the film’s conclusion — she of whom Cocteau said, “I could tell you that the snowball fight represents the poet’s childhood and that when he plays the card game with his Muse, his Glory, with his Destiny [Lee Miller], he cheats by drawing from his childhood instead of from within himself.”

Portrait of Space, by Lee Miller

Portrait of Space, by Lee Miller

Brilliant collaborator and lover of Man Ray, Lee Miller met Ray, as described by Jonathon Keats (link), “in the spring of 1929 at a Paris bar called the Bateau Ivre. Miller was seeking photography lessons. Ray said he didn’t take students, and was leaving for vacation in Biarritz. “So am I,” she responded, starting one of the most tempestuous and creative relationships in the history of 20th century art.”

(L→R) Enrique Riveros & Lee Miller in Le sang d'un poète, by Jean Cocteau

(L→R) Enrique Riveros & Lee Miller in Le sang d'un poète, by Jean Cocteau

Later the wife of British surrealist painter Roland Penrose and documentary photographer of the Nazi concentration camps at Buchenwald and Dachau, Lee Miller numbered among her friends and photographic clients Picasso, Joseph Cornell, Paul Éluard, Eileen Agar, Jean Cocteau, Dorothea Tanning, Henry Moore, Max Ernst, and Jean Dubuffet.

Documenting the horrors of the Holocaust left Lee Miller in a life-long struggle afterward with what we today call PTSD, and she was after the war investigated on suspicion of being a Soviet spy by Britain’s MI5.

———

(1924) ◉ Ballet électromécanique, by Fernand Léger with new electronic score

Poster for Fernand Léger's « Ballet mécanique »

Poster for Fernand Léger's « Ballet mécanique »

Ballet mécanique marks a turning point in both film and music history.

« Les joueurs de cartes » (The Card Players), by Fernand Léger

« Les joueurs de cartes » (The Card Players), by Fernand Léger

Recovering from the mustard gas attack that nearly killed him toward the end of World War 1, Léger began to integrate his wartime experiences with the machinery and inhumanity of the front into his art, producing paintings with machine-like figures, like The Card Players.

He said of this period:

“…I was stunned by the sight of the breech of a 75mm in the sunlight. It was the magic of light on the white metal. That’s all it took for me to forget the abstract art of 1912–1913. The crudeness, variety, humor, and downright perfection of certain men around me, their precise sense of utilitarian reality and its application in the midst of the life-and-death drama we were in … made me want to paint in slang with all its color and mobility.”

The film is usually credited to Fernand Léger, with large contributions from Dudley Murphy and Man Ray, and with a lot of uncertainty about who did what. For the sake of simplicity, let’s consider it Léger’s film here.

Frame from Fernand Léger's « Ballet mécanique »

Frame from Fernand Léger's « Ballet mécanique »

This cubo-futurist period in Léger’s work was propelled by a kinetic esthetic that emphasized movement, repetition, and a nascent transhumanism in its fluid and porous boundaries between human and machine.

One of Léger's animation sequences from « Ballet mécanique »

One of Léger's animation sequences from « Ballet mécanique »

The film is laced with additional spice in the form of Fernand Léger’s animation sequences bearing strange oblique references to Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times.

George Antheil and instruments from his « Ballet mécanique »

George Antheil and instruments from his « Ballet mécanique »

Intertwined with Ballet mécanique the film is another Ballet mécanique — the musical piece by George Antheil.

Originally conceived of as the soundtrack for the film, the two pieces drifted apart in production, with the music winding up 1½ times as long as the film.

The orchestration was: 16 player pianos (or pianolas) in four parts, 2 regular pianos, 3 xylophones, at least 7 electric bells, 3 airplane propellers, siren, 4 bass drums, & 1 tam-tam.

The synchronization of the 16 player pianos was technically impossible in that MIDI-less era, but perhaps that only added to the fun of the affair….

Antheil — as assiduous a marketer as the later John Cage (who appeared on game shows to get nationwide broadcast performance opportunities for his pieces) — vigorously hyped his bizarre baby by arranging to appear to have been kidnapped before the first performance (whose patroness was at the end of the concert tossed in a blanket by 3 baronesses and a duke…) and hiring professional provocateurs to infiltrate the audience and heighten the sense of scandal at later performances.

