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

Cocteau — Orphée

Cocteau — Orphée

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

Advance tickets available at a discount: here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Line-up:

Beth Custer (bass & other clarinets | vocals)

Thomas Dimuzio (electronics)

Tom Djll (surrealist prepared trumpet | electronics)

Joe Lasqo (keyboards | laptop | objects)

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

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

Program

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

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

Part 2: Main Feature (95 min)

Jean Cocteau: Orphée

Jean Cocteau and friend

Jean Cocteau and friend

Orphée by Jean Cocteau

Orphée by Jean Cocteau


Orphée, by Jean Cocteau (95 min)

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

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

Jean Marais stars as Cocteau's Orphée

Jean Marais stars as Cocteau's Orphée

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

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

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

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

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

Orphée glimpses Eurydice in the rear-view mirror

Orphée glimpses Eurydice in the rear-view mirror

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

Underworld bikers as Angels of Death in Cocteau's Orphée

Underworld bikers as Angels of Death in Cocteau's Orphée

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

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

The jouney to the Underworld in Cocteau's Orphée

The jouney to the Underworld in Cocteau's Orphée

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

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

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

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

Death hovers over Eurydice in Cocteau's Orphée

Death hovers over Eurydice in Cocteau's Orphée

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

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

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

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

———

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

———

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

Beth Custer (Photo - Anne Hamersky)

Beth Custer (Photo - Anne Hamersky)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thomas Dimuzio

◉ Thomas Dimuzio (electronics)

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

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

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

Thomas Dimuzio

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

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

Thomas Dimuzio

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

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

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

◉ Tom Djll (surrealist prepared trumpet | electronics)

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

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

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

Mutootator, by Tom Djll and various accomplices

Mutootator, by Tom Djll and various accomplices

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

Lava, by Chris Brown

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

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

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

Current and recent projects include:

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

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

◉ Joe Lasqo (keyboards | laptop | objects)

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

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

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

David Michalak

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

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

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

David Michalak joins other spooks in Ghost in the House

David Michalak joins other spooks in Ghost in the House

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JADE: New Spiritual Music

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

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

———

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

どうぞ。。。

Joe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PianoFight, SF's Next Landmark Entertainment Venue

PianoFight, SF's Next Landmark Entertainment Venue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apples, by Darren Johnston

Steve Adams

Squeamish, by Steve Adams

Failure, by Larry Ochs

Tyāgarāja (త్యాగరాజు)

Every now and then bit of India, Bollywood…

Georges Gurdjieff (Георгий Гурджиев)

Georges Gurdjieff (Георгий Гурджиев)

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

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

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

Stockhausen, WDR Studio, 1962

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

———

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

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

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

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

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

———

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

どうぞ。。。

Joe

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

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

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

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

Advance tickets available at a $5 discount: here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Line-up:

Steve Adams (elctronics)

Bryan Day (invented instruments)

Tom Djll (surrealist prepared trumpet)

Joe Lasqo (keyboards | laptop | objects)

John McCowen (dada prepared clarinet + drum resonator)

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

Program

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

Fernand Léger: Ballet mécanique

Maya Deren (Майя Дерен): Meshes Of The Afternoon

Part 2: Main Feature

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

Jean Cocteau and friend

Jean Cocteau and friend

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

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

A tall smokestack starts to collapse…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Portrait of Space, by Lee Miller

Portrait of Space, by Lee Miller

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

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

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

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

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

———

Ballet électromécanique, by Fernand Léger — with new electronic score

Poster for Fernand Léger's « Ballet mécanique »

Poster for Fernand Léger's « Ballet mécanique »

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

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

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

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

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

He said of this period:

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

Frame from Fernand Léger's « Ballet mécanique »

Frame from Fernand Léger's « Ballet mécanique »

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

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

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

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

George Antheil and instruments from his « Ballet mécanique »

George Antheil and instruments from his « Ballet mécanique »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

———

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

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

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

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

Frame from Maya Deren's Meshes Of The Afternoon

Frame from Maya Deren's Meshes Of The Afternoon

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

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

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

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

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

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

———

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

Steve Adams

Steve Adams

◉ Steve Adams (electronics)

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

Steve Adams

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

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

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

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

◉ Bryan Day (invented instruments)

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

Bryan Day

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

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

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

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

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

◉ Tom Djll (surrealist prepared trumpet)

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

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

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

Mutootator, by Tom Djll and various accomplices

Mutootator, by Tom Djll and various accomplices

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

Lava, by Chris Brown

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

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

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

Current and recent projects include:

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

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

◉ Joe Lasqo (keyboards | laptop | objects)

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

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

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

John McCowen performs his piece BONE(THIN)

