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Connie Crothers & Richard Tabnik at DiFara Pizzeria, Brooklyn, Sept 5, 2006. Photo by Mark Weber


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Roger Mancuso | Photo by Mark Weber


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Connie Crothers Quartet September 6, 2006 at her studio 475 Kent Avenue #410 Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY. Roger Mancuso: drums, Richard Tabnik: alto sax , Ken Filiano:bass, Connie Crothers: piano. Photo by Mark Weber


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Connie Crothers & Mark Weber at legendary DiFara Pizzeria,1424 Avenue J, Brooklyn NY, September 5, 2006. (we were passing around the camera while waiting for our pizzas) Photo by Richard Tabnik. Note: All photo’s are not part of the original Mark Weber chapbook Four Poems from New York City Thanks to Mark Weber for sending  these images.

FOUR POEMS FROM NEW YORK CITY

there is another way
that time can be stopped
and that is in the instance before catastrophe…

you don’t actually believe
it’s happening…

these things happen on the spur of the moment…

(Death appears to be opportunistic)…

a


6 EURO incl. shipment world-wide

Following a list of Mark Weber chapbooks available via ZERX PRESS and ZERX RCORDS

#01 THE PHONE Mark Weber, poems October 1983 | #02 OUT OF IT Mark Weber, poems & collages March 1984 | #03 JUMPING THE CONCLUSIONS Mark Weber, poems July 84 | #04 ABANDON SHIP Mark Weber, poem January 1985 | #05 THE SELECTED COLLECTED LEFTOVER POEMS Mark Weber, 1985 | #06 TWO BODIES MAKE ONE Mark Weber, erotic poems 1985 | #08 3 RING CIRCUS Mark Weber, short stories January 1988 | #09 NIGHT BEFORE Mark Weber, poems December 1987 | #11 THE ODES OF BIG WEB Mark Weber, November 1988 | #15 HOGWASH Mark Weber , stories June 1990 | #20 LOCKLIN BIBLIO bibliography Mark Weber , March 1991 | #23 DRUNK CITY Mark Weber, poems May 1992 | #24 BIG WEB BEHIND THE ZION CURTAIN Mark Weber, stories (unreleased) 1992 | #25 DARK GARAGES Mark Weber, dope poems (unreleased) 1992 | #26 WANDERING JEW MOM / THE COMPULSIVE GUILTRIDDEN TERMINAL MOTHER Mark Weber / Catherine Lynn , poems & drawings March 1992 | #28 LOCKLIN BIBLIO 2 Mark Weber, November 1997 | #29 BIG WEB BRINGS HOME THE BACON Mark Weber, post office memoirs (unreleased) | #41 LIBRETTO : OBBLIGATOS FOR TERPSICHOREAN DIPSOMANIACS Mark Weber, poems from the CD (9 Winds 0182) may 1986 | #44 LIBRETTO: OH SHENANDOAH BE NOT TELLING ME THIS Mark Weber, poems from CD (Zerx 001) August 1997 | #47 VEHICLE VORTEX VERTIGO Mark Weber, poems & concert program (w/ J. A. Deane ) November 1998 | #48 LOOSE FRONT END Mark Weber / Scott Virtue, poems & drawings August 1999..


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Mark Weber about Mark Weber:


Mark Weber grew up in Cucamonga, California, where he threw rocks at freight trains and has the distinct memory of hearing Sam the Sham singing “Wholly Bully” off in the distance, a mile away, over the loudspeakers at Upland Memorial Park’s baseball field, on summer afternoons watching the orange-purple Martian sunsets so prevalent to his smog-encrusted homeland. His alma mater is San Berdoo County Jail where he matriculated in cold turkey. Adovada. He published his first poem when he was 15 and he’s 53 now, and still, he suspects that 90% of everything he’s ever wrote is junk. Meanwhile, he’s preparing himself psychically, mentally, spiritually, and physically, for The Immortal Poem to occur to him. Do you hear me Lord? I’m ready. You send me that poem down, and I’ll type it up.

Mark Weber’s poems/books/cds are available  here…


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An Interview with J.A.Deane by R D Armstrong

Armstrong: Which came first, the interest in exploring sound & tone, or the love of music ? Describe the evolution from one to the other.

Deane: The love of music came first in my life, ever since I was in grade school. My father was a musician, and had a “dance band” before he went into the service. When I was a kid, he taught me drumming, and got me very interested in New Orleans style jazz as well as big band music. He was the person who got me interested in playing the trombone as my main instrument. I had a very traditional music education, but from the beginning there was an awareness and an interest in improvisation as an important component in the creation of music.

The first experience that I can remember that really had a profound effect on my concept of music and started me on the journey into the exploration of sound and tone happened when I was maybe in the 6th or 7th grade. For some reason, one year at Disneyland in Los Angeles, they had a big band week, and all the bands played – Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Harry James, Buddy Rich – and most of them were playing in “tomorrowland” (perfect really), in open-air settings. Well, my father took me to see the bands (on a school night even), and I remember walking from where Buddy Rich was playing, over to hear Count Basie, and at a certain distance I was able to hear the music coming from all of the bands. I just stopped in my tracks and listened. Something about the sound of all of these ensembles mixing together in the air really had an effect on what the definition of “music” was to my ears. That experience has stayed with me to this day.

neverneverlandklein.jpgI would say that there were two other events that factor into expanding my definition of music to include the exploration of sound and tone. One would have to have been when I bought my first tape recorder, an Akai open reel two track with “sound on sound” capability, the machine that I cut my teeth on in terms of learning the art of multitrack recording and how to create sonic environments. The second would have to have been when I started doing sound designs for theatre and dance, a world where sound is just as important as music in the vocabulary of a design.

I’ve been fascinated with experimental music for ten years or so. I’m not even sure that is the proper term.

Armstrong: What do you call the type of music you’ve been doing (with ZERX Records)?

Deane: I just call it music. It’s what I hear and it comes from my heart. Everything after that is just someone else’s idea of marketing or which bin in the store the CD should occupy. I’m particularly interested in how you created the sound on the CD Dillinger w/ Todd Moore.

Armstrong: Is it always improvisational? Or do you also do scripted pieces? On “The Corpse is Dreaming“, I believe you are performing live, how does that work?

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The Corpse is Dreaming was done as a live radio broadcast and was the first time that Todd and I had worked together. There was no rehearsal for the event, just a pre-production meeting with Todd, Myself, Simon (the engineer), and Mark Weber (the host/producer).

For that piece I was live sampling Todd’s voice, playing trombone/electronics, as well as mixing from 3 or 4 tape recorders. I had put together a set of tapes before hand with different sonic elements suggested by the text, (period music, heartbeats, atmospheres, etc), so there was a scripted/pre-production element to the piece. But, it wasn’t until we were in the moment with the text and the sonics live on the air, that the piece emerged.

The Name is Dillinger was constructed in the studio for later broadcast by the same team (Todd, Simon, Weber and myself), and it took place over two days. The first day we wanted to get a good reading of the text (in the clear) and then try some different processing on the voice. I really love Todd’s energy when he reads his work. He came into the studio all warmed up and ready to go. It turns out that he had already done two straight reads that morning (that’s a forty-minute read each time). He did two straight reads for the tape, and then we took a break. The rest of the first day was spent re-recording the version that was the keeper, and taking notes on how to divide the piece into subsections. By the end of the day I think that there was maybe 4 tracks of voice (clean, distorted, filtered, reverse reverbed), that we would be able to use to shade the text as the poem unfolded in the mix.

The second day was done in two parts, the assembly of the sonic textures and backgrounds, and then the final mix’s. I had two samplers in the studio with a very large collection of sounds from my archive of sound that I have made/collected through the years. I like to work in the studio as close to real time as possible, so the pace really moved along. As we went through the piece, everything really came together well with the appropriate sounds presenting themselves when needed, and by dinnertime, we were ready to mix.

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It took all four of us to do the mix because each mix was a mix of the entire 41 minute piece, so any mistake meant starting from the top. I was in charge of the tracks of sounds (maybe 4 or 5 stereo pairs). Simon was in charge of the 4 tracks of voice, and Mark was the timekeeper, with a stopwatch and the list of cue points. Todd had the role of being the objective ear. We did 3 or 4 mix’s that night and then put them away (distance). A few days later the final mix was chosen from the four.

Armstrong: Please describe how you develop an idea into a piece for either studio recording or performance (such as the track on Albuzerxque Vol. #8 “Outpost Repertory Jazz Orchestra” which I just got from Mark Weber).

Deane: Mark’s Albuzerxque series is such a wonderful thing for a couple of reasons. For one, it is this amazing documentation of a diverse range of music and text that is being created in this location (NM) at this point in time. For the artists it is a home for pieces that are either developed specifically for a sampler CD, like setting the first chapter of Huxley’s “Brave New World” to sound (Vol. #3). Or they are pieces that are very strong, but just haven’t found a home in a larger collection of work, like “Winter”, a conduction with O.R.J.O. (Vol. #8).

albu3klein.jpgArmstrong: Most of the people I interview are wordsmiths, so they tend to think in images, which they transpose to words. What form do your inspirations take and how do you translate them to sounds?

Deane: Many times it’s a sound that conjures up the images that become the inspiration for a piece. I’m always collecting new sounds, even if they don’t have an immediate place to go. Also sounds that were rejected for a specific project are added to the archive. Then when a sound is needed for a new piece, I just hear it in my head. The trick then is remembering where I stored it.

Armstrong: I see that you’re also involved with BioAcoustics. What is that? Do you tie it into your performances; in other words are you consciously selecting tones that will benefit your audience on more than one level?

Deane: BioAcoustics uses low frequency sound to stimulate the self-healing potential of the body. I am doing BioAcoustics research at the Whole Life Clinic in Santa Fe NM, working with a medical doctor. At this point in time my research and my musical life are separate, but the potential for creating pieces that could contain specific low frequencies is a possibility for a future project.

deanethesetimesklein.jpgArmstrong: You mention “sound tuning”, in regards to guitarist Terry Rolleri’s work on “These Times” (another Zerx Recording). In which he would “tune each string of the guitar individually, and not in relation to any other string or any tuning reference, one at a time until each string sounded good”, which sounds really cool (I’ve done it myself). What other types of “tricks” do you use and could you describe how you discover them?

Deane: Well, for me, if it’s an acoustic instrument I try to explore all of the possibilities of “extended technique”, or trying to get the widest pallet of sound that I can from the instrument. If it’s a piece of technology, then it’s more of a game. Trying to get the box to work the way that I want to work, and not being forced into a way of doing things by the limitations of the gear. I try to find the simplest way to express what I hear in my head with whatever instrument I am playing.

Armstrong: On the CD, “Solodino” (which is one of my favorites), you create some fearsome noises which, for some reason, I find very soothing. I often write with that CD on. For some reason, the more discordant it is, the more I can focus on what I’m doing or thinking.

Deane: Discordant isn’t a word that I would choose to describe that CD, but I get your point. Allot of the music that I find to be very soothing, also contains harmonic relationships that are often described by others as discordant. John Coltrane’s “Live at the Village Vanguard Again” comes immediately to mind, for me a very peaceful recording.

Armstrong: What was your inspiration for Solodino? Was it scripted or were you flying blind? Talk about the creation process on that project, will you?

SoLoDiNo is a collection of concert improvisations on trombone/electronics, sampler and standing waves (feedback). The pieces are taken from two concerts, one was a very chamber like evening at a small gallery in Santa Fe, and the other was from the Composers Symposium at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Both of the concerts were completely improvised, without any pre-determined structure other than the choice of sounds that went into the sampler before each concert, and those choices were also completely spontaneous. This kind of solo work is really about opening yourself, connecting with spirit and trusting in the moment. If you can get to that point, the music really creates itself.

Armstrong: What about the Internet? There are lots of poetry sites (not to mention all the visual ones). And there are lots of music sites (though mostly the MP3 sites are into popular music). Are there any sites that dedicate themselves to this (your) type of music?

Deane: I really don’t know, but I would imagine that there are.

Armstrong: Do you use the Internet to collect sounds?

vehiclevortexklein.jpgDeane: Now why in the world would I want to do that? These days, anyone with a little room left on a credit card can buy a lap top, download a bunch of loops and over a weekend put out a CD that sounds just like hundreds of other CD’s. No thank you. The only thing that you have as an artist is your personal vision; it’s what sets you apart.

Look, I could go out and buy a bunch of poetry books and lift sentences and paragraphs from them and cut and past them into a new book. I could put my name on it as the author, and even have the audacity to say that I’ve made something better than the originals. But they’re still not my words; it would just be some more shinny disposable appropriated stuff. The only reason that there is so much of this kind of activity in the world of music these days is because the machines are optimized to do this kind of stuff really fast. Let’s not kid ourselves here, it is VERY easy to make loop/sample-based music at this point in history. The challenge is to come up with original sounds, “personal” sounds. The art is to create work with this technology that is going to survive after the fashion has past.

Armstrong: What about you, do you have a site or webpage on the net that our readers can visit?

Deane: No, I do not have a website.

Armstrong: I’ve always wanted to do a webcast where each player is located in another city/country. What sort of ideas like this have you come up with?

Deane: Well, I enjoy any kind of project that allows me to interact with open, like-minded artists who don’t take themselves too seriously. More and more the fashion of funding moves toward projects that embrace technological advances (?). But, technology brings with it allot of baggage that doesn’t always make a pleasant environment for the act of creation. The real trick is to get the technology involved in a project to become transparent, and not the focal point of the event.

Armstrong: Who do you draw inspiration from these days?

Deane: It’s not so much who as it is what these days, and that would be “harmonics” or the way that sound follows the laws of the universe.

Armstrong: Got any new projects planned?

Deane: Right now my focus is on finding the balance between my sound work at the clinic, and my musical life. At the moment I’m working on my bass flute playing, enjoying the evolution of “Out of Context” (the improvising ensemble that I conduct), and trying to get to a deeper relationship with my electronics. That seems like plenty for now.

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RD Armstong aka Raindog Photo: Jim Coke

The Lummox Press began in 1994 as a self-publishing tool for RD Armstrong. It allowed RD to publish two collections of his poems (Love is Dancing Just Out of Reach & Unkissed by the Angels). Very soon after, towards the end of 1995, he started the Lummox Journal. In 1998, the Lummox Press published its first anthology: DUFUS! It wasn’t quite as successful as one could have hoped for, but the learning curve kept RD honest. The book was a dismal flop, but it taught RD about quality control. DUFUS later became a poetry EZINE (2002).

Then, in 1999, He started the Little Red Book series or LRB. LRB format was simple: a book that could fit easily into one’s pocket or purse, and would give the reader the opportunity to read a selection of poems from known, as well as, unknown poets. 48 titles later, and poets still clamor to be a part of this series. 2004 saw the publication of LAST CALL: The Legacy of Charles Bukowski. The Lummox empire continues to spread. Besides publishing, RD also is fairly active in the poetry scene, giving readings in both Nor/SoCal and has an active reading calendar where he promotes, not only his own work (his latest book, RoadKill, is already in its second printing), but the work of the many poets he has published, as well. The Lummox page is here…

J.A.Deane selected releases on Zerx records. There are a lot more records with J.A.Deane. Check it out here… in the Metropolis On-Line Store.

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grandcrosseclipseklein.jpgJ.A. Deane bio:

Musician, composer, sound designer, performer, BioAcoustics research associate: (bass flute, percussion, lap steel, sampling, electronics). Studied music in the Los Angeles public school system grades 5 through 12 and left college after one year to conduct independent studies in acoustic and electronic composition. Ten years of study while working as a musician/arranger in Los Angeles and San Francisco in rock, funk, salsa, jazz and free improvisation ensembles. Also as a “studio musician” doing pop, film and commercial recording sessions and as a sound designer/recording engineer for theater companies and dance companies.

dino_by_mark_weber.jpgOver the past twenty-five years J. A. Deane has performed on over 40 recordings. From his own work to recordings by Ike and Tina Turner, Butch Morris, Brian Eno, Jon Hassell, and John Zorn. Mr. Deane has created sound designs for over 45 theatrical productions, and has worked with playwright/directors Sam Shepard, Joseph Chaikin, and Christoph Marthaler. In the world of dance he has composed, recorded and performed music for over 50 dance works during a twenty-year collaboration with choreographer Colleen Mulvihill. As a musician/performer Mr. Deane has given concerts at over 80 international music festivals in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia and South America. J.A.Deane Photo: Mark Weber

In New Mexico he works with Theater Grottesco, producer Mark Weber, drummer Al Faaet, The Bubbadinos, and “OUT OF CONTEXT” (a conducted improvisation ensemble consisting of viola, cello, bass flute, bass trombone, harp, acoustic guitar, percussion, and live sampling). Mr. Deane is also a BioAcoustics research associate. BioAcoustics uses low frequency sound to help stimulate the self-healing potential of the body.

other selected J.A. Deane recordings:

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J.A. Deane – Discography 1975 to 2002

ooc_outpost.jpgDeane/Melford/Sabella 2002 Hex / Zerx 044 | Todd Moore 2001 Dillinger (2 CD set) / Zerx 039 and1999 Dillinger (limited edition) / Zerx 010 | J.A.Deane/Out Of Context 2001 Never Never Land / Zerx 032 and 1999 Live at the Outpost / Zerx 013 | The Bubbadinos 2001 We’re Beating A Dead Horse / Zerx 034, 2000 Band Only a Mother Could Love / Zerx 021 1999 We’re Really Makin Music Now / Zerx 014 1997 Ready As We’ll Ever Be / Zerx 002 | Deane/Frisell/Rolleri 2000 These Times / Zerx 028 | Faaet/Deane 2000 Grand Cross Eclipse / Zerx 024 | Bonefied 2000 Bonefied / Zerx 018 | J.A. Deane 1999 SoloDino / Zerx 020 | Weber/Deane 1999 Vehicle, Vortex, Vertigo / Zerx 015 | Butch Morris 1999 Holy Sea (2 CD set) / Splasc(H) CDH 802-803.2, 1995 Testament (10 CD set) / New World 804782, 1991 Dust to Dust / New World 80-408-2, 1987 Homeing / Sound Aspects 4015 | Mark Weber 1998 Brother Can You Spare A Dime / Zerx 012, 1998 Beautemous Everlasting / Zerx 004, 1997 O Shenandoah / Zerx 001 | Morris/Lequan/Deane 1996 Burning Cloud / Fmp 077 | J.A. Deane 1995 Nomad / Victo 035 | Splatter Trio 1995 Hi-Fi Junk Note / Rastascan BRD 021 | Roulette (NYC) 1994 A Confederacy of Dances Vol. 2 / Einstein 003 | X-Communication 1991 X-Communication / FMP 033 | Wayne Horvitz 1991 Miracle Mile / Electra | Terry Rolleri 1990 Out in the West / Bend 001 | Zoyd/Deane/Greinke 1990 Zoyd, Deane, Greinke / Ear-Rational ECD 1021 | Jon Hassell 1988 Flash of the Spirit / Intuition 79-1186-1, 1987 The Surgeon of the Night Sky / Intuition 24-0779-1, 1986 Power Spot / ECM 829-466-1 | John Zorn 1987 Cobra / Hat Art | Horvitz/Morris/Deane 1986 Trios / Dossier | Indoor Life 1985 Indoor Life / Electra, 1983 Indoor Life / Relativity, 1980 Indoor Life / Celluloid | Tina Turner 1978 Rough / United Artists | Ike and Tina Turner 1975 Nutbush City Limits / United Artists |

E-Mail J.A. Deane dinoATplateautel.net


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Todd Moore books are available here…


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Today’s Poetry Dispatch is about mining–appropriately enough, given that old truism about poetry as daily news. Today’s poem is also about mining poetry, about the persistence of some poets given the bedrock reality of just who gets a good poem published these days, not to mention how and where. My point being, today’s dispatch is about a lot more than the poem itself–as excellent a poem as “Anthracite Night” is.

