MSP/Piano/+: w Thollem McDonas’ Werkstattband, Mon 28 Jul @ CMC, San Francisco, 8:15pm

Outsound: A New Sonic Collective for the 21st Century

I’m keenly looking forward to playing again with Thollem McDonas in his Outsound New Music Summit Werkstattband.

A peripatetic, “perpetually touring” improvising pianist renowned for his powerful solo performances and scintillating collaborations, Thollem also specializes in improv-workshops where music is roughed out among the participants one day and served hot and fresh soon afterward, and that’s the scenario he’s bringing to the Outsound New Music Summit this year.

Thollem McDonas (Image - Angela C. Villa)

The Werkstattband resulting from Thollem’s workshop will perform at 8:15pm, Mon 28 Jul @ the CMC (544 Capp Street, San Francisco, CA – map).

Current line-up:

Thollem McDonas: piano, Franken-B3 MIDI controller, instigator/leader

Kersti Abrams: sax & rhaita (غيطه‎)

Michael Aubin: bass guitar

Ferrara Brain Pan: bass clarinet, flute, sopranino sax

Jill Burton: voice

Brett Carson: piano & Franken-B3 MIDI controller

Tania Chen: piano, radios, gadgets, toys

Ron Heglin: trombone & voice

Heikki Koskinen: digital trumpet & recorders

Joe Lasqo: laptop & piano

Collette McCaslin: trumpet & electronics

Michael Mersereau: guitar

Ann O’Rourke: percussion, electronics, vocals

E. Doctor Smith: The Drumstick (invented e-percussion instrument)

Eli Wallace: piano & Franken-B3 MIDI controller

Sandy Yolles: electronic percussion

Thollem McDonas w Piano & Victrola (© 2012, Angela C Villa)

Thollem McDonas is a pianist, composer, improviser and teacher. He travels perpetually internationally performing as a soloist as well as in collaboration with a wide array of artists in wildly divergent directions. In the past 7 years, he has added 32 albums to his discography on 15 different vanguard labels in 5 different countries. He was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area of Irish and Cherokee descent. At the age of five, he began studying the keyboard repertoire from the medieval to the 20th century and studied with many notable teachers including Aiko Onishi (大西愛子) and Lou Harrison. After graduating with degrees in both piano performance and composition, he stepped from the concert pianist trajectory to dedicate his time to grassroots political movements and ecological restoration projects. In 2005, he returned to his music as his full focus, incorporating his myriad experiences into his compositions, improvisations and teaching.

On Debussy's Piano And…, by Thollem McDonas & Stefano Scodanibbio

For musicians and listeners saddened by the artificial split between “classical” and “improvising” traditions, Thollem’s incorporation of radically re-imagined patterns and strategies from classical music into a fiercely trans-idiomatic gumbo, along with elements of free jazz, transmuted Latin music, and other influences, will be especially interesting and beautiful. A wonderful CD (among many) highlighting this is On Debussy’s Piano And…, an incredible collaboration with the late, great Italian bassist Stefano Scodanibbio, which Thollem performs on the last piano owned by Debussy.

The hands of Thollem McDonas, Bairro Alto (© 2010 Angela C Villa)

Thollem has performed extensively as a soloist as well as in piano concertos with symphonies, West African drumming troupes, Javanese gamelan ensembles, punk bands, with film makers, dancers, poets and painters and a wide array of divergent musicians, both famous and under-known. He is the founding director of Estamos Ensemble, a Mexican-American cross border ensemble for musical exchange.  As a writer, his essay, “Deep Listening and the Peripatetic Life of an Improvising Musician” was written specifically for An Anthology of Essays on Deep Listening (Deep Listening Institute, 2012) in honor of Pauline Oliveros‘ 80th birthday and he is a regular columnist in Full Moon Magazine (Prague), a print publication dedicated to independent music. His music is diverse, with each album and every concert exploring a variety of approaches and paths, resulting in dramatically new and different outcomes.

His collaborations with musicians, dancers, and film-makers take up 23 single-spaced lines (here) and continue to grow rapidly.

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)

It will be my pleasure and honor to join Thollem and the other members of the Werkstattband in one of the many great events of the Bay Area’s freshest new music festival, the Outsound New Music Summit.

For a look at what happened last time we played together, the video above, provided by the generosity of videographer Charles Smith, is of the first piece from our “double trios” show at Center for New Music in San Francisco on 15 Jan 2014.

Line up: Bruce Ackley & Steve Adams (saxes), Thollem McDonas (piano) & Joe Lasqo (piano / laptop), Nava Dunkelman (percussion), Cheryl E. Leonard (meta-percussion, natural objects, viola), & Nan Busse (dance).

Who knows what fireworks Thollem and crew will launch this time? Come vibrate with us and find out….

Joe

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Set 1: Mountains In Space – Electronic Music from CCRMA (8pm) + Set 2: Luciano Chessa & Benjamin Kreith performing Futurist sound-poetry & pieces from their suite ”Garrett — Confusing Salon Music & Noise since 2013″ (9pm), Sun 10 Aug @ Berkeley Arts Festival

I have the honor and pleasure to curate several shows in Aug at the East Bay’s indispensable focal point for new music, Berkeley Arts Festival (2133 University Avenue, Berkeley, CA – map), and this is the first at 8pm, Sun 10 Aug.

We start this series with a show running the gamut from the birth of mechanical analog synthesis in the crucible of Italian Futurism almost 100 years ago to the cutting edge digital synthesis of tomorrow being invented at Stanford’s CCRMA computer music research center.

Mountains In Space: (L → R) Luke Dahl, Colin Sullivan

Set 1: Mountains In Space – Electronic Music from CCRMA (8pm)

Mountains in Space perform live ambient electronic music made with analog synths, custom algorithms, and field recordings.

Their music is “a time-dilated dive into fractal cosmic jello.”

Mountains in Space is Luke Dahl and Colin Sullivan who met at Stanford’s CCRMA computer music lab and began collaborating musically in 2013.

Luke Dahl performs @ CCRMA's Modulations event, San Francisco, May 2013, w industrial animations by Mary Franck

Luke Dahl started out a pianist & french horn player. After receiving an initial BS in Electrical Engineering from the U. of Michigan he worked on audio technologies at Creative Labs where he helped develop spatialization and reverb techniques for the SoundBlasterLive, and at Apple where he worked on audio for iPod products. Returning to academia full-time he received a Master’s in Music, Science, & Tech in 2007 at CCRMA, where he now pursues a Ph.D.

Luke’s research interests include a number of intersections between music and tech:

Stanford Laptop Orchestra (SLOrk) performs Twilight (2013) for laptop orchestra by Ge Wang (王戈), Bing Concert Hall, Stanford University, May 2013

— The design and study of new instruments for musical expression & new performance ensembles based on these instruments. In this context Luke has created instruments and composed works for both the Stanford Laptop Orchestra (SLOrk) and the Stanford Mobile Phone Orchestra (Mopho), of which he’s a founding member.

— The relationship between music and movement, including instrumental performance gesture with traditional & new instruments, movement imagery and metaphors in descriptions of musical experiences, & sonification of movement data.

TweetDreams, created by Luke in collaborate with Jorge Herrera and Carr Wilkerson (also of CCRMA), is a multimedia musical performance made from live Twitter data. During a performance tweets containing specific terms are retrieved from Twitter’s servers, sonified into short melodies, and displayed graphically. The piece is created by three groups of users: the audience, the performers, and the world.

Luke is a holder of several patents, esp. in the field of Reverb Science.

Colin Sullivan

Starting out as bass guitarist, Colin Sullivan is a veteran of media companies such as Synthetic Cinema International (makers of Assault Of The Sasquatch, Alien Opponent, and Werewolf: The Devil’s Hound), and Gracenote; more recently, Colin is a co-founder of Oakland music tech startup Musikara, which makes tools for the interactive and collaborative creation and visualization of music.

At CCRMA, Colin is focused on exploring algorithmic music generation and sound synthesis.

There he’s developed some notable pieces of technology, for example:

Jnana, a generative musical accompaniment system integrated into Ableton Live.

KnacK, a music composition framework for the ChucK programming language

— Tulpasynth, a collaborative music system that enables a group of people to spontaneously create together by manipulating a physics-based environment on a touchscreen interface

Luciano Chessa & Benjamin Kreith perform Futurist sound-poetry & pieces from their suite "Garrett — Confusing Salon Music & Noise since 2013", Center for New Music, San Francisco, 11 June 2013

Set 2: Luciano Chessa & Benjamin Kreith perform Futurist sound-poetry & pieces from their suite Garrett — Confusing Salon Music & Noise since 2013 (9pm)

Bay Area New Music champions Luciano Chessa & Benjamin Kreith perform pieces from their suite Garrett — Confusing Salon Music & Noise since 2013, for violin, piano, Vietnamese đàn bầu, bullhorn, saw, Aardvark synth app, harmonica & voice.  A program consisting of original pieces, Erik Satie transcriptions, Futurist sound poetry, a Fluxus piece, delicate improvisations, and much more.

Especially noteworthy are:

Cover of « Piedigrotta » by Francesco Cangiullo

— Piedigrotta (1913): “Considered to be the pinnacle of Futurist sound poetry, Francesco Cangiullo’s epic poem about the yearly Neapolitan street party dedicated to the Madonna di Piedigrotta. The explosions of firecrackers, the cries of street venders, the tenori battling at the annual song competition and, more in general, the sound of an entire city presented as a living organism, all reach a sudden jolt when the procession of the Black Madonna takes over the stage. By brilliantly hijacking onomatopoeic techniques typically found in Futurist poetry to mimic the explosions of mortars and shrapnels, and by forcing them to recreate the complexly articulated noise of a wild street party, Cangiullo truly succeeds here in celebrating — and synthesizing — life.” (text by Luciano Chessa)

— Analfabeta (“Illiterate”, 1989/2013), by Luciano Chessa: “Capo Caccia is a promontory punctuated by dramatic limestone cliffs.  Under it, only a few miles from my hometown Sassari, caves run for miles by the Mediterranean coastline. As I utter the words “Capo Caccia,” something specific resonates in the cavity. The exploration begins. With the marine sonar of the mind I locate a place at the heart of the deepest cave, and thus I name it: because it is a primordial, pre-cultural, pre-linguistic place. A retired Aleph-like situation where language is just as unnecessary as it is irrelevant. There, in my childish mind, I picture everything being unchanged since the Creation. Illiterate”

Ben Kreith plays by the water, as the ancient masters of the Chinese gǔqín (古琴) zither did to sharpen their ears

Violinist Benjamin Kreith has performed as a chamber musician, soloist and orchestra player throughout the US and Europe. He’s premiered solo works at the Strasbourg and Marseille festivals and performed as a guest artist with the Ying and Muir Quartets.

Ben helped to found the Ensemble CGAC in Santiago de Compostela, and has also performed with sfSound, Barcelona 216, and the Harvard Group for New Music. Recently he spent several years in Montana as a member of the Cascade Quartet and concertmaster of the Great Falls Symphony. He has taught at the Escola de Música de Barcelona and served as artist-in-residence at the University of California, Davis.

Ben has worked directly with composers including Francisco Guerrero Marín, Gunther Schuller, and Magnus Lindberg. His live recording of Christian Lauba’s Kwintus for violin solo is available on the Accord/Universal CD Morphing.

Ben also plays the harmonica and first achieved notoriety when his improvisations on that instrument with Leonard Bernstein were broadcast on international television.

Luciano Chessa and friend (photo by Viola Berlanda)

As a composer, conductor, and soloist on instruments as varied as piano, musical saw, Vietnamese đàn bầu, & megaphone distortion/feedback, Luciano Chessa has been active in Europe, the US, Australia, and South America.

Luciano Chessa performing Joan La Barbara's "Hear What I Feel" @ Pamela Z's VOICECAGE, 21 Aug 2012

His compositions include a piano & percussion duet after Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Petrolio, written for Sarah Cahill and Chris Froh and presented at the American Academy in Rome, Il pedone dell’aria for orchestra and double children choir, premiered in Torino, and 2 works in collaboration with artist Terry Berlier: Louganis for piano & TV/VCR-combo, and Inkless Imagination IV for viola, mini-bass musical saw, turntables, piano, percussion, FM radios, blimp and video projection.