John McCowen performs his piece BONE(THIN)

◉ John McCowen (dada prepared clarinet + drum resonator)

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

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

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

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

David Michalak

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

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

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

———

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

どうぞ。。。

Joe

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

Cocteau — Orphée

Cocteau — Orphée

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

☞ Advance tickets available at a discount: here

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

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

PianoFight, SF's Next Landmark Entertainment Venue

PianoFight, SF's Next Landmark Entertainment Venue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Line-up:

Steve Adams (electronics)

Bryan Day (invented instruments)

Thomas Dimuzio (electronics)

Tom Djll (surrealist prepared trumpet | electronics)

Joe Lasqo (keyboards | laptop | objects)

John McCowen (dada prepared clarinet + drum resonator)

Program

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

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

Part 2: Main Feature (95 min)

Jean Cocteau: Orphée

Jean Cocteau and friend

Jean Cocteau and friend

Orphée by Jean Cocteau

Orphée by Jean Cocteau


Orphée, by Jean Cocteau (95 min)

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

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

Jean Marais stars as Cocteau's Orphée

Jean Marais stars as Cocteau's Orphée

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

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

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

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

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

Orphée glimpses Eurydice in the rear-view mirror

Orphée glimpses Eurydice in the rear-view mirror

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

Underworld bikers as Angels of Death in Cocteau's Orphée

Underworld bikers as Angels of Death in Cocteau's Orphée

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

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

The jouney to the Underworld in Cocteau's Orphée

The jouney to the Underworld in Cocteau's Orphée

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

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

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

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

Death hovers over Eurydice in Cocteau's Orphée

Death hovers over Eurydice in Cocteau's Orphée

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

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

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

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

———

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

———

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

Steve Adams

Steve Adams

◉ Steve Adams (electronics)

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

Steve Adams

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

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

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

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

◉ Bryan Day (invented instruments)

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

Bryan Day

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

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

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

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

Thomas Dimuzio

◉ Thomas Dimuzio (electronics)

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

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

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

Thomas Dimuzio

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

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

Thomas Dimuzio

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

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

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

◉ Tom Djll (surrealist prepared trumpet | electronics)

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

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

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

Mutootator, by Tom Djll and various accomplices

Mutootator, by Tom Djll and various accomplices

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

Lava, by Chris Brown

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

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

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

Current and recent projects include:

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

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

◉ Joe Lasqo (keyboards | laptop | objects)

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

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

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

John McCowen performs his piece BONE(THIN)

John McCowen performs his piece BONE(THIN)

◉ John McCowen (dada prepared clarinet + drum resonator)

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

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

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

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

———

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

どうぞ。。。

Joe

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

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

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

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

☞ Advance tickets available at a discount: here

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

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

PianoFight, SF's Next Landmark Entertainment Venue

PianoFight, SF's Next Landmark Entertainment Venue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Line-up:

Jorge Bachmann (electronics)

Beth Custer (bass & other clarinets | vocals)

Bryan Day (invented instruments)

Thomas Dimuzio (electronics)

Tom Djll (surrealist prepared trumpet)

Joe Lasqo (keyboards | laptop | objects)

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

Suki O’Kane (percussion allsorts)

Program

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

Fernand Léger: Ballet électromécanique

Maya Deren (Майя Дерен): Meshes Of The Afternoon

Part 2: Main Feature

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

Jean Cocteau and friend

Jean Cocteau and friend

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

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

A tall smokestack starts to collapse…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Portrait of Space, by Lee Miller

Portrait of Space, by Lee Miller

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

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

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

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

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

———

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

Poster for Fernand Léger's « Ballet mécanique »

Poster for Fernand Léger's « Ballet mécanique »

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

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

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

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

He said of this period:

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

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

Frame from Fernand Léger's « Ballet mécanique »

Frame from Fernand Léger's « Ballet mécanique »

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

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

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

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

George Antheil and instruments from his « Ballet mécanique »

George Antheil and instruments from his « Ballet mécanique »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

———

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

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

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

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

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

Frame from Maya Deren's Meshes Of The Afternoon

Frame from Maya Deren's Meshes Of The Afternoon

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

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

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

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

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

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

———

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

Jorge Bachmann (aka Ruidobello)

◉ Jorge Bachmann (electronics)

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

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

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

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

Beth Custer (Photo - Anne Hamersky)

Beth Custer (Photo - Anne Hamersky)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

◉ Bryan Day (invented instruments)

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

Bryan Day

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

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

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

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

Thomas Dimuzio

◉ Thomas Dimuzio (electronics)

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

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

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

Thomas Dimuzio

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

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

Thomas Dimuzio

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

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

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

◉ Tom Djll (surrealist prepared trumpet)