If there were any justice in this publishing world, “Anthracite Night” would appear in any number of major literary magazines—including Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, or any of the distinguished publications coming out of the South. But there is no justice, as anyone who’s been in this game long enough knows. There’s talent, there’s connections, and there’s just plain luck. And for many who spend a lifetime writing, honing their art, submitting their work to all the right publications only to be ignored or dismissed …well, as Dorothy says: “I do not have that much time left…”

Dorothy in some ways qualifies as “a poet’s poet.” Her work does not always come easy at first sight. You have to be drawn into her poems. Live there a while. Savor her lines, her choice of words, the bright glitter of the living thing demanding the heart and mind’s attention .

I was proud to include her great tribute and ‘study’ (in poems) of T.S. Eliot (THE FANTASTICAL TRAVELS OF TSE) which appears in the new Cross+Roads Press anthology of works in progress, OTHER VOICES. It was a bold venture/adventure that few practicing (determined) poets would make—recreate a time and a poet in one’s own vision. But Dorothy Terry continues to do this, the unexpected—risk everything for the sake of her art. And these are the writers who matter, sometimes pounding on doors to be heard till the silence is so overwhelming they set the poem free to land wherever it may. –Norbert Blei

Thought this might be appropriate this week. Wrote it last year about Sago mine disaster…another one, much worse. My family settled the area of WVA in which the Sago mine was located…right down the road. If you want to use it, or have a place for the poem, it is yours. I have had it with sending poems out and never hearing a word from them. Now I just offer them to my friends if they want them. Submissions are such a waste of time. And I do not have that much time left so I just write. Right now, trying to do a WVA collection…I suppose no one would be interested in that except someone from WVA, but for some reason I just have a terrible compulsion to write about that muggy, hot, polluted river valley I grew up in. ”Anthracite Night” was written, as i said, right after the Sago mine disaster but is appropriate now, with the terrible thing in Utah happening. It is a terrible business …that mining, and what they did…is killing us with pollution.–Dorothy Terry

ANTHRACITE NIGHT

On January 3, thirteen miners went down
into a mine for Black Gold.
Only one returned.

Brackish sweat pearled walls was natural,
they said it happens on darkening
days like this the sharp crash

of thunder that was usual too who
had not been down underground when
storms were around just put

it outside your head they said so he
cozened his fear entered the passage to Hell.
well it was natural they said everyone worries more

on darkening winter days when clouds
like giant unbound breasts hang down almost
to the ground and filthy mists lace stubby hills

in shallow valley settled by his kin
he bought a clapboard house
front porch swing shiny wash machine

“new used” car parked outside the door
and shedding Christmas tree the tree he cut
from out back with the boys still dripping tinsel

at top the Harald Angels sang Mary Joseph
the Babe mangered tomorrow he would saw
up the tree for firewood burn it through

the somber winter but that morning
two days after New Year’s thunder was coming close
closer claps daggering mine entrance cracking salvos of

that War that killer war never called him yet but
today was in fate’s hands whatever lured him
down that dark tunnel was a fight with endless night

today he would mine Hope
far down the narrow rock strewn path
shoving breath into his failing lungs

He went bent into the anthracite night.

Dorothy Terry, May 15, 2006

The Sago Mine disaster was a coal mine explosion on January 2, 2006, in the Sago Mine in Sago, West Virginia, USA near the Upshur County seat of Buckhannon. The blast and ensuing aftermath trapped thirteen miners for nearly two days, only one of whom survived. It was the worst mining disaster in the U.S. since a 2001 disaster in Alabama killed 13 people, and the worst disaster in West Virginia since a 1968 incident that killed 78 people.

In addition to the tragedy, the Sago Mine disaster is also widely remembered for its high-volume publicity and around-the-clock news coverage. For nearly two days the disaster occupied the airwaves of television stations such as CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and all major American news broadcasts. The disaster even gained significant international attention. As a result of the high-profile nature of the transpiring events, major misinformation was given to the public. The most significant misinformation led to the wide-spread announcement in the press that 12 survivors were found and only one had died, only to report shortly after that in fact there had been only one who survived while the other 12 had perished. source

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Norbert Blei, born in Chicago, the author of a trilogy concerning that city and its people, Chi Town, Neighborhood, and The Ghost of Sandburg’s Phizzog has lived in Door County, Wisconsin since l969 and written extensively about Wisconsin as well. He has taught, lectured, given writing workshops throughout the state and the Midwest, and is the Writer-in-Residence at the Clearing (Ellison Bay) where he has guided beginning and advanced students in the art of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for more than twenty-five years.

He has published in many of the state’s leading periodicals and literary magazines, and is a frequent commentator and guest on the Jean Feraca show (Wisconsin Public Radio) and has appeared on Warren Nelson’s Tent Radio program (Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua), and the Michael Feldman Show (WPR and NPR). For three years he was a featured commentator on a local literary/ arts program in Door County, “Passages” (WDOR FM 98.7) and had his own hour program of commentary, interviews, readings, blues and jazz, called “The Coyote Hour” on WBDK, FM 96.7.

In l985 the Wisconsin Library Association honored his literary contribution by designating him a Notable Wisconsin Author, and he is included in Jim Stephens’ three-volume literary history of Wisconsin, The Journey Home. In l997 he received the Gordon MacQuarrie Award from the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters for his outstanding work in nature and environmental writing. He is one of 64 writers whose work was architecturally incorporated in a new convention center, the Midwest Express Center, in downtown Milwaukee. In l999 he received the Harry Bradley Major Achievement Award from the Council of Wisconsin Writers for significant literary achievement. He is also a Pushcart Press award winner for fiction.

Blei is the author of seventeen books: fiction, nonfiction, and poetry and has received state, regional, and national awards. In December of l994 he started his own small press, CROSS+ROADS PRESS dedicated to the publication of first chapbooks by poets, short story writers, novelists and artists. He was a contributing editor to the national quarterly, FORKROADS, A Journal of Ethnic-American Literature; co-editor of The Door Voice, the literary/associate editor of The Peninsula Pulse, and a columnist/feature writer for the online publication: www.doorcountycompass.com. His nonfiction has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine, the Washington Post, etc. while his short stories and poems have appeared in numerous literary anthologies, textbooks, and magazines including the Minnesota Review, Tri-Quarterly, Story, Kenyon Review, Utne Reader, and The New Yorker.

His Wisconsin work includes the award winning trilogy: Door Way, Door Steps, Door to Door, as well as Meditations on a Small Lake and the controversial Chronicles of a Rural Journalist in America–dedicated to the preservation of the rural landscape. Works-in-progress include a novel set in Door County, three collections of short stories, and four books of nonfiction. His most recent works include Winter Book and the first tradeback edition of CHI TOWN published by Northwestern University Press. More on Norbert Blei can be found here…


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DREAMING OF BILLY THE KID is one of those things that just happened. It was an unplanned book, a dream aberration, a wild adoration, a fire in the ice that hypnotized me all the way to the veins. It began as an essay. Then it morphed into a hyper essay. Then it went from there to super discussion with my alternative self. And, finally it just became something I couldn’t resist.

Some house fires get started that way. They begin with a spark, smolder awhile, then bloom into flame, and finally explode. This novel was born of brag, dream, whisper, yell, and howl. If you try to read this book the way you might read THE SUN ALSO RISES or SNOW or HAM ON RYE or THE GREAT GATSBY, you will almost certainly be perplexed. DREAMING OF BILLY THE KID probably is closer to David Jones’ IN PARENTHESIS or Paul Metcalf’s GENOA or Michael Ondaatje’s THE COLLECTED WORKS OF BILLY THE KID. Some of my friends have called it a collage or non linear novel. Those tags come close but they don’t really begin to describe what DREAMING OF BILLY THE KID is about.

I use the word novel knowing full well that THE KID might also qualify as a long poem. Which is fine with me, too. Though, I prefer the word novel because for me it is the novel at its farthest extremity, the novel poised at the mouth of a literary black hole. It’s a novel not so much because I say it’s a novel. It’s a novel because FINNEGAN’S WAKE is a novel and THE BLIND OWL is a novel and PETERSBURG is a novel and TERRA NOSTRA is a novel. It’s a novel because it contains a cast of characters and voices who move back and forth in time searching for certain existential answers. Or, in lieu of that, just looking for oblivion. Keep in mind, this is not so much a definition of the novel as it is a way of explaining how I imagined the novel as I wrote it.

And that is a story all by itself. It began when I tried to write an extended essay on the myth of Billy the Kid and how it influenced such poets as Tony Moffeit and John Macker. But the essay refused to lie down and be a good essay. Instead, it wanted to stand up and howl like a blue norther. So, after awhile I let it. And, then other voices began to intrude. Doc Holliday wanted to say something. And, Billy Clanton wanted to say something. And when Sam Peckinpah decided he wanted to say something, too, I realized this was really more than just an essay. The truth is Peckinpah became the unifying voice of the novel. Not just the unifying voice, but the soul and the conscience of whatever this thing was becoming.

Peckinpah was shooting THE WILD BUNCH, the Earp-Clanton feud was getting ready to explode, guns were going off everywhere. And, this was the cue for Antonin Artaud and Jaime de Angulo to make their stage entrances. Artaud was an exiled surrealist in search of the Tarahumara Indians. De Angulo was searching for the perfect magic animal/shamanic poem. He wanted to roll in the ditches with shamans. I discovered de Angulo almost by accident. La Alameda Press had just brought out a book of his poetry, HOME AMONG THE SWINGING STARS, COLLECTED POEMS OF JAIME DE ANGULO, edited by Stefan Hyner. This book virtually gave me de Angulo’s voice and style. Once I had that I started using a few fragments from de Angulo’s poems. But, I realized I needed to have complete poems in his voice in order to approach any kind of continuity and instead of stealing his work, I just simply started to write the way he did. I wasn’t plagiarizing. I was reinventing de Angulo’s voice and incorporating those poems spoken through me into the text of the novel. This happened somewhere around page seventy or so.

At page seventy two, through some computer glitch, I lost the novel. It just completely went sideways on me. But, I had enough pages printed out and enough notes, and enough scenes in my head to allow me to begin again. Within a month I had recovered everything I needed and then some. Maybe, in a peculiar way this had to happen. In some very strange way I had to take a look at this novel’s oblivion so that I could eventually reenvision the text. Since then, I have lost text to the computer several times, but never as much as seventy two pages. Still, I was able to learn a few strategies to keep from losing everything.

By this time, you have probably guessed that I mostly compose directly onto the computer. Despite the dangers of lost text or the computer crashing, composition this way is almost instantaneous. I love the way that I can fire off page after page of writing right into the ether. It’s fast, it’s of the moment, it’s like watching the fire of the mind being translated into the raw meat of language.

One assumption I’d like to clear up at this point is that DREAMING OF BILLY THE KID looks like a grab bag of notes that I just kept putting in without regard to placement, rhythm, or logic. Wrong. In fact, as I wrote, I continually revised. I, more often than not, found myself taking as much out of the novel as I put in. And, the phrase putting in suggests using found material. Probably ninety nine percent of the book is text that I wrote as I went. There are a few quoted lines here and there. But they are damn few and far between. The novel is meant to appear as though it is composed out of bits and pieces of other books. In a very technical sense it is, but most of those other books are just simply inventions. Borgesian tricks revved to the max. Of the actual books that I did use, I would say I mostly borrowed fewer than seven consecutive words at a time. In very rare cases I might have used a dozen consecutive words at a time. In this respect, DREAMING OF BILLY THE KID has as its precursor THE WASTE LAND. But, it is a WASTE LAND that T. S. Eliot could never have written even on his best day.

Once I finished the novel, I took a week or so and tried not to think about it. But, I quickly discovered that that was impossible. If DREAMING OF BILLY THE KID is anything, it is haunting. It wouldn’t leave me alone. It infected my dreams, it was something I found myself thinking about, day in, day out, it was in the very air I breathed, the food I ate. There were entire nights when I found myself reliving scenes from the novel. They played out in my night movies like flickering trailers that wouldn’t go away. And, the next day I’d have to go back over key scenes just to see if they measured up to what I had dreamt. It’s a habit I developed when I first started writing poetry. Going back over and over the poem. Letting my inner voice read the poem out, letting the rhythm take over. Testing for any nonessential words. Listening for the music lying just underneath the music and then the psychic music underneath that. I know I have read almost every sentence of this novel at least a dozen times or more. Some sentences, scenes, and pages have flowed through me like phantom rivers, again and again and again. The water of the language flooding through me.

Occasionally, I’ll find a glitch, a misspelled word, a phrase that doesn’t work. Or, some random but totally electrical sentence will hit me. Something Doc Holliday had to say or something that Billy Clanton had to know the way a man knows that fate tastes like iron or dreams taste like shorting out smoke slashing the dark. And, that will have to go in.

A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think about this book. It hounds me, it haunts me, it’s the shadow moving next to my feet. There have been many three o’clocks in the morning when I was ready to consign this novel to the Royal Gorge, oblivion, and the bottomless well of amnesia. Adios motherfucker, see you in hell. But, I know and I know this with everything that I know that DREAMING OF BILLY THE KID is just simply there. Like the sphinx, like Ahab, like Hamlet, like Judge Holden, like DILLINGER. Especially like DILLINGER. It’s a force to be reckoned with. It won’t go away. Todd Moore, 8|22|2007

Todd Moore books are available here…


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DILLINGER

The Name is Dillinger

Volume 1 of 13
by
Todd Moore

First Edition, 1,163 Copies.
950 Trade, 50 Signed and Numbered by Author.
100 Review, 50 Author/Publisher, 13 Out of Series.

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DILLINGER

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Todd Moore & J.A. Deane -

Zerx CD No. 39 – double-CD

6 years in the making this blows any other “spoken word” CD out of the water. With a .44 magnum. ( I usually run for cover whenever someone uses that term “spoken word” – leave that one for the wussies.) Todd illuminates the abandoned soul of John Dillinger. Dino breaks open the Gates of Hell. Not for the squeamish. When an hour of Dillinger was broadcast over the radio one Sunday afternoon back in 1997, KUNM was inundated by calls from frightened listeners, huge flocks of crows blackened the skies over Albuquerque, and the churches had record attendances for that evening’s observances.

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grave2.jpgIf you are a Todd Moore fan you will enjoy Gary Goude, and vice versa. Goude’s poems are cut-throat, matter of fact images about those who live trapped in the everyday horror of the human condition. Goude is an outlaw poet, and by that I mean he’s been places a lot of readers may rather not go. He also uses an economy of words, in the style of Moore. You may imagine through his poems that he has probably woken up next to the train tracks more than once in his life. Like Moore, he has lived hard and close to the bone.

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two poets fit perfectly together in this outstanding chap, which includes a color cover image taken from the film Reservoir Dogs. Goude takes us through the depths with tight lines: “I believe in the destruction/of everything man has touched and created,” (‘I Just Sit & Wait’); and from ‘The Bitter Life:’ “your teeth will begin to fall out/one by one/ your dreams will haunt you/with visions of ex wives/faces of your children/memories of dead love. Welcome to Hell.”

This is definitely not poetry one might read while sipping herbal tea in the garden. This is blood and guts writing while living in a world full of humans and rats, with not much distinction between the two. The 2nd half of the book will not be disappointing to long time readers of Moore. If you light a match the poem will have ended, but the scent will linger in the air and you may feel like you narrowly escaped having your flesh singed. Moore’s section is entitled: “Lost in America,” and he is speaking for the forgotten: ‘benny always:’ “ask benny what the war was like/benny smiled/sd what war/then tapped his temple/steel plates/no pictures in my head.”

Each poem he writes is a unique story, a flash, a quick movie, a jarring of the senses, unforgettable. Moore has by now mastered the long poem (“Dillinger,”), and no one else can deliver a short poem like he does. I prefer to read his shorter poems, but no matter the length, the delivery is always clean, sharp, delivered with dangerous style. I also like the inclusion of old black and white movie posters in this chap. by Victor Schwartzman

Gary Goude is a machine shop worker in Los Angeles. He’s also a Vietnam vet. And he happens to write the most gut-wrenchingly real poetry you’ll have read since the death of the originator of blood and guts poetry Charles Bukowski, who interestingly enough, found an audience among the uppity poetry folks when he was first published in the NYQ back in the early ’70s. Well, folks, Gary Goude is the new Bukowski. His stuff is about the real everyday hell we all go through. He is an every man. Married. Divorced. On the outs with one son and now the other. He can’t maintain a a relationship with a woman. He has few friends. His trust in his fellow man all gone. And he self medicates with alcohol. He’s nearing 60 and his words should be read by everyone who can’t stand regular, dull, lifeless, having nothing to do with anything poetry, you know, the flowery bullcrap that makes no sense and means even less than the next word out of President Bush’s mouth.

Also, his interview in this issue is his attempt to plead the case for a better poetry product, one that is of and for the people and not the green hedge blocked view of the campus poets, the dull bark of a human shells sitting at a machine knocking out their latest volume of poetry gunk, that won’t be read, that won’t sell a single volume but will be hailed by the New York Times book critics as the best poetry anyone, even the cellar dwellers like us, can and should read. BUNK. Gary Goude is the man people should be reading. You’ll identify with his short, understandable rips on ex-wifes, the job, the life of hell we all exist in and survive through…and for what, we don’t know. And neither does Goude. But we know a fellow survivor when we read him and Goude is a survivor and an artist who can chew it up and spit it out better than anyone you’ve read since Bukowski left this green Earth for poetry readings alongside Jesus H. Christ. byRobert W. Howington


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Mark Weber Photo: Eric Breitbart

Download listen to Mark Weber | in the jailhouse now

bygone tumbleweeds, tarnation of smoke

Mark Weber | Bygone Tumbleweeds Tarnation Of Smoke

Okie Musique Concrete. Memory in all it’s aspects. Zerx Release 11

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Michael Vlatkovich, trombonist, composer, and arranger, is one of the leading talents among Los Angeles improvisational players. Located on the West Coast since 1973, he is an emotionally charged performer, comfortable in a variety of jazz and world music styles. Vlatkovich has performed extensively in the United States, Canada, and Europe. His improvisionally free music expresses raw power and beauty in a minimally structured format.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Vlatkovich began studying music with the school band in the third grade. He distinguished himself in high school and was awarded a music scholarship to attend the St. Louis Institute of Music. Prior to his education at the Institute, Michael took part in an intensive six week workshop with internationally acclaimed saxophonist Oliver Nelson and guest soloists, Thad Jones, Mel Lewis, Roland Hanna, Ron Carter, and Phil Woods. Among his fellow students were Hamiett Bluett, Joe Bowie, Julius Hemphill, and Oliver Lake.

In addition to leading his own diverse imaginative ensembles, Vlatkovich has performed with a wide array of singers and instrumentalists including Peggy Lee, Brian Setzer, Bryan Adams, Bobby Bradford, Gerry Hemingway, Rob Blakeslee, Rich Halley, among many others. The trombonist has also performed on sound tracks for a variety of television and film projects including The Mask, Jingle All The Way, and the critically acclaimed John Cassavette’s film The Tempest.

In 1981, the composer formed Thankyou Records in order to document the truly unique forward thinking musical concepts and ideas of both himself and his music collaborators. (These recordings have received critical acclaim in music publications and periodicals throughout the United States and Europe. Many of them have been selected for the lists of ten best jazz recordings.

Most
recently the trombonist has been performing with his own ensembles, and co-leading Transvalue with poet Charles Britt. Vlatkovich is also a regular member with the Vinny Golia Large Ensemble and Rob Blakeslee Quartet.

Following some projects und additional biographical information on Michael Pierre Vlatkovich projects and group-members.

grossman.jpgMICHAEL VLATKOVICH | DOROTHEA GROSSMAN Project

Dorothea Grossman and Michael Vlatkovich present poetry and creative new music in a unique “call and response” format. The late Allen Ginsberg called Dorothea (Dottie) Grossman’s poetry, “clear, odd, personal, funny or wild-weird, curious and lucid.” The award-winning poet lives, works and writes in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in Blue Unicorn, Southern Poetry Review, The Christian Science Monitor, Gypsy Anthology, Poetry Motel, Zuzu,s Petal Quarterly, The Poet,s Band Company, Raw Dog Press, Pearl, The California Quarterly of the California State Poetry Society, The IMP Irregular, ArtLife and Rhino. Her book, Cuttings: Selected Poetry 1978 -1988″ was published by Tango Press in 1996.Poems From Cave 17was published in 1996, andMuseum of Rain was published by Take Out Publications in 2001.