Other Minds' brilliant revival recording of George Antheil's « Ballet mécanique »

Other Minds' brilliant revival recording of George Antheil's « Ballet mécanique »

Despite the glorious music, which you can check out in a superb revival recording from Other Minds, the severe length mismatch kept the music and the film in separate universes until the advent of modern editing technology in the 90’s when clever cutting and sewing created the illusion of synchronization in a length-matched compressed-music version.

Up to then, the music had been performed (very rarely…) as a stand-alone “ballet” (with the exotic stage machinery standing in for dancers).

The film was premiered silently, without the intended music, and then became fair game for various musicians and composers to have at it, which is exactly our plan — to salute the singularity with a new 21st-century electronics-enhanced version in a Ballet électromécanique.

———

(1943) ◉ Meshes Of The Afternoon, by Maya Deren (Майя Дерен)

Maya Deren (Майя Дерен) in her film Meshes Of The Afternoon

Maya Deren (Майя Дерен) in her film Meshes Of The Afternoon

Maya Deren (Майя Дерен) said of her Meshes Of The Afternoon that it “does not record an event which could be witnessed by other persons”.

A shifting exploration of ambiguous transitions between sleep and waking, life and death, self and double(s) that’s imbued with an eerie and indescribable coherence, Meshes Of The Afternoon achieves its impact by means of brilliant and very musical use of a number of motifs that it puts through set-theoretic permutations in a way that would have made Milton Babbitt proud, while yet retaining a powerful and mysterious human poetry.

Frame from Maya Deren's Meshes Of The Afternoon

Frame from Maya Deren's Meshes Of The Afternoon

A flower on a long driveway, a knife in a loaf of bread, a phone off the hook, a Grim Reaper with a mirror instead of a face, a key falling, a phonograph, and other motifs all participate in a spiraling fugue where potential meanings are developed and abandoned like polyphonic lines.

As Robert Robertson says in Cinema And The Audiovisual Imagination: Music, Image, Sound, “Taking the model of chamber music, she advocated its lyrical qualities, it’s abstract forms, its economy, but also its virtuosity, as an example for what she called ‘chamber films’.”

Montage of scenes from Meshes Of The Afternoon by Maya Deren (Майя Дерен)

Montage of scenes from Meshes Of The Afternoon by Maya Deren (Майя Дерен)

Traveling across many stairs, pathways, and physical levels of a house and its environs, the protagonist encounters various doubles, mirrors, and situations reflected between her dreams and what passes for the film’s reality.

We’ll map and reshape these motivic lines, inversions, and transformative repetitions in a new electronic score for what, due to its musical qualities, has become one of the greatest “standards” for film+music sonification.

———

Carrying on the traditions of and sharing members with “wayang sinema” ensembles like Clubfoot Orchestra & Reel Change, Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) is comprised of:

Jorge Bachmann (aka Ruidobello)

◉ Jorge Bachmann (electronics)

Sculptor, electronics master, photographer, and engineer Jorge Bachmann is a multi-disciplinary, mixed-media and sound artist. Since the early 80s, Jorge has been exploring the strange, unique and microcosmic sounds of everyday life, collecting field recordings. The sound atmospheres created are meant for deep listening and are composed in symbiosis with the sculptural installations.

He creates equally sensual and detailed oriented photo-based work; and his art explores social and sensual constructs and experiences.

Starting his career in Bogotá, Colombia and then active for a long period in Lausanne, Switzerland, Jorge eventually relocated to the Bay Area and became a technical and artistic mainstay of MEDIATE’s Soundwave Series as well as the Engineer Scotty of the Starship SFEMF.

Now he’s returned to regularly giving solo electronic concerts such as his recent brilliant one at The Lab’s Serge 40-year Reunion.

Beth Custer (Photo - Anne Hamersky)

Beth Custer (Photo - Anne Hamersky)

◉ Beth Custer (bass & other clarinets | vocals) is a San Francisco based composer, clarinetist, vocalist, bandleader, and the proprietor of BC Records.