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

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

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

Mutootator, by Tom Djll and various accomplices

Mutootator, by Tom Djll and various accomplices

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

Lava, by Chris Brown

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

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

Tom Djll (original photo by Dill Pixels)

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

Current and recent projects include:

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

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

◉ Joe Lasqo (keyboards | laptop | objects)

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

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

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

David Michalak

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

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

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

Suki O'Kane

Suki O'Kane

◉ Suki O’Kane (percussion)

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

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

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

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

◉ For Examiner.com preview of this show: here

———

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

どうぞ。。。

Joe

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Piano: Jazz++ residency, continuing Wed 24 Feb @ PianoFight, “SF’s Next Landmark Entertainment Venue”: Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Thelonius Monk, Oliver Nelson, Steve Adams, Darren Johnston, Larry Ochs, Georges Gurdjieff (Георгий Гурджиев), Komitas (Կոմիտաս), Bollywood & more…

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

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

I’m delighted to continue my second Jazz++ residency @ PianoFight, “SF’s Next Landmark Entertainment Venue”, 144 Taylor St., SF (map), 5:30-7:30pm, 4th Wednesdays, next showWed 24 Feb.

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

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

PianoFight, SF's Next Landmark Entertainment Venue

PianoFight, SF's Next Landmark Entertainment Venue

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

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

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

Joe Lasqo & 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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apples, by Darren Johnston

Steve Adams

Squeamish, by Steve Adams

Failure, by Larry Ochs

Brochevārevarurā, (ப்ரோசே வாரவெருரா), by Tyāgarāja (త్యాగరాజు)

Chalte Chalte Yun Hi Koi (चलते चलते युंही कोई), from the film Pakeezah (पाक़ीज़ा)

Chalte Chalte Yun Hi Koi (चलते चलते युंही कोई), from the film Pakeezah (पाक़ीज़ा)

Every now and then bit of India, Bollywood…

Georges Gurdjieff (Георгий Гурджиев)

Georges Gurdjieff (Георгий Гурджиев)

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

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

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

Stockhausen, WDR Studio, 1962

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

———

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

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

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

Joe had a weekly residency for 3½ years+ in the piano series at Viracocha, will be resuming a residency at PianoFight in January 2016, and has appeared recently with Bruce Ackley and Steve Adams of ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra, Phillip Greenlief’s Orchesperry, synthesist Thomas Dimuzio, clarinetist/vocalist Beth Custer, pianist Thollem McDonas, percussionist Suki O’Kane, sound artists Joe Snape (UK) & Lucie Vítková (Czech Rep.), technodivas / electronic musicians Pamela Z & Viv Corringham (NYC/London) as well as his own Renga-kai (連歌会), Mukaiji-kai (霧海箎会), & Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) ensembles.

au quotidien, a new album with German-Swedish saxist/flautist Biggi Vinkeloe, master drummer Donald Robinson, and cello madman Teddy Rankin-Parker is in production for release later in 2015.

———

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

どうぞ。。。

Joe

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London Tour, Sun 28 Feb++ ◉ MSP/piano/+, solo & w London Improvisers Orchestra (LIO), Sue Lynch / Hutch Demouilpied, Adrian Northover & others ◉ Música Dispersa (@ New River Studios), Noizemaschin!! (@ Amersham Arms), The Horse Improv Club (@ /i’klectik/ Art-lab)…

Leslie Horton, accordion player and busker in a London Underground tube station

Leslie Horton, accordion player and busker in a London Underground tube station

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

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

I keenly look forward to return to London at the end of February and the first half of March for a tour that will not only involve solo work, but also collaborations with some of the many brilliant improvising musicians on the London scene.

Following below is a list of the dates & general info on me, followed by info on each show in more detail:

Solo electronica

Música Dispersa @ New River Studios, 199 Eade Road, N4 1DN

Sun 28 Feb

CANCELLED due to flight schedule problem

Solo electronica

Noizemaschin!! @ Amersham Arms, 388 New Cross Road, SE14 6TY

(Rail: New Cross)

Tue 01 Mar, Set 2, 9:30pm

3 shows at

/i’klectik/ Art-lab, Old Paradise Yard, 20 Carlisle Lane, SE1 7LG

(Tube: Lambeth North)

———

Indo-piano++, w Jazz Thali:

Adrian Northover, Harvir Sahota (ਹਰਵੀਰ ਸਹੋਤਾ), Tasos Stamou (Τάσος Στάμου), and

Mike Cooper

Fri 04 Mar, 8pm

———

Laptop | piano w the great London Improvisers Orchestra

Sun 06 Mar 8:30pm

———

Laptop | piano - solo & w Sue Lynch & Hutch Demouilpied

@ The Horse Improv Club @ /i’klectik/ Art-lab

Tue 08 Mar 9pm

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

◉ Joe Lasqo (keyboards | laptop | objects)

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

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

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

Noizemaschin!!