Luciano Chessa performs on the Vietnamese đàn bầu

Recent premieres include a large orchestral work for the Orchestra Filarmonica di Torino titled Ragazzi incoscienti scarabocchiano sulla porta di un negozio fallito an.1902; Movements, a multimedia work for 16mm film, đàn bầu and amplified film projectors produced in collaboration with filmmaker Rick Bahto; Come un’infanzia, a guitar + string quartet piece for the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble

Luciano Chessa performs on the musical saw at the Garden of Memory, Chapel of the Chimes

A Heavenly Act, an opera commissioned by SFMOMA for Nicole Paiement and Opera Parallèle, with a libretto by Gertrude Stein and video by Kalup Linzy; LIGHTEST, an SFMOMA commission presented last year at the SF Columbarium; and Set and Setting, for San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, premiered in Feb at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

A portion of Futurist sound poem « Zang Tumb Tumb » by Filippo Tomasso Marinetti

Luciano has been performing Futurist sound poetry for well over 10 years, based on a Dada typography which the futurists called parole in libertà, (“words in freedom”), including his reading of Italian Futurist sound poetry to accompany a performance of the Grammy Award Nominated New Century Chamber Orchestra, and he’s given the modern premiere of Francesco Cangiullo’s explosive Futurist sound poems Piedigrotta and Serata in onore di Yvonne to critical acclaim.

« La Musica », painting by Luigi Russolo

Luciano’s also the author of Luigi Russolo, Futurist: Noise, Visual Arts, and the Occult, showing for the first time the occult relationship between Futurist painter and sound artist Luigi Russolo’s intonarumori and Leonardo da Vinci’s mechanical noisemakers

Luciano Chessa conducts Music for 16 Futurist Noise Intoners, Performa, 2009 (Photo by Paula Court, courtesy, Performa)

Luciano’s Futurist expertise resulted in a commission by New York City’s Biennial PERFORMA to direct the first reconstruction of Luigi Russolo’s intonarumori orchestra by master instrument builder Keith Cary, and to curate and conduct concerts which received a “Best of 2009″ mention in the New York Times, featuring, among many other compostions, his L’acoustique ivresse, for bassvoice & intonarumori ensemble, and the modern premiere of Russolo’s Risveglio di una città.

Luigi Russolo & Ugo Piatti with the original Intonarumori

As can be seen in this photo, these intonarumori were astonishing early 20th-century synthesizer instruments which were not merely analog, but mechanical (we are talking about crank-driven here, look at Ugo Piatti to the right…).

Luigi Russolo photographed with the Russolophone (c. 1930)

Luciano’s intonarumori orchestra went on to gather new commissions and play at the MART in Rovereto, Italy, as part of the Festival Transart, following with a sold-out intonarumori concert for Berliner Festspiele-MaerzMusik Festival; for Art Basel Miami Beach, he conducted this ensemble with the New World Symphony with Lee Ranaldo in the premiere of Ranaldo’s It All Begins Now! and continued to the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires.

Luciano Chessa conducting Joan La Barbara and the Magik*Magik Orchestra in the premiere of La Barbara’s “Striation” as part of Music for 16 Futurist Noise Intoners, Performa, 2009 (Photo by Paula Court, courtesy of Performa)

Luciano brought the ensemble back to the Bay Area last year in an inspired concert at BAM/PFA, and a double LP dedicated to the Orchestra of Futurist Noise Intoners and documenting the first phase of this project appeared on the label Sub Rosa and promptly sold out.

A video with interviews of Luciano and showing the intonarumori in action can be seen below:

Luciano teaches at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, serves in the Advisory Board of TACET, the international research publication dedicated to Experimental Music of the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, and collaborates with San Francisco’s Istituto Italiano di Cultura. His music is published by RAI TRADE, the Italian National Broadcast Channels’ music publishing company and Edizioni Carrara.

Join us for a rare electro-acoustic evening, encompassing more than a century of enfants terribles blasting apart musical barriers….

Joe

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

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

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MSP/Piano/+: UPRIGHT — w Pamela Z, Sarah Cahill, Luciano Chessa, & Maxxareddu, Thu 10 Jul @ Room Series, Royce Gallery, San Francisco, 8pm

UPRIGHT w Sarah Cahill, Luciano Chessa, Pamela Z, and special guest, AI improvising agent Maxxareddu (Room Series 2014/№ 3, Royce Gallery, San Francisco), Thu 10 Jul

Pamela Z’s fascinating avant-chamber ROOM Series takes place at Royce Gallery, a wonderful black box performance gallery on the border between San Francisco’s Mission and Potrero Hill districts with gorgeous acoustics and beautiful lighting. For many years Pamela Z Arts has presented 3-5 incomparably eclectic shows a year in this special series to an enthusiastic experimental music and performance audience, often uniting performers from wildly different musical worlds, or mixing musicians and other performance artists for a wild, but always beautiful exploration of the unique, the unexpected, and the unforgettable.

Pamela Z @ Ars Electronica 2008 Linz, Austria (photo by rubra, courtesy, Ars Electronica)

These evenings feature a variety of virtuosic, solo artists and chamber groups playing cutting-edge new music. The series has included a wide range of artists including Joëlle Léandre, Carl Stone, JHNO, Zoë Keating, Beth Custer, Amy X Neuburg, Moe! Staiano, Miya Masaoka (正岡みや), Suki O’Kane, and many more. A ROOM series evening often includes up to four extremely varied artists of a certain instrument family or curated around a specific theme, who each play solo works and then join together with the other artists for an ensemble improvisation or scored work.

A wonderful restored vintage-era upright piano (in a former life, also a player piano…) has just come available in the space and will make its debut at this show, an event I’m very happy to take part in, not only with vocal and electronics diva Pamela Z, but also with two of the most inspiring pianists and musicians of the Bay Area (or anywhere), Sarah Cahill and Luciano Chessa.

Time & Place: 8pm, Thu 10 Jul at the Royce Gallery, 2901 Mariposa Street (between Harrison & Alabama) San Francisco (map).

In the first part of this post, I’ll talk about the fantastic musicians who will be on the program, and in the second part I’ll discuss what I’m doing in this show (jump to Joe Lasqo program description).

Although the focus in this show is on the 3 pianists, their polyamorous relationships with The Upright, and the additional electro-acoustic instruments & entities they bring into the mix, I must first say a bit about our wonderful curatorial hostess, who’ll also contribute a solo piece and join us in the concluding tutti improv….

Pamela Z (photo by Marion Gray, mariongray @ mac . com)

Pamela Z is a San Francisco-based composer/performer and media artist who works primarily with voice, live electronic processing, sampling technology, and video.

A pioneer of live digital looping techniques, she processes her voice in real time to create dense, complex sonic layers. Her solo works combine experimental extended vocal techniques, operatic bel canto, found objects, text, and sampled concrète sounds. She uses Max/MSP and Isadora software along with custom MIDI controllers that allow her to manipulate sound and image with physical gestures. In addition to her performance work, she has a growing body of inter-media gallery works including multi-channel sound and video installations.

Pamela Z in Baggage Allowance (photo Valerie Oliveiro valerie oliveiro @ gmail . com)

Pamela has toured extensively throughout the US, Europe, and Japan – performing in international festivals including Bang on a Can at Lincoln Center (New York); la Biennale di Venezia (Italy); the Interlink Festival (Japan); Other Minds (San Francisco); and Pina Bausch Tanztheater’s 25 Jahre Fest (Wuppertal, Germany).  She has composed, recorded and performed original scores for choreographers and for film/video artists, and has done vocal work for other composers (including Charles Amirkhanian, Vijay Iyer, and Henry Brant). Her large-scale, multi-media performance works, Parts of Speech, Gaijin (外人), Voci, and Baggage Allowance have been presented at the Kitchen in New York, Theater Artaud & ODC Theater in San Francisco, the Museum of Contemporary Art Theatre in Chicago, as well as in Washington D.C. & Budapest. Her one-act opera Wunderkabinet inspired by the Museum of Jurassic Technology (co-composed with Matthew Brubeck) premiered at The LAB in San Francisco, and was presented at REDCAT in Los Angeles and Open Ears Festival in Canada. She’s shown media works in exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York); Erzbischöfliches Diözesanmuseum (Köln); the Tang Museum (Saratoga Springs NY); the Dakar Biennale (Sénégal); Krannert Art Museum (IL), and the Kitchen (NY).

Pamela Z @ Ars Electronica 2008 Linz, Austria (photo by rubra, courtesy, Ars Electronica)

Pamela has had chamber commissions from Kronos Quartet, Bang On A Can Allstars, ETHEL, California E.A.R. Unit, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Empyrean Ensemble, and St. Luke’s Chamber Orchestra.  As well as curating and producing the ROOM Series, she’s collaborated with a wide range of artists including Miya Masaoka (正岡みや), Joan Jeanrenaud, Brenda Way (ODC Dance), Jeanne Finley + John Muse, Shinichi Iova-Koga (シンイチ・イオヴァ・コガ), Christina McPhee, Leigh Evans, and Jo Kreiter.  Pamela has participated in several New Music Theatre (now renamed Zakros Interarts) events, including the famous original Fort Mason John Cage festivals, and has performed with The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. Her interactive web-based work Baggage Allowance was officially launched in summer of 2011 at baggageallowance.tv where it remains permanently available.

Pamela Z performing a study for Baggage Allowance @ Roulette, NYC (photo by Kimberly Young)

Special mention must be made of Pamela’s recent masterwork, Carbon Song Cycle,  with video collaborator Christina McPhee and master musicians Dana Jessen, Charith Premawardhana (චරිත ප්රේමවර්ධන), Theresa Wong (天欣), and Suki O’Kane. Inspired by ongoing changes and upheavals in the earth’s ecosystem, and by the carbon cycle — the process through which carbon is exchanged between all terrestrial life forms and domains — it’s scored for a chamber ensemble of voice & electronics, viola, cello, bassoon, and percussion, plus immersive, multi-screen video projections.

To compose the music, Pamela wove together melodic motifs inspired by scientific data about the carbon cycle and texts referencing environmental balance and imbalance, playing on the idea of the natural exchange of elements by passing sonic material between the players, as well as exploring audio elements related to the imagery shot at petroleum fields, natural gas locations, and geothermal sites around back-country California, along with carbon-inspired drawings and images of processes involving intense heat and chemical transformations.

Carbon Song Cycle premiered at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive and has toured to Roulette in NYC. If you want to experience something of this alarming and beautiful piece yourself, a video of the BAM/PFA performance can be found above.

Sarah Cahill (Photo by Christine Alicino)

Sarah Cahill, recently called “fiercely gifted” by the New York Times and “as tenacious and committed an advocate as any composer could dream of” by the San Francisco Chronicle, has commissioned, premiered, and recorded numerous compositions for solo piano. Composers who have dedicated works to her include John Adams, Terry Riley, Frederic Rzewski, Pauline Oliveros, Annea Lockwood, and Evan Ziporyn, and she’s also premiered pieces by Lou Harrison, Julia Wolfe, Ingram Marshall, Toshi Ichiyanagi (一柳慧), George Lewis, Leo Ornstein (Лев Орнштейн), and many others. I find her renditions of Kyle Gann’s works particularly mesmerizing; they’ve seemed to me a pinnacle of sensitivity and virtuosity since initially hearing her perform Gann’s Time Does Not Exist at the Other Minds festival a few years ago.

Sarah Cahill (photo by Marianne La Rochelle)

Sarah has researched and recorded the music by the important early 20th-century American modernists Henry Cowell and Ruth Crawford, and has commissioned a number of new pieces in tribute to their enduring influence.  She enjoys working closely with composers, musicologists, and scholars to prepare scores for performance.  Recent appearances include Spoleto Festival USA, Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, the Portland Piano Festival, and the Mendocino Music Festival.  She was recently the soloist with the La Jolla Symphony conducted by Steven Schick for Lou Harrison’s Piano Concerto, and she’s performed chamber music with the New Century Chamber Orchestra, the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, and many other chamber groups.

A Sweeter Music, by Sarah Cahill

Sarah’s most recent project, A Sweeter Music, premiered in the Cal Performances series in Berkeley in 2009 and continued to New Sounds Live at Merkin Hall, Rothko Chapel, the North Dakota Museum of Art, Le Poisson Rouge, and venues around the country, with newly commissioned works on the theme of peace by Terry Riley, Meredith Monk, Yōko Ono (小野洋子), Frederic Rzewski, Phil Kline, and many others. The San Francisco Chronicle wrote that “the music, helped along by the impassioned force of Cahill’s playing, amounted to a persuasive and varied investigation of the subject,” and London’s Financial Times called it “a unique commissioning programme that unites artistic aspirations with moral philosophy.”  Her next project, Utopia/Dystopia, will feature new works by young composers envisioning the future of the planet.

(L→R) Sarah Cahill with Chris Froh and Luciano Chessa, Villa Aurelia, Rome (photo by Laurie San Martin)

Most of Sarah’s albums are on the New Albion label. She has also recorded for the CRI, New World, Other Minds, Tzadik, Albany, Cold Blue, and Artifact labels.  Her album A Sweeter Music was released by Other Minds, and she’s currently preparing a CD of Patterns of Plants by Mamoru Fujieda (藤枝守). Her radio show, Revolutions Per Minute, can be heard every Sunday evening from 8 to 10 pm on KALW, 91.7 FM in San Francisco.  She’s on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory, hosts a new music series at the Exploratorium, and curates a monthly series of new music concerts at the Berkeley Art Museum.

Sarah will premier a new piece by Peter Garland, After the Wars, and also play pieces by Luciano Chessa.

Luciano Chessa and friend (photo by Viola Berlanda)

As a composer, conductor, and soloist on instruments as varied as piano, musical saw, Vietnamese đàn bầu, & megaphone distortion/feedback, Luciano Chessa has been active in Europe, the US, Australia, and South America.

Luciano Chessa performing Joan La Barbara's "Hear What I Feel" @ Pamela Z's VOICECAGE, 21 Aug 2012

His compositions include a piano & percussion duet after Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Petrolio, written for Sarah Cahill and Chris Froh and presented at the American Academy in Rome, Il pedone dell’aria for orchestra and double children choir, premiered in Torino, and 2 works in collaboration with artist Terry Berlier: Louganis for piano & TV/VCR-combo, and Inkless Imagination IV for viola, mini-bass musical saw, turntables, piano, percussion, FM radios, blimp and video projection.

Luciano Chessa performs on the Vietnamese đàn bầu

Recent premieres include a large orchestral work for the Orchestra Filarmonica di Torino titled Ragazzi incoscienti scarabocchiano sulla porta di un negozio fallito an.1902; Movements, a multimedia work for 16mm film, đàn bầu and amplified film projectors produced in collaboration with filmmaker Rick Bahto; Come un’infanzia, a guitar + string quartet piece for the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble

Luciano Chessa performs on the musical saw at the Garden of Memory, Chapel of the Chimes

A Heavenly Act, an opera commissioned by SFMOMA for Nicole Paiement and Opera Parallèle, with a libretto by Gertrude Stein and video by Kalup Linzy; LIGHTEST, an SFMOMA commission presented last year at the SF Columbarium; and Set and Setting, for San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, premiered in Feb at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

A portion of Futurist sound poem « Zang Tumb Tumb » by Filippo Tomasso Marinetti

Luciano has been performing Futurist sound poetry for well over 10 years, based on a Dada typography which the futurists called parole in libertà, (“words in freedom”), including his reading of Italian Futurist sound poetry to accompany a performance of the Grammy Award Nominated New Century Chamber Orchestra

Cover of « Piedigrotta » by Francesco Cangiullo

… and he’s given the modern premiere of Francesco Cangiullo’s explosive Futurist sound poems Piedigrotta and Serata in onore di Yvonne to critical acclaim.

Exotic scores of the 14-century - An Ars Subtilior chanson about love « Belle, bonne, sage » by Baude Cordier, in a heart shape, with red notes indicating rhythmic alterations

As a musicologist, his areas of research include 20th-century, experimental, late fourteenth-century music (Ars Subtilior), and Italian 1990′s hip-hop.  Luciano received a Ph.D. in musicology from UC Davis; at the Conservatorio di Musica, Bologna he earned a DMA. in piano and a MA in composition. His research focuses on 20th-century & experimental music and can be found in Musica e Storia (Levi Foundation, Venice).

« La Musica », painting by Luigi Russolo

Luciano’s also the author of Luigi Russolo, Futurist: Noise, Visual Arts, and the Occult, showing for the first time the occult relationship between Futurist painter and sound artist Luigi Russolo’s intonarumori and Leonardo da Vinci’s mechanical noisemakers

Luciano Chessa conducts Music for 16 Futurist Noise Intoners, Performa, 2009 (Photo by Paula Court, courtesy, Performa)

Luciano’s Futurist expertise resulted in a commission by New York City’s Biennial PERFORMA to direct the first reconstruction of Luigi Russolo’s intonarumori orchestra by master instrument builder Keith Cary, and to curate and conduct concerts which received a “Best of 2009″ mention in the New York Times, featuring, among many other compostions, his L’acoustique ivresse, for bassvoice & intonarumori ensemble, and the modern premiere of Russolo’s Risveglio di una città.

Luigi Russolo & Ugo Piatti with the original Intonarumori

As can be seen in this photo, these intonarumori were astonishing early 20th-century synthesizer instruments which were not merely analog, but mechanical (we are talking about crank-driven here, look at Ugo Piatti to the right…).

Luigi Russolo photographed with the Russolophone (c. 1930)

Luciano’s intonarumori orchestra went on to gather new commissions and play at the MART in Rovereto, Italy, as part of the Festival Transart, following with a sold-out intonarumori concert for Berliner Festspiele-MaerzMusik Festival; for Art Basel Miami Beach, he conducted this ensemble with the New World Symphony with Lee Ranaldo in the premiere of Ranaldo’s It All Begins Now! and continued to the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires.

Luciano Chessa conducting Joan La Barbara and the Magik*Magik Orchestra in the premiere of La Barbara’s “Striation” as part of Music for 16 Futurist Noise Intoners, Performa, 2009 (Photo by Paula Court, courtesy of Performa)

Luciano brought the ensemble back to the Bay Area last year in an inspired concert at BAM/PFA, and a double LP dedicated to the Orchestra of Futurist Noise Intoners and documenting the first phase of this project appeared on the label Sub Rosa and promptly sold out.

A video with interviews of Luciano and showing the intonarumori in action can be seen below:

Luciano teaches at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, serves in the Advisory Board of TACET, the international research publication dedicated to Experimental Music of the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, and collaborates with San Francisco’s Istituto Italiano di Cultura. His music is published by RAI TRADE, the Italian National Broadcast Channels’ music publishing company and Edizioni Carrara.

¾ of the Half-Human Quartet - (L → R): Joe Lasqo, Ritwik Banerji (ঋত্বিক ব্যানার্জী) & Maxxareddu, 25 Jul 2013 @ Outsound New Music Summit (Photo: PeterBKaars.com, http://www.peterbkaars.com)

Maxxareddu is my AI improvising agent associate, formally premiered at the computer music night which I curated for Outsound New Music Summit 2013 (link, scroll down to Set 2), and who also slips sometimes unannounced into a number of my laptop-based performances

He’s a past member, along with Ritwik Banerji (ঋত্বিক ব্যানার্জী) and Ritwik’s improvising agent, Maxine, in the ensemble, Half-Human Quartet (we’ll both miss Ritwik and Maxine, who are shortly off to Berlin… Gute Reise!).

Maxxareddu uses a variety of techniques ranging from blackboard architectures and, especially, computational event-grammars, from my past work in expert systems development and natural language processing, to listen to, analyze, and improvise with both human and non-human partners.

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)

I am truly privileged to join these eminent colleagues for what I’m sure will be a rare night of musical beauty.

I don’t have detailed advance info about the solo segments which Pamela Z, Sarah Cahill and Luciano Chessa intend to present in this show, but, turning to my part of the program, here is some info below (or jump to series description & bios of Pamela, Sarah and Luciano above).

Chōshi (調子) - Japanese Notation

Chōshi électro-acoustique (電子音響の調子)

Based on a “chōshi” (a “tuning prélude”) which is associated with one of the oldest shakuhachi pieces, Hon Shirabe (本調べ), this is a “other-timed” music, organized into phrases controlled by breath-time.

It’s been my privilege to work with some of the great shakuhachi players of the Bay Area like Nancy Beckman, Cornelius Shinzen (深禅) Boots, and Karl Young who have taught me a lot about riding and letting “breath” into my instruments (piano, laptop, percussion) — instruments which ordinarily could almost be described as “anti-breath”. The practice of chōshi has been a good place to apply these insights.

Cover of Joe Lasqo's Album "Turquoise Sessions", available 18 Oct 2011from Edgetone Records

I’ve recorded an earlier, purely piano version of this piece on my CD, Turquoise Sessions. In this second chōshi piece, I add laptop-based MSP synthesis as well.

Many of the wind techniques of the shakuhachi (e.g. overblowing) aren’t available on the piano, so I’ve developed a toolbox of effect-substitution strategies which sometimes use a quite different sound or technique than the original (including at times markéd distortions to the original pitches or modality) — and all the more so for the digital electronics.

Also I generally held the structure over the flame a bit to see which way it would melt…

The result is a sequence where each phrase has a different flavor like one sound-color shifting into another.

John Cage and D.T. Suzuki (鈴木 大拙 貞太郎)

Cyber Renga-kai [Q] (サイバー連歌会 )

As is well known, John Cage was heavily influenced by Zen Buddhism and Japanese culture in general. This led to a fascinating series of “renga pieces” based on the Japanese collaborative improv poetry form, renga (連歌).

Fu Nanihito Renga, an example of a 100-section / 100-artist renga form, 1525 A.D., Kanazawa-city collection (賦何人連歌、大永5年(1525)金沢市)

With beginnings in the time of the Man’yōshū (万葉集), c. 760 A.D., renga evolved into a very sophisticated game played by connoisseurs who used its 5-line stanzas in an interplay of group-improvised linked verses, exchanged among the members of a (usually sake-soaked) poetry party.

Renga paper of poet Nishiyama Sōin (西山宗因連歌懐紙)

Japanese poetry fiends took renga to remarkable heights of sophistication, defining an elaborate aesthetic of seasonal symbolism, pivot-stanzas referring to moon and cherry blossoms, and special gold-and-silver dusted papers of different shapes, sizes and colors to brush their poems onto whilst sipping from cups of sake brought to them sushi-boat-style by garden streams specially constructed for this purpose.

Renga-kai (連歌会) is a new form extending rules based on some of the “renga pieces” of John Cage, and their unique transformations — not only of Japanese verse forms for alcohol-soaked group poetry improv, based on structures of 5 + 7 + 5 + 7 + 7 — but also of fundamental concepts like “duet”, “listening” and “time”.

Time displacement: Ø

It generates a game that, like go (碁), is rich in strategy despite relatively simple rules.

Time displacement: t-1

Time displacement: t-२

Expanding on game-like rules Cage developed for his luminous and serene “renga-pieces”, we use the 36-stanza kasen (歌仙) form of renga, re-imagining each 5-line stanza as a duet in 5-line musical units, each filled with 5 or 7 sound-events which replace the 5 or 7 syllables of the original poetic form.

Time displacement: t-三

Our renga-rules allow the players to create an interlinked joint control of fluid time, creating meditative, ever-shifting ripples in highly-focused 31-event sound-poems which will be uniquely different in each performance.

Modern Renga Banquet at the Shusuitei in the Kyoto Imperial Park (連歌の会席〜京都御苑内の拾翠亭にて)

And we’ll honor the renga tradition of alcohol-assisted creativity, by demarcating these sections with ceremonial libations (which may lead to some interesting musical results…).

In the past, I’ve presented Renga-kai with human duet partners in the ensemble; in this show I’ll perform the form for the first time with a non-human duet partner, Maxxareddu.

Sarasvatī on her animal mount, the swan; painting by Navneet Parikh (नवनीत पारिख)

Sa-Z Chissà? in rāga Mandāri (ராகம் மந்தாரி)

A relatively traditional Indo-Modernist composition of mine in the 3-part South Indian form rāgam-tānam-pallavi (well, not SO traditional… it’s on the piano with harmonies…. and for this show, it will be concentrated into a brief piece from a more usual performance time of 40-50 min).

The term rāgam-tānam-pallavi refers to the 3 sections of this form:

(1) rāgam (ராகம்) – slow intro in unmetered time to establish the rāga

(2) tānam (தானம்) – a section of rhythmic play which is faster and involves using more complex rhythmic phrases

(3) pallavi (பல்லவி) – a presentation of the melody in metered time, faster

If you’ve listened to either North or South Indian classical music, you’ll find this form not unfamiliar, and it is my hope that you’ll appreciate the wonderful potential of the piano as a nontraditional instrument for the grand and vital Karnatic tradition of South India.

The rāga for this program, Mandāri (ராகம் மந்தாரி), has become an obsession for me of late. Its complex emotional flavor — warm and yet mysterious, fully feeling the world’s tragic nature and yet witty and strong — is a result of its rich intervallic structures, which geometrically recur in yin and yang positions.

In addition to the above, I’ll also join the other players for free improv. Who knows what’ll happen when our musical worlds intersect…?

In lesser hands, the turbo-eclectisicm of this group of musicians might spin out of control; under the wearable-controller baton of Pamela Z, it will become a night-blooming sonic flower of rare alien beauty.

A flower that will bloom only once… hold it with your mind and come vibrate with us….

Joe

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MSP/Synth/+: Waitomo Caves Improv’erture — w the double Kiwilectric power of Simon O’Rorke / Paul Winstanley, the alien élan of Tom Nunn’s invented instruments, and the software wu of Joe Lasqo, Sun 25 May @ The Nunnery, San Francisco, 2pm (two sets)

Waitomo Caves, North Island, Aotearoa/New Zealand

On the flimsiest of connections with Mendelssohn’s Fingal’s Cave Overture, we present a Waitomo Caves Improv’erture featuring two of New Zealand’s finest electronic musicians, Simon O’Rorke and Paul Winstanley, who’ll be joined by prolific instrument inventor Tom Nunn and myself, Joe Lasqo, playing synthesizer, laptop, and small percussion.

(Examiner.com preview with more about the Fingal’s Cave Overture connection: here.)

This will be improvising synthesist and percussionist Simon O’Rorke’s only Bay Area appearance on his current US tour.

Glowworms, Waitomo Caves, North Island, Aotearoa/New Zealand

After achieving psychotropic tele-telepathic resonance with the members of the unique Waitomo cave glowworm habitat half a world away in Aotearoa’s North Island, our band of intersonic spelunkers will be driven to the deepest frontiers of audio experience by the glowworms’ chill incandescence.

The Nunnery

The site of this inter-spatial / interspecies experiment could be no other than The Nunnery (address and map below), the secret lair and new-instrument research lab of sound-inventor Tom Nunn, who’s begun hosting a series of concerts there which often involve invented / homebrew instruments and extended improvisational techniques.

Part of the Invented Instrument orchestra @ The Nunnery

The performance space is surrounded by Tom’s latest creations. Twice a month he opens his atelier to the public for performances on a Sunday afternoon and a Monday evening, and we look forward to a matinée performance there at 2pm, Sun 25 Nov (3016 25th St., San Francisco, CA 94110, between Florida and Alabama Streets, map)

One kiwi makes you larger…

And one kiwi makes you small…

Simon O'Rorke in his studio w synths & bronze percussion, Wellington, 01 Jan 2014 (photo by Mary Roberts)

The show’s guest of honor is synthesist/percussionist Simon O’Rorke, a key driver of the Wellington improv scene and a daring pathbreaker even by the standards of the convention-disregarding, menefreghista, follow-the-sound-wherever-it-goes culture of New Zealand improv.

Simon O'Rorke gives birth to a new sound, 03 Jan 2005... (photo by Brian Latimer)

Originally from Britain, Simon was already ignited by early studies there in the improv workshops of UK improv revolutionaries John Stevens and Trevor Watts (of Spontaneous Music Ensemble) when he emigrated to Aotearoa in the late 80s.

And puts it to good use… Simon O'Rorke playing 32-in. Paiste Earth & Symphonic gongs at O'Rorke Towers, Wellington, 03 Jan 2005. (Photo - Brian Latimer)

Spearheading the diffusion of improv practices and techniques from European improv and American free jazz into the Southern Pacific, he organized the groundbreaking Wellington improv trio The Slab, w saxophonist Brian Hutson, and later, guitarist Matthew Mitchell, switching from his original instruments, bass guitar and synthesizer, to percussion in the process.

WMFOOMD (Wellington Most Famous Orchestra of Miraculous Delights) performs at iiii Festival, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 8 Nov 2011

Later configurations of The Slab also included antipodal improv masters, guitarist Daniel Beban and saxophonist Anton Wuts.

Simon has also been active in the improv supergroup The Wellington Most Famous Orchestra of Miraculous Delights (WMFOOMD).

Simon O'Rorke's percussion tour de force w Alphabethead (David Morrison), Clangophonica

The unique percussion sensibility and extended techniques for both performing and electronically processing percussive sounds that Simon has pioneered were well in evidence in a string of later collaborations, especial the astonishing work with turntablist Alphabethead (David Morrison) in the duo Clangophone and with laptopist Octif (Shanan Holm) in the duo Peel (PErcussion vs ELectronics).

Pattern Recognition, masterpiece of processed percussion by Peel, the collaboration between Simon O'Rorke and Octif (Shanan Holm)

The albums made by these duos, Clangophonica by Clangophone, and Pattern Recognition by Peel, cannot be recommended too highly. Check them out and you’ll be taken to wild and very beautiful frontiers of electro-percussive sound.

Confluence (L→R - Julie Bevan, Michael Hall, Chris Prosser, Simon O'Rorke), outside the notorious Fred's, Wellington 17th Feb 2013. (Photo- Michael Hall)

Since 2011, Simon has been active mostly again as a synthesist, carving out another new sonic space in the free improv quartet Confluence, along with with musical polymath Chris Prosser (violin), Wellington’s doyenne of Braziliana, Julie Bevan (nylon-string guitar), and jazz reedist Michael Hall (saxophones & clarinet).

Locally, Simon’s previous shows in California have included the Big Sur Experimental Music Festival and collaborations with Ernesto Diaz-Infante, Bob Marsh, John Shiurba, and Brian Eubanks.

Would you buy a used skatchbox from these guys? Music For Hard Times, duo of Paul WInstanley (L) & Tom Nunn (R)

Simon will be joined by fellow Aotearoan, “eelectric” bassist and “eelectronic” musician Paul Winstanley, and instrument-inventor Tom Nunn, who often play together as the virtuoso free-improv duo Music For Hard Times.

Paul Winstanley performing at Berkeley Arts Festival, 16 Oct 2012 (photo by Michael Zelner)

Paul Winstanley is an improvising electric bass player from New Zealand who specializes in extended techniques. In addition to trying to make his bass sound like electronics he is interested in making electronic music that sounds like natural environments. He has several solo projects including Sci Hi (electronic feedback), Speed Cook (music from sound samples and non-musical sounds) and The Complete Recordings (artificial simulations of field recordings).

One of Paul WInstanley's outlandish solo albums, Who Trusts Crucicble ? Crucible Trusts No-one

Paul lived in Auckland, New Zealand for 10 years where he was part of the growing local and national experimental/improvising music scene, playing in groups w/luminaries like instrument inventor Phil Dadson, percussionist John Bell, radical concert brass band The NZ Dominion Centenary Concert Band, folk icon Fats White, abstract electronic supergroup Plains and improvising electronic trio Audible 3. Paul was a founding member of Auckland improvising collective vitamin_s (Wikipedia, website), which has drawn improvisatory trios from a pool of 100+ members for a weekly concert series for over a decade. Paul was also active in the Houston avant-improv scene, before settling in San Francisco.

Tom Nunn playing his invented instrument, The Crab

Tom Nunn (Bold Italic interview, bio), has designed, built and performed with original musical instruments since 1976, and has built over 200 instruments, including his latest obsession, the visually arresting Skatchbox.

Your mind on Tom Nunn's Lukie Tubes Resonance Plates... Are You Experienced?

His instruments typically use commonly available materials, are sculptural in appearance, use contact microphones for amplification, and are designed specifically for improvisation with elements of ambiguity, unpredictability and nonlinearity.  Tom has performed extensively throughout the San Francisco Bay Area for over 30 years, as well as in other parts of the U.S., Canada, Europe, and New Zealand, both as soloist and with other musicians.  Tom also performs with T.D. Skatchit, RTD3, Ghost in the House, Music for Hard Times (duo with Paul Winstanley) and has appeared on a number of recordings, including his solo CD, Identity (2007), T.D. Skatchit & Company (2009) and Skatch Migration (2010) (Edgetone Records).  In 1998, he published Wisdom of the Impulse: On the Nature of Musical Free Improvisation.

As a duo, Music For Hard Times is more than the sum of its formidable parts and has not only performed regularly throughout the Bay Area over the last two years, but has recorded a series of brilliantly unclassifiable albums at Tom Nunn’s instrument-inventor’s laboratory and experimental music venue/studio, The Nunnery. Check out these one-of-a-kind sonic adventures at their label, Docking Station.

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)

It’s my great pleasure and honor to join these eminent colleagues for your listening enjoyment.

Māori Carving, Ohinemutu Marae Meeting House, Rotorua, North Island, Aotearoa/New Zealand (photo by Ceri Watkins)

Join us for a glorious afternoon of electronic, extended, invented, antipodean improv – kia ora!

Joe

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MSP/Piano/+: w Beth Custer and Thomas Dimuzio (in solo and trio form), Thu 15 May, Gench Music Series @ Duende, Oakland 9pm (two sets)

Beth Custer -/+ Joe Lasqo -/+ Thomas Dimuzio @ Duende, Oakland, 15 May 2014

I’m excited to once again play at the unique venue which Chef Paul Canales and impresario Rocco Somazzi have made into an essential gathering place to enjoy exquisite Basque pintxos & the best of the Bay Area’s jazz and creative music – Duende (468 19th Street, Oakland – map). Showtime is 9pm, Thu 15 May.

Duende

I’m delighted as well to be playing with two of the Bay Area’s most unique and unclassifiable musicians, clarinetist, vocalist, and composer, Beth Custer, and synthesizer sifu (師傅) Thomas Dimuzio, as part of Tom’s notorious Gench Music Series

A sequence of typical quantum eigenvectors for the quantum map (Nodal domain statistics for quantum chaotic maps, by J.P. Keating, J. Marklof and I.G. Williams, New J. Phys. 10 (2008) 083023)

We’re planning a varied evening of trio and solo work that will splatter sonic possibilities all over the quantum map into alternate universes where our musical triangle can have many more than three vertices.

Putative SLE trace from an eigenfunction of the quantum map (Nodal domain statistics for quantum chaotic maps, by J.P. Keating, J. Marklof and I.G. Williams, New J. Phys. 10 (2008) 083023)

Beth Custer (Photo: Anne Hamersky)

Beth Custer 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.

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

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 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.

Head LIght by Trance Mission (Beth Custer: clarinets/trumpet/voice, Stephen Kent: didjeridu/percussion/cello, John Loose: multi-ethnic drums/samples, Kenneth Newby: Asian winds/percussion/digital atmospheres)

With such a creative explosion, it’s very hard to pick particular jewels out of the box, but Beth’s pathbreaking work with Trance Mission holds special significance for me as a musician integrating non-Western and Western musics, and the sparkling, sensuous tracks of Head Light are a wonderful place to hear the most disparate of world-musical elements click together as if they’d been designed to from the start.

Thomas Dimuzio

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

Long regarded as a musical pioneer for his innovative use of live sampling and looping techniques to create compelling works, Tom 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.

Tom’s 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, and/or ambient microphones on the streets, etc. 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, Tom has worked with a number of 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 the ROVA Saxophone Quartet to create sound libraries for Rarefaction and Big Fish Audio. Tom 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, Tom 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, Tom has worked with independent artists and labels through his own Gench Studios since the early 1990’s. Among his clients are Matmos, Negativland, ISIS, AMM, Captain Ahab, Doctor Nerve, Psychic TV3, Xiu Xiu, Devin Hoff, GG Allin, KK 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.

Sonicism, electronic masterpiece by Thomas Dimuzio

Among a profusion of gem-like albums, the one I’ve been listening to the most recently is the double CD masterwork Sonicism, a jewel of many dark and glittering facets.

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)

It’s my great pleasure and honor to join these eminent colleagues for your listening pleasure.

Join us for a remarkable night of electronic space exploration, reed/vocal virtuosity, and meta-rāga trance in the most unlikely and exquisite of combinations at the warm, hospitable, hip, and in every sense delicious Duende.

Joe

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Piano/+: w Jim Ryan’s Green Alembic, Sat 17 May @ Berkeley Arts Festival, 9pm + Set 1: Triangle @ 8pm

Following on the heels of our fantastic recent show in the sfSoundSalonSeries at CNM (Examiner.com review: here), I’m excited to again join Jim Ryan’s unique multi-media ensemble Green Alembic.

The show will be at the East Bay’s indispensable focal point for new music, Berkeley Arts Festival (2133 University Avenue, Berkeley, CA – map) at 9pm, Sat 17 May.