Michael Vlatkovich, trombonist, composer and arranger, maintains dual citizenship in Los Angeles, CA and Portland, OR, and also tours extensively in the United States, Canada, and Europe. In addition to leading his own creative ensembles, Vlatkovich has performed and recorded with a variety of singers and instrumentalists, including Peggy Lee, Brian Setzer, ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Bryan Adams, Bobby Bradford, Gerry Hemingway, and Rob Blakeslee.

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magazine, “JAZZIZ” has called Vlatkovich, “…one of the most extraordinary improvising trombonists in this country as well as overseas. Also a gifted composer and arranger, Vlatkovich is one of the leading talents among Los Angeles improvisational players. Working from the Left Coast since 1973, he is well known for tireless touring, bringing his music all over the United States, Canada, and Europe. A daring and emotionally charged performer, Vlatkovich takes delight in blending a broad variety of jazz and world music styles into his own brand of engaging and unpredictable music. His approach manages to express a raw power and beauty within a minimally structured format that allows extensive group improvisations to lead the way.”

The “call and response” format in which Ms. Grossman and Vlatkovich perform was born about two years ago in Albuquerque, NM, when both were guests on a jazz radio program. This format solves the problem of one medium overshadowing the other, plus, says Grossman, ” it avoids the old jazz and poetry, trap, with its cliché-ridden stereotype of angry, beret-wearing, bongo-playing bohemians.”

Recent appearances have included The Potter Valley Penofin Jazz Festival, Ukiah, CA; KUNM Radio,s “House That Jazz Built,Albuquerque, NM; PTS Group, Redondo Beach, CA; ArtLife Poetry Series, Ventura, CA; Open Gate Theatre, Eagle Rock, CA ; Salvation Theatre, Los Angeles; Club Tropicale, Culver City, CA; Godot,s Ear, Studio City, CA, Meridian Gallery, San Francisco, CA. More on Dorothea Grosman’s web page here…

cgtabla.jpgThe Michael Pierre Vlatkovich Quartet:

Christopher Garcia – Drumset, Percussion

Chris was born, raised, and still resides in East L.A. (Never to be confused with West L.A.). His background includes performances in a wide variety of musical settings including; Progressive Jazz, Rock, World Music, traditional Mexican music, percussion ensemble, soundtracks, and cartoon music. He attributes his musical growth to his studies with Professor John Bergamo, Pandit Tarnath Rao, Swapan Chadhouri and Leonice Shinemann where he studied tabla, while attending California Institute of the Arts on a full scholarship.

Chris was also a member of the award winning Cal Arts Percussion Ensemble in 1979. He attributes his “style”(?) to Listening to EVERYTHING, logging in thousands of hours, practicing, rehearsing,performing and touring constantly with musicians interested in stretching and reinventing themselves. Chris’ drumming is unusual in that it incorporates not only the standard rhythms and their permutations, but also a fluency with odd time signatures and sonic textures, which he seamlessly incorporates into his playing. He has toured extensively throughout the United States, Canada and Asia. He has consistently held the drummer/percussionist chair in several Vlatkovich ensembles since 1992.

He has also been the drummer/percussionist of several critically acclaimed ensembles including: Continuum – fusion for the 21st Century, Quarteto Nuevo – a world music improvising chamber ensemble, The Michael Vlatkovich Trio, Quartet, Quintet & Sextet – Avant trombonist, The Jihad Racy, Roberto Miranda, Christopher Garcia – world music trio, the World Music Percussion Quartet with Gustavo Aguilar, Park Je Chun, Takinojo Mochizuki, The Grandmothers – Ex Mother Of Invention – Don Preston, Roy Estrada, Bunk Gardner, Napoleon Murphy Brock, and duets with Drummer/percussionist Alex Cline, guitarist Nels Cline and multi woodwinds master Vinny Golia. More on Christopher Garcia here…

jonathan-golove.jpgJonathan Golove – Electric Cello

Jonathan Golove is a native of Los Angeles, California and a resident of Buffalo, New York. He currently serves as Lecturer in the Music Department of the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he received a Ph.D. in musical composition as a Woodburn Fellow. His principal composition teachers have been David Felder and Donald Erb, and he has studied computer music with Cort Lippe. He has worked with or participated in master classes given by composers including Marc-Andre Dalbavie, Philippe Manoury, Lukas Foss, Roger Reynolds, Gerhard Staebler, and Walter Zimmermann. Mr. Golove’s works have been performed in a variety of locations in the North America and Europe, by such ensembles as the Ensemble Court Circuit, the Amherst Saxophone Quartet, Maelstrom Percussion Ensemble, and The Instrumental Factor.

He has received commissions, awards and grants for his works from organizations including the European Academy of Music/International Festival of Lyric Art of Aix-en-Provence, VOXNOVA, ASCAP, the Yvar Mikhashoff Trust for New Music, Meet the Composer, and the Darius Milhaud Society.

He has written for a variety of ensembles, often in combination with live electronic processing, including (Max’s 24 Hours) Pray-O-Mat for two cellos and the IRCAM Signal Processing Workstation, which was performed at the 1996 Sonic Circuits Festival in Toronto. In 1995, Mr. Golove was the first winner of the ASCAP Foundations Leo Kaplan award. His winning composition, Shreds of Evidence, is scored for two pianos, electronically processed spoken text, and video, and was premiered at the North American New Music Festival in February, 1995. A version of Shreds for piano duo was subsequently premiered at the June In Buffalo Festival. Here and There, a work for female voice and percussion quartet, has been recorded by the Maelstrom Percussion Ensemble on its CD release Whirled Music.

Mr. Golove is also an accomplished cellist, having been a student of Siegfried Palm and Ronald Leonard. In 1997 he was featured as soloist in Morton Feldman’s Cello and Orchestra with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and will perform Gubaidulina’s Detto II for cello and ensemble with the Slee Sinfonietta in April 1999. He is active, as well, in the field of improvised music, appearing on a number of recordings with noted composer/performer Vinny Golia.

Mr. Golove has been a founder and co-director of chamber ensembles dedicated to the performance of new music including The Instrumental Factor (Buffalo), Just Like It Sounds (San Francisco), Arc-en-Ciel (Berkeley), and the Three-in-the-Time-of-Two Festival, which had its debut in Cleveland in 1994. He has performed in or composed works for summer music festivals including the Pacific Music Festival, the Rome Festival, and the Sarasota Music Festival. He was a founding member of the Elisha String Quartet, a group which served as the Apprentice Quartet at The Cleveland Institute of Music and participated in the 1993 Julliard Quartet Seminar. In addition, he has performed in the June In Buffalo String Quartet, the Roycroft Festival, and with the Cleveland Octet, a group made up of members of the Cleveland Orchestra. More on Jonathan Golove here…

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David Mott – Baritone Saxophone

David Mott is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and holds the degrees of Master of Music, Master of Musical Arts and Doctor of Musical Arts from the Yale University School of Music, where he also taught graduate composition and directed the Yale Jazz Ensemble. He has been an Associate Professor at York University in Toronto since 1978.

The earliest of his compositions date from 1964, and include chamber works in a style the composer describes as “contemporary western art music”, pieces for both small and large jazz ensembles, and compositions demonstrating his spectacular mastery of his own instrument, the baritone saxophone, either by itself, with electroacoustic elements, or in conjunction with his colleagues in the Toronto-based saxophone quartet, 40 fingers.


Mott
maintains an enthusiastic interest in the cultures of Tibet, China, Korea and Japan. Many of his compositions bear evocative titles that reflect an Eastern-inspired concern with nature and its ways, or relate to the explicitly Buddhist approach to music defined in his article, Towards a New Mind/Body Music, first published in the journal Musicworks over the course of four issues from 1982 to 1983. His music is recorded on Music Gallery Editions, Opus One Records, Hamagi Records and Unity Records. More on David Mott here…

selected Michael Pierre Vlatkovich recordings:

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Connie Crothers was born in Palo Alto, California on May 2, 1941. When she was nine years old, she began piano lessons. She also began composing. She performed frequently in concerts and recitals, sometimes performing her compositions. At the University of California in Berkeley she majored in music with an emphasis on composition. She moved to New York City in 1962 and began studying with Lennie Tristano. In 1972 he began presenting her in performances for invited audiences in his home. In 1973 he presented her in solo concert at Carnegie Recital Hall. He produced two other solo concerts in Carnegie Recital Hall, in 1977 and 1978. The Lennie Tristano Jazz Foundation produced a solo concert in Carnegie Recital Hall in 1979. In 1974, she recorded Perception for the SteepleChase label, SCS-1002, solo and and trio with drummer Roger Mancuso and bassist Joe Solomon. Gary Giddens, in a feature review in the Village Voice, wrote,“Her mastery of the piano is not to be gainsaid. It is her own enigmatic personality that gives this disc its special, haunting character. It clearly heralds the arrival of a pianist of stature.”

Download listen to the Connie Crothers Quintet | Warne Marsh by Mark Weber

Download listen to the Connie Crothers Quintet | Laura

When this record was reissued in 1983 on the Inner City label, IC 2022, Mark Weber selected it as one of the ten best records of the year in Coda. When, in 1986, SteepleChase reissued it, Patrick Williams chose it as record of the month in Jazz Magazine, saying, “Because she has unerring fingers, true swing, a true blues sensibilty, because she knows where she is going, because of her originality, the music of Connie Crothers, which transcends the distinction between personal compositions and standards, causes the listener to experience a captivating joy.”

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And in 1995 SteepleChase reissued this record on CD, SCCD31022, Claude Colpaert selected it as record of the month in Jazz Hot. In 1975, she performed in concert with tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh, with Roger Mancuso and Joe Solomon, in Carnegie Recital Hall.

Connie co-produced along with tenor saxophonist Lenny Popkin, the Lennie Tristano memorial concert, held in Town Hall in New York City in 1979. She performed duo at this concert with flute player Nomi Rosen.This performance was issued on the five-record album box set of this concert released on the Jazz Records label, JR-3. In 1980, she co-led an engagement with Warne Marsh at the Village Vanguard, with Eddie Gomez on bass and Peter Scattaretico on drums.

Her second record, “Solo,” released on Jazz Records, JR-4, in 1980, is a two-record album of an entire concert. In Jazz Journal, Derrick Stewart-Baxter wrote, “Her chord structure and modern outlook I find very exciting and all her piano solos are excellent. The two piano solos which open the record are fascinating. There are delightful renderings of classic songs — the marvelous ‘How Deep is the Ocean,’ with its single note inventions, quite fascinating, and the great version of ‘Sentimental Over You.’ This LP should prove very rewarding. I am hooked!” In a review in Cadence, Per Husby wrote, “Ms. Crothers comes out as a very original player. The music has a very uncompromising air to it, her piano technique is very clean and never is there any sign of superfluousness. It is good to hear a player who hits every note no-nonsense straight.”

crotherssolo.jpgIn 1980, Connie performed solo at the Berlin Jazztage. With composer and percussionist Max Roach she recorded duo. In 1982 they produced this session, Swish,” on New Artists, a record company which they co-founded. It received a four-star review in Down Beat. Bill Shoemaker wrote, “Connie Crothers, a pianist who has expanded Tristano’s labyrinthine complexes, is a refreshing surprise.” When this record was reissued on CD in 1994, it received another four-star review in Down Beat. Jon Andrews wrote, “The relative freedom of the duet setting fits the tension and energy of Crothers’ uninhibited playing. Roach is always fascinating.” In 1983, she co-led an engagement with Max Roach, Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, a four-way collaboration entitled,Intuitive Momentum,” featuring the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company.

Download listen to Connie Crothers - solo – | BE

Connie performed solo in 1984 at Cooper Union in New York City. This concert was released on the New Artists label, NA1002,Concert at Cooper Union.” Reviewing it in Jazz Nu, Jean Quist called her “a lioness on the keyboard.” In 1992, when it was reissued on CD, it was mentioned in Coda where the reviewer described it as a “powerful two-handed style, percussive and explorative. Her sudden descent to a crystal-toned delicacy permits the lyrical aspects to blossom with awe-inspiring beauty. Her closing ‘Trilogy’ is a study in mood shifts, ranging from deep foreboding to a spirited explosion of joy.” She appeared as a soloist as part of the New Music America festival in Washington D.C. in 1983. In 1986, she performed solo at the DuMaurier International Jazz Festival in Toronto, Canada.

crotherscooper.jpgIn 1987, working with her associates, she reorganized the New Artists label as a cooperative record company. She has participated in the expansion of this label to include an extensive catalog of CDs, all expressive of the company’s premise and label identity — improvised original music. New Artists Records was featured in the July 2000 Issue of Jazz Times.Connie appeared at Birdland, New York City, when the club featured the record label with performances by the artist-producers on April 5, 2000. Birdland presented the label on seven consecutive Saturday afternoon performances in May-June 2000; she performed with her quartet featuring singers Linda Satin and Harry Schulz. Birdland will present the label once weekly starting September 2000. The first CD on the reorganized label was a duo with alto saxophonist Richard Tabnik,Duo Dimension, NA1003. Lois Moody selected this record for her ten best of the year list for the Ottowa Citizen. She described the music as “played with an inspired blend of strength, fire and lines drawn with a fine edge. Adventurous, fresh and rewarding, Connie Crothers’ rhythmic sense never wavers, even in the most ‘outside,’ adventurous constructions.”

crothersduo.jpgIn 1989 she performed solo in the Jazz Middleheim festival in Belgium. The producer, radio programmer and writer Rob Leurentop wrote a feature on her which appeared in the Belgian magazine Knack. Connie formed a quartet with co-leader Lenny Popkin, tenor saxophone, featuring Carol Tristano on drums and Cameron Brown on bass. This quartet released its first record in 1988, Love Energy,” New Artists NA1005. This release was noted in Knack, where Rob Leurentop described it as “the art of improvising in all its classic glory.” Jack Cooke, in Wire, voted it #1 record of the year. This quartet performed at the Blue Note, Sweet Basil and Birdland in New York City. They toured Europe and Canada. In 1990, they were presented at the duMaurier Festival in Toronto. They appeared at de Werf in Bruges, Belgium by in 1989 and 1991. Also in 1991 they performed two concerts in de Singel, Antwerp, Belgium, produced by Rob Leurentop. In one of the concerts, the bassist was Jean-Francois Jenny-Clarke, who also performed with them at Bim House. They appeared at the Spoleto Festival in 1995 and 1996.

Download listen to Connie Crothers and Richard Tabnik | Smile, My Baby

crotherslove.jpgTheir recordings includeNew York Night,” NA1008, 1990, recorded at the Blue Note, released in Japan on the Americana label, 28C 8008(A); “In Motion,” NA1013, 1991, recorded in Belgium by Belgian Radio and Television (BRT), voted one of the top 50 records of the year by Jazz Magazine; Jazz Spring,” NA1017, 1993, selected as record of the month by Xavier Prevost of Jazz Magazine;Session,” NA1027, 1998, which features Rich Califano on bass. Writing about this group in Jazz Nu, Frank van Herk said, “This is linear improvisation at its best.” Connie recorded duo with drummer Roger Mancuso, “Deep into the Center,” New Artists NA1020, 1994. In 1996, Marion McPartland featured Connie on her radio series “Piano Jazz,” on National Public Radio. In 1997, she released a solo CD, Music from Everyday Life, New Artists NA1025. John Sutherland, in Coda, selected it for his best of the year list. Just for the Joy of It,” a duo CD featuring Connie with singer Bob Casanova was released in 1998, New Artists NA1026. It was described by Frank Rubolino in Cadence as “pure musical experience…a moving album which achieves a whole new level of originality.”

Download listen to Connie Crothers – Lenny Popkin Quartet | Love Energy

crothersnewyork.jpgConnie performed solo at The Jazz School in Berkeley, California in 1998. In the January 2000 issue of Cadence, she was chosen for inclusion in the selection of the most important and influential musicians in the last twenty-five years. Connie formed a quartet with Richard Tabnik, Roger Mancuso and bassist Sean Smith. They releasedOntology,New Artists 1035 in 2000. In Cadence, David Lewis wrote, “The Connie Crothers Quartet or CCQt, is in brilliant, driving form as they generate explosive contemporary bop… “Ontology” sustains the most exhilarating and inventive hard bop I have heard in many years and I imagine that to catch this band on a good night must be awesome. You must check it out!”

Download listen to the Connie Crothers – Lenny Popkin Quartet | Prez Says

With this quartet, Connie appeared at Birdland in April 2000 when the club featured the New Artists label; during this performance, Linda Satin sang with the quartet. Birdland featured the New Artists label in seven consecutive performances. Connie appeared with this quartet with Ratzo Harris on bass, featuring on one occasion Linda Satin and, on another, singer Harry Schulz. She also perform trio with Harris and Mancuso.This quartet performed at Roulette in New York City in November 2000.The quartet was joined by guitarist Andy Fite in a tour of Sweden and Estonia. They performed in Club Fasching in Stockholm. They appeared in Tallin and Tartu. Connie gave a teaching workshop at the Stockholm Conservatory of Music. In 2001 and 2003 her quartet appeared in Albuquerque, New Mexico at The Outpost Performance Space. Mark Weber, poet, performed poetry he had written for the concert with the band. Selections from the 2003 concert was released on the CD, “Live, Outpost Performance Space,” in 2005 on the New Artists label.

crotherselegance.jpgIn December 2000, she performed in a Max Roach concert in Tokyo, Japan, where she performed solo, duo with Mr. Roach and with the Max Roach Quartet. In February 2000 she performed a duet with Max Roach in Bologna, Italy at El Teatro di Celebrazione. In April 2001, at Harvard University, she was awarded Honorary Jazz Master. She appeared in concert with Max Roach and tap dancer Diane Walker, with the Harvard University Jazz Band, under the direction of Tom Everett. She gave a teaching presentation there. She also performed solo and duo with Mr. Roach at the New Orleans Jazz Festival in 2002. Connie released a duet CD with guitarist Bud Tristano in 2001, “Primal Elegance, on the New Artists label. In the internet magazine, “One Final Note,” Frank Rubolino wrote, “The commingling of basic cries of life with tempered softness is befitting the record’s title. Raw energy and compassion appear to coexist simultaneously and harmoniously.”

Download listen to Bud Tristano and Connie Crothers | A Room in Manhattan

Connie co-lead a quintet with alto saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc at the Vision Festival in 2003. The band included trumpet player Nathan Breedlove, bassist Adam Lane and drummer John McCutcheon. She performed duo with Moondoc at Hallwalls in Buffalo, NY in 2004. She appeared throughout 2002-2004 at Faust Harrison Pianos in New York, NY, in duets with Bud Tristano, Richard Tabnik and guitarist Ace Yamashita, quartet with tenor saxophone player Bob Field, quintet with Harry Schulz. In 2003 she performed solo at the St. Augustine Art Association, St. Augustine, FL. In 2004 she performed duo with guitarist Dan Rose in Kingston, NY.

She teaches improvisation in her studio in Brooklyn, NY. More on Connie Crothers and the New Artists label can be found here…

New Artists Records presents:

Connie Crothers, Richard Tabnik, Kazzrie Jaxen/Liz Gorill, Max Roach, Lenny Popkin, Carol Liebowitz, Roger Mancuso, Andy Fite, Dori Levine, Charley Krachy, Michael Levy, Virg Dzurinko, Ed Littman, Bob Field, Carol Tristano, Bud Tristano, Harry Schulz, Bob Casanova, Jessica Jones, Linda Satin, Madeline Renard, Dhamma Ace Yamashita, Dick Twardzik, Red Mitchell, Lonnie Leibowitz

Just browse and click through the New Artists Records cd-cover catalogue gallery.


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poems & doodles | out of his childhood

Mark Weber | Poems & Doodles | “No one knows unless you tell them” – Chris Garcia. First edition June 2007. Zerx Press No. 59

Ronald Baatz | Out of his childhood | First edition June 2007. Zerx Press No. 59

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Todd Moore is a poet in the shockism style. He says, For your information gansta poetry in this country isn’t Bukowski’s invention, it’s mine. I’ve been making this kind of stuff since 1970 give or take. And, it has nothing to do with Bukowski’s style or subject matter. Bukowski was the pornagrapher of pussy and a damned good one at that. I’m the pornographer of violence.”