Noizemaschin!! London & Noizemaschin!! Perth

Tue 01 Mar | solo laptop, Noizemaschin!! London #4 @ Amersham Arms, 388 New Cross Road, SE14 6TY (Rail: New Cross), Set 2, 9:30pm

Experimental audio and video arts. Entry .

Noizemaschin!!

Noizemaschin!!

As curator, composer Sam Gillies, says:

“The month that brought you ‘Pi Day’ and the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan, also brings you Noizemaschin!! #4!….”

NoizeMaschin!! is a series of concerts whose origin lies on banks of the lovely Swan River in West Australia, having started at Perth’s Artifactory, and now metastasised to London. The paramount design constraint of the NoizeMaschin!! concept is rapid flow, where performers pass the flow like a ball to each other in a fast-paced, ever-changing sonic experience.

Sam Gillies

Sam Gillies

Sam Gillies is a composer and sound artist with an interest in the function of noise as both a musical and communicative code in music and art. His work treads the line between the musically beautiful and ugly, embracing live performance, multimedia and installation art forms to create alternating sound worlds of extreme fragility and overwhelming density. Sam’s music has been programmed at both national and international conferences and festivals, including the Test Tone Series at Superdeluxe, Tokyo and the International Computer Music Conference.

Graphic score: Between A Thought And An Action, by Sam Gillies

Graphic score: Between A Thought And An Action, by Sam Gillies

Also appearing in this show - Set 1, 8-9pm:

Xavier Velastin performs his work Relapse Regret at Islington Mill, Salford, on 02 Feb 2014

Xavier Velastin performs his work Relapse Regret at Islington Mill, Salford, on 02 Feb 2014

◉ Xavier Velastin:

Combining signal processing with unorthodox usages of traditional instruments such as amplified hammered dulcimers, Xavier Velastin forges a path forward to new sounds.

Bombshell

Bombshell

Bombshell -  Magpie music, exploring the shiny bits of all genres with a focus on face-paced, dark, bass music with melodies from post-apocalyptic blues landscapes.

Genre: electronica, industrial, hiphop, bluesy, chameleon, fusion

Hometown: Outer space.

Natalie Galpern

Natalie Galpern

◉ Natalie Galpern: Vocals, feedback and electronics from visiting New York sound artist and performer.

Her creative process involves explorations of the voice using computer interactive technology and recorded sound.

Francesca Ter-Berg

Francesca Ter-Berg

◉ Francesca Ter-Berg: Cellist extraordinaire

Francesca is a cellist specialising in klezmer and gypsy music, which she has studied with internationally renowned musicians and teachers, most recently the legendary Manouche maestro Tcha Limberger. She performs with acclaimed folk singers Sam Lee and Katy Carr and has recently collaborated with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Mercury Award Winner Talvin Singh (ਤਲਵੀਨ ਸਿੰਘ).

Francesca teaches klezmer for the Jewish Music Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies, and frequently hosts world music shows live on Resonance 104.4FM.

Miguel Angel Ortiz Pérez

Miguel Angel Ortiz Pérez

◉ Miguel Angel Ortiz Pérez: “Crisis, Stress, Insomnia, Despair. Can we enjoy music inspired by the taxing demands of contemporary life? We’ll find out…”

Miguel Angel Ortiz Pérez is a Mexican composer and sound artist from Hermosillo Sonora, now based in London. He’s been involved in a vast range of activities related to modern music & sound art, working as a composer, sound engineer, lecturer, score editor, promoter & sound designer.

He also is a member as a performer in ensembles such as BLISS, Control Group and M&B; where he may play anything from acoustic instruments like cello & trumpet, to laptop improv and performance with bio-instruments or hyperinstruments.

Miguel graduated from the Conservatorio de las Rosas in Morelia, México before pursuing a Masters degree and PhD at the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen’s University Belfast, and now works as a research associate at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Also appearing in the show – Set 2, 9:30-10:30pm:

raxil4 - Live @ Decimal Place, Lincoln, 06 Dec 2014

raxil4 - Live @ Decimal Place, Lincoln, 06 Dec 2014

◉  raxil4: Analogue dronescapes meet the twin worlds of noise and improvised electronics

raxil4 is sound and sculptural artist Andrew Page… His dark brooding dronescapes combine analog and digital sound sources, including field recordings, detuned radios, computers, turntables, CD & mp3 players, tape recorders, 8-bit gameboys, handmade electronic devices, broken vintage equipment and handmade sculptural instruments (made from mainly found materials such as hospital crutches, driftwood and bones reclaimed from the River Thames).