An original member of the Club Foot Orchestra, a trailblazing ensemble who pioneered scoring and performing with silent films (Pandora’s Box, Sherlock Jr., Metropolis, etc.), Beth is also a founding member of the 4th-world ensemble Trance Mission, the trip-hop duo Eighty Mile Beach, and leads the quartet of esteemed jazz clarinetists Clarinet Thing, as well as The Beth Custer Ensemble. The Pacific Film Archive commissioned Beth to compose a live score for My Grandmother / ჩემი ბებია / Моя Бабушка, a rare Soviet film, which she toured internationally in Russia, Czech Republic, Ireland, and England, supported by Trust for Mutual Understanding and Mid Atlantic Arts Fund awards.

She composes for theatre, film, dance, television, installations and the concert stage and has created scores for the contemporary chamber ensembles Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Zeitgeist, Earplay, City Winds, + Turtle Island and Kronos String Quartets; for the theatre productions of Campo Santo Theatre, Berkeley and San Diego Repertory Theatre, Magic Theatre, California Shakespeare, Overtone Industries, A Traveling Jewish Theatre, and Cornerstone Theatre; for dancers and troupes Joe Goode Performance Group, Flyaway Productions, Osseus Labyrinth, AXIS Dance Company, and butō (舞踏) masters Harupin Ha (ハルピン派), Koichi Tamano (玉野黄市) and Ledoh (レドー). Her score for JGPG’s The Maverick Strain, which won an Isadora Duncan Award, excerpts enjoyed a run at the Joyce Theater in NYC during April ’09.

Beth has performed and recorded with a diverse array of artists including inventor Trimpin; artists Vladimir Kokolia and Billie Grace Lynn; musicians Stephen Kent, Fred Frith, Miya Masaoka (正岡みや), Joan Jeanrenaud, Amy Denio, Tin Hat, Tango № 9, Pamela Z, Will Bernard, Sex Mob, John Schott, Grassy Knoll, ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Violent Femmes, J.A. Deane, the late, great Snakefinger, Greg Goodman, William Cepeda, Elaine Buckholtz, Mark Eitzel, Penelope Houston, Anna Homler, Ollin, and Connie Champagne.

She has over 35 recordings out with her ensembles Eighty Mile Beach, Clarinet Thing, Trance Mission, The Beth Custer Ensemble and Club Foot Orchestra.

Beth Custer performs "For the Grace of Any Man" at the Red House Speak Easy, San Francisco, June 2012

Beth created KQED’s Independent View theme with her band Eighty Mile Beach and composed for CBS/Film Roman’s Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat with Club Foot Orchestra, as well as creating music for the films of Cathy Lee Crane, Melinda Stone, Betsy Bayha, Julie Wyman, George Spies, Karina Epperlein, Will Zavala, Peter MacCandless, and Koohan Paik (구한). Beth created four musicals with award winning writer Octavio Solis in LA & SF, and her collaborative scores with inventor and MacArthur Fellow Trimpin led her to compose Vinculum Symphony, a site-specific, large-scale work that unites chamber musicians with experimental instrument builders.

Stephen Kent and Beth Custer perform in the Sanctuary of Dawn at the Garden of Memory event, Chapel of the Chimes, Oakland, 21 Jun 2012

Beth has performed and recorded with a diverse array of artists including inventor Trimpin; artists Vladimir Kokolia and Billie Grace Lynn; musicians Stephen Kent, Fred Frith, Miya Masaoka (正岡みや), Joan Jeanrenaud, Amy Denio, Tin Hat, Tango № 9, Pamela Z, Will Bernard, Sex Mob, John Schott, Grassy Knoll, ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Violent Femmes, J.A. Deane, the late, great Snakefinger, Greg Goodman, William Cepeda, Elaine Buckholtz, Mark Eitzel, Penelope Houston, Anna Homler, Ollin, and Connie Champagne.