Todd Moore grew up in a brother/transient hotel. His father was a railroad man, a fireman, a bagman, a numbers runner, an acquantance of Capone and an aspiring novelist. About his childhood Moore has written: By the time I was twelve I was a street thief and a damned good one. I’d already seen a guy who’d hanged himself and had nearly been cut in a knife fight. In some ways it was both the best and the worst of times.After an overextended stint as a schoolteacher and librarian in Illinois, he now lives with his wife in New Mexico. He has had nearly ninety books of poetry published since 1976. Todd Moore’s images are concrete both literally and figuratively: they are all-consuming street scenes that grumble resonant with rhythms of the digestive fluids in this country’s underbelly.

“Moore illuminates the placental world that is as dark as a plum in a cold universe, because his technical virtuosity and grasp of realistic urban speech affords him the reach to open that envelope white door that few have the stomach for, be it a lack of hunger or a lack of courage. Being that it is best to write from the gut, Moore’s strength as a poet and a human being has been his ability to feed on this badly bruised heart of forbidden fruit and let the blood drip from the corners of his mouth onto the page in stripes that deserve fifty stars and an acknowledgment of an inner-city blues as real as shot up vericose veins. His best lines are molten steel that he lays in the grooves of the reader’s gray matter, and as eyes meet image and tongues rolls off words, there in the click-clack of recognition, and the spark of inspiration that was initiated in Moore becomes a conflagration in the mind of any American who does not whimper…” Nelson Gary, from The Outlaw Bible of Poetry

outpost_street.jpgTodd Moore works in a trading post on Central Avenue here in Albuquerque selling tin sheriff badges to the tourists. He watches the whores stroll through the glass. He watches the methadone clinic amputees from around the corner. His white Saturn is parked inside a chain-link fence in back. The Outpost jazz club is next door. He sells them badges and waits till closing. Mark Weber

Todd Moore has been published in hundreds of magazines. Recent books include Working on my Duende and The Corpse is Dreaming (LRB # 20). This is his third book published by the Lummox Press. He was recently honored as Lummox of the Year 2000. It is his first award in 30 years.

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The following Interview with Todd Moore was made by Anita L. Wynn December 1, 2006

Q: What initially inspired you to become a writer?

Todd Moore | I wanted to be a writer for almost as long as I can remember. My father, who was a railroad man and then a fireman, was both an alcoholic and a failed writer. He was a natural born storyteller and for about fifteen years tried writing novels. It was during this time that he got into the habit of reading parts of his novels to me. Even after he realized the futility of what he was trying to do and gave up writing, I continued to think of him as a writer.

I mention the alcoholism because that contributed both to his failure as a writer and to circumstances which landed the family in a skidrow hotel for twelve years. This really has nothing to do with inspiration, but the experiences I had in that hotel shaped me as a poet. I didn’t realize it at the time. In fact, it took a college education and another ten years before I finally began to discover who I really was and that mysterious thing called style. As for literary inspirations, I’ve always been drawn to the visceral in fiction and poetry. Hemingway was a big discovery. Ginsberg’s HOWL, Rimbaud, Plath’s ARIEL. Bukowski came later. I put off reading Bukowski even though I’d heard plenty about him simply because I had a story I wanted to dig out of me all on my own.

Q: Do you consider DILLINGER to be your magnum opus? What was the inspiration for that poem, beyond the obvious?

Todd Moore | DILLINGER is the big one. I have no doubt in my mind. It seems as though you can divide my work into some fairly distinct categories. There is the infamous short poem that I’m pretty well known for. I remember when I first started sending out those twenty line poems where the core of the poem is strictly action. I had had enough poems where the poet meditates on the problem of violence, death, time, love, or just simply taking a crap. What I wanted was a poem that gave you the visceral feel of the thing happening as it happened. I remember a friend once saying, you should’ve been a film director. My answer was, I need to write a poem that plays out like a movie.

I’ve also written the medium length long poem. For me, a poem that approaches a thousand lines in length is medium length. In the last ten years I’ve written several medium length long poems including WORKING ON MY DUENDE, which was published back in 1999 and is now out of print. Also, A SACRED MEMORY OF BILLY: NOTES FOR A DADA WESTERN, which is almost finished. The BILLY of the title is Billy the Kid.

However, DILLINGER is probably what I am mainly known for. I started writing it back in 1973. In 1976 I wrote the first really good section entitled The Name Is Dillinger. Since then I think I have written about a hundred or so sections. Each one is about 800 to 1500 lines in length.

When you mention the American epic, most people think of Pound’s THE CANTOS or Williams’ PATERSON. DILLINGER as it stands may be at least twice the size of THE CANTOS and many times longer than PATERSON. And, it is distinctly different because in those two long poems, there really is no central character unless you count the poet’s persona as character. However, Dillinger is portrayed as a real life person as well as an archetypal figure out of American history. And, because Dillinger is based on a real person, I have been able to see him with all his flaws, expectations, and desires. He is both as large as life and larger than life. This is why DILLINGER is not the typical American epic, even if you go as far back as Whitman’s SONG OF MYSELF. It’s a break with that whole tradition and it’s also a break with the classical idea of epic with Homer’s ILIAD and ODYSSEY. Dillinger is an outlaw, not a hero. Still, as an anti hero, Dillinger becomes a kind of American everyman because he comes closer to our collective renegade fantasies than nearly anyone else in American literature with the possible exceptions of Melville’s Ahab, Cormac McCarthy’s Judge Holden, and Fitzgerald’s Gatsby. Also, Dillinger has an inner life, something you usually don’t associate with criminals.

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Q: For those readers who are not familiar with the “outlaw” school of poetry, how would you describe it, and the poets who follow it?

Todd Moore | In 1949, when my father landed the family in that skidrow hotel, I became an outlaw. I became an outlaw because I became an outcast. I became an outlaw, because for the first time in my life I realized what it meant to be down and out. I was twelve going on thirty. I became an outlaw because all of a sudden my friends were other kids who were street thieves. I became an outlaw because I was rubbing shoulders with all kinds of derelicts. I got to know all the hookers by there first names. I learned the art of shoplifting from the best. the word outlaw was second nature to me.

How I escaped jail or worse, I’ll never know. But I did realize that if I wanted to escape this cycle of petty crime and poverty, I’d better get an education. However, even after I graduated from college I still had some of that outlaw in me. And, even after I taught in the public schools for several years, that outlaw was still there. Finally, I realized that my skidrow background was what I was meant to write about. So, I present myself as a kind of explanation.

However, Outlaw Poetry has been around for a long time. It just has never been seen that way before. Francois Villon was probably the first Outlaw Poet. Arthur Rimbaud may be the most famous Outlaw Poet. Along with Lautreamont. Then segue to Hart Crane and down to the Beats. Ginsberg, Kerouac, Burroughs. Burroughs shot and killed his wife in a drunken orgy. The question remains: did he mean to or was it an accident? Then Charles Bukowski. Bukowski was a whole poetry movement unto himself. Bukowski was an enormous force in poetry in still is even though the snobs in academia refuse to give him any credit for it.

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and I were writing contemporaries though he started publishing about fifteen years before me. In some ways, we are two sides of the same coin. Bukowski grew up in a middle class home and at the age of eighteen opted for the down and out life. From the age of twelve until 1961, I lived the down and out life in a skidrow hotel. Bukowski didn’t really find his voice until his mid thirties. The same thing happened to me. Bukowski and I are both known for creating highly recognizable poetic styles. And, we have both pretty much been loners.

outlawpoetry.jpgWhat is Outlaw Poetry? I’ve been writing it for almost forty years. But I haven’t always thought of it as Outlaw. I’ve known it was outside the acceptable limits of polite poetry. I think the force and thrust of things outlaw really picked up impetus with the publication of THE OUTLAW BIBLE OF AMERICAN POETRY edited by Alan Kaufman and S. A. Griffin, Thunders Mouth Press, 1999. I am told this is the best selling poetry anthology ever. And while it is flawed and fat with celebrities, it is also maybe the most important anthology to come down the pike in many years.

Outlaw Poetry, basically, is a stance against academia and the writing degree establishment. Outlaw Poetry is also a stance against the politically correct in poetry. Outlaw Poetry comes along at a time when the arts in general and poetry in particular are moribund, stale, boring, cowardly, candyassed, and dead. Pick up any major poetry mag. The American Poetry Review, or Poetry Magazine are the best examples. The dead wood practically falls off the page. And, try this test. When was the last time you read a poem that truly made the goose bumps crawl up your back. That popped your eyes into your soup? When was the last time a poem mattered so much you jumped out of your chair but didn’t exactly know where it was you were going except that you had to be going somewhere, it was that important to you. For me, this happens almost on a never basis. I have to go back to Whitman or Pound or Eliot or Crane or Tom McGrath or the best of Ted Hughes.

The big problem in our society is that academia owns poetry lock, stock, grant, kiss my ass rewards, and blowjob poetry chairs. The small press is the ghetto. There are no honors there, there are no awards there. There is no money. And, the irony is that the small press is where some of the most important poetry is being written today. Keep this thought in mind. There are no Outlaw Poets writing in academia. Zero. There are no Outlaw Poets teaching poetry in academic writing programs today or really ever. Outlaw Poets, if anything, come from the dark side. Outlaw Poets live at the edge of the edge. Outlaw Poets do not live off foundation money.

Before I bail out of this question, let me list some of the Outlaw Poets whose work matters and is making a difference. Tony Moffeit, Dennis Gulling, John Dorsey, Kell Robertson, Mark Weber, John Macker, R. D. Raindog Armstrong, Scott Wannberg, and S. A. Griffin, among others. Other Outlaws to keep an eye on are Christopher Robin, Misti Rainwater Lites, Joe Pachinko, Theron Moore. And, I apologize to those whose names I have inadvertently left out. I’m not so sure I answered this question except for bludgeoning it to death.

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Q: What poets, if any, have inspired you? Classical, or neo-classical influences?

Todd Moore | Influences are like time bombs or floating mines in the psyche. They float around inside the dark and have a way of going off when you least expect it. Shakespeare is always there. Melville for MOBY DICK, Faulkner’s THE BEAR, Fitzgerald’s GATSBY, Hemingway’s Santiago in THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA, Bukowski’s continuing saga of CHINASKI, Steinbeck’s THE GRAPES OF WRATH, and much of Dostoevsky. Lately, Tony Moffeit, Mark Weber, John Macker.

Q: I have asked other famous poets this question, and I’d also like you to weigh in on it…what is your opinion of critics in general? Do you think they should have the power to determine the direction of poetry?

Todd Moore: I have almost always been at war with critics. Harold Bloom is probably the classic example of the snob critic in America. His close second is Helen Vendler. Bloom’s dilemma is that he wasn’t born Shakespeare so he’s decided to install Shakespeare as god of the literary canon. Vendler’s problem is that she wasn’t born as T. S. Eliot. These two critics are hellbent for leather to maintain a strict canon which has completely overlooked the poets and writers of the small press in America. As far as they are concerned Bukowski never existed. Or, anyone else from the lower depths. The kind of criticism they espouse takes no chances, brooks no risks, invites no dares, loves no poem that is not Harvard clean and New York Times Book Review sanctioned. These kinds of closed in and closed up critics are part of the reason for Outlaw Poetry.

Q: I have read in one of your essays about the “unknown territory” a poet should explore…the frightening “no-man’s-land” within each of us. Could you tell us a little about how you made this discovery?

Todd Moore: Everyone has an unconscious. Everyone has a dark river flowing just under the skin and down through the blood. I’ve always more or less known about this kind of darkness through such characters as Hamlet, the Karamazovs, Ahab, Faust, Judge Holden. It really wasn’t until I started getting deeper into Dillinger that I realized this no man’s land was part of all of us. My breakthrough into this country happened when I wroteThe Corpse Is Dreaming which I later incorporated into The Dead Zone Trilogy which forms the last three long sections of DILLINGER. “The Dead Zone Trilogy is what Jung would call a Nekyia, a journey into the deepest part of the psyche. What I wanted to do with Dead Zone was try to get inside Dillinger’s experience of what it felt like to be shot to death and then go from there. I wasn’t interested in the cliché of your life passing before your eyes at the point of death. I was trying for a combination of THE TIBETAN BOOK OF THE DEAD and THE BOOK OF REVELATIONS, all of it sort of mixed together into a cluster of death metaphors, a potent death stew. I’m still not sure if I got there, but I think I came close.

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Q: Do you ever feel any pressure, now that you’re well known, to tame your brutal honesty in your poetry?

Todd Moore | It’s what I do, what I have to do.

Q: What advice would you give to an aspiring poet?

Todd Moore | This might be the toughest question of all. First, you have to understand, there is no money in poetry. Most of the poets I have known have worked at something else to survive. Then, there is the example of Charles Bukowski. Bukowski actually became a well to do writer later in life. But, he is the exception to the rule. Becoming the next Bukowski is kind of like trying to win the Lotto. What are the odds at that, like a billion or so to one? Whatever. There are two ways to go as a poet. You can get into a writing program, work toward the MFA and basically become inauthentic and at best a very mediocre poet. Or, you can dig the poems out of your own guts. This is tougher but in the long run, you’ll be able to look at your face in the mirror. And, yes, there are no guarantees. We live in a big country where more and more almost no one reads poetry, let alone reads at all. Most people, both educated and not, do not give a royal fuck about poetry in the first place. Little do these folks realize that without poetry, this country would become the next thing to lobotomized. Not that we aren’t close right now. The fact is, we probably need poetry now more than we have ever needed it before. We need the power of the word, we need the witness of the power, we need great poems, great works of art and not just for a kind of absolution but also for our national survival.

Thank you very much, Todd. We appreciate your thoughts very much.

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some facts about John Dillinger:

John Dillinger (June 22, 1903 – July 22, 1934) was an American bank robber, considered by some to be a dangerous criminal, while others idealized him as a latter-day Robin Hood. He gained this reputation (and the nickname “Jackrabbit”) for his graceful movements during bank heists, such as leaping over the counter (a movement he supposedly copied from the movies) and narrow getaways from police. His exploits, along with those of other criminals of the 1930s Depression era, such as Bonnie and Clyde and Ma Barker, dominated the attentions of the American press and its readers during what is sometimes referred to as the public enemy era, between 1931 and 1935, a period which led to the further development of the modern and more sophisticated FBI.

Dillinger was born on June 22, 1903, in Indiana, Indiana, and grew up in nearby Mooresville. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy, but deserted within a few months and was later dishonorably discharged. Dillinger returned to Indiana where he married a local girl named Beryl Hovious and attempted to settle down. However, he had difficulty holding a job and his marriage disintegrated. One night in 1924, a small-time criminal who was a friend of Dillinger convinced him to collaborate in the mugging of a well-known grocer named Frank Morgan. The two believed that the grocer carried a large amount of cash. They were soon captured. Dillinger’s friend employed a lawyer and received only two years in jail, whereas Dillinger, unable to afford legal representation, was convicted and sentenced to 10-20 years in prison despite having no prior criminal record. Dillinger was paroled after serving 9 years.

Dillinger embraced the criminal lifestyle behind bars, learning the ropes from seasoned bank robbers like Harry Pierpont of Muncie, Indiana and Russell “Boobie” Clark of Terre Haute. The men planned heists that they would commit soon after they were released. Once Dillinger was released from Michigan City Prison, he helped conceive a plan for the escape of Pierpont, Clark and several others, most of whom worked in the prison laundry. The group known as the “first Dillinger gang” included Pierpont, Clark, Charles Makley, Edward W. Shouse, Jr., of Terre Haute, Harry Copeland, “Oklahoma Jack” Clark, Walter Dietrich and John “Red” Hamilton. Homer Van Meter and Lester Gillis (a.k.a. Baby Face Nelson) were among those who joined the “second Dillinger gang” after he escaped from the county jail at Crown Point, Indiana. Altogether, gangs with whom Dillinger was believed to have been associated robbed about a dozen banks and stole over $300,000, an enormous sum in the Depression era, totaling nearly five million in today’s economy.

Dillinger served time at the Indiana state penitentiary at Michigan City, until 1933, when he was paroled. Within four months, he was back in jail in Lima, Ohio, but the gang sprang him, killing the jailer Sheriff Jessie Sarber. Most of the gang was captured again by the end of the year in Tucson, Arizona due to a fire at the Historic Hotel Congress. Dillinger alone was sent to the Lake County jail in Crown Point, Indiana. He was to face trial for the suspected killing of Officer William O’Malley during a bank shootout in East Chicago, Indiana, some time after his escape from jail. During this time on trial, the famous photograph was taken of Dillinger putting his arm on prosecutor Robert Estill’s shoulder when suggested to him by reporters. On March 3, 1934, Dillinger escaped from the “escape-proof” (as it was dubbed by local authorities at the time) Crown Point, Indiana county jail which was guarded by many police and national guardsmen. Newspapers reported that Dillinger had escaped using a wooden gun blackened with shoe polish. Dillinger further embarrassed the town, as well as then-42-year-old Sheriff Lillian Holley, by driving off in her brand new V-8 Ford. The press augmented her chagrin with such headlines as: “Slim woman, mother of twins, controlled Dillinger as sheriff.” Incensed, Holley declared at the time, “If I ever see John Dillinger again, I’ll shoot him dead with my own gun. Don’t blame anyone else for this escape. Blame me. I have no political career ahead of me and I don’t care.”

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Driving across the Indiana-Illinois state line in a stolen vehicle, Dillinger violated a federal law and thus caught the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. An investigation concerning the facts of the escape was carried out some time later by the Hargrave Secret Service of Chicago, Illinois on the orders of the Illinois governor. The governor and Illinois state Attorney General Philip Lutz eventually chose not to release information because they did not want Dillinger to know of the informants with whom they spoke. As a result the findings about the gun in the escape were never made public, and this, coupled with Dillinger himself actively perpetuating the wooden gun story as an ego boost, is a reason many believe the “wooden gun” escape was real. The truth behind the infamous gun may never be known. Once out of prison, he continued to rob banks. The United States Department of Justice offered a $20,000 reward on June 23 for Dillinger’s capture, or $5,000 for information leading to his apprehension.

In April, the gang settled at a lodge hideout called Little Bohemia owned by Emil Wanatka, in the northern Wisconsin town of Manitowish Waters. The gang assured the owners that they would give no trouble, but the gang monitored the owners whenever they left or spoke on the phone. Emil’s wife Nan and her brother managed to evade Baby Face Nelson, who was tailing them, and mailed a letter of warning to a U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago, which later contacted the FBI. Days later, a score of FBI agents led by Hugh Clegg and Melvin Purvis approached the lodge in the early morning hours. Two barking watchdogs announced their arrival, but the gang was so used to Nan Wanatka’s dogs that they did not bother to inspect the disturbance. It was only after the FBI mistakenly gunned down 3 innocent Civilian Conservation Corps workers (as they were about to drive away in a car) that the Dillinger gang awoke. Gunfire between the groups lasted only momentarily, but the whole gang managed to escape in various ways despite the FBI’s efforts to surround and storm the lodge. Agent W. Carter Baum was shot dead by “Baby Face Nelson” during the gun battle.