VeRa Spektor performs at Selluloïd Restaurant, 17 Oct 2015

VeRa Spektor performs at Selluloïd Restaurant, 17 Oct 2015

◉  VeRa Spektor – Apocalyptically rhythmic free-noise improvisation featuring no-input feedback, radio, and DIY electronics

———

3 shows follow at /i’klectik/ Art-lab, London’s leading platform for visual, performance and sound art, alongside maker-tech for social and community development.

———

◉ Fri 04 Mar | Indo-piano++ w Jazz Thali @ /i’klectik/ Art-lab, Old Paradise Yard, 20 Carlisle Lane, SE1 7LG (Tube: Lambeth North), 8pm

Thali Express (थाली एक्स्प्रेस)

Thali Express (थाली एक्स्प्रेस)

Saxophonist Adrian Northover and I have been exploring our joint interest in the intersection points between Indian music & modern jazz, and this has led to tonight’s concert with his colleagues Harvir Sahota (ਹਰਵੀਰ ਸਹੋਤਾ) and Tasos Stamou (Τάσος Στάμου) from Jazz Thali.

I’m also delighted that we’ll be joined by great avant lap steel guitarist and electronic musician Mike Cooper, “The icon of post-everything music” (Lawrence English)

Jazz Thali. L → R: Tasos Stamou (Τάσος Στάμου), Adrian Northover, Harvir Sahota (ਹਰਵੀਰ ਸਹੋਤਾ), Thodoris Kiarkas (Θοδωρής Ζιάρκας)

Jazz Thali. L → R: Tasos Stamou (Τάσος Στάμου), Adrian Northover, Harvir Sahota (ਹਰਵੀਰ ਸਹੋਤਾ), Thodoris Kiarkas (Θοδωρής Ζιάρκας)

Jazz Thali are a London-based jazz/traditional/fusion instrumental quartet interpreting musical pieces from retro Bollywood and from classical Hindustani tradition, from Greek rebetika music, gypsy riffs and jazz tunes. The band has developed a unique multicultural music style, completing the missing links between Eastern and Western traditions and orchestrations. Extending the techniques of their instruments (tablas, saxophone, bouzouki, chord organ & double bass), Jazz Thali produce sounds that resemble both native styles from older traditions as well as contemporary music styles, in a playful manner.

Line-up:

Adrian Northover

Adrian Northover

◉ Adrian Northover: alto & soprano sax

Adrian plays with the London Improvisers Orchestra, The Remote Viewers, Ensemble Trip-Tik, Vlad Miller’s Notes From Underground, Indo-fusion band Dha (धा), Eardrum and other long-term and ephemeral projects within the improvised music scene, including solo saxophone recitals.

Harvir Sahota (ਹਰਵੀਰ ਸਹੋਤਾ)

Harvir Sahota (ਹਰਵੀਰ ਸਹੋਤਾ)

◉ Harvir Sahota (ਹਰਵੀਰ ਸਹੋਤਾ): Tablas & Tarambuka

Harvir is a renowned Tabla player who was born and brought up in South West London. Currently working with various instrumental projects and DJ’s right across the spectrum.

He is also the instigator of Sahota Sounds, an exciting project which features original collaborations in the field of contemporary world-music.

Tasos Stamou (Τάσος Στάμου)

Tasos Stamou (Τάσος Στάμου)

◉ Tasos Stamou (Τάσος Στάμου): bouzouki & electronics

Tasos Stamou (Τάσος Στάμου) is an experimental music composer/performer and an instrument maker, as well as a multi-instrumentalist interested to express through different arrangements the essence of traditional music in conjunction with contemporary music.

As a member of Jazz Thali he has been exploring the possibilities of the Greek bouzouki as a string instrument resembling other traditional ones, such as the Indian mandolin or sitar, the turkish saz, etc.

Mike Cooper (photo by Greg Clovelly)

Mike Cooper (photo by Greg Clovelly)

◉ Plus special guest, Mike Cooper: lap steel guitar and electronics

For the past 50 years, Mike Cooper has been an international artistic explorer, constantly pushing the boundaries.

Playing lap steel guitar, electronics, and singing, he is an improviser and a composer, a visual and installation artist, film maker, and radio arts producer.

Initially a folk-blues guitarist he is one of the principal instigators of the acoustic blues boom in the U.K. in the mid ’60s, arguably stretching the possibilities of that genre even more than figures such as Davy Graham, Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, etc. by taking it into the more avant-garde musical areas occupied by guitar innovators such as Elliott Sharp, Keith Rowe, Fred Frith and Marc Ribot.