She has over 35 recordings out with her ensembles Eighty Mile Beach, Clarinet Thing, Trance Mission, The Beth Custer Ensemble and Club Foot Orchestra.

Bryan Day performs in the Active Music Series @ The Uptown, Oakland, 11 Jun 2013 (photo - John Scharpen)

Bryan Day performs in the Active Music Series @ The Uptown, Oakland, 11 Jun 2013 (photo - John Scharpen)

◉ Bryan Day (invented instruments)

Bryan Day is an improviser, instrument inventor, illustrator & installation artist based in San Francisco. His work involves combining elements of the natural and man-made world using field recordings, custom audio generation software and homemade instruments. Bryan’s work explores the parallels between the patterns and systems in nature to those in contemporary society.

Bryan Day

Bryan has toured throughout the US, Europe, Japan, Korea, Argentina, the Philippines, & Mexico, performing both solo as Sistrum and Eloine, and in the Shelf Life and Seeded Plain ensembles, as well as with innumerable collaborators, and has over 40 solo and ensemble releases.

Bryan Day's kit reflects his sound universe (photo - John Scharpen)

Bryan Day's kit reflects his sound universe (photo - John Scharpen)

Since 1997 he has been running the new music label Public Eyesore and its sister label Eh?. Through Public Eyesore and Eh?, Bryan has produced and released over 200 albums of improvised and experimental music by artists from all over the globe, in addition to curating the music series at Meridian Gallery in San Francisco.

Thomas Dimuzio

◉ Thomas Dimuzio (electronics)

Thomas Dimuzio is a composer, multi-instrumentalist & electronic musician, mastering engineer, sound designer, and label proprietor based in San Francisco.

Long regarded as a musical pioneer for his innovative use of live sampling and looping techniques to create compelling works, Thomas is a true sonic alchemist who can seemingly create music events out of almost anything. Listed sound sources on his various CDs include everything from ‘modified 10 speed bicycle’ and ‘resonating water pipe’ to short-wave radios, loops, feedback, samplers, and even normal instruments such as clarinet and trumpet, while his current work is facilitated by the deep expanses of modular synthesis.

His use of signal processing, custom crossfade looping, and algorithmic mixing fuels a synergy of man and machine in his live performances, while intercepted signal feeds from collaborators, wild sources of MIDI-controlled feedback, modular synthesizers, circuit-bent toys, or ambient microphones on the streets, become integrated as sound sources within his system of live interactive electronics, effortlessly moving from electroacoustic and noise to glitch, dark ambient, improv and drone.

Thomas Dimuzio

In his work as a sound designer, Thomas has worked with synthesizer and processor manufacturers such as Kurzweil, Lexicon, and OSC to create custom presets and sample libraries, and he has collaborated with Fred Frith, Tom Cora, and ROVA Saxophone Quartet to create sound libraries for Rarefaction and Big Fish Audio. Thomas also continues to play a key role in the development of Avid’s industry standard Pro Tools HD recording and mixing system, as he has for the past 20 years.

As a collaborator, Thomas works with numerous artists and ensembles such as Dimmer (with Joseph Hammer), Chris Cutler, Fred Frith, Dan Burke/Illusion of Safety, Nick Didkovsky, ISIS, Negativland, Arcane Device (David Lee Myers), Matmos, Wobbly (Jon Leidecker), Poptastic, 5uu’s, Tom Cora, Mickey Hart, Paul Haslinger, Arte Saxophone Quartett, Due Process, and Voice Of Eye.

Thomas Dimuzio

As a mastering engineer, Thomas has worked with independent artists and labels through his own Gench Studios since the early 1990’s. Among his clients are Matmos,NegativlandISISAMMCaptain AhabDoctor NervePsychic TV3Xiu Xiu, Devin Hoff, GG AllinKK Null (Kazuyuki Kishino岸野 一之), Joey P, Fred Frith, Scott Amendola, and many others.

Thomas Dimuzio’s recordings have been released internationally by ReR Megacorp, Asphodel, RRRecords, No Fun, Sonoris, Drone, Record Label Records, Odd Size, and other independent labels.