Dillinger’s last day of freedom was July 22, 1934. Dillinger attended the film Manhattan Melodrama (coincidentally, a gangster film) at the Biograph Theater in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago with his girlfriend, Polly Hamilton, and Ana Cumpanas (a.k.a. Anna Sage), who was facing deportation charges for running a brothel. Sage worked out a deal with Purvis and the FBI to set up an ambush for Dillinger and drop the deportation charges against her. When they exited the theater that night, Sage tipped off the FBI agents who opened fire into Dillinger’s back, killing him. Dillinger was struck three times, twice in the chest, one actually nicking his heart, and the fatal shot, which entered the back of his neck and exited just under his right eye. According to Purvis, Dillinger died without saying a word.

dillingerposter.jpgSage had identified herself to agent Melvin Purvis by wearing an agreed-upon orange and white dress, which due to the night lights, led to the enduring notion of the “Lady in Red” as a betraying character. Though she had delivered Dillinger as promised, Sage was still deported to her home country of Romania in 1936, where she remained until her death 11 years later. Contrary to newspaper accounts and later depictions in a score of movie re-enactments, those waiting in ambush outside the Biograph Theater that night were operating under the understanding that Dillinger was to be shot on sight. Purvis had assembled a team of both FBI agents and hired guns from police forces outsdie Chicago (Milwaukee, Michigan City, Indiana, etc.) because it was felt that the Chicago police had been compromised and could not be trusted. As a matter of fact, during the stakeout, the Biograph’s manager thought the agents were hoodlums that were setting up a robbery. He called the Chicago police who dutifully responded and had to be waved off by Purvis, who told them that they were on a stake out for a much more mundane quarry. Earlier in the day, Sage had called Purvis and told him that Jimmy Lawrence was going to the movies that night and might even go to two separate shows just to avoid the murderous heat that was smothering Chicago that week. Two theaters were mentioned. One was downtown, and the other was on the North side (the Biograph). Not chancing another embarassing getaway, Purvis split the team of shooters in two and dispatched one team downtown while he accompanied the other group to the Biograph. Three times that night he told the crews to “insure there was no escape”.

He also warned them repeatedly to “not take any chances with Dillinger”. When the movie let out, Purvis stood by the front door and signaled Dillinger’s exit by lighting a cigar. Both Purvis and the agents reported that Dillinger turned his head and looked driectly at Purvis as he walked by, glanced across the street, and then moved ahead of his female companions and bolted into a nearby alley where he quickly came under fire from a number of different guns. No warnings or verbal communications of any kind were exchanged. Two women bystanders were slightly wounded in the legs and buttocks by flying bullet and brick fragments. An ambulance was summoned and although it was clear that Dillinger had quickly died from his gunshot wounds, he was taken to a nearby hospital where his corpse was briefly placed on the grass outside the emergency room where a harried intern came out and officially pronounced Dillinger dead. The body was then taken to the Cook County morgue where the body was repeatedly photographed and death masks were made by local morticians in training, who inadvertently damaged the facial skin. Throughout that night and most of the next day, a huge throng of curiosity seekers paraded through the morgue to catch a glimpse of Dillinger in death. The chief medical examiner finally complained that this mob was interfering with his occupation and Cook County sherrif’s deputies were posted to keep these macabre tourists at bay. There were also reports of people dipping thier handerkerchiefs and skirts into the pools of blood that had formed as Dillinger lay in the alley in order to secure keepsakes of the entire affair.

Dillinger is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis. His gravestone is often vandalized by people removing pieces as souvenirs.

dillingerdead.jpgTo this day, loyal fans continue to observe “John Dillinger Day” (July 22) as a way to remember the fabled bank robber. Even at the scene of his death outside the theater, several witnesses soaked their handkerchiefs in his blood as a sort of souvenir of the legend. Members of the “John Dillinger Died for You Society” traditionally gather at the Biograph Theater on the anniversary of Dillinger’s death and retrace his last walk to the alley where he died, following a bagpiper playing “Amazing Grace”. Dillinger and his men had a hideout in Langlade County just south of Forest County, Wisconsin along Highway 55, which is now a small bar named Forest Inn.

To this day, there are doubts whether Dillinger actually died on July 22, 1934. Some researchers (chief among them famed Chicago crime writer Jay Robert Nash) believe that the dead man was in truth a petty criminal from Wisconsin named Jimmy Lawrence, who had dated Dillinger’s sometime girlfriend Billie Frechette and bore a close resemblance to the famed bank robber. Some people who knew him said they did not recognize the body; in fact, Dillinger’s father had suddenly exclaimed when first seeing his son’s corpse, “That’s not my boy!” After all, John Dillinger did receive rather crude plastic surgery some time before his death. Moreover, if indeed the agents did mistake Lawrence for Dillinger, the FBI would have had a strong incentive to cover up such a blunder, since J. Edgar Hoover was on the verge of being fired as Bureau director in the wake of the extensive public outrage over the earlier Little Bohemia incident. An autopsy contained information that was controversial, such as:

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* The corpse had brown eyes. Dillinger’s were grey, according to police files.
* The body showed signs of some childhood illness which Dillinger never had.
* The body showed a rheumatic heart condition, yet according to the later testimony of Dr. Patrick Weeks — Dillinger’s physician at Indiana State Prison — Dillinger could not have suffered from this disease as he was an avid baseball player while in prison and had served in the Navy.

However:

Yet another disturbing fact remains: The small Colt semi-automatic pistol that Dillinger had allegedly drawn on the approaching FBI agents outside the Biograph (and was for years shown in a display case at FBI Headquarters along with Dillinger’s death mask) was not his; it had, in fact, been manufactured five months after Dillinger’s death, which supports the claim that the FBI agents, without warning, shot and killed an unarmed Dillinger.

In 1963 the newspaper The Indianapolis Star received a letter from a person called “John Dillinger” with a return address in Hollywood, California. The letter contained a photo of a man who looked like a more aged Dillinger. When this was ignored, another letter was sent to Emil Wanatka Jr, the proprietor of the Little Bohemia Lodge.

A 2006 Discovery Channel documentary titled The Dillinger Conspiracy examined the legends surrounding his death. Several historians, detectives, and forensic scientists examined the autopsy, the 1963 letter, and Zarkovich’s gun to determine the true story behind his death. Ultimately, the show suggested Zarkovich fired the final bullet which did in fact kill Dillinger, and that FBI was complicit in his death.

source


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words and stories – obbligatos for terpsichorean dipsomaniacs

Mark Weber | Words and stories – Obbligatos for Terpsichorean Dipsomaniacs

Nine Winds Records 182 | 1995

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9 EURO incl. shipment world-wide

Download listen to Mark Weber | at the jewish bakery


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Michael Pierre Vlatkovich / trombone, percussion, Jeff Kaiser / trumpet, Jill Toberson / french horn, Kurt Peterson / alto/tenor saxophone, Chris Lee / drum set, vibes, percussion, Mark Weber / narrator


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Michael Vlatkovich / trombone, percussion | Mark Underwood / trumpet | Vinny Golia / baritone sax | Bill Masonheimer / tuba | Dominic Genova / bass | Devorah Juanier / acoustic piano | Warren Hartman / electric piano | David Crigger / drums | Chuck Britt / percussion.


Et si “l´oeil écoute”, comme le voulait Claudel, j´ajouterai que l´oreille peut aussi voir.

B.Parmegiani

Metropolis proudly presents Etude Records, Pau Torres label from Barcelona, Spain. Created on 2006 and focused on experimental and obscure sound archives. Pau Torres edited four releases which can be found now in our Metropolis shop here… Pau Torres started with artist’s like Mike Hansen, Augusti Martinez, Tomasz Krakowiak, Lngtche, Ferran Fages, Robert Millis and Alfredo Costa Monteiro.

Buena suerte Pau.

Robert Millis

“120″

Etude Records 018

Tracklisting:

1. 1 (40s is not good)
2.2 (all balled up)
3. 0 (suspended)
4. (charcoal twins)

February 2009. Audio: robert millis | Photos: cecil b demillis |

listen to Robert Millis |Fragment from title 1

12 EURO
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Robert Millis: a Climax Golden Twin, a collector ’78s resulting in the impeccable Victrola Favorites book & compilation, purveyor of searing avant-scum-noise-rock in AFCGT, a world traveler in search of esoterica for Sublime Frequencies…Despite his many activities, Millis’ recorded output has almost entirely been by way of collaboration, making this gem of a solo album all the more special. This is closer related to the collage work that Millis has contributed to the Climax Golden Twins, bridging all of those aforementioned interests in a polyglot of psychedelic smear pocked with snippets of conversation, poetic extracts from his collection of ’78s, and a judicious amount of vinyl crackling. An album such as this would easily be confused for the hermetic revelations that Philip Jeck extracts from his rough shod vinyl and turntables; but Millis seems to counterpoint the crackle and the clean with more drama than Jeck, almost positing the crackle like a punch line in a joke that breaks through one of Millis’ blissed out shimmers constructed from loops and drones from guitar, bells, and glass harmonica, where haunted melodies from times long gone whisper through the mix. The logic of the album may seem absurd from afar; but the internal logic is peculiarly sensible, as if Millis were tapping into some stream of consciousness that subcutaneously connects all of these intermingling sounds…very highly recommended no matter how you slice it.—-Jim Haynes (Coelacanth, Helen Scarsdale Agency, 23Five, etc) in his Aquarius Records review of the extremely limited CDR version of 120, December 2008

Ferran Fages

“Al voltant d´un para/.lel “

Etude records 017

Ferran Fages | electric guitar.

Recorded live by Pablo Rega, january 19th 2007 at Almazen, Barcelona. Some tracks are versions or new approaches of pieces released before in the album “a cavall entre dos cavalls”

Cover design by Alfredo Costa Monteiro.


Download listen to Ferran Fages | desprès de la primera pausa

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Al voltant d´un para/.lel

brings to light a tension, which matches that of the previous two guitar albums of Ferran Fages. It’s probably because a parallel could also be thought of as the lanes of a horse race, as a permanent conflict, or as a trait of one’s character that never disappears. The resistance which stands between the theme and something that pushes it not to be. Sibylline strategies. Repetitions which block it. Foldings, which, instead of doubling the sounds, they hide some of them behind others. Expansions that disseminate the notes till the notion of the theme gets lost. And the delay… This delay, this slowness, which, full of rancour, is opposed to the idea of the song. Nevertheless, several themes, or to be more precise, segments of them, could serve, properly compressed, as the base of a doom metal theme, of a strange folk song, or of a neo-psychedelic passage deprived of any electroacoustic adornment.

This album makes one think the interior of a room. The reverberations give us its size, the latitudes of uneasiness. In the meantime, these harmonic sparks are kept by the ceiling, before they fall to the ground, taking the form of ashes. A consumed acoustic flight. Still more tension. Within his music he’s always taking notes, drafts and breathes. Nothing ever comes to an end. It’s as if Muybridge or Marey, with their cronofotographic devices, were sliding through the guitarist’s criterion without him being aware. There is no minimalism here, but desert/vastness. -German Lazaro, barcelona 2008

JOSE LUIS REDONDO

LA REPONSE EST AUX PIEDS

Etude records 016

Tracklisting:

1. 2 8 2 2. Dragon.Gemini 3. Younge Blues 4. … 5. Crazy Stamp 6. Ending 7. …Swinging… 8. The Airport 9. Earth Brain 10. Mandelbrot’s Silence 11. Devine a qui je pense?

Composed-played by Jose Luis Redondo (dobro, a.c baritone guitar, bizarre piccolo bass, electric guitar and banjo). Recorded live -no overdubs- in Hoto Tama Records Studio (Aug-Oct. 2007). Produced by Jode Luis Redondo.

Download listen to Jose Luis Redondo | younge blues

12 EURO incl. world-wide shipment

Etude Records
is proud to present the first release statement of this unexpected and amazing guitar/ composer/ musician call Jose Luis Redondo. His first release for Etude Records “La reponse est aux pieds” (Etude017) is an astonishing 11 tracks suite with some of the most adventurous guitar pieces. Using a whole range of string instruments (Dobro, banjo, electric guitar, piccolo bass, etc…), Jose Luis develops an amazing and unique personal world of sounds, techniques and compositions. Beautiful, bizarre , strange and lovely!

Jose Luis Redondo is a well know musician from Barcelona whose work has appear in tons of different session recordings with local groups, from the Jazz/space/cabaret records of Le Diablo Mariachi, the traditional irish/funk music of Camalics, to the Gallegan/experimental work of Keympa. His solos shows at some squads are also remembered.

TOMASZ KRAKOWIAK

LA CIUTAT ETS TU

Etude Records 015

Tracklisting:

1-Bal 2-La ciutat ets tu 3-Drgacze 4-Sink 5-o_vbrdub 6-Aigua per A 7-Diners per N

All music performed and recorded by Tomasz Krakowiak 2007. Tools: percussion and microphone placements.

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Download listen to Tomasz Krakowiak | La ciutat ets tu

12 EURO incl. world-wide shipment

Tomasz Krakowiak (b. July 31, 1972, Tarnów, Poland) is a percussionist and composer. During the last few years, Krakowiak has performed and recorded with artists such as Mike Hansen, John Oswald, Ireneusz Socha, Le Quan Ninh, Kaffe Matthews, Mike Snow, Domenico Sciajno, Alessandro Bosetti, Anna Zaradny, Ute Völker, Sophie Angel, Otomo Yoshihide, Phil Minton, Paul Dutton, John Butcher, Gert-Jan Prins, Karlheinz Essl, Pau Torres and others throughout Europe and North America e.g. Musica Genera Festival, Victoriaville FIMAV, AudioArt Festival. Influenced by experimental and electroacoustic practices, Krakowiak’s sounds are explorations of different sonoristic drum qualities. He currently lives in Toronto, Canada. More on Tomasz Krakowiak here…

ALFREDO COSTA MONTEIRO

ÉPICYCLE

Etude Records 014

Tracklisting:

1-Épicycle (38:44)

Alfredo Costa Monteiro: Computer

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12 EURO incl. world-wide shipment

Even in the rarified, difficult to define world of contemporary electro-acoustic improvisation there are artists who can be said to fall into one of two general categories: for some, the listener has a fairly good idea what to expect from a new recording; for others not. There’s no qualitative judgment being made here—certain musicians can mine a narrow area very profitably—but Alfredo Costa Monteiro definitely falls into the latter grouping. From works for prepared accordion to creative abuses of turntables to at least two recordings where the sole sound source is paper, he’s rendered it futile to approach a new offering with any particular sonic expectations. And with “Epicycle”, he does so once again.

One constant, something that’s always drawn me to his work, is that he possesses an inherent sense of pure musicality. This is a feeling one encounters more often in jazz perhaps, the notion that a musician (say, Monk or Don Cherry) has such a strong musical touch that virtually anything he puts his fingers to sounds good, equivalent to a visual artist like Rauschenberg—whether it’s a goat wrapped by a tire, a white painting or cardboard boxes flattened on a wall, it simply looks beautiful. It’s an ineffable characteristic, something nearly impossible to pin down but at the same time just as apparent when you hear or see it. Costa Monteiro both surprises with “Epicycle” and retains that wonderful musicality.

One surprise lies in the steady-state, relatively drone-ish character of the piece. Much of his earlier work is less fluid, choppier in the sense of consisting of slabs of sound placed alongside or atop one another. Disjunctive when heard “up close”, the music nonetheless tended to resolve into satisfying, cohesive wholes. Another unexpected aspect of the present recording is the sound source: Costa Monteiro’s voice. Although processed virtually beyond recognition as such, the listener may still pick up vocal inflections, the sort of shift in pitch occasioned by opening and narrowing the oral cavity while intoning, for instance. “Epicycle” fluctuates from roars to barely perceptible pings, often with an abruptness that initially startles but on second listen seems entirely natural, like a cloud suddenly blotting out sunlight. And like a cloud’s shadow, it covers vast stretches of terrain. Costa Monteiro’s work has always had a graininess, a sense of soil and sand (it sometimes reminds me Antoni Tapies’ gritty work) and that impression remains even when the sounds are derived from modulated airflow. The music recognizes the bumps and irregularities of the ground at the same time as it envelops them, navigating through buffeting winds and acidic rain, not to mention an electrical storm or two before evaporating into a prickly haze. It’s a fascinating, chillingly beautiful journey; you never feel quite safe but always have the sense you’re in capable, acutely sensitive hands guided by a deep musical imagination. -Brian Olewnick.

Alfredo Costa Monteiro, Porto (Portugal), 1964. He lives and works in Barcelona since 1992. He finishes his studies in sculpture/multimedia at the fine art school of Paris in 1992. The same year, he moves to Barcelona. Since then, his work stands somewhere between visual arts, visual/sound poetry and sound.He has shown his visual and sound installations in individual and group exhibitions since 1995. From 1998 to 2007, he was member of 22a, an independent collective for contemporary art. From 2001 to 2007, he was member of IBA col.lectiu d’improvisació.

In sound poetry, he works with Leos Ator, writing and performing (words and sound) in portuguese, french and spanish. Since 2001, he’s been involved in many improvisation projects and has toured in Europe and Japan. He is currently member of the following formations: CREMASTER with Ferran Fages/ I TRENI INERTI with Ruth Barberán/ NEUMÁTICA with Pablo Rega / FAGES/BARBERÁN/COSTA MONTEIRO. Since 2006, he’s been involved in two collaborations that have set up a new context in his work:- with labelm, a collective from Lyon (France) which work is based on the convergence of different disciplines such as theatre, sound, video and happening.- with emile saar a theatre company from Marseille (France), as an author, writing in french. LINKS: cremaster | linnomable | cipmarseille

cdcoverferranfages.jpgFERRAN FAGES

“CANÇONS PER A UN LENT RETARD”

Etude Records 013 – Digipack

Tracklisting:

1- Suspens vertical (9:31) 2- Més ràpid que l´ull (3:26) 3- Tanget al dit (3:54) 4- L´ombre del dit (7:08) 5- Suspens horitzontal (16:08) 6- Paraula clau (17:39) 7- El retard del mirall (2:29) 8- Gir lent (5:15) 9- Retard llarg (6:05)

Ferran Fages: Acoustic guitar – Dimitra Lazaridou-Chatzigoga: Detuning on track 6.

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Download listen to Ferran Fages | Tanget al dit

15 Euro incl. world-wide shipment

… Guitar compositions curving time with suspense, delay, slower or faster remnants. We are confronted with intensity “colored” with dense and resistant materiality and aggressiveness… and it is not pure materiality. The musical event is immanentized by a death operation. The Imminent death of a close person, totally unpredictable, was constantly interrupting or (not) the process of synthesis, retroactively forming the song by assuming and distorting their materiality. The emotional and predetermined character of this operation dissolves through the insistent and continuous listening of the cançons, thus it seems that the songs´time can truly exist outside Ferran´s emotional temporality (that´s why the ARE songs).

The conjunction and interconnections of these autonumous musical events, that coexist in many levels, produces refrains, small melodies, and many other different figures…in short Ferran designates a “new” musical timeplace where improvisation and composition is open-from being open-form or aleatoric, a destinerrance where something eventually must happen, something beyond calculation and labor, not negating death, but something that comes from the other, wich is any-particular song listener.” -Michalis Kyratsous (July 2007)

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“MUSIC FOR AN UNTITLED FILM BY T.ZARKKOF”

Etude Records 012, CD

Composed, produced and performed by p.t. (january/february 2007). Artwork by Seldon Hunt.

Titled “Music for an untitled film by T.Zarkkof”, the release is a long 44:22 piece of dark isolation, drones and exploration of the ambient music blending the electronic soundscape with the sound of the raw guitar.Beautiful, haunting and darkly complex work packaged in an exclusive triptic panel with a brilliant artwork by Seldon Hunt.

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12 Euro incl. world-wide shipment

I’ve been spending probably too much time on the edge of righteous oblivion by making repeated listens to MUSIC FOR AN UNTITLED FILM BY T. ZARKKOF by the strangely-monickered Lngtché. Released on the Barcelona record label Etude, Lngtché’s music is herein presented as a single 44-minute track that issues forth from the speakers like one continuous and unrestrained flow of lava bursting out from under the floorboards and seeping out of the walls, like bubbling plasma from the mind of Roky Erikson.- Julian Cope (Head Heritage | Adress Drudion)

cdcovermikehansen.jpgMIKE HANSEN

“AT EVERY POINT”

Etude Records 010 Digipack

Tracklisting:

1-the day before the day (15:35)
2-tidying up after (11:08)
3-the alarm went off sooner than expected (11:06)
4-once held a lighter high in the sky (6:59)
5-an example of what I meant (7:40)
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Download listen to Mike Hansen | once held a lighter high in the sky

15 Euro incl. world-wide shipment

With Mike Hansen’s “At Every Point,” the Toronto-based musician steps out of his familiar role of turntablist-improviser to explore thepossibilities of a purely digital medium. While each of these five compositions is clearly sequenced, the improviser’s sense of openness and play consistently comes through. The raw materials of Hansen’s compositions are the sounds of cowbells, harmonicas, Vietnamese drums, an electric guitar and amp, and of course sounds and samples captured off a set up of prepared turntables, reassembled from thekind of rugged record players kids played with in grade schools across Canadain the 1970s.

The compositions of “At Every Point” avoid making a grand statement – say, a theme followed by variations – in favour of exploring textures and moods: the introspective “An Example of What I Meant,” the brash nod to the rock and roll drum solo in “Once Held a Lighter High in the Sky,” the between-waking-and-dreaming of “The Alarm Went Off Sooner than Expected,” the overt minimalism of “Tidying Up After.” Yet it is the lack of a grand statement that allows the listener to focus on the depth of each detail. -Andrew Johnson. Toronto 2006.

cdcovermartinez.jpgAGUSTÍ MARTÍNEZ


“ARE SPIRITS WHAT I HEAR?”

Etude Records 011 CD

Tracklisting:

1-Serie B (To Scelsi) 2-For Pau 3-Tic 4-Are spirits what I hear? 5-Meeting 6-Stateless folk song 7-Cross-Light 8-Moc and Caniche (To Paula) 9-Che collons! 10-Island Lava

Recorded by Agustí Martínez and Pau Torres 2006/2007 Agustí Martínez: Live solo alto saxophone (no overdubs).

Download listen to Agusti Martinez | For Pau

15 Euro incl. world-wide shipment

This is the first release by composer Agustí Martínez, born 1960 in Barcelona, this is the first ever released record of some of his minimal,graphic scores and homemade compositions for alto saxophone. A figure in the underground avant guarde of Barcelona, “Are Spirits what I hear?” is an unique oportunity to hear the ghosts inside this amazing composer.

Agustí Martinez is a saxophone player from Barcelona who grew up in several chamber orchestras and jazz bands, then began to perform solo in the mid-nineties. This is his first release, a very good one. The initial “Serie B (for Scelsi)” is a one-note theme alternated with lyricism spotted by irony and desperation, a firm statement of intents under any circumstance. “For Pau” nears certain areas of John Butcher’s work, but instantly runs away from the dangers of classification, becoming infectiously multicoloured and rhythmically unpredictable; Martinez is a player that loves silences and pauses, which deepen the meaning of every note he plays. Even the occurrence of (by now commonly used) lingual-and-salival spurts is more welcomed than accepted. In “Meeting”, voice is added to augment and expand the palette; sharp outbursts and membrane-carving harmonics precede a whistling anti-song whose body is boned by additional glottolalia.

Indeed, Martinez’s personal approach makes him different from most saxophonists, essentially due to a more pronounced rhythmic presence (check “Cross-Light” for reference). “Moc and Caniche (to Paula)” is the most rage-and-enthusiasm act, where smoothness and elegance are thrown into a pot of dense articulation and sulphuric straightforwardness; the result is probably the best in terms of compositional interest. “Che Collons!” – a title that makes me suspect that Martinez knows Italian idiomatic expressions quite well – is a long improvisation whose balance of collateral significance, serene melodicism and disturbed spontaneousness is probably the best summary of everything that Agustí is able to conjure up from his right mind.

Instead, “Tic” allows him to mix bubbles and rainbows in a metamorphosis of technical prowess, as effervescent scalar runs collapse all at once, delivering the instruments from jazz impediments. The title track is based on the tube-ish sound of the air, things we heard in a thousand records of the genre, but executed with precision and musicality by the Catalan. Overall, this album is permeated by an evident mastery of spacing and timing that renders the listening an extremely pleasing experience any time. -Touching Extremes.



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Northwoods Improvisers | Improvised Music Group

For more than 20 years, tucked away in the wilds of rural Michigan, the Northwoods Improvisers have been making wonderful music that resists all easy classification. Taking its early inspiration from an unlikely combination of avant-garde jazz, modern classical music and anarchic late-Sixties Michigan rock, by the 1980s the group had transformed itself into a breed of improvised jazz that utilized scales and forms of other musical cultures to explore areas that ten years later would be tagged “world music.” As the music morphed into eastern forms, the group began pointedly eschewing the electric instruments commonly associated with western music like rock and jazz, choosing to perform exclusively on acoustic instruments, most notably exotic ones from the orient and middle east. Despite its regional base the group survived. In 1997, some twenty years after it was born, The Wire wrote of the Northwoods Improvisers’ CD Spinning “They blend African and Eastern musics with jazz improvisation but this is no obvious ethnic fusion. The approach is complex and certainly original, but there is an immediate appeal.”

The Northwoods Improvisers sprung from the fertile ground of the Michigan music scene of the 1960s, where for a brief moment the hard and fast boundaries between different types of music seemed to disappear. Northwoods’ bassist Mike Johnston recalled seeing jazz groups such as Sun Ra’s Arkestra–which was itself straining the limits of jazz forms–on the same bill with outside rockers like the MC5. “I just thought that was normal,” Johnston laughed, “and then I realized it wasn’t!” While in high school, Johnston listened to blues and rock like other students, but he also discovered avant-garde artists in jazz classical music: the Art Ensemble of Chicago, the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, Ornette Coleman, John Cage, Toru Takemitsu. All left their mark on the music of the Northwoods Improvisers.

Johnston taught himself to play guitar while still in high school in Traverse City Michigan. Around the same time he met teenage guitarist Mike Gilmore. Gilmore and Johnston started playing together at home and on camping trips. In the late 1970s, they moved to Mt. Pleasant, Michigan to attend college. Later, in 1977, they teamed up with percussionist John Plough, another friend with whom they performed frequently to form a band of their own called the Northwoods Improvisers. Its first incarnation had Gilmore on guitar, Johnston on bass, Plough on drums, and whichever other musician friends were around to jam. Johnston called the early Northwoods Improvisers “a total improvising garage band…bordering on an over-the-top volume thing based on Derek Bailey and Eugene Chadbourne.” Gilmore though was already developing a keen interest in the music of India, exploring other little-known stringed instruments, like the sitar and cheng, and teaching himself the rudiments of different eastern scales. Eastern music had always been important to Northwoods–Ravi Shankar and Takemitsu are just two examples–and even in their early electric phase, the group’s music displayed meditative, trance-like qualities.

Although Gilmore, Johnston and Plough formed the core of the early group, other musician friends, such as guitarist Kirk Lucas, performed with them regularly. Cultivating that homegrown network remained an important commitment for Northwoods. “As we’ve done things we’ve tried to bring our friends back into the picture, they can take roles that we’re looking for, to achieve particular sounds,” Johnston said. “And we’re almost more interested in that than in playing with other big name musicians. It’s part of where we’re coming from, this inner circle, collective kind of thing, interacting.” Friends continue to be part of Northwoods projects to the present day. They have also coalesced with Northwoods into other temporary musical aggregations. Blues East, for example, included Lucas on guitar and Gilmore on banjo and cheng–a Chinese relative to the koto–and played, in Mike Johnston’s words, a mixture of “folk-eastern-rock-blues.” Remote Viewing Ensemble saw members of Northwoods and friends exploring the textures of electronic music.

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Around 1980, the group reached a musical turning point. They put away their electric guitars once and for all and went completely acoustic. It was a philosophical commitment, first to natural sound, without electronic modification or enhancement, and second to live performance–all Northwoods’ recordings are done live, in real time, without overdubs. “We believe in the power of self-expression through an instrument,” Mike Johnston explained. “We believe it’s closer to life somehow. The sound comes out of the instrument. Most instruments were once living things that have been transformed into an instrument. By putting your personal energy into it you’re bringing it back to life again.” The change to acoustic music certainly did not make their lives as musicians any easier. It was a challenge to arouse interest among audiences at a time when rock was dominant and volume was synonymous with emotional expression. However the change was important to Northwoods and they have stuck with it ever since. “But I think when you hear acoustic instruments making exotic sounds, it’s far more beautiful than electric instruments doing it,” Johnston said, “and it probably resonates a deeper chord within us as a people.”

Northwoods underwent a series of personnel changes in the 1980s. John Plough left and was replaced by Ray Kaczynski, a percussionist who had studied at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant. Around 1987, Kaczynski moved to Germany where he remains active in the new music scene. His place was taken by Nick Ashton, a drummer who had lived in New York City where he gigged with a number of musicians from the city’s loft scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He moved back to Indiana in 1986 after his apartment was burgled and everything he owned ripped off. Mike Johnston was a long time friend of Ashton’s and invited him up to Michigan to relax and think out what he wanted to do next. Not long afterwards, he joined the Northwoods Improvisers and has never left.

Ashton’s involvement in the band is not without problems. He continues to make his home in Indiana, 300 miles away from Gilmore and Johnston, a fact that makes composition, rehearsing, and regular gigs difficult. Much of the actual work in the band takes place by long distance. Johnston and Gilmore work their day jobs together and meet a couple times every week to rehearse and develop new musical ideas. They record the results of those sessions and mail them to Indiana for Ashton’s input. Once or twice a year the three members of the group vacation together. But those problems cause Johnston and Gilmore no regrets. They are convinced Ashton’s professionalism has been a great asset for the group and that he has pushed them in important new directions.

Until the end of the 1980s the Northwoods Improvisers remained an essentially regional group, playing concerts around Michigan, supporting Coda Magazine’s editor, saxophonist Bill Smith, on his Michigan tours, and occasionally venturing to Toronto themselves under Coda’s auspices. They have played some folk festivals, but as far as most audiences were concerned their music–ranging from tunes by Ornette Coleman and Sun Ra to Indian ragas–wasn’t just exotic it was downright weird. During the 1980s, they self-produced and released a number of cassettes, but were unable or unwilling to interest a record company in their work.

fogfire_f.jpgstargarden_f.jpglightningdarkness_f.jpgspinning_f.jpgBy the time the 1990s rolled around, the group was beginning to feel somewhat frustrated with its lack of measurable progress in the music business. Deciding it would be a good idea to release a CD, Mike Johnston contacted Trevor Watts of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble. Johnston had known Watts since he was a teen-aged fan of SME, the only one in North America who wrote fan letters to the group. Watts offered to put out an Northwoods CD on his ARC label. The result was 1994’s Fog and Fire, an album that thanks to Watts’ stamp of approval, had a much broader distribution than anything the group had done previously. Reviewing the CD in the French-language magazine Improjazz, Phillippe Renaud wrote “The Northwoods Improvisers first release has a clearly evident originality and the group has made the most of several streams of musical influences to find their own sound coming out of those influences.” Two years later, ARC released a second Northwoods CD, Spinning, which The Wire called simply “A beautiful album.” Northwoods saw its ARC records release as its introduction to a broader public, and consequently on them the group included a variety of the different kinds of music they perform, a sort of Northwoods Improvisers potpourri.

In 1998 they moved to Entropy Records, a small label based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Their Entropy CDs, they feel, are much more focused and conceptually holistic. Of the first, Lightning Darkness, Coda Magazine wrote, it is “gorgeously recorded. Exotic instruments conjure deep colours and currents, a sense of being in nature pervades, hidden creatures, elemental brewings.” A half year later they followed it up with Star Garden, a limited edition CD that is possibly their most beautiful, most moving work to date. Both Star Garden and Lightning Darkness saw the Northwoods core unit of Gilmore, Johnston and Ashton, reinforced by collaborators from earlier incarnations of the band: drummer John Plough and string player Kirk Lucas on the former, and Lucas and guitarist Ben Bracken, of the Northwoods sister band Remote Viewing Ensemble, on the latter.

That the Northwoods Improvisers continue to elude musical labels–and to a degree easy musical understanding–can be seen in the way critics from different genres have responded to their work. Jazz critics look at their use of long North Indian improvisational forms and see music that is too rambling and unfocused. Critics with a background in new improvised music find Northwoods Improvisers too relaxed and rooted in forms that “mainstream” improvised music has shaken free of. World music fans are put off by the strange jazz elements and complex harmonies in Northwoods’ music.

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The ports of entry into the music of the Northwoods Improvisers are there, however, for anyone who has ears. Mike Gilmore’s virtuosic performances on instruments like the Chinese cheng, the middle eastern saz, or the marimba (as well as the acoustic guitar) offer a rich surface of beautiful sonic textures, which on repeated listening also reveal a wealth of melodic invention. Jazz fans will be attracted to drummer Nick Ashton’s pulse and sensitivity. It is worth the price of admission just to hear the band’s take on the work of avant-garde jazz masters such as Sun Ra or Don Cherry.

The group continues to push in new directions. Late 2000 will see the release of a marimba-based CD on the Entropy label. Around the same time, Entropy will be releasing a Mike Gilmore solo CD in a limited edition on its Zenta sub-label, on which Gilmore plays the saz, a stringed instrument used in classical middle-eastern music. In spring 2000 they performed with Euro-free jazz stalwarts German bassist Peter Kowald, German drummer Günter “Baby” Sommer, and Greek reeds player Floros Floridis. As the year wound down, they were pursuing a musical project with Faruq Z. Bey, the tenor saxophonist who co-founded the Detroit group, Griot Galaxy. 2000 by: Gerald E. Brennan


The Nortwoods Improvisers
members are:

mikecarey.jpgMike Carey | Tenor saxophone, flute, bass clarinet.

Performed with A.A.C.M. (Chicago) and Detroit based ensemble, “GREEN/MOSLEY COMPLEX” from 1982 to 1995. some of the members included, Donald Washington, Muwata Bowden and Harrison Bankhead. studied flute from 1980 to 1984 with Elmer Nodgie, flute virtuoso with the romanian symphony orchestra who fled the country for political reasons. Has been a member (and is) of several detroit based ensembles including; “TRUE STORIES ORCHESTRA”, “THE VISITORS”, “DESCRIPTION”, “CONSPIRACY WIND ENSEMBLE”, “LATER DAYS FREEBOP ORCHESTRA” (w/Hakim Jami), and “SPEAKING IN TONGUES”.

skelter.jpgSkeeter C. R. Shelton | Tenor and soprano saxophones, oboe, basoon.

Has played with the 70th DIVISION ARMY RESERVE BAND for 27 years. He is currently a member of SPEAKING IN TONGUES and is one of the founding members of GRIOT GALAXY. His father AJARAMU SHELTON was Gene Ammons drummer and an early Delmark recording artist with Kalaparusha.

gilmore.jpgMike Gilmore | Vibraphones, Marimba, Cheng, Guitar, Saz, Percussion.

Founding member of Northwoods Collective. Began playing guitar at age 5. Began studying Jazz Improvisation and East Indian Music in 1976. Shortly thereafter African, Middle Eastern and Far East Musics. Formal Piano studies 1976. Formal Classical Guitar studies 1979.

mike-on-base1-pk-on-base-2.jpgMike Johnston | Bass, wood flutes, percussion.

Founding member of the Northwoods collective. Contributing writer for coda publications 1982-1999. teaches college course at various colleges in jazz history and african and asian musics. MFA degree in Photography/Art from Central Michigan University. Does a public radio show “Destination Out” on CMU Public radio featuring creative jazz and world music.

nick-on-drums.jpgNick Ashton | Drums, percussion

Nick Ashton (son of James Ashton, professional drummer) began formal instruction at age 11 and continued band and orchestra in public school and college. Played different genre of music through college and after until settling in NYC in 1978 for 6 1/2 yrs whereupon jazz and improvised music became the only musical focus. Returned to Indiana in 1985 and began playing on the Indianapolis scene in 1986. He began playing with “NORTHWOODS IMPROVISERS” in 1987 and has continued performing with them ever since.
Farouq Z. Bey Photo: Leni Sinclair

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Farouq Z. Bey | Photo: Leni Sinclair

Faruq Z. Bey is a saxophonist/composer from Detroit, Michigan. He is best known for his work with Griot Galaxy. Griot played hard Free Jazz with distinct compsitions, often by Bey. Odd meters and polyrythms were a frequent feature of Griot tunes, which would give way to free sections. Originally started at the end of the 60’s, Griot Galaxy settled into its most stable line-up around 1980, when Bey was joined by saxophonists David McMurray and Anthony Holland, as well as bassist Jaribu Shahid and drummer Tani Tabal. Popular in Detroit for a Free Jazz band (often pulling audiences of a few hundred people), Griot toured Europe in the mid-80s and was at the height of its international acclaim when Bey was in a serious motorcycle accident that left him in a coma.

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Griot Galaxy 1984 Left to right; Tanni Tabball, Faruq Z. Bey,David Mc Murray, & Jaribu Shahid. Photo: Leni Sinclair

Almost a decade passed before Bey returned to performing. He re-emerged with an all woodwind ensemble called The Conspiracy Winds Ensemble. He began to play in Speaking in Tongues and Hakim Jami’s Street Band. He joined forces with The Northwoods Improvisers, who’ve largely devoted their last several releases to Bey’s music. His frequent collaborators, saxophonists Michael Carey and Skeeter Shelton, join him on most of the Northwood Improviser’s recordings. He also currently plays in Kindred- a quartet with Kennith Green, Kevin Callaway and Joel Peterson- and in Odu Afrobeat Orchestra.

Some of his most noted releases are: “Kins”, “Opus Krampus” and “Live at the DIA” with Griot Galaxy and “Auzar” and “Ashirai Pattern” with The Northwoods Improvisers.

source More on Farouq Z. Bey can be read here…

Farouq Z. Bey with The Northwoods Improvisers and other releases on Entropy Record

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Melody Sumner Carnahan has six books in print and numerous works published in anthologies including the City Lights Review, the Leonardo Music Journal, At a Distance (MIT Press), Factorial (Japan), and music compilations from Zerx Records.

Carnahan has worked with artists, composers, and performers for two decades to present her writing off-the-page as live “performance novels,” soundtracks for film and video, recordings broadcast internationally, and intermedia installations. Molly Sturges and Chris Jonas commissioned words for live performance at SITE Santa Fe’s Biennial 2007. In 2005, The Out of Context ensemble, directed by Dino J. A. Deane, interpreted Carnahan’s One Inch Equals 25 Miles in performance (w/ CD from HighMayhem.org).

Carnahan received an Artist Residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in association with iconoclastic writer William Gass; KUNM’s AetherFest commissioned a half-hour audiowork, Dido’s Revenge; Morton Subotnick’s Gestures (DVD/CD-rom, Mode Records) features four of Carnahan’s stories; and Carnahan was awarded a Creative Media Arts Fellowship at ABC Radio and the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, where she produced The X, Y, Z of It: an audiowork broadcast internationally featuring the voices of Robert Ashley and Joan La Barbara. Woody Vasulka commissioned “The Maiden” for his The Brotherhood installation at NTT/ICC in Tokyo. Carnahan received an Independent Publisher Award in Audio-Fiction for her book/CD, The Time Is Now (Frog Peak/Burning Books) and has received acknowledgements from the Art Institute of Chicago, the NEA, New American Radio, NYC’s Experimental Intermedia Foundation, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her books are published and available at Burning Books and ReadSouthWest. Please visit Melody Sumner Carnahan’s web site here…

Melody Sumner CarnahanTry Being Alive in THIS World

Elizabeth Wiseman: voice (recorded 12oct2006 by Max Friedenberg), Michael Sumner, source recordings (March 2005); J.A.Deane, sound design (realized 27feb2007); text by Melody. Sumner Carnahan’s words on ZERZ vol. 27 are from See You In Hell, a video-audio installation in collaboration with artist Michael Sumner, along with sound designer Dino J.A. Deane and vocalist Elizabeth Wiseman, which premiered at MOV-in Gallery, College of Santa Fe, 2006. Here excerpted and redesigned for audio CD by Deane, 2007.

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Lisa Gill was born in Minot, North Dakota and now makes her home in Moriarty, New Mexico with two dogs. Her poems have appeared in numerous publications including Blue Collar Review, Carp, Carnal Garage, Central Avenue, Conceptions Southwest, Desperado, Prosodia, the rag, Red Weather, Spout, the Tongue, Vehicle, Vox Populi, the Weekly Alibi as well as The Harwood Anthology and In Company: An Anthology of New Mexican Poets after 1960.