Jim Ryan's Green Alembic performs in the sfSoundSalonSeries at Center for New Music, San Francisco, 15 Apr 2014 (L → R: Doug Carroll, Jason Hoopes, Joe Lasqo, Ron Heglin, Christina Stanley, Jeff Hobbs, Michael Cooke, Jim Ryan. Photos by Carly Hoopes)

Infected by bebop at a tender age, Jim first took up the trombone in Minnesota, and by Mai ’68 was playing flute & sax, living in Paris, and jamming and performing with musicians like Sunny Murray, Albert Ayler, Sun Ra, Archie Shepp & Anthony Braxton, then shortly afterward beginning his musical association with Steve Lacy.

Jim Ryan

After stretching the boundaries of improv with the “Free Music Formation” in Paris and other European cities, Jim returned to the US, first jolting the scene in Washington, D.C., then moving to the Bay Area not so long before the Loma Prieta Earthquake (coincidence…?)

Since then, Jim has led a remarkable variety of improv groups, e.g. Green Alembic, Dark PrecursorForward EnergyLeft Coast Improv Group, the Electro/Acoustic Sextet of Oakland, Subjects of Desire, and Retro Blue, as well as participating in Marco Eneidi‘s American Jungle Orchestra. and the Orchestra for World Peace of Sun Ra trumpeter Eddie Gale.

Jim Ryan reading his poetry (photo by Carly Hoopes)

Those who’ve heard Jim play have never been the same, and, after hearing his poems about surrealist elf sexuality, or seeing the powerful color energies of his paintings, are often never the same all over again.

Green Alembic

Green Alembic is Jim’s “new approach to multimedia presentation of Image, Word, & Sound” … the group transmutes projections of original art used as graphical scores and spoken word into rare musical elements. The music is inspired by images which are projected throughout the performance, by spoken word pieces, and by spontaneous interactions among the musicians. The group’s aesthetic is focused upon the immediate creation of musical ideas, clear articulation, and sensitivity to the unfolding sonic and visual environment.

In addition to Jim Ryan (kalimba, flute, horn, word, original images & leader), the line-up will also include:

Doug Carroll & friend

Doug Carroll is a cellist, composer, and audio engineer and has a BA in Music from the University of Alabama and an MFA in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College. Doug attended music classes at the Royal Conservatory in Den Hague and Darmstadt International Summer Courses.  He completed composition studies including with Karlheinz Stockhausen, Lou Harrison and Anthony Braxton; additionally, he performed with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s world premier of Ocean, with music composed by John Cage. With an emphasis in improvisation, Doug has also performed at Seattle Improvised Music Festival, Sound Symposium, and the Birmingham Improvised Music Festival with Davey Williams and LaDonna Smith.

Michael Cooke (photo by Danny Nolan)

Michael Cooke, a multi-instrumentalist, improviser, composer of jazz and classical music. He plays a variety of instruments — saxophones, fluteS, soprano and bass clarinets, and has a deep relationship with the bassoon.  Recently he has incorporated the Chinese shēng (笙), a free reed instrument, into this arsenal.  He is a cum laude graduate with a music degree from the University of North Texas.

Shēng (笙)

Ron Heglin (photo by Tom Djll / Djll Pixels)

Ron Heglin is a trombonist and vocalist working with extended technique on the trombone and with spoken and sung imaginary languages. His voicing has been influenced by his study of North Indian vocal music. He works both compositionally and in an improvisational mode. He has been a member of the Bay Area music context for over twenty-five years and has performed internationally.

Jeff Hobbs (L) & Bob Marsh (R)

Jeff Hobbs is an Oakland resident, instrument repair artist at ‘Best Instrument Repair’ on 14th St. in downtown Oakland, and a ubiquitous presence on the improv, poetry slam, and outlandish Eastbaynia rock and R&B scenes.  He plays violin, doublebass, cornet, various clarinets as well as several other instruments. It’s great to have Jeff’s sonic inspiration as a bandmate in Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra too!

Jason Hoopes and friends...

Jason Hoopes is a bassist and composer from Oakland. He can be seen performing with Jack O’ The Clock, Fred Frith Trio, Eat The Sun, Dominique Leone, John Ettinger, Sarah Wilson, John Schott, ROVA Saxophone Quartet, and numerous others. Jason also works in dance, composing music for choreographers Peiling Kao (沛齡), Molissa Fenley, and Alyce Finwall, among others.

ChrIstina Stanley

Christina Stanley is a Bay Area violinist, composer, vocalist and artist. She is active as a performer, improviser, electronic musician and teacher. She has performed in Europe, the continental US, and Cuba as a vocalist, violinist and electronic musician. She has played SF MOMA and has premiered works by Roscoe Mitchell under conductor Petr Kotik.

Joe Lasqo @ Meridian Gallery, 11 Jan 2012 (Photo: PeterBKaars.com, http://www.peterbkaars.com)

It is my pleasure and honor to once again join this “improvisational chamber super-group” (sfSoundSalonSeries).

Set 1, 8pm: Jim Ryan’s Triangle

Jim Ryan's Triangle (L → R: Jim Ryan, Jason Hoopes, Mark Pino)

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Jim Ryan’s most recent collaboration will make its debut at the Berkeley Arts Festival at this show. Triangle is a new, cool, free style jazz trio bringing bassist Jason Hoopes and drummer Mark Pino into an oblique dance with the jazz cannon.

(For more info on Jim, see above in this post…)

Jason Hoopes performs at Vexations Re-Vex'd I, Berkeley Arts Festival, 23 Mar 2013 (Photo: Joel Deuter)

Jason Hoopes is a bassist and composer living in Oakland, CA. He works and has worked with a wide range of Bay Area rock bands including Jack O’ The Clock, Satya Sena, The Atomic Bomb Audition, powerdove, Host Family, and Dominique Leone among others.

Jason Hoopes performs at Vexations Re-Vex'd I, Berkeley Arts Festival, 23 Mar 2013 (Photo: Joel Deuter)

Jason is part of the Fred Frith Trio with Fred Frith and percussionist / composer Jordan Glenn. He has shared the stage with a broad host of improvising artists including Phillip Greenlief, Larry Ochs, Ellen Fullman, Theresa Wong (天欣), Gino Robair, Nate Wooley, Gretchen Jude, Kanoko Nishi-Smith (西鹿乃子), Matt Ingalls, Kyle Bruckmann, Noah Phillips, Karl Evangelista, and Dohee Lee (도히), among many others.

Jason Hoopes performs at Vexations Re-Vex'd I, Berkeley Arts Festival, 23 Mar 2013 (Photo: Joel Deuter)

Jason also works with some of the Bay Area’s most exciting modern dancers and his dance compositions can be found at http://www.jasonhoopes.bandcamp.com.

Jason holds an MA in composition and an MFA in performance and literature from Mills College. He lives with his wife, photographer Carly Hoopes.

Mark Pino began playing percussion at the age of twelve, and has played music in public, regionally, and nationally in the US since 1990.

Mark Pino

Mark studied jazz under Herbie Lewis at New College of California, along with taking private instruction from master jazz drummer Richie Goldberg and master rock drummer Dawn Richardson.

Currently, Mark focuses on improvised music, within several different musical/instrumental configurations, including Cloud Shepherd (w Andrew Joron, Joe Noble, and Brian Lucas), The Ruminations (w Rent Romus, Bob Marsh, Christina Stanley, and Markus Hunt), and Ear Spray (w Carlos Jennings and Ann O’Rourke), among others.

From Mark’s “Mission Statement“:

“I consider myself a band player. It is from the musical interactions, publicly and privately, that I get creative satisfaction.

My aesthetics are formed by appreciation of music and other art forms, especially sculpture and poetry. Creativity is a bottomless well and an endless challenge. I thrive on the challenge and stand in awe of the well. ”

Join us for a night of chamber improv expeditions in a world whose center is everywhere and whose limit is nowhere…

Joe

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MSP/Piano+: w Biggi Vinkeloe Spring 2014 US Tour • Duende (12 Apr) • Berkeley Arts Festival (16 Apr) • VAMP (19 Apr – afternoon) • The Emerald Tablet (19 Apr – eve) • Center for New Music (20 Apr) • Studio Grand (25 Apr)

Biggi Vinkeloe US Tour Spring 2014 (clockwise from upper left: Donald Robinson, Biggi Vinkeloe, Joe Lasqo, Lisle Ellis, Teddy Rankin-Parker, Aaron Bennett)

I’m very excited to be joining German/Swedish saxophonist and flautist Biggi Vinkeloe for her US tour!

The tour has 6 Bay Area dates. Immediately below is a list of the dates, followed by info on Biggi and her crew, then details of each date adding info about the venues and other acts.

Biggi Vinkeloe Bay Area Tour Dates

Sat 12 Apr: Duende, Oakland (featuring Scott Walton on bass). 2 sets. (jump to show specifics)

Wed 16 Apr: Berkeley Arts Festival – featuring Teddy Rankin-Parker on cello (jump to show specifics)

— Set 1: Computer music from the CNMAT & Mills Tribes (John MacCallum, Sam Tarakajian, Shanna Sordahl, & Matthew Brendan Creer)

Sat 19 Apr (afternoon): VAMP, Oakland  - featuring Aaron Bennett on bari sax & Lisle Ellis on bass (jump to show specifics)

— Set 2: Medium-Size Band (Brett Carson, Joshua Marshall, Jon Myers, & Jacob Pek) w guest Rent Romus.

— Set 3: Ben Goldberg, Vijay Anderson, & Sheldon Brown

Sat 19 Apr (eve): The Emerald Tablet, San Francisco – featuring Teddy Rankin-Parker on cello & Lisle Ellis on bass (jump to show specifics)

— Set 1: Nava Dunkelman, Kristina Dutton, & Christina Stanley

Sun 20 Apr: Center for New Music, San Francisco – featuring Lisle Ellis on bass and Aaron Bennett on bari sax (jump to show specifics)

— Set 2: Computer music from the CNMAT & CCRMA tribes (John MacCallum, Bruno Ruviaro, Carr Wilkerson)

Fri 25 Apr: Studio Grand, Oakland, featuring Teddy Rankin-Parker on cello (jump to show specifics)

— Set 2: The one, the only… John Schott

Details for each show follow below. For Examiner.com critic Steve Smoliar’s preview of the San Francisco shows, please see: here.

Biggi Vinkeloe plays Bangalore („Bangalore Meine Liebe“ Werkstatt, Goethe Institut, Bangalore, 2011, photo by Selvaprakash L) 1.02

There is going to be a LOT of wonderful music in these shows, but something I’m especially excited about is that we’ll be using sound samples and field recordings by Biggi, especially ones recorded during her tour of India under the auspices of the Goethe Institut.

V. Nagabhushanachar (ವೀ. ನಾಗಭೂಷಣಚಾರ್, L) & Joe Lasqo (R)

These are from Bangalore, a city we both love in India’s Karnataka state — where I first lived in India, and the place where I began my studies of Indian music under Shri V. Nagabhushanachar (ವೀ. ನಾಗಭೂಷಣಚಾರ್). Many, many happy memories for both Biggi and myself.

A pioneer of blending voice samples and “found music” with wind instruments, Biggi has contributed other samples to these shows as well.

Crew Biggi

Don Robinson (L) and Biggi VInkeloe (R)

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, Cecil Taylor, Peeter Uuskyla, and Marie Wärme, among many others, Biggi Vinkeloe will réprise her long-standing collaboration with Bay Area master drummer Don Robinson, whom Coda Magazine has described as a “percussion Dervish”, and among whose most notable collaborators are Alan Silva, Anthony Braxton, Oliver Lake, Glenn Spearman, Larry Ochs, Bobby Few, Raphé Malik, and Joe McPhee.

Joe Lasqo @ Meridian Gallery, 11 Jan 2012 (Photo: PeterBKaars.com, http://www.peterbkaars.com)

It is my honor and pleasure to join Biggi and Don in these performances.

The following musicians will join this trio to make up a quartet or quintet on different dates:

Aaron Bennett

◉ Saxist/composer/bandleader Aaron Bennett, has been bending space in Bay Area jazz & improvised music for 15 years+. Also influenced by the music of W. Africa, Indonesia, India, & Japanese gagaku (雅楽), Aaron has collaborated with Wadada Leo Smith, Peter Kowald, John Butcher, Marco Eneidi, Gianni Gebbia, Adam LaneAphrodisiacLagos-Roots, and ROVA Saxophone Quartet, among others. (Dates: Sat 19 Apr, afternoon, @ VAMP  |  20 Apr, @ Center for New Music)

The electro-acoustic world of Lisle Ellis

◉ NYC bassist and computer musician Lisle Ellis. Veteran of 40+ recordings (including Down Beat ✰✰✰✰✰ The Ornette Coleman Songbook), Lisle has worked with Paul Bley, Peter Brötzmann, Andrew Cyrille, Anthony Davis, Ben Goldberg, Frank Gratowski, Joëlle Léandre, Rudresh Mahanthappa (ರುದ್ರೇಶ್ ಮಹಂತಪ್ಪ), Miya Masaoka (正岡みや), Myra Melford, Bob Ostertag, William Parker, ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Stefano Scodanibbio, Cecil Taylor, William Winant, Pamela Z, and John Zorn, among many others. (Dates:  Sat 19 Apr, afternoon, @ VAMP  |  Sat 19 Apr eve, @ The Emerald Tablet  |  20 Apr, @ Center for New Music)

Teddy Rankin-Parker

Teddy Rankin-Parker, the sophisticated cello superfrique who’s blown in from Chicago (where he worked with AACM, Renee’ Bakers Mantra Blue Free Orchestra, Henry Grimes, and Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble) to shake up the Bay Area’s ideas of what cello-playing can be. Master of extended cello technique and slave to no musical preconceptions or boundaries, Teddy makes the space move around the warp drive instead of moving the warp drive through the space. (Dates:  Wed 16 Apr, @ Berkeley Arts Festival  |  Sat 19 Apr evening, @ The Emerald Tablet  |  Fri 25 Apr, @ Studio Grand)

Scott Walton

◉ Joining us on bass: Scott Walton. Showing dazzling technique and incisive taste in recent Bay Area concerts with Steve Adams, Gilbert Isbin, Sten Sandell, & Gino Robair, Scott has also worked with Vinny Golia, George Lewis, Bobby Bradford, Anthony Davis, Wadada Leo Smith, John Abercrombie, Davey Williams, Toshiko Akiyoshi (秋吉敏子), Clifford Jordan, Tim Perkis, and Philip Gelb. (Date: Sat 12 Apr, @ Duende).

Arbetslag och musikinstrument:

Biggi Vinkeloe: saxes & flute

Don Robinson: drums

Joe Lasqo: piano/laptop/percussion

Aaron Bennett: bari sax

Lisle Ellis: bass

Teddy Rankin-Parker: cello

Scott Walton: bass

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Sat 12 Apr: Duende, Oakland (featuring Scott Walton on bass). 2 sets.

Duende

I’m excited to play again in the unique venue which Chef Paul Canales and impresario Rocco Somazzi have made into an essential gathering place to enjoy exquisite Basque pintxos & the best of the Bay Area’s jazz and creative music – Duende (468 19th Street, Oakland – map).

Scott Walton

Regrettably our only opportunity to play with bass master Scott Walton in this series, we’re greatly looking forward to the intersection of his always perfectly placed and perfectly played lines with our orbital trajectories. A musician of rare taste, Scott is able to project a cloud of interlocking vectors that makes you think there are two bassists, while never over-playing.

back to overall tour description at top

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Wed 16 Apr, 9pm: Berkeley Arts Festival (featuring Teddy Rankin-Parker on cello)

At the East Bay’s indispensable focal point for new music, Berkeley Arts Festival (2133 University Avenue, Berkeley, CA map)

Set 2, 9pm: Biggi Vinkeloe tour (jump to description)

Set 1, 8pm: Computer Music from the CNMAT & Mills Tribes

MSP artist/mentat, John MacCallum

John MacCallum will perform his glittering masterwork of digital chill, …frozen into shards of ice…. Matthew Brendan Creer and Shanna Sordahl will present a lively just-intonation networked-computer duet, Baby Rattlesnakes. Sam Tarakajian will present Tecton, an electroacoustic piece “drawing on my love for the sound of the piano and . . . ”

John MacCallum is not only a computer musician and composer but also an important musical systems designer, who has created some of the of the MAX/MSP world’s key shared software resources at CNMAT. In addition to pure digital compositions, his work often brilliantly combines computer music with acoustic instruments or even uses the computer to drive live musicians (for example, Aberration, with Rootstock Percussion Trio). A fascinating area of his research involves the exploration of digitally warped time and tempo.

Matthew Brendan Creer

Matthew Brendan Creer was last seen at Berkeley Arts as a member of the mutant ensemble which premiered Gino Robair’s operas The Amanuensis and Neither Confirmed Nor Denied in Nov. A student of Mills electronics & computer masters John Bischoff, Chris Brown, Fred Frith, Zeena Parkins, & Les Stuck, Matthew’s special area of research is the digital realization of just-intonation & alternative tunings.

Shanna Sordahl

Shanna Sordahl’s cello sound is strongly influenced by electronic music. Conversely, cello playing has completely re-wired the way she approaches electronic composition. She studied with Laetitia Sonami, Chris Brown, James Fei (正廷), & Matt Rogalsky for her MFA at Mills. Her work has been presented at the 2013 International SuperCollider Convention, and she’s collaborated with a variety of composers & artists including Trimpin, Wrekmeister Harmonies, & Alvin Lucier.

Writing about their piece, Baby Rattlesnakes, Matthew Brendan Creer notes: “Baby rattlesnakes are considered to be some of the most dangerous animals in the United States.  Unlike their adult counterparts, a young snake, unaware of how costly it is to produce venom, will use all of its reserve in a single bite.  This youthful exuberance, passion and lack of attention to personal limitations is an attribute valued by many types of artists…

This piece uses 2 networked computers + 2 performers, both influencing the parameters of each other’s programming.  Some of the techniques used include tuned pitches with corresponding rhythms, slow modulation techniques — and of course the occasional sound of a rattlesnake.”

Sam Tarakajian strumming a MIRA-enabled iPad

Starting from the Core Audio team at Apple, Sam Tarakajian found his way to computer-music toolmaker Cycling ’74, where he released Mira, an iPad controller for Max/MSP, and CNMAT, where he has been an instructor. Mira is the latest expression of a deep affection for the relationship between gesture, artist and sound, an emphasis that Sam is currently trying to bring into computer music performance.

His last piece, Breath, invited the audience to participate by pinching and swiping an iPad attached to Sam’s chest as he wandered through the crowd. Tonight’s piece, Tecton, is an electroacoustic piece “drawing on my love for the sound of the piano… and my love for destroying the things I love.”

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Sat 19 Apr, 2pm: VAMP, Oakland (featuring Aaron Bennett on bari sax & Lisle Ellis on bass)

The name says it all...

As part of the Oakland Drops Beats festival at the Oakland cultural resource (and ʿAlī Bābā’s cave of vinyl), VAMP (331 19th St., Oakland, map)

Set 1, 2pm: Biggi Vinkeloe tour (jump to description)

Set 2, 3pm: Medium-Size Band (Brett Carson, Joshua Marshall, Jon Myers, & Jacob Pek) w guest Rent Romus.

Formed in 2012, the Oakland-based Medium-Size Band has dedicated itself to the exploration of novel formal structures and directed improvisations. A composer’s collective where each member contributes pieces to the pool, MSB draws on a diverse set of techniques. Each individual member’s unique background contributes to the eclecticism and freedom of movement between different genres and musical perspectives.

Brett Carson

Brett Carson (piano) – Brett’s work draws from a wide variety of musical traditions, reflecting the influence of Anthony Braxton, Tim Berne, John Zorn, Olivier Messiaen, Philip Glass, Claude Vivier, Sun Ra, and others. A member of the Atlanta experimental music scene, Brett moved to California to study at Mills College with Roscoe Mitchell, Zeena Parkins, Fred Frith, Chris Brown, and Les Stuck.

Josh Marshall

Joshua Marshall (saxes) is an Oakland-based saxophonist and composer/improviser. His work involves architectural innovation, narrativity, systematic improvisatory practice, and live digital media. He has studied with Roscoe Mitchell, Fred Frith, Pauline Oliveros, Evan Parker, Zeena Parkins, Butch Rovan, I.M. Harjito, and Steve Adams of the ROVA Saxophone Quartet. Joshua has played and/or recorded with Opera Wolf, Rent Romus Lords of Outland, Architect/Enchantress, Bill Noertker’s Moxie, ELL3, Cheer Accident, Josh Allen’s Deconstruction Orchestra, Key West, Mister Sister, Ikue Mori (もりいくえ), Robocop, the Andrew Weathers Ensemble, Modest Machine, and MDK.

Jon Myers

Jon Myers is a composer and percussionist from Boston, MA interested in fractal and cyclic forms.  He plays in various traditional and contemporary contexts from jazz and Javanese gamelan to new music chamber and percussion ensembles in addition to performing with radio-feedback instruments and computer programs of his own devising.  He is currently studying composition at Mills College in Oakland, CA. His composition Mobile was premiered in Oct 2013 at the Berkeley CNMAT.

Jacob Pek (L) and Jennifer Wilsey (R) at The Luggage Store, 21 Jun 2012

Jacob Pek is a guitarist from Las Vegas, NV. He’s currently based in Oakland, CA where he studies with Fred Frith & William Winant at Mills College. His music follows in the lineage of Sun Ra and Karlheinz Stockhausen — a “Cosmic Spirit Music” inspired and informed by jazz, jamming, bird song, Bach, Jimi Hendrix, and the reality of interwoven realms. He plays in the wonderful quartet Gestaltish with Rachel Condry, Gretchen Jude, and Jennifer Wilsey.

Rent Romus, Godfather of Avant Soul

The hardest-working man in Avant-Joik, organizer of innumerable Bay Area events, Rent Romus, multi saxo-flauto-toyist, bandleader, and producer, is constantly expanding the confines of standard musical forms of composition and improvisation and focused on presenting and supporting the local experimental and avant-garde community. From his beginnings as a student of jazz while being exposed to the tutelage of Stan Getz to today, Rent Romus has recorded and released 22 recordings as a leader which have included Jason Olaine, Steve Rossi, Chico Freeman, John Tchicai, Jonas Müller, Stefan Pasborg, Toyoji Tomita (富田豊治), Dave Mihaly, Bill Noertker, CJ Borosque, Philip Everett, Ray Schaeffer, Paris Slim, Jesse Quattro, Scott R. Looney, Bob Marsh, Jim Ryan, Ernesto Diaz-Infante, Tobias Fischer, and Thollem McDonas. As a producer and artist business activist he runs Edgetone Records a label for all forms of improvisation and experimentation. He is 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.

— Set 3, 4pm: Ben Goldberg, Vijay Anderson, & Sheldon Brown

(L → R) Vijay Anderson, Ben Goldberg, e Sheldon Brown a Novara Jazz Festival in Italia

The trio, which began in 2007 in Oakland, features the unique instrumentation of alto sax, clarinet, and drums, and were recently featured at the Novara Jazz Festival in Italy.

The group specializes in a unique form of improvisation, which focuses on a subtle, continually expanding blend of shifting counterpoint and rhythm, inviting the listener to contemplate the spontaneous unfolding of melodic and harmonic structures. This approach explores the musical and intellectual legacy of masters such as Steve Lacy, Denis Charles, Ornette Coleman, and Thelonious Monk with the goal of creating something unique and new. As one fan stated at the group’s Italian debut, the trio pursues the “Advanced Tradition”.

As Ben Goldberg said in describing this trio’s appearance at The Stone as part of his recent week-long NY residency there:

“Vijay Anderson, Sheldon Brown, and I have a weird ability to create things that sound like they were created using some kind of weird ability.”

Those who have enjoyed this trio’s invention of Oort Cloud Dixieland in their open form trad/space improv sessions presented by Oakland Freedom Jazz Society at Duende understand how true this is…

Ben Goldberg

Some brief excerpts from Ben’s longer bio:

“While getting a B.A. in music from UC Santa Cruz, I studied clarinet with Rosario Mazzeo, the dean of twentieth century clarinet teachers. I started playing and studying klezmer music, which has a virtuosic clarinet tradition. I began to think about how to use the clarinet in jazz and improvised music…

Steve Lacy provided a good example. He had devoted himself solely to the soprano saxophone and his music really touched me. I was playing in The Klezmorim and for some reason there were a bunch of tours in France that included hanging out for a week or two in Paris between gigs. I used to go down to the Sunset to listen to Steve and ask him for a lesson. Finally he relented…

In Sweden I met Ziya Aytekin (Зия Айтекин), a traditional zurna player from the Caucasus.  I heard how much his music had in common with, for example, the late work of John Coltrane. I wondered if I could use klezmer music to explore this connection between the traditional and the “avant-garde.”

One day I got together with Dan Seamans and Kenny Wollesen, with whom I had often played traditional klezmer music… This group became New Klezmer Trio. Joe Lovano said that Mel Lewis could play a downbeat that was so strong it would last for eight bars.  Perhaps there are some downbeats that keep ringing for the rest of your life.  For me, New Klezmer Trio was this downbeat…

I received a Master of Arts degree in Music Composition from Mills College, where I studied musical analysis with David Bernstein, and composition with Alvin Curran, Pauline Oliveros, and Christian Wolff [and received…] a Jazz Study Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts which funded private study with the saxophonist Joe Lovano.

Guitarist John Schott and I began working on music of the bebop era — Bud Powell, Dizzy Gillespie, and Charlie Parker. We soon found the songs transformed through elongation, repetition, dwelling, thickening the melody, and other approaches… Further study involved the post-serialist notion of combinatorial structures containing a specified number of notes…”

Among many awards, a recent one is 2011 Downbeat Critics’ Poll, which named Ben as the #1 Rising Star Clarinetist. Ben has also been nominated by the Jazz Journalists Association for a 2013 Jazz Award in the category of Clarinetist of the Year.

Vijay Anderson (photo - Peter Varshavsky / Пётр Варшавский)

Vijay Anderson is an Oakland-based drummer, bandleader, and composer who studied with Roscoe Mitchell, William Winant, David Bernstein, and Fred Frith at Mills College and Eddie Marshall, Francis Wong (世明), Hafez Modirzadeh (حافظ مدیرزاده), and Wayne Wallace at SFSU.

Vijay has worked with Vinny Golia, John Schott, Darren Johnston, Smith Dobson V, Lisa Mezzacappa, Aaron Bennett, Ava Mendoza, Marco Eneidi, Adam Lane, John Tchicai, Wadada Leo Smith, Steve Swell, Kenny Wessel, Ken Filiano, Steve Adams, the Bill Horvitz Expanded Band, among many others.

Currently Vijay performs with Lisa Mezzacappa’s Bait And Switch, Sheldon Brown’s Distant Intervals, Jayn Pettingill’s Verb, Marco Eneidi’s Shattered, and leads two of his own bands, the Vijay Anderson Quartet, and the Touch and Go Sextet. His first record, Hard Boiled Wonderland was released on Nottwo Records.

Sheldon Brown

Composer and woodwind multi-instrumentalist Sheldon Brown has been involved in the San Francisco Bay Area creative music scene for over 20 years. Since 1994 he has led his own band, Sheldon Brown Group, which performs his own compositions, and he recently formed Sheldon Brown Quintet, which performs the music of Herbie Nichols, and Distant Intervals, based on poetic speech melodies.

Sheldon has performed internationally as a featured soloist with Cuban pianist Omar Sosa, and with Sosa recorded on 5 albums and performed at international venues such as The North Sea Jazz Festival in Den Haag, New Morning in Paris, Tribute to the Love Generation in Tokyo, and many others.

Sheldon performs with many groups in the S.F. Bay Area, including: Clarinet Thing, Darren Johnston Quintet, Ian Carey Quintet + 1, Club Foot Orchestra, Laurie Antonioli, Azesu (featuring Orestes Vilato), Mike Pattonʼs Mondo Cane, Admiral Ted Brinkley’s Large Group, and Aaron Germain Quartet

As a composer, Brown has written music for his own groups and many of the other groups he performs with. For Club Foot Orchestra he composed music for the silent films, Metropolis, Sherlock Jr., Pandoraʼs Box, and The Hands Of Orlac. He also wrote music for Club Footʼs scores for the cartoon series The Twisted Tales Of Felix The Cat, which aired on CBS.

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Sat 19 Apr, 9pm: The Emerald Tablet, San Francisco (featuring Teddy Rankin-Parker on cello & Lisle Ellis on bass)

The Emerald Tablet

At Ground Zero of the North Beach poetry, art, and music Renaissance, The Emerald Tablet (80 Fresno St., San Francisco, map)

Set 2, 9pm: Biggi Vinkeloe tour (jump to description)

Set 1, 8pm: Nava Dunkelman, Kristina Dutton, & Christina Stanley

Goethe’s Metamorphosis Of Plants (Metamorphose der Pflanzen zu erklären)

The Dutton/Dunkelman/Stanley trio perform a series of compositions and improvisations based on the schematic application of field recordings from nature reserves throughout the East Bay. These pieces will use Goethe’s Metamorphosis of Plants (Metamorphose der Pflanzen zu erklären) as inspiration. Goethe’s writings allow the observer to “see” nature as an interconnected web of relationships, not as unrelated, independent parts-and to develop a deeper understanding and intuitive connection. This can be achieved through artistic imagination, and by working with a subjectively inspired approach, as opposed to a traditional, mechanistic epistemology.

Through musical improvisation, the trio will engage with the orchestration of these natural settings, the influence of adjacent urbanization in these soundscapes, and the affect of anthropic and geologic sound on creature voicing.

Nava Dunkelman (ナヴァ・ダンケルマン), photo by Mido Lee

Nava Dunkelman (ナヴァ・ダンケルマン) is a Bay Area percussionist and improviser. Born in Tokyo, and raised in a multi-cultural environment by an American father and Indonesian mother, Nava’s musical interests span the globe from Japanes taiko (太鼓) to Indonesian gamelan to American marching band, and from classical to contemporary to the avant-garde. Nava studied percussion under Eugene Novotney at Humboldt State University before attending Mills College, where she studied with William Winant, as well as Fred Frith, Maggi Payne, Zeena Parkins, and David Bernstein, among others.

Since graduating with a degree in music performance in 2013, Nava has performed and collaborated with John Zorn, William Winant, Fred Frith, Chris Brown, Dominique Leone and many others, as well as formed the improvisational trio Dapplegray with Jeanie-Aprille Tang (恬怡) and Tara Sreekrishnan, which debuted in 2012 at The Stone in New York City. She also is a member of two marvelous duos: DunkelpeK with Jacob Pek, and IMA () with Jeanie-Aprille Tang (恬怡). Through improvisation, Nava enjoys discovering her own musical language by exploring experimental approaches to communication, progression, and space.

Kristina Dutton

Recently moved to the Bay Area from Chicago, violinist and composer Kristina Dutton works in the areas of : improvisation, new music, bioacoustics, soundscapes, extended techniques, preparations, interdisciplinary collaboration, and quiet.

Christina Stanley

Christina Stanley is a Bay Area based violinist, composer, and vocalist who attended the San Francisco Conservatory of Music from ages 15-18 where she studied with Li Lin (㯤) and then earned a full performance scholarship to SFSU where she studied violin with Daniel Kobialka, Jassen Toderov and the Alexander String Quartet. After touring Europe and the US with various ensembles, she attended HB Studio in New York City where she studied theatre, movement and voice and then went on to earn an MFA from Mills College, where she studied violin with David Abel and composition and improvisation with Fred Frith and Roscoe Mitchell and won the Margaret Lyon prize for excellence in music. She is currently working as a solo artist as well as a member of various ensembles. She has been a featured performer for the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival at SF MOMA and has premiered works by George Lewis and Roscoe Mitchell under conductor Petr Kotik. Her original painted graphic scores have been featured at the Outsound New Music Summit in San Francisco, Temple Ad Hoc in Los Angeles and Rock Paper Scissors Gallery in Oakland. She is passionate about working with living composers and composing new music.

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Sun 20 Apr: Center for New Music, San Francisco (featuring Lisle Ellis on bass and Aaron Bennett on bari sax)

At San Francisco’s focal-point new music incubator and venue, Center for New Music (55 Taylor Street, San Francisco, CA – map).

Set 1, 8pm: Biggi Vinkeloe tour (jump to description)

Set 2, 9pm: Computer Music from the CNMAT & Mills Tribes

MSP artist/mentat, John MacCallum

John MacCallum will perform his glittering masterwork of digital chill, …frozen into shards of ice…. Bruno Ruviaro and Carr Wilkerson will present Vowelscape

John MacCallum is not only a computer musician and composer but also an important musical systems designer, who has created some of the of the MAX/MSP world’s key shared software resources at CNMAT. In addition to pure digital compositions, his work often brilliantly combines computer music with acoustic instruments or even uses the computer to drive live musicians (for example, Aberration, with Rootstock Percussion Trio). A fascinating area of his research involves the exploration of digitally warped time and tempo.

Bruno Ruviaro

Bruno Ruviaro, originally of Brazil, formerly of CCRMA and now teaching at Santa Clara University, is a profilic composer and digital improviser, and has also collaborated with musicians and composers such Masaki Kubo (久保正樹), Chris Jones, Chris Froh, Juan-Pablo Cáceres, and SLOrk. His interests include the intersection of music & linguistics/speech, laptop orchestras, live-electronics, acousmatic music, and intellectual (im)property.

Carr Wilkerson

Carr Wilkerson of CCRMA not only composes and improvises, but keeps the Starship CCRMA in peak running condition, specializing in Linux and Mac OS systems. A master of hardware as well as software, in a previous life, he also played Scotty as a US Navy Nuclear Propulsion Engineer (“why yes, I am a rocket scientist, why do you ask….?”)

Bruno and Carr will present their recently premiered joint sono-phonemic piece Vowelscape, which applies research on the intersection of music, speech, and language going back to the Musilanguage Model (see: here), and follow with digital free improv duos.

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Fri 25 Apr: Studio Grand, Oakland (featuring Teddy Rankin-Parker on cello)

The scene at Studio Grand

At Oakland’s visually and acoustically beautiful multi-arts nexus, Studio Grand (3234 Grand Ave, Oakland, map)

Set 1, 10pm: Biggi Vinkeloe tour (jump to description)

Set 2, 10:45pm: John Schott

John Schott performs at Vexations Re-vex'd I, Berkeley Arts Festival, 23 Mar 2013

John Schott is a composer, guitarist, arranger and musical spelunker. A collaborator of Ben Goldberg, Kenny Wollesen, Trevor Dunn, Charlie Hunter, Scott Amendola, and currently leader of a trio with Dan Seamans, and John Hanes, John has released records in various combinations on Knitting Factory, Tzadik, Songlines, Nuscope, and Victo.

John was also (with Charlie Hunter, Will Bernard, and Scott Amendola), a member of the jazz/funk band T.J. Kirk, whose second album If Four Was One (Warner Bros.) received a Grammy nomination. His unique and brilliant release Shuffle Play: Elegies for the Recording Angel (New World) features John’s 16-piece Ensemble Diglossia, including ROVA Saxophone Quartet’s Steve Adams & percussionist William Winant, in a composition intermixing contemporary composition with the earliest surviving recordings, of circa 1880-1900. Other releases include John Schott’s Typical Orchestra and Drunken Songs for Sober Times. John can also be heard on records by John Zorn, Tom Waits, The Baguette Quartette, Steven Bernstein — and, especially, the incredible What Comes Before with Ben Goldberg and Michael Sarin. John’s trio with Dan Seamans, and John Hanes was recently featured in the Other Minds 19 festival.

What Comes Before, by John Schott, Ben Goldberg, and Michael Sarin

John may réprise his stunning and vibrantly emotional solo tour de force of “rembetiko banjo taksim” from March’s 40-musician Vexations [Re-vex'd] II improv marathon, a piece that bridges the worlds of avant-garde, Middle Eastern, and American roots music in an exploration of the tragic life of composer Erik Satie.

Listeners to the premier of this music struggled to pick themselves up off the floor after being hit with its emotional power…

Or… John may do something equally brilliant and evocative… you never know with a Junk Genius

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Join us for these beautiful shows with one of Europe’s most unique improvising voices and a glittering cast of co-conspirators…

Joe

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MSP/Piano: w Houston’s Sandy Ewen and “Jacob L”, Sat 12 Apr @ Crane House, Oakland 8pm + Set 2: RTD3 (Ron Heglin, Tom Nunn, and Doug Carroll) @ 9pm

The superb series and beautiful acoustics at the Crane House (near Ashby Bart - for address/directions contact joe@joelasqo.com) have made it into one of the most interesting places to hear improv & new music in the Bay Area.

Sandy Ewen and friend

Set 1, 8pmSandy EwenJoe Lasqo – “Jacob L”

Sandy Ewen's new album, Tributaries

Following her recording last year with Bay Area improv expats Damon Smith and Weasel Walter, and a stream of great recordings with the group Weird Weeds, Canadian-born/Texas-based guitarist Sandy Ewen has followed up with a brilliant album, Tributaries, based on her micro-collages.

Sandy Ewen

Sandy’s visual work is closely tied to her work in sound; she uses both mediums to explore texture, composition and materials.

Sandy Ewen - untitled, 2012, mixed media micocollage

Sandy’s microcollages, enlarged through projection and digital printing, are an exploration of material and technique. Using a unique process pioneered by the artist, natural materials and polymers are torn, liquefied, scorched, melted, cut, and fused. When enlarged, the microscopic nuances of these manipulations are manifested in exquisite detail.

Sandy Ewen, solo guitar 2012 (photo by David Dove)

As an improviser in both art and music, Ewen sees herself as guiding materials and space rather than executing a preconceived composition. “I like to explore mediums and materials and tease out their essence,” says Ewen.

Sandy Ewen - untitled, 2012, polymer microcollage

“Working with slide projections has focused my eye on the subtitles of natural processes of decay and transformation. Through my work, I am asking questions of the materials rather than dictating answers.”

Joe Lasqo @ Meridian Gallery, 11 Jan 2012 (Photo: PeterBKaars.com, http://www.peterbkaars.com)

I’m keenly looking forward to playing with Sandy and further exploring her multimedia perspective and the new musical strategies it gives rise to.

Plus, we’ll be joined by mysterious less-is-more master of multiple clarinets, “Jacob L“.

Set 2, 9pm: RTD3, the hypersensitive improv trio of Ron Heglin (trombone, voice), Tom Nunn (invented instruments), and Doug Carroll (cello).

RTD3 @ Meridian Gallery, 20 Feb 2010

L → R: Ron Heglin, Doug Carroll, Tom Nunn (Photo: Dill Pixels)

All 3 players span the full range from percussive to melodic… sometimes within the same note. Although Ron Heglin and Doug Carroll use conventional instruments, their explorations of extended technique (viz. playing the cello upside down) enable them to use their instruments as sound synthesizers of a most unconventional sort. Coupled with leading instrument inventor and improv phenomenologist, Tom Nunn, in the long standing improvising trio, RTD3, they become a 6-eared vibration-telepathy music monster whose sonic lair you’ll want to enter.

Ron Heglin (photo by Tom Djll / Djll Pixels)

Ron Heglin is a trombonist and vocalist 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 works both compositionally and in an improvisational mode and is a member of the Bay Area music context as well as performing internationally. He is a founding member of the groups Music for All Occasions, Rotodoti (= RTD3 + Tim Perkis), Dynosoar (with Tom Djll and Karen Stackpole), and Brassiosuarus, has performed with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Wadada Leo Smith, Henry Brant, Logos Duo, Tim Perkis, John Bischoff, Kattt Atchley, Toyoji Tomita (富田豊治), and is my bandmate in Jim Ryan’s Green Alembic.

He has these words to say about his music “process”:

“I think we choose a tuning for ourselves early on and then gather those practices together to support and enhance that tuning and this practice becomes our way to know what we are experiencing in the everyday, and if we neglect these practices that constitute our music then we lose our awareness of what we are experiencing. Often it seems that when I begin to sing or play there are surprises in my consciousness and in my body and and there is this task of integrating this new information: this is the practice, or part of it. This is the edge of not knowing and the acceptance of this edge seems a very exciting place and hopefully continues to be a place where new integrations (or awareness of chaos) can take place.

Is this place the void?”

Tom Nunn playing his invented instrument, The Crab

Tom Nunn (interview, bio) has designed, built and performed with original musical instruments since 1976, and has built over 200 instruments.

His instruments typically utilize commonly available materials, are sculptural in appearance, utilize contact microphones for amplification, and are designed specifically for improvisation with elements of ambiguity, unpredictability and nonlinearity.  Tom has performed extensively throughout the San Francisco Bay Area for over 30 years, as well as in other parts of the U.S., Canada, Europe, and New Zealand, both as soloist and with other musicians.  Tom also performs with T.D. Skatchit, RTD3, Ghost In The House, Music For Hard Times (duo with Paul Winstanley) and has appeared on a number of recordings, including his solo CD, Identity, T.D. Skatchit & Company, Skatch Migration, and others on Edgetone Records. In 1998, he published Wisdom of the Impulse: On the Nature of Musical Free Improvisation.

In 2013 he was the subject of a major retrospective concert at the CMC in San Francisco and late last year opened his own sonic musical invention laboratory to the weird listening public as The Nunnery.

I recently joined Tom and Paul Winstanley at Crane House with  Music For Hard Times, and the wonderful acoustics there brought out all the sensitivity of his ear and imagination, so listeners can expect the beautifully unexpected.

Doug Carroll & friend

Doug Carroll is a cellist, composer, and audio engineer and has a BA in Music from the University of Alabama and an MFA in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College. Doug attended music classes at the Royal Conservatory in Den Hague and Darmstadt International Summer Courses.  He completed composition studies including with Karlheinz Stockhausen, Lou Harrison and Anthony Braxton; additionally, he performed with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s world premier of Ocean, with music composed by John Cage. With an emphasis in improvisation, Doug has also performed at Seattle Improvised Music Festival, Sound Symposium, and the Birmingham Improvised Music Festival with Davey Williams and LaDonna Smith.

His solo improvisations have received international acclaim for their stark originality and musical sensitivity (and plenty of acclaim here in the Bay Area too!). I’m delighted to be his bandmate Jim Ryan’s Green Alembic.

Doug Carroll's Music For Cello And Wild Animals

Doug is also an expert field recordist, especially of animal and bird sounds, and his blendings of solo cello with these field recordings offer a special world of beautiful animal-human collaboration. His interweaving of cello lines and birdsong in the album Music For Cello and Wild Animals is serenely mesmerizing and unforgettable,

Join us for a night of limpid and ear-opening free improv with masters from the Bay Area and beyond…

Joe

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Piano: w Jim Ryan’s Green Alembic, Tue 15 Apr, sfSoundSalonSeries @ Center for New Music, SF 9pm + Set 1: LANACANE (Lana Voronina) @ 7:49pm

I’m excited to once again join Jim Ryan’s unique multi-media ensemble Green Alembic at San Francisco’s focal-point new music incubator and venue, Center for New Music (55 Taylor Street, San Francisco, CA – map).

Founded by Adam Fong and Brent Miller, members of the composers’ collective, The Collected, and assisted by many volunteers and distinguished curators, CNM has quickly grown into an essential orgone accelerator for the Bay Area’s new music communities across the broad spectrum from avant classical to free jazz.

sfSound (pictured, L → R: Christopher Jones, Erik Ulman, Matt Ingalls, Monica Scott, Kyle Bruckmann, Kjell Nordeson, John Ingle)

Tonight it will be our pleasure and honor to play under the auspices of sfSound’s sfSoundSalonSeries (sfSSS event listing: here, Examiner.com preview of show: here). Curated by master of extended-technique avant-clarinet and MSP guru, Matt Ingalls, and the sfSound team, the sfSoundSalonSeries has brought a steady stream of international and domestic sound art pioneers to CNM to demonstrate the results of their paranormal researches and expeditions to the sonic frontier. This year alone has seen fantastic shows involving George Cremaschi, Joan La Barbara, Natural Artefacts (Sweden), Tim Perkis, Danishta Rivero, Lucie Vítková (Czech Republic), and Jack Wright, among many others.

Set 2, 9pm: Jim Ryan’s Green Alembic

One alembic makes you smaller….

Infected by bebop at a tender age, Jim first took up the trombone in Minnesota, and by Mai ’68 was playing flute & sax, living in Paris, and jamming and performing with musicians like Sunny Murray, Albert Ayler, Sun Ra, Archie Shepp & Anthony Braxton, then shortly afterward beginning his musical association with Steve Lacy.

Jim Ryan

After stretching the boundaries of improv with the “Free Music Formation” in Paris and other European cities, Jim returned to the US, first jolting the scene in Washington, D.C., then moving to the Bay Area not so long before the Loma Prieta Earthquake (coincidence…?)

Since then, Jim has led a remarkable variety of improv groups, e.g. Green Alembic, Dark PrecursorForward EnergyLeft Coast Improv Group, the Electro/Acoustic Sextet of Oakland, Subjects of Desire, and Retro Blue, as well as participating in Marco Eneidi‘s American Jungle Orchestra. and the Orchestra for World Peace of Sun Ra trumpeter Eddie Gale.

Those who’ve heard Jim play have never been the same, and, after hearing his poems about surrealist elf sexuality, or seeing the powerful color energies of his paintings, are often never the same all over again.

Jim Ryan reading his poetry (photo by Carly Hoopes)

Green Alembic is Jim’s “new approach to multimedia presentation of Image, Word, & Sound” … the group transmutes projections of original art used as graphical scores and spoken word into rare musical elements. The music is inspired by images which are projected throughout the performance, by spoken word pieces, and by spontaneous interactions among the musicians. The group’s aesthetic is focused upon the immediate creation of musical ideas, clear articulation, and sensitivity to the unfolding sonic and visual environment.

In addition to Jim Ryan (kalimba, flute, horn, word, original images & leader), the line-up will also include:

Doug Carroll & friend

Doug Carroll is a cellist, composer, and audio engineer and has a BA in Music from the University of Alabama and an MFA in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College. Doug attended music classes at the Royal Conservatory in Den Hague and Darmstadt International Summer Courses.  He completed composition studies including with Karlheinz Stockhausen, Lou Harrison and Anthony Braxton; additionally, he performed with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s world premier of Ocean, with music composed by John Cage. With an emphasis in improvisation, Doug has also performed at Seattle Improvised Music Festival, Sound Symposium, and the Birmingham Improvised Music Festival with Davey Williams and LaDonna Smith.

Michael Cooke (photo by Danny Nolan)

Michael Cooke, a multi-instrumentalist, improviser, composer of jazz and classical music. He plays a variety of instruments — saxophones, flutes, soprano and bass clarinets, and has a deep relationship with the bassoon.  Recently he has incorporated the Chinese shēng (笙), a free reed instrument, into this arsenal.  He is a cum laude graduate with a music degree from the University of North Texas.

Sheng (笙)

Ron Heglin (photo by Tom Djll / Djll Pixels)

Ron Heglin:  is a trombonist and vocalist working with extended technique on the trombone and with spoken and sung imaginary languages. His voicing has been influenced by his study of North Indian vocal music. He works both compositionally and in an improvisational mode. He has been a member of the Bay Area music context for over twenty-five years and has performed internationally.

Jeff Hobbs (L) & Bob Marsh (R)

Jeff Hobbs: is an Oakland resident, instrument repair artist at ‘Best Instrument Repair’ on 14th St. in downtown Oakland, and a ubiquitous presence on the improv, poetry slam, and outlandish Eastbaynia rock and R&B scenes.  He plays violin, doublebass, cornet, various clarinets as well as several other instruments. It’s great to have Jeff’s sonic inspiration as a bandmate in Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra too!

Jason Hoopes and friends...

Jason Hoopes:  is a bassist and composer from Oakland. He can be seen performing with Jack O’ The Clock, Fred Frith, Eat The Sun, Dominique Leone, John Ettinger, Sarah Wilson, John Schott, ROVA Saxophone Quartet, and numerous others. Jason also works in dance, composing music for choreographers Peiling Kao (沛齡), Molissa Fenley, and Alyce Finwall, among others.

ChrIstina Stanley

Christina Stanley is a Bay Area violinist, composer, vocalist and artist. She is active as a performer, improviser, electronic musician and teacher. She has performed in Europe, the continental US, and Cuba as a vocalist, violinist and electronic musician. She has played SF MOMA and has premiered works by Roscoe Mitchell under conductor Petr Kotik.

Joe Lasqo @ Meridian Gallery, 11 Jan 2012 (Photo: PeterBKaars.com, http://www.peterbkaars.com)

It is my pleasure and honor to once again join this “improvisational chamber super-group of accomplished Bay Area musicians” (sfSoundSalonSeries).

Set 1, 7:49pm: LANACANE (Lana Voronina),

LANACANE (Lana Voronina)

LANACANE is the solo electronic music project of Lana Voronina, multi-media visual artist, performer, and event producer.

Expect to hear piano improvisation, samples, effects, beats, and much, much more…

Join us for a night of chamber and solo improv expeditions into a world whose center is everywhere and whose limit is nowhere…

Joe

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