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

◉ Tom Djll (surrealist prepared trumpet)

Tom Djll has spent over twenty years developing the trumpet’s wide sonic array of extended techniques. His musical language incorporates complex noises and gritty, unheard textures from electronica into melodic gestures and building asymmetrical formal structures. Tom has made a lifelong study of the art of improvised music, and has been actively performing since 1980.

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll’s approach to playing the trumpet has been characterized from its inception by an anti-professionalism that locates itself within a political rather than musical continuum. Although he had studied composition with AACM masters Roscoe Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, Wadada Leo Smith, and others, inspired by punk and DIY approaches to performance and soundmaking (Trans MuseqPiL, The Contortions, Alterations, Eugene Chadbourne), Tom eschewed formal training in lieu of nearly fifteen years of blazing an idiosyncratic pathway through the instrument based on his studies and performances of analog electronic music. Working with a Serge Modular Synthesizer until the turn of the century, Tom described his trumpet sounds as products of an “analog lip synthesizer,” among other colorful epithets.

Mutootator, by Tom Djll and various accomplices

Mutootator, by Tom Djll and various accomplices

In 1989 Tom’s trumpet+electronics breakthrough was realized with the recording of TOMBO, using the Serge system’s endlessly disruptive causation chains to process, feedback-process, and process-feedback all sorts of trumpet and mouth sounds, culminating in Mutootator, the apex of his trumpet/Serge development. This set of improvised duets used a hybrid analog/digital live sampling and processing system (the “Mutootator”) of Tom’s own design, and featured William Winant, Tom Nunn, Jack Wright, Myles Boisen, and many others.

Lava, by Chris Brown

Subsequently, Tom studied in the graduate program at the Mills College Center for Contemporary Music, a period which saw his trumpet noises featured in Chris Brown’s ferociously difficult LAVA (for brass, percussion, and electronics, recorded on Tzadik). Tom continued working with Chris Brown in live performances of LAVA and other works (Brown, DUETS, Artifact) as well as with other Mills faculty (William Winant, Alvin Curran, John Bischoff) and eminent visitors to the school such as James Tenney, Bun-Ching Lam (品晶), “Blue” Gene Tyranny, Tim Perkis, and Pauline Oliveros (with whom he had previous studied her Deep Listening techniques). Others of Tom’s gurus incude Karl Berger, Lester Bowie, and George Lewis.

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

In the new millennium, Tom’s resolutely nonprofessional performance practice has centered itself in live instrument re-building, wherein the trumpet’s identity is broken down and reassembled onstage, using bits of plastic tubing, rubber bands, whistles, squeakers, toys and other horn parts. More recent performances have seen the re-entry of actual electronic sounds into the language. The festering soundworlds arising from this gallimaufry of resonator/muters suggest a parade of chancy characters; Tom gives them monikers such as Whirly Honkblatter, Zeppelin Launch Simulation Drone, the Nude Rubberlips Orgasm Chanter, and the Dissociative Tubular Identity Disorder Scalar Ambiguation Horn.

Current and recent projects include:

Grosse Abfahrt (w Gino Robair, Tim Perkis, John Shiurba, Matt Ingalls and international guests), Quartet (w Tim Perkis, Matt Ingalls & Scott Walton), Space Junk (w Jordan Glenn & Scott Brown), Beauty School (w Jacob Felix Heule & Matt Chandler), Mockracy (co-operative orchestra, actors, and maxed media), All Tomorrow’s Zombies (w Tim Perkis & Gino Robair), Dynosoar (w Ron Heglin & “Gongwoman” Karen Stackpole),  Kinda Green (w Tim Perkis), John Shiurba’s 5×5, Gino Robair’s I, Norton Opera Company, sfSound Group, led by Matt Ingalls, and Tender Buttons (w Tania Chen & Gino Robair)

Joe Lasqo & Morgana perform w Jim Ryan's Green Alembic in the sfSoundSalonSeries at Center for New Music, San Francisco, 15 Apr 2014 (Photo by Carly Hoopes)

◉ Joe Lasqo (keyboards | laptop | objects)

Pianist / laptopist Joe Lasqo studied classical music in India; computer/electronic music at MIT, Columbia, Berkeley/CNMAT; has been a long-time performing modern & avant jazz musician; & has lived, played and listened in several Asian and European countries (now in San Francisco). He’s keen on the application of artificial intelligence techniques to improvisation and the meeting of traditional Asian musics with the 21st century. His recent album, Turquoise Sessions, is available on Edgetone Records; with new releases planned in 2015.