One of her short stories, “Holding Zeno’s Suitcase in Kansas, Flowering,” won first place in the 7th edition of American Fiction: The Best Unpublished Short Stories by Emerging Writers and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has performed widely, from the Seattle Poetry Festival to the Taos Poetry Circus and the Thomas McGrath Visiting Writers Series in Moorhead, Minnesota. She frequently collaborates with visual artists and musicians. She was founding editor of the rag and currently edits the broadside KE5TRA [Sound Literature]. Her first book of poems, Red as a Lotus: Letters to a Dead Trappist, one hundred sonnets dedicated to Thomas Merton, was published by La Alameda Press in 2002.

She premiered Caput Nili, her one woman show addressing violence, March 31st, 2006 in Albuquerque. One of her short stories, French aka Dirt Cabaret just came out as a chapbook with Destructible Heart Press. Her second book of poems, Mortar & Pestle is forthcoming from New Rivers Press in October of 2006. She is currently coordinating Tributaries, a tri-city art gallery and preparing for the New Rivers Press Festival in Moorhead, Minnesota. She is also returning to the University of New Mexico to get her MFA in poetics! More on Lisa Gill here…

Lisa Gill appears on aLbUzerXque vol.27, Zerx 072. Another great Zerx release from 2007.

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Cal lives with his wife in Santa Fe and plays jazz drums and shoots photos in the surrounding area. Cal uses the art of improvisation learned from more than 35 years of playing jazz when creating his views from inside the music. Each digital image evolves according to the energy and feelings present at the moment–the way a musician would develop a solo. His goal is to deliver the essence and intensity of a live musical performance in visual terms. Cal’s dynamic sense of drumming, rhythm, and knowledge of song forms play into finding the right shot at the right time. He is a drummer who doesn’t stop making music when he picks up the camera.

Already an accomplished percussionist, Cal studied photography at Memphis State University and built a dark room specifically to create one-of-a-kind photos of musicians he admired. By the time he returned to this passion after raising a family and 20 years as an Equipment Engineer in the high-tech Semiconductor industry, the digital age was in full swing. Cal had the technical skills and drive and went digital with the muse. His work is in private collections in California as well as on exhibit at Tizzy Lish in Sparks, Nevada, and at Portland Alterations in Portland, Oregon. Cal has designed a cover for a book about traveling around the world with Elvis Presley, being printed for release later this year.

He has also displayed his pieces at the Loretto Chapel Artisan Corner and the Los Alamos Spring Art Show. Currently he is being featured as a new artist at m-etropolis.com (see the link page for details and passage to the site). Cal’s original vision also sparked an innovative use of an image that will appear on the face of a custom guitar. In 2007, Cal returned to Santa Fe to continue his drumming and photography careers.

A few other facts about Cal’s musical background that figure in the photo mix: Drafted and later toured the southwestern US with a USO show. Music scholarship to Tennessee’s Memphis State University where he played a concert under the direction of Aaron Copeland. Worked in Memphis for musical contractor, Ernie Bernhart and performed with such diverse acts as Diahann Carroll, Rich Little, Bob Hope, Charlie Rich, Ray McKinley and the Modernaires, Al Greene, Danny Thomas and the St Jude’s Telethon, Clark Terry, Marvin Stamm, Yul Brenner in the “King and I,” and the Memphis Symphony. Performed at Opryland Theme park and the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. In Orange County, played in local clubs and performed with Llew Mathews, Teddy Edwards, Max Bennett, and Jim Gordon. Performed with Emily Remler, Bobby Shew, Dee Kelly, Richie Cole, the Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra, Real Time Quartet, and concerts sponsored by the New Mexico Jazz Workshop and the Outpost Performance Space. Played with the New Mexico Symphony, the Santa Fe Symphony, and the Santa Fe Desert Chorale.


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Download “Piece No. 7: An Inescapable Siren Within Earshot Distance Therein And Other Whereabouts” (mp3)

from “An Inescapable Siren Within Earshot Distance Therein And Other Whereabouts”
by Moe!kestra! Label: RASTASCAN RECORDS


Moe! Staiano and Moe!kestra!
doing two large-scale orchestral works.

This is Moe! Staiano’s first CD of orchestral compositions, which differ greatly from his conducted improvisations. The release includes Piece No. 5 for Orchestra, and Piece No. 7: An Inescapable Siren Within Earshort Distance Therein and Other Whereabouts (for Strings, Percussion, U-bolts, Wine Glasses, Prepared Guitar and Sirens). The pieces were recorded in 1998 and 2003, respectively. Moe! Staiano is a self-trained composer/performer who uses large ensembles of mixed instruments as a canvas for sonic exploration. His scores combine text, graphics, and conventional notation, and he is equally inspired by the composers Glenn Branca, Krystof Penderecki, and John Zorn, as well as the bands Einsturzende Neubauten, the Ex, and the Ruins.


markreading.jpgmichael.jpgMark Weber was accompanied by California trombonist Michael Vlatkovich.

This was classic Beat. The poets of the evening showed the influences of the beat movement, but Weber’s combination of jazz and poetry was indeed classic. Of course, we were in a well-lit art gallery, sober, and under a “no smoking” rule of law. That was a little different.

Nevertheless, take a peek at these video’s and imagine yourself in North Beach somewhere…maybe listening to all this in a somewhat altered state of mind… or maybe just sipping coffee at the Cafe Trieste…Mark Weber hosts his own jazz show on KUNM, and has a collection of photographs of jazz artists that is truly amazing. ( check it out here…) He also publishes Zerx Records and Press which is now  available in the Metropolis shop here….

Thanks to Duke City Fix for the videos and info.


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Track One: ‘au noeud couland’ by Louis-Ferdinand Celine performed by himself.

Track Two: ‘mort à crédit’ by Louis-Ferdinand Celine performed by Arletty.

Track Three: ‘règlement’ by Louis-Ferdinand Celine performed by himself.

Track Four: ‘voyage au bout de la nuit‘ by Louis-Ferdinand Celine performed by Michel Simon.

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arlett.jpgArletty (born Léonie Marie Julie Bathiat) (May 15, 1898 – July 24, 1992) was a French fashion model, singer, and actress. Arletty was born in Courbevoie, France, to a working-class family. Her early career was dominated by the music hall, later appearing in plays and cabaret. Arletty’s career took off around 1936 when she appeared as leading lady in the stage plays Les Joies du Capitole and Fric-Frac, in which she starred opposite Michel Simon. Arletty was a stage performer for ten years before her French film debut in 1930. In 1945, Arletty appeared in her most famous film role, the part of Garance in Marcel Carné’s Les Enfants du Paradis. Arletty was imprisoned in 1945 for having had a wartime liaison with a German officer during the occupation of France. She allegedly later commented on the experience, “My heart is French but my ass is international.” After a moderately successful period as a stage actor in later life, an accident in 1963 left her nearly blind, forcing her to retire. One of her final screen appearances was in a small role as an elderly French woman in the 1962 epic The Longest Day. On her passing in 1992, Arletty was cremated, her ashes interred in her hometown at the Nouveau Cimetière de Courbevoie. In 1995 the government of France issued a series of limited edition coins to commemorate the 100th anniversary of film that included a 100 Franc coin bearing the image of Arletty. source

simonmichel.jpgMichel Simon (b. 9 April 1895, Geneva, Switzerland – d. 30 May 1975, Bry-sur-Marne, France), was a French actor. François Simon, also an actor, was his son. Simon used to say about himself that he was born in 1895 and, “as misfortune never comes singly, cinema was born the same year“. Son of a sausage-maker and Protestant, Simon soon left his family and town to go to Paris, where he first lived at the Hotel Renaissance, Saint-Martin Street, then in Montmartre. He worked many different jobs to survive, such as giving boxing lessons or peddling smuggled lighters. He devoured every book he could find, with special preference for Georges Courteline’s writings. His artistic beginnings in 1912 were modest: magician, clown and acrobat stooge in a dancers’ show called “Ribert’s and Simon’s“, in the Montreuil-sous-Bois Casino. Conscripted into the Swiss Army in 1914, he was an undisciplined soldier, spending most of his time in prison and falling ill with tuberculosis. In 1915, during a leave, he saw Georges Pitoëff’s early work in the French language, at the Theatre de la Comédie of Geneva, acting in Hedda Gabler.

He
then decided to become an actor too, but he would have to wait until 1920 to make a brief appearance in Pitoëff’s company, saying three lines for the registrar role in the Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. He also worked at this time as the company’s photographer. He was spotted for the first time in a supporting role in George Bernard Shaw’s Androcles and the Lion. In 1922, his company moved to Paris at the Comédie des Champs-Elysées. He quit the following year to become a light comedy actor in plays by Tristan Bernard, Marcel Achard and Yves Mirande. Marcel Achard presented him to Charles Dullin, in whose company he acted in Je ne vous aime pas with Valentine Tessier. Louis Jouvet, who has meanwhile replaced Pitoëff, hired him at the Comédie des Champs Elysées. Simon then gave a brilliant performance in Jean de la Lune, a play by Marcel Achard. His inimitable talent transformed his Cloclo supporting role to the big attraction of the play.

In
the 1920s/1930s Simon enjoyed associating with people of the lower classes in Paris and for a while, at a time when prostitution was legal, he lived in a brothel.

His theatrical career then began to meet a huge success for a large repertoire: Shakespeare, Bernard Shaw, Pirandello, Oscar Wilde, Bourdet, Bernstein, but cinema brought him the biggest popularity. He made his first appearance in the film Feu Mathias Pascal, adapted from Pirandello, with Marcel L’Herbier as director. Nearly at the same time, he appeared in La vocation d’André Carel, directed by Jean Choux. The film used small-scale production methods, just as Nouvelle Vague would do in 1958. In silent movies, he brought his amazing appearance and his unusual face – a talent with an exceptional mobility but truly without mannerism. He easily played with his body using an unlimited virtuosity, especially his ugliness, evolving from smartness to sympathy, goodness to naivety, ludicrousness to frightening, stupidity to comical, mischievousness to cruelty.

His film career was really boosted with the advent of talking pictures. People remarked that his elocution and voice tone were as original as his appearance and play. He then revealed his unclassifiable talent: action comedy, drama, tragedy, light comedy. He appeared in 55 plays from 1920 to 1965, and 101 from 1965 to 1975. He did unforgettable work for Jean Renoir (La Chienne, Boudu Saved From Drowning), Jean Vigo (L’Atalante) and Marcel Carné (Port of the Shadows, Bizarre, Bizarre).

Since the 1950s, he reined in his activities, due to an accident involving a makeup dye that paralysed part of his body and face. He lived for a long time in Noisy-le-Grand, near Paris, in a kind of bohemian house, filled with amazing bric-a-brac and surrounded by rank weeds. He usued to say that he preferred “living with animals than humans“.

A lesser-known aspect is that he was fond of pornography: he amassed a large collection of pornographic items, including pictures and films, which was unfortunately broken up when he died in 1975, aged 80, from a pulmonary embolism, at Saint-Camille Hospital, Bry-sur-Marne. He was buried in the Grand-Lancy Cemetery of Geneva, in the grave of his parents, following his last will and testament. source


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Mark Weber | Photo: Eric Breitbart

Metropolis proudly presents a first bunch of ZERX records in our shop. Each record for 9 Euro ( incl. world-wide shipment ).

Home of the Bubbadinos & other world / class musicians & poets who happen to live in New Mexico or would like to or visited some time or ‘nuther.

Now, Before you start thinking Zerx is nothing but Mark Weber + a CD Burner in his garage let me say that most of the CDs on Zerx come out in editions of 1,050 copies and are not, even then, strictly limited. Whenever Zerx uses the term “ limited edition” it’s not strictly limited in the same way as in the fine arts world where they make a certain number of prints and then break the mold. At Zerx it merely means we made about 100 copies of the CD and that more will be made available as demand presents itself. Any further questions ? The Zerx catalogue is here…


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…there is a theory that some people are able to slow time down or, as drummers say: divide the time and hear more & more deeply into the space than us mere mortals.

Muhammad Ali was the example used when this idea was first presented to me how he’d let himself be rope-a-doped for ten rounds and then out of the blue he’d stop time and dot some poor unfortunate’s lights out.

I also posit that Charlie Parker had these sort of powers and then there’s this drummer in Santa Fe name of Cal Haines who also, obviously hears between the cracks in Time..Mark Weber | 30may07

The ZERX edition is available via the Metropolis on-line record store here…. Stay tuned for upcoming news. All ZERX cd’s come in a hand printed linocut ke cardboard sleeve rather than computer-generated jewel case art. ZERX is the home of the Bubbadinos & other world / class musicians & poets who happen to live in New Mexico or would lito or visited some time or ‘nuther.

Please note: now, before you start thinking ZERX is nothing but Mark Weber + a CD Burner in his garage, let me say that most of the cd’s on ZERX come out in editions of 1,050 copies and are not, even then, strictly limited. Please note as well: whenever ZERX uses the term “ limited edition” it’s not strictly limited in the same way as in the fine arts world where they make a certain number of prints and then break the mold. At ZERX it merely means we made about 100 copies of the CD and that more will be made available as demand presents itself.




mw_radio8-06_2.jpgthe world is just too much for some of us coming on strong we grip the teeth of this monster pulling ourselves out of it’s throat it’s gullet churning and sucking at our toes.


an excerpt from ” plain old boogie long division” by Mark Weber

Mark Weber is a bird, albeit a big one,a man who took part in staged fist fights when he was a teenager and expresses anguish over vacuuming up a bug in his latest collection of poems. Big Web is an Okie who wound up in Cucamonga, California, a guy that can get off on some aural, mathematical construct by Coltrane, Bird or Monk and then cue up one of George Jones’ crying-in-your-beer-honky-tonk masterpieces as if no gap existed between the two. (All That Jazz, KUNM)

This collection, of poems and prose pieces, is a lot like that. Just look at his photo: the one in the papaw, with hair hanging down like Don Van Vliet, and picture him holding down a teaching position. But the photo of Mark in his old pickup says something else. He’s laughing, and his face is the face of a healthy, humorous, warm, hospitable man … a man that’s overcome a heroin addicttion, alcoholism and spanked those monkeys till they laughed out loud.

Plain Old Boogie Long Division is one crazy grab bag of stories, tempo experiments ( ala Creely by way of a Muddy Waters biography), and narrative poems that express a love of the commonplace common to Joyce, Hemingway, WCW, Gary Snyder and Merle Haggard. If you own a copy of Leaves of Grass, Kaddish, On the Road, Hank Williams’ Greatest Hits, or anything by Li Po or Robert Johnson, then do yourself a favor and order this sunlit book of living poetry. Daryl Rogers

Weber’s Weekly Worldwide Radioshow. Every Thursday afternoon Mark Weber strolls out into his yard and, with nothing more than a couple of tin cans, some string, and a headful of good intent, he magically creates a Worldwide Radio Broadcast that everyone can hear.

Well, not really … He usually takes the easy way out and rolls down to the fine studios of KUNM – (89.9 on the local FM dial) – where he DJ’s forth every Thursday from Noon to 1:30PM (mountain time).

Spinning slabs of secret musical codes from the future as well as quaint ditties and equations from the ancient past and hosting slews of interviews with JazzWorld luminaries, he can also be heard worldwide right thru this computer-thang currently under your nose. lot’s of more and detailed information concerning Mark Weber’s radio show here…

mooret2.jpgPLAIN OLD BOOGIE LONG DIVISION: THE BADDEST OF THE TOTALLY BAD CATS by Todd Moore

For a long time now, I’ve been trying to write something about Mark Weber’s poetry. Mostly, I’ve written about his chapbooks, but I’ve never had anything as substantial to write about as PLAIN OLD BOOGIE LONG DIVISION, Burning Books with Zerx Press, 2006. This is one of those big books that come along magically and with a certain amount of surprise. PLAIN OLD BOOGIE is one outrageously unpretentious, in your face, roughneck book. I could have said redneck and there is some of that in BOOGIE, but it is undoubtedly roughneck. If this book were a person, it would challenge SO GOING AROUND CITIES to an arm wrestling contest. If this book were human, it would call Bukowski out in a front yard next to a junked bathtub and a half wreck of a car in the weeds for a no holds barred fistfight. If this book could shape shift itself into a man, it would do its very best to try to kick Robert Creeley’s ass.

And, maybe in some subversive way, it does kick its share of pompous ass because it stands right up on its hind legs like a blue desert norther and howls. Behavior like this would’ve given T. S. Eliot the galloping shits for weeks. Behavior like this would have sent Cleanth Brooks straight to bed with a hot water bottle and a bowl of chicken soup. Behavior like this would probably send Harold Bloom into a Harvard stuttering chill, shaking the comforter, slamming the walls, rocking the bed. And, just what kind of behavior am I talking about?

It’s the behavior of an american poet giving the finger to High Post Modernist writing school proper lingo. It’s what you’d never find in The New York Review of Books, it’s what I dare you to find in The Paris Review, it’s what you’d never ever double dare promise Harriet Monroe not to find in Poetry Magazine. At its absolute raucous best, Mark Weber’s poetry is probably the strongest assault on the proper way to write a poem since Walt Whitman took on practically everyone in the universe when he brought out the first edition of LEAVES OF GRASS in 1855.

And, what I am talking about here is not so much a revolution in just language, but the stance of the man himself. This is from part 5 of BOOGIE.

“I’m one of the few who matriculated from the California Penal Colony a virgin. Judge Fox leafed through the pages of my rap sheet, “Mr. Weber, you seem to have quite an extensive history here.” You ain’t said the half of it, fuckhead.”

What draws me to Mark Weber’s poetry is its immediate, disarming, no holds barred, line scratched in the dirt don’t cross over it fuckface honesty. That and the old/new idea that poetry in america really does NOT belong to the academy. This is the kind of poetry that I have heard spoken over pinball machines. This is the kind of poetry that I have heard yelled through the scarred and beaten up doors of men’s rooms in bars, this is the kind of poetry I have heard spoken while pumping gas at a weatherbeaten service station out on Route 40 somewhere between Flagstaff and Needles. This is the kind of poetry spoken around oil derricks and across car hoods. This is the kind of poetry spoken at ground level in america. It boils up and churns up out of the guts of america. This is maybe the last refuge for a poetry that is no longer welcome in the classroom (maybe it never was), not elibible for prizes, not considered even close to being literary. But somehow, in some peculiar way this is really the only kind of poetry worth listening to. Do i really want to hear the newest academic knockoff of Wallace Stevens’ Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird? Do I really want to listen to someone read a poem that repeats the word THE forty nine times before reaching the letter C? And, do I really care that some third rate academic poet has received the Pulitzer for a book of poetry that is only good for putting most intelligent readers to sleep?

The major problem with mainstream poetry is that it has reached a kind of impasse. There are no towering figures writing academic poetry today. Maybe there never were. All jokes about Eliot aside, he was one of the most important poets of the first half of the twentieth century and there is no one like him writing today. To my knowledge, no one and I’ll repeat that NO ONE has ever equaled THE WASTE LAND.

So, there is that impasse, that chasm. The only poets who can elude that impasse, who can fly across that chasm are the Outlaws. And, while I know on several different occasions Weber has stated that he really isn’t an Outlaw, I know in my heart that he is. You don’t do time in jail and not somehow become an Outlaw. You don’t live a marginal life in Los Angeles in and around the jazz clubs as a jazz critic and photographer without somehow becoming an Outlaw. It’s part of the territory. It’s built right into that stance.

And, the stance in BOOGIE is hipster Okie, tough guy traveler, roughneck poet. If anything, Mark Weber has carefully perfected Charles Baudelaire’s role as a flaneur. Which means someone who goes out just to study the surroundings, someone who is a kind of studied voyeur. That is what a poet does and that is definitely a role that Mark Weber has beautifully honed.

What most readers don’t realize is that Weber’s greatest strength as a poet is that he probably has the best ear for jazz in america. Because of this he has brought something rare to the table in american poetry. His personal knowledge of jazz icons and the jazz world, his encyclopedic knowledge of the literature and sound of jazz have added a depth to his poetry that is in its way really unequaled in american literature or whatever passes for it these days.

Ultimately, this is why PLAIN OLD BOOGIE LONG DIVISION is, in essence, the important book that it is. BOOGIE is just simply a good poetry read on several levels, but if I have to make that one basic distinction, I would say that it is Mark Weber’s major jazz riff, it is his love letter to the american earth. Todd Moore

plain old boogie Long Division

Mark Weber has the authenticity of a born-in, lived-in poetic soma. His poetry will cause you to perceive the sublime in the ordinary and put you in contact with the ordinary common humanity in the sublime.Connie Crothers

Burning Books with Zerx Press 2005

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This shot is of my small mount tom on the Taye set. Cal Haines © 2007

Listen to: It’s a long walk and On the Acoma-Zuni Trail

Poems and spoken word by Mark Weber, Drums by Cal Haines.
Engineer: Quincy

more on Mark Weber and Cal Haines


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Download “An Impish Onus In The Vogue” (mp3) Download “(Loosely) Second Iridescence” (mp3)
from “Six Fuchs”
by Six Fuchs Label: RASTASCAN RECORDS


Improvisations
by Fuchs, Robair, Djll, Perkis, Shiurba, and Sperry.

This group improvisation features a sextet that features Berlin-based clarinetist and saxophonist Wolfgang Fuchs with an all-star band of Bay Area improvisers: Tom Djll (trumpet), Tim Perkis (laptop), Gino Robair (percussion), John Shiurba (guitar), and Matthew Sperry (bass). This is also the last recording session by Sperry before his tragic death. Robair and Sperry have recorded together with Tom Waits, and together with Shiurba have recorded and played with Anthony Braxton. At times the music is both ambient and dark, with a richness that transcends the characterisation of free improvisation.

wolfgangfuchs.jpgWolfgang Fuchs’ first musical instruments, at the age of nine, were violin and mandolin but, during his studies at the Music Academy of Karlsruhe between 1969 and 1974 he studied saxophone and clarinet. Moving to Berlin in 1974 he has, since 1976, worked as freelance musician primarily in the area of freely-improvised music but also in a wide range of mixed-media projects featuring music and other arts.

Over the years, Fuchs has played with a large number of musicians in a variety of contexts including Fred van Hove, Paul Lytton, Cecil Taylor, Tony Oxley and Evan Parker. In 1983 Fuchs founded the large improvising group King Übü Örchestrü and has been leader ever since, with changes in personnel and size, regrouping periodically for concerts and recordings.

Some of his current projects include: Three October Meetings with contrabassist Damon Smith and percussionist Jerome Bryerton. Lingua with synthesist Thomas Lehn and percusssionist Fabrizio Spera. Holz für Europa with reed players Peter van Bergen and Hans Koch. New Flags with percussionist Roger Turner and guzheng player / vocalist Xu Fengxia.


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Download “View Sixteen” (mp3) Download “View Ten” (mp3) Download “View Twenty-One” (mp3)


from “Illuminations (Several Views)”


by Kowald/Masaoka/Robair Label: RASTASCAN RECORDS

Improvised trios from Peter Kowald, Miya Masaoka and Gino Robair

Legendary German bassist Peter Kowald set up this session during his tour of the United States in 2000, which resulted in the documentary film “Off the Road.” This session features Miya Masaoka on 17- and 21-string koto and Gino Robair on percussion, ebow snare, and faux dax. The music is completely improvised, and even includes the incredible singing of Kowald.

kowaldint.jpgPeter Kowald (born April 21, 1944, died September 21, 2002) was a German free jazz musician.

A member of the Globe Unity Orchestra, and a touring double-bass player, Kowald collaborated with a large number of European free jazz and American free-jazz players during his career, including Peter Brötzmann, Irène Schweizer, Karl Berger, Conny Bauer, Wadada Leo Smith, Günter Sommer, William Parker, Barre Phillips, Joëlle Léandre, Lauren Newton and Evan Parker. He also recorded a number of solo double-bass albums, and was a member of the London Jazz Composer’s Orchestra until 1985. He also recorded a number of pioneering double bass duets with Maarten Altena, Barry Guy, Joëlle Léandre, Barre Phillips, William Parker, Damon Smith and Peter Jacquemyn.

In addition, Kowald collaborated extensively with poets and artists and with the dancers Gerlinde Lambeck, Anne Martin (formerly of Pina Bausch Ensemble), Tadashi Endo, Patricia Parker (founder of the Vision Festival), Maria Mitchell, Sally Silvers, Cheryl Banks (formerly of Sun Ra’s Arkestra), Arnette de Mille, Sayonara Pereira, and Kazuo Ohno. Specific works included Die Klage der Kaiserin (1989) with Pina Bausch, short pieces (since 1989) with Jean Sasportes, The spirit of adventure (1990) with Anastasia Lyra, Wasser in der Hand (1990/91) with Christine Brunel, and Futan no sentaku/The burden of choice (1990/91) with Min Tanaka and Butch Morris.

Besides his duo work with singers such as Jeanne Lee, Diamanda Galás or Sainkho Namtchylak, Peter was especially interested in his international improvising ensemble Global Village with musicians from different cultural regions of the world: China, Japan, Near East, South Europe, North and South America.

He died of a heart attack in New York City in 2002. source


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Download “One” (mp3)

from “Arch Duo” by Derek Bailey/Evan Parker


Label: RASTASCAN RECORDS

The first US duo release by Derek Bailey and Evan Parker.

This long-awaited release contains the first duo release since 1985 by Derek Bailey and Evan Parker, and their first release by an American label. The 70+ minute 1980 duo performance took place at the legendary 1750 Arch Street in Berkeley, California. Bailey plays both electric and acoustic (and breaks a string mid-performance; see if you can tell where!) and Parker plays both soprano and tenor saxophones. An important and historic recording.

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The title of the work refers to adaptive radiation, a term indicating the rapid evolution of a single ancestral organism into numerous other organisms that are each adaptively specialized to occupy particular environmental conditions…

A duality exists in the piece at the intersection of the figurative, where transitory images of sonic miscellany coalesce, and the literal, where the sound transformations function as distilled narrative, combining the physical and gestural characteristics of performance into a series of primal soundscapes, all of which depict the adaptation from one ecological niche to another…

Through transformations applied to recordings of physical gestures generating fret squeaks on the classical guitar, I have sought to create a work that, on the one hand captures the torque click of the machine head, the buzz of wound strings on brass frets, droplets of sweat on the tips of fingers and the squeal and chirp of friction, whilst simultaneously occupying a larger framework encompassing ecological diversity; from the single sound to a rapid divergence of highly specialised sonic environments, as in descent with modification…

14 Euro inclusive shipment worldwide for this pre-release of Daniel Blinkhorn’s surround-sound DVD

dbd.jpgThis piece also exists as an audiovisual work in surround sound…

Resource 14 seeks to bring to the listener’s attention some of the more hidden attributes of sand in a multitude of different environments. Through a combination of field recordings and software manipulation of the field recordings, Resource 14 portrays in both a macroscopic and microscopic sense, the intimacy as well as dramatic intensity that can be generated by sand in a variety of settings…To create the work I recorded a handful of sandstone rocks crashing together, sand trodden underfoot, sand trickling and being scraped on a variety of surfaces and small sandstone pebbles rolling along wooden and marble floors. Through manipulating the recordings via software I have also achieved a sense of sand being immersed underwater at various points in the work, even though no water was used in the composition…

I wanted to create a work that brings to the listeners attention the kinds of intimate yet dramatic and colourful gestures produced by sand as a material that lives alongside side us, accompanying our lives, and yet is for the most part deemed sonically undesirable and so is often overlooked and discarded… The sounds created in the composition are part of sand, from the sounds made when particles of sand rub and jostle together in dunes, to sand underfoot, on floors or in fountains or steams. If we were able to hear the kinds of sounds produced by sand up close, especially when we use a little imagination, I suspect it can be a fulfilling experience…

The piece seeks to reclaim the incidental sounds generated by sand and is a celebration of sand in all its guises…

dbb.jpgThis piece also exists as an audiovisual work…

balanfô is a work centered around the balaphone, a marimba that features in much African music and is of particular importance to people of the Guinea nation, which is often referred to as the ‘province of the balaphone….’ balanfô is essentially an acousmatic celebration of the balaphone via an assortment of auditory icons, seeking to provide feedback about the actions implicit in the creation of the instrument…

Throughout the piece, the sounds of splitting wood, securing calabashe resonators, sawing and shaping of béné slats and hammering frames together have been fused with streams of rhythmic and harmonic material and juxtaposed with chanting, singing, talking, tumbling, crackling, thumping, and spiraling … all of which has been used to emphasize the sonic, as well as experiential significance of the balaphone to the Guinea people. A people who make, play and celebrate the balaphone as part of their collective identity…

Extensive computer processing of the recorded sounds are used to augment the sonifications in the work which, in turn adds to the inherently multidimensional nature of contiguity between the deeply terrestrial, as with the balaphone and the people of the Guinea nation, and the acutely informatic realization via the computer and the numerous processes made possible with a computer ….

I used a balaphone in an advanced state of disrepair as source material for the work, which was dismantled and used to provide all the sound sources throughout the piece (excluding of course the voice, which is largely left unprocessed)…

The project was assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

dba.jpgsqueak (‘n bubble) is a work celebrating the balloon, an innovation that itself is used to mark occasion and festivity… The only sound sources used in the creation of squeak (‘n bubble) are balloons, a pump and breath, which all coalesce in the piece to create a soundscape that is at times dramatic and startling and others buoyant and fleeting, as is the all too ephemeral life of a balloon…

Often balloons produce dry and brittle sounds that screech, snap, pop and hiss…the work reflects this by conjuring sounds of rampaging herds of balloons jostling, rustling, crackling, squeezing and stampeding their way into the soundscape, producing manifold dimensions of colour, rhythm and texture…

Through various techniques in sonic transformation I’ve also introduced the sounds I imagine to occur inside a water balloon, as waves of bubbling sounds slowly give rise to smaller, circling eddies and currents within the resonant confines of the balloon… Although the life of a balloon is short, it’s also highly animated and often euphoric. The same breath that gives us life also provides life for the balloon…This breath contains not only joy and passion, but intensity and surprise…

All recording and editing of the project took place at the Atlantic Centre for the Arts, as well as in my own home studio in Sydney…

dbe.jpggrumble(r) Rather than focusing on the wonderful, colourful and often virtuosic steel pan material offered as source material from which to draw in this work (provided by the American steel pannist Darren Dyke) it quickly became apparent that the shape of grumble(r) would be governed by my own preoccupation with the numerous sonic relationships forged by the steel pan under construction. That is, the sounds accompanying the numerous physical gestures implicit in the creation of the steel pan, such as hammering, burning, scoring, polishing etc, seemed like they might provide an objective starting point from which to build a work…

Just as the hammer, water, fire and hand were used to construct the grumbler (an early cousin of the current day steel pan), through various computer sound transformation techniques I have morphed the original recorded material into numerous categories consisting of ‘hammered’ sounds, ‘water’ sounds, ‘rolling and scraping’ sounds ‘molten’ sounds and general ‘high tensile’ sounds in an attempt to recreate the initial sonic environments inherent in the creation of the instrument…

Once
the various particles, gestures and phrases had been sculpted to suit my (loosely) codified groups of sounds, I set about organizing, as well as regulating the new sonic material in such a way that I could create a piece of music where the performance is as much in the construction of the instrument as it is in the actual playing of the instrument… One other aspect of grumble(r) that was at the forefront of my mind during the creative process, was the original intentions for the steel drum, which was designed as a vessel to store and transport liquid, more commonly oil. To this end, some of the sounds found throughout the work imply a kind of viscous liquid, acting as a crude historical allegory for the extra-musical life of the steel drum…

The grumbler was an instrument often described as a rough sounding, indefinitely pitched instrument, with a very limited note range…I hope to have extended its proportions…

Daniel Blinkhorn, 2007

daniel_blinkhorn_jpeg_pictu1.jpgDaniel is a composer and digital media artist who was born in the Blue Mountains, just west of Sydney. He studied composition as well as music education at a number of universities including the University of New England, University of Griffith, University of Wollongong and the Australian Institute of Music and has a BMus (Hons), MMus and a MA(R)…

Daniel began lecturing in composition at the Australian Institute of Music in 1999, then, in 2004 as a lecturer in composition in the faculty of creative arts at the University of Wollongong…Further to his preoccupation with acousmatic, electroacoustic and audiovisual works, Daniel has written, performed and produced music in a variety of styles including music for film and television, music for jazz and rock ensembles, and electronic music…

Some of the international events Daniel’s work has been performed and exhibited at include:

ICMC, ACMC, FEMF15, Diffusion 2006, Biennale Music en Scene (GRAME), Unruly Music: Peck School of the Arts, BEAF, International Symposium of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology, Empirical Soundings, InsideOut, Full Sail, Spark, Mantis: South-North with his works for video exhibited at: Festival Internacional de Vídeo y Artes Digitales, Spain, Cologne OFF II, Cologne, PI5 Video Festival – National Museum Szczecin/ Poland, 2nd Digital Art Festival, Rosario/Argentina, 8th CHROMA, Festival de Arte Audiovisual, Mexico, Victory Media Arts, Dallas, Carnival of e creativity and change and the IPFF…

In 2006 he was awarded 2nd prize at the diffusion 2006 international Electroacoustic composition competition, a joint award from the Centre for CMCM and RTE Lyric FM, Ireland

He was an artist in residence at the ‘Atlantic Centre for the Arts’- New Smyrna Beach, Florida. One of his works was selected as part of the Australian National Selection for inclusion at the ISCM-ACL, World Music Days Hong Kong, 2007. Two of his works were both preselected at the 33e Concours Internationaux de Musique et d’Art Sonore Electroacoustiques de Bourges…

And he received an honourable mention at the XXV Concorso Internazionale di Composizione Originale per Banda, Italia…

Daniel’s music has been published on a number of CD’s, including the ACMA 07 CD, ACMC 06 Conference Concert CD, Quiet Design Records ‘Resonance – Steel Pan in the 21st Century’ Compilation CD, Incidental Amplifications CD and Liquid Architecture 05 CD… As well as lecturing and composing Daniel is currently completing a Doctorate at the University of Wollongong…

Daniel also owns a restaurant called Red Squirrel in the seaside suburb of Coogee, in Sydney, Australia…When in Sydney you’re always welcome…(forgive the shameless promo…!)

please visit Daniel Blinkhorn’s book of sand web page with more samples. This page was designed by Leonardo Solaas from Argentina and Metropolis highly recommend a visit as well.

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descent with modification

The title of the work refers to adaptive radiation, a term indicating the rapid evolution of a single ancestral organism into numerous other organisms that are each adaptively specialized to occupy particular environmental conditions…

A duality exists in the piece at the intersection of the figurative, where transitory images of sonic miscellany coalesce, and the literal, where the sound transformations function as distilled narrative, combining the physical and gestural characteristics of performance into a series of primal soundscapes, all of which depict the adaptation from one ecological niche to another…

Through transformations applied to recordings of physical gestures generating fret squeaks and clicks on the classical guitar, I have sought to create a work that, on the one hand captures the torque click of the machine head, the buzz of wound strings on brass frets, droplets of sweat on the tips of fingers and the squeal and chirp of friction, whilst simultaneously occupying a larger framework encompassing ecological diversity; from the single sound to a rapid divergence of highly specialized sonic environments, as in descent with modification…

Daniel Blinkhorn, 2007

14 Euro inclusive shipment worldwide for this pre-release of Daniel Blinkhorn’s surround-sound DVD




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Director: Tim Perkis | Studio: PoikusFilm | Producer: PoikusFilm | Genre: music documentary | Run time: 72 min | Disc: dvd | Release date: March 8 2007 | (c) 2007 Tim Perkis

14 Euro
incl. world-wide shipment

NOISY PEOPLE: Improvising a Musical Life – A Film by Tim Perkis ( DVD) Featuring: George Cremaschi, Tom Djll, Greg Goodman, Phillip Greenlief, Cheryl Leonard, Dan Plonsey, Gino Robair, Damon Smith; also Kenneth Atchley, Laetitia Sonami.

Noisy People is a new feature length video documentary, presenting portraits of eight sound artists and musicians in the San Francisco Bay Area. Tim Perkis says about his film: “At first I thought I was simply stepping in to do a job I wished someone else had done, documenting a little-known musical scene with an interesting story. But it soon became clear that the film also touched upon a more basic question: what is the nature of a creative life, and how can one live it?”

Tim takes his camera and gets up close and personal. He follows each artist into their world. The age-old question of how one fashions a creative life is answered not only through the musicians’ words but in the way they choose to live their lives.

The musicians profiled are, interestingly, neither professionals – in the sense of making a living from playing music; nor amateurs – in the sense that they are only just learning to play their instruments, or playing music as a sideline. Indeed, several of the players – Robair, Plonsey, Djll, Leonard, Greenlief; as well as Atchley & Sonami (whose portraits are included in two separate short films on the Noisy People DVD) – have undergone professional music training, but have used it as a stepping stone to their own craft and creativity rather than as a tool to build careers with.

Some tried taking jobs as professional musicians, but couldn’t stand it. Saxophonist and composer Phillip Greenlief relates how he took a job for a time – making $600 to $700 a day – formulating music for an exercise video. He says “I hated the music!” And he tells us that all the people he knew who were professional musicians “hated music,” that the last thing any of them wanted to talk about in any meaningful way at the end of the day was music.

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To Phillip – who makes reference to his Seminole heritage – music is a “sacred thing,” something to be offered and shared with people around you. That touches on one of the central themes that the players in this film articulate, namely that music, as Dan Plonsey puts it, is “a high calling;” Gino Robair says it is “a spiritual matter that informs your whole life.” George Cremaschi, who divides his time between Oakland and Tábor, Czech Republic (where he is an artist in residence), is emphatic in stating that his music serves a greater purpose than simply being the next fill-in-the-space “channel change.”

Other players speak of the music in more political terms. Staunchly outspoken bassist Damon Smith quotes legendary bassist Red Mitchell as saying that all improvisation is a political negotiation, that one cannot be too “selfish” or too “groupish” in playing but must find a balance between the two. Tom Djll’s orchestral music reflects his belief that it is the process of music and not its structure that is politically important; his orchestra is made up of pre-existing groups who may independently shape and set the music’s course as it is played. What these players’ music reflects is the type of democratically and consensually governed society they (and we) would like to live in.

While none of the players’ music is well known by big media, the inherently communal aspect of playing it and presenting it is fundamental to the musicians’ own appraisal of its cultural importance. You quickly glimpse that communal feeling when you see Tom Djll’s orchestra performing his ‘Mockracy, or see Gino Robair’s 40-piece ensemble playing and improvising his “opera in real time,” I, Norton.

Although not featured in Noisy People, equally important to the Bay Area community has been Moe Staiano’s Moe!kestra. Moe!’s gargantuan orchestral events have amounted to amazingly cohesive urban rituals that work, like the film’s highlighted gatherings, to cement ties between musicians who might otherwise never play together, and between them and the community they live in.

Dan Plonsey, in speaking of the aesthetic bent of his own occasional large ensemble, the singularly tuned Daniel Popsicle, relates that for him creating music is “more to encourage other people to create than it is about making things to listen to.” That, I would imagine, is as about as community oriented as one could get; to continually expand the grand circle of creativity until we are all finally standing in it together.

There is also a strong exploratory and experimental bent to each of the players’ work. For some, that starts right at the level of instrumentation. We see Tom Djll, for example, reinventing his trumpet to simulate electronic feedback; Gino Robair deconstructing and reconstructing everything he has ever learned about percussion; and Cheryl Leonard approaching the organic materials (like pine cones) she uses as “instruments” with the detached demeanor of an occult scientist.

Laetitia Sonami, in one of the separate short films that accompany Noisy People, relates how, out of an innate sense of curiosity, she is constantly reformulating everything. For her, it is working with a self-created black Lycra lady’s glove embedded with sensors that connect to a computer that generates sounds; the glove allows her a modicum of physical relation to the sounds she is making (approaching dance) rather than simply working motionless at a keyboard. Her goal is to use sound to create what she refers to as an “anti-space” that the audience may fill according to their own wishes and possibilities.

But one person’s “anti-space” is another’s physical space. That would be Greg Goodman’s (“Woody Woodman’s”) Finger Palace, the Bay Area’s longest running (since 1978) presenter of avant-garde music and theatre, where