Rembetronika (Ρεμπέτρονικα), by Viv Corringham, Mike Cooper, and friends

Rembetronika (Ρεμπέτρονικα), by Viv Corringham, Mike Cooper, and friends

The unexpected and unconventional possibilities of the rebetika repertoire as revealed in Mike’s album Rembetronika with vocalist and sound artist Viv Corringham (hear it at archive.org: here…) were the inspiration for a wonderfully fun New Rebetika tour I did with Viv in California last November (link).

———

LIO - The London Improvisers Orchestra

LIO - The London Improvisers Orchestra

i'klectik Art-lab

i'klectik Art-lab

Sun 06 Mar | laptop, piano, objects, conduction w London Improvisers Orchestra @ /i’klectik/ Art-lab, Old Paradise Yard, 20 Carlisle Lane, SE1 7LG (Tube: Lambeth North), approx. 8:30pm

A great tradition continues at /i’klectik/ Art-lab. Entry 5£/7£.

The London Improvisers Orchestra perform Flux Soup

The London Improvisers Orchestra perform Flux Soup

The London Improvisers Orchestra is dedicated to free and conducted improvisation, drawing on a large and shifting pool of improvising musicians from London and beyond.

LIO was born from the embers of Butch Morris’s Contemporary Music Network tour in 1997, which featured musicians from London’s thriving improvising community in a group known as The London Skyscraper, using Morris’s “conduction” techniques for large-scale improvising.

The London Improvisers Orchestra in action

The London Improvisers Orchestra in action

Steve Beresford, Evan Parker and Ian Smith, who were part of the Skyscraper group, and later also Caroline Kraabel & Pat Thomas, who were not, discussed the possibility of continuing this approach to creative music-making, and of putting together an orchestra of improvisers.

The core of the group is generally twelve to forty players. There have been guest appearances from many visiting international improvisers, such as Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith, Axel Dorner, Anna Homler, Susan Alcorn, Annie Lewandowski, Charlotte Hug, Sainkho Namtchylak (Сайнхо Намчылак), Jaap Blonk and many more.

LIO has released CDs on Emanem and PSI, sometimes featuring performances at the Freedom of the City festivals curated by Evan Parker, Martin Davidson and Eddie Prevost.

i'klectik Art-lab, Old Paradise Yard, South London, by day

i'klectik Art-lab, Old Paradise Yard, South London, by day

I am especially pleased to do this show, not only to conduct and play with such superb musicians, but also to do it at the cozy and wonderful /i’klectik/ Art-lab, which has become a strong centre of “makerspace arts” in a way that reminds me of Noisebridge and Grey Area Foundation from my home base in San Francisco… (however, /i’klectik/ have the distinction of offering, in addition to maker-tech, adventuresome tapas and excellent food and drink…).

———

The Horse Improv Club

The Horse Improv Club

Tue 08 Mar | laptop & piano, solo and w Sue Lynch & Hutch Demouilpied, The Horse Improv Club @ /i’klectik/ Art-lab, 20 Carlisle Lane, SE1 7LG (Tube: Lambeth North), 9pm

Another show at the the great /i’klectik/ Art-lab, with two of Europe’s most daring wind players. Entry 5£/7£.

Sue Lynch

Sue Lynch

Sue Lynch is currently a member of David Petts’ Remote Viewers, with John Edwards, Mark Sanders, Caroline Kraabel, Adrian Northover and David Petts, and Helen McDonald’s Future Groove, as well as being an alumna of the legendary Happy End Big Band. Sue is also a member and co-arranger for Hogcallin’, a Mingus tribute ensemble.

She also performs with Adam Bohman, Eddie Prevost, Jennifer Allum, Hutch Demouilpied, Richard Sanderson, Steve Noble and Sharon Gal (שרון גל).

She is co-promoter of The Horse Improvised Music Club with Adam Bohman and Hutch Demouilpied.

Hutch Demouilpied

Hutch Demouilpied

Hutch Demouilpied is a composer, musician, sound designer and songwriter who is based in London. Her songs and music have been used in film and television projects around the world and she’s collaborated with film-makers, animators, artists, choreographers and theatre directors on various projects as a composer and sound designer. As an accomplished musician she plays trumpet & flute and has her own albums released as well as playing as a session musician with many artists.

I am honoured to join these great musicians, in addition to doing some solo work, in this show.

Also appearing in the show:

(L→R) Neil Metcalfe & John Rangecroft perform at Mopomoso's free improv event, The Vortex, London, 2015.07.19. (photo - Kostas Chondros : Κώστας Χονδρός)

(L→R) Neil Metcalfe & John Rangecroft perform at Mopomoso's free improv event, The Vortex, London, 2015.07.19. (photo - Kostas Chondros : Κώστας Χονδρός)

◉ Marcio Mattos (cello), Neil Metcalfe (flute) [FB], John Rangecroft (sax).

Jean-Michel van Schouwburg

Jean-Michel van Schouwburg

◉ Jean-Michel van Schouwburg (Vocals), Adam Bohman (amplified objects/text), Adrian Northover (saxes), & Daniel Thompson (prepared guitar).

(L-R) Sharon Gal (שרון גל), Hutch Demouilpied, Sue Lynch, Jennifer Allum perform @ The Horse, Lambeth, London

(L-R) Sharon Gal (שרון גל), Hutch Demouilpied, Sue Lynch, Jennifer Allum perform @ The Horse, Lambeth, London

◉ Hutch Demouilpied (trumpet/flute), Sue Lynch (tenor sax/clarinet).

———

Come vibrate with us as San Francisco and London momentarily overlap!

どうぞ。。。

Joe

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Piano: Jazz++ Residency #2, starting Wed 27 Jan @ PianoFight, “SF’s Next Landmark Entertainment Venue”: Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Thelonius Monk, Oliver Nelson, Steve Adams, Darren Johnston, Larry Ochs, Georges Gurdjieff (Георгий Гурджиев), Komitas (Կոմիտաս), Bollywood & more…

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

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

I’m very excited to start my second Jazz++ residency @ PianoFight, “SF’s Next Landmark Entertainment Venue”, 144 Taylor St., SF (map), 5:30-7:30pm, 4th Wednesdays starting from Wed 27 Jan.

+ see also: Examiner.com preview: here

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

PianoFight, SF's Next Landmark Entertainment Venue

PianoFight, SF's Next Landmark Entertainment Venue

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

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

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

Joe Lasqo & 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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apples, by Darren Johnston

Steve Adams

Squeamish, by Steve Adams

Failure, by Larry Ochs

Brochevārevarurā, (ப்ரோசே வாரவெருரா), by Tyāgarāja (త్యాగరాజు)

Chalte Chalte Yun Hi Koi (चलते चलते युंही कोई), from the film Pakeezah (पाक़ीज़ा)

Chalte Chalte Yun Hi Koi (चलते चलते युंही कोई), from the film Pakeezah (पाक़ीज़ा)

Every now and then bit of India, Bollywood…

Georges Gurdjieff (Георгий Гурджиев)

Georges Gurdjieff (Георгий Гурджиев)

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

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

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

Stockhausen, WDR Studio, 1962

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

———

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

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

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

Joe had a weekly residency for 3½ years+ in the piano series at Viracocha, will be resuming a residency at PianoFight in January 2016, and has appeared recently with Bruce Ackley and Steve Adams of ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra, Phillip Greenlief’s Orchesperry, synthesist Thomas Dimuzio, clarinetist/vocalist Beth Custer, pianist Thollem McDonas, percussionist Suki O’Kane, sound artists Joe Snape (UK) & Lucie Vítková (Czech Rep.), technodivas / electronic musicians Pamela Z & Viv Corringham (NYC/London) as well as his own Renga-kai (連歌会), Mukaiji-kai (霧海箎会), & Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) ensembles.

au quotidien, a new album with German-Swedish saxist/flautist Biggi Vinkeloe, master drummer Donald Robinson, and cello madman Teddy Rankin-Parker is in production for release later in 2015.

———

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

どうぞ。。。

Joe

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MSP/Laptop, Piano, Objects+: w Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra (Aaron Bennett, Robert Ewing, John Finkbeiner, Ron Heglin, Joe Lasqo, Lisa Mezzacappa) ◉ + Set 1: DunkelpeK (Nava Dunkelman + Jakob Pek) w special guest Joshua Marshall ◉ Mon 18 Jan @ Studio Grand, Oakland

Aaron Bennett

Aaron Bennett

I’m keenly looking forward to again join one of my favorite Bay Area ensembles, Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra.

Among Aaron’s many stellar contributions to the Bay Area improv and new music scenes (like sax trio arrangements of Bollywood standards) are fantastic “breathing chart” compositions for large improvising groups that deliver heightened coherence and adventure at the same time. They stand as Himalayas of group improv music. And Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra is the Mt. Everest.

The scene at Studio Grand

The scene of the crime will be Oakland’s vanguard venue for post-modern jazz and electronic music, Studio Grand (3234 Grand Ave, Oakland, map), 10:15pm, Mon 18 Jan.

Oakland Freedom Jazz !

Oakland Freedom Jazz !

It’s aways a high-warp adventure to play with this special ensemble, and I look forward with special pleasure to bringing the superluminal energy of Aaron’s fantastic “comprov” charts to Fernando Carpenter’s fantastic Oakland Freedom Jazz Society series at Studio Grand, together with a great set from the always astonishing DunkelpeK, with special guest Joshua Marshall.

If you’ve already heard the first album of Aaron Bennett’s unique compositions released by Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra (cover below), you’re already coming to this great show. If not, run, don’t walk, to get a copy at http://emtpo.bandcamp.com/ and hear what the fuss is about.

Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra (cover art: Nancy Bennett)

Among Aaron’s many stellar contributions to the Bay Area improv and new music scenes (like sax trio arrangements of Bollywood standards — also to be featured in this show) are fantastic “breathing chart” compositions for large improvising groups that deliver heightened coherence and adventure at the same time. They stand as Himalayas of group improv music. And Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra is the Mt. Everest.

To quote Aaron: “The members of this ensemble utilize the electro-magnetic field of their collective mind to attain a unitive transcendent state of sonic consciousness and in turn, create sublime and/or unusually expanded sonic experiences for their listeners.”

Vapor Trails of Structure in Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Improv...

Vapor Trails of Structure in Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Improv...

The electro-magnetic field is tuned and amplified by means of unique “breathing chart” compositions using a special graphic notation Aaron has designed for large improvising ensembles to focus and unleash aural energies. The resulting sound is like nothing else and has amazed audiences in a string of orgone-accelerating Bay Area performances over the last year.

(For a more detailed interview with Aaron about this music, please check out Craig Matsumoto’s post: Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Improv).

Aaron Bennett in space...

Aaron Bennett in Space...

Bio note: Saxist/composer Aaron Bennett has been bending space in the Bay Area jazz and improvised music communities for more than 15 years. Beyond his studies in composition and performance of western music at California Institute of the Arts, Aaron has also studied and played the music of West Africa, Indonesia, India, and Traditional Japanese 雅楽 (Gagaku) music. He has performed throughout the United States and abroad including performances with Wadada Leo Smith, Peter Kowald, John Butcher, Donald Robinson, Marco Eneidi, Gianni GebbiaWeasel Walter, Adam Lane, Larry Ochs, Steve Adams, John Raskin, Victoria WilliamsAphrodesiaLagos-RootsBlack Water GoldROVA Saxophone Quartet and many others.

Aaron Bennett in Time

He leads his own groups Go-Go-FightmasterElectro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra and performs in the Oakland Active OrchestraLisa Mezzacappa’s Bait & SwitchVijay Anderson Quartet, and Guerrilla Hi-Fi. Aaron has composed for large ensembles, chamber groups, plays, films, dance performances, wind quintet, saxophone quartets and trios as well as pieces for solo instruments.

In addition to Aaron Bennett (sax & compositions), the E.M.T.P.O. line-up for this show will also include:

— Rob Ewing: trombone

Rob Ewing

— John Finkbeiner: guitar

John FInkbeiner

John FInkbeiner

— Ron Heglin: trombone & voice

Ron Heglin and tuba

Ron Heglin and tuba

— Lisa Mezzacappa: bass

Lisa Mezzacappa

— Joe Lasqo: MSP/laptop & piano

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)

Set 1: DunkelpeK, with special guest Joshua Marshall, 9:30pm

DunkelpeK - (L) Jacob Pek, (R) Nava Dunkelman, at Luggage Store Gallery, San Francisco, 18 Jul 2013 (Photo - PeterBKaars.com, www.peterbkaars.com)

DunkelpeK is an duo ensemble of prepared guitar, objects + percussion allsorts that has produced some of the most dynamic improv of the Bay Area since its formation.

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

Both Nava Dunkelman and Jakob Pek continuously extend and break the boundaries of their instruments. Their telepathic flow and ultra-wide sound palette as Dunkelpek energizes some of the most unique sonic trajectories in todays Bay Area new music scene.

Jakob Pek (photo by Peter B. Kaars, PeterBKaars.com)

Jakob Pek (photo by Peter B. Kaars, PeterBKaars.com)

Tonight they will be joined by frequent collaborator Joshua Marshall, whose amazing technique shatters the mirror of reality into a geometry of cracked multi-phonics, exotic trills, and unique timbre tremolos.

Joshua Marshall and Crystal Pascucci perform in Opera Wolf @ the 2013 Outsound New Music Summit (Photo by Peter. B. Kaars, www.peterbkaars.com)

Joshua Marshall and Crystal Pascucci perform in Opera Wolf @ the 2013 Outsound New Music Summit (Photo by Peter. B. Kaars, www.peterbkaars.com)

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Experience a sparkling full sonic spectrum of chamber and big band post-jazz improv — come vibrate with us at Studio Grand!

どうぞ。。。

Joe

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