Joe had a weekly residency for 3½ years+ in the afternoon piano series at Viracocha, and has appeared recently with Bruce Ackley and Steve Adams of ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra, Phillip Greenlief’s Orchesperry, his own Renga-kai (連歌会), Mukaiji-kai (霧海箎会), and Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) ensembles, synthesist Thomas Dimuzio, clarinetist/vocalist Beth Custer, pianist Thollem McDonas, percussionist Suki O’Kane, sound artists Joe Snape (UK) & Lucie Vítková (Czech Rep.), technodivas / electronic musicians Pamela Z & Viv Corringham (NYC/London) and many others.

au quotidien, a new album with German-Swedish saxist/flautist Biggi Vinkeloe, master drummer Donald Robinson, and cello madman Teddy Rankin-Parker is in production for release in early 2016.

David Michalak

◉ David Michalak (skatchbox | lap-steel guitar | film curator)

David Michalak has made over 50 films with original soundtracks, including 3 features, starting out on the East Coast.

After decades of films such as Dreamlife, Inside-Out (featuring The Kate Foley Dance Company and score written with Nik Phelps, performed by the Club Foot Orchestra), When The Spirit Moves, featuring (Joe Goode) dancer Vong Phrommala & silent-movie style actress Billie-Marie Gross, Firefly, and Regenbogen, a soundtrack ensemble was formed to play live scores for David’s movies and other film classics. The group, called Reel Change has featured: Andrew Voigt, Joe Sabella, David Michalak, Phillip Greenlief, Adam Hurst, George Cremaschi, Tom Nunn, Kyle Bruckmann, Theresa Wong (天欣), and Tom Djll, releasing the CD Open In Total Darkness.

Suki O'Kane

Suki O'Kane

◉ Suki O’Kane (percussion)

Suki O’Kane is a classically trained mallet percussionist, a composer and an instigator working with artists from a wide array of of music, movement & public art genres. One of the founding members of the lo-fi sampling ensemble The Noodles (w Michael Zelner), Suki plays percussion with Moe! Staiano’s Moe!kestra!, Dan Plonsey’s Daniel Popsicle, Big City Orchestra and is an ensemble member of Thingamajigs, performing new works by Edward Schocker, Dylan Bolles and Zachary James Watkins.

(L→R) Nan Busse (didgeridoo) and Suki O'Kane (percussion) perform w Mukaiji-kai (霧海箎会) at Fog CIty Music Festival, 31 Jan 2015

(L→R) Nan Busse (didgeridoo) and Suki O'Kane (percussion) perform w Mukaiji-kai (霧海箎会) at Fog CIty Music Festival, 31 Jan 2015

She works in partnership with House of Zoka, a live recording project that has documented over 13 years of creative new music in the Bay Area, & since 2003 has been curating performances of live music and film, such as The Illuminated Corridor, a nomadic public art project that creates streetscapes of live experimental music and performative projection and Music by the Eyeful, the indoor performance series exploring the work of intermedia artists.

◉ For Examiner.com preview of this show: here

———

Travel to worlds on the other side of the mirror as your consciousness streams to surrealist music — come flicker with us at PianoFight, “SF’s Next Landmark Entertainment Venue”.

どうぞ。。。

Joe

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Electric Shadow Theater: Film Truth + Surreal Sound by Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) ◉ Films: Jean Cocteau, Fernand Léger, & Maya Deren (Майя Дерен) ◉ Music: Jorge Bachmann, Beth Custer, Bryan Day, Thomas Dimuzio, Tom Djll, Joe Lasqo, David Michalak, & Suki O’Kane ◉ Tue 23 Feb @ PianoFight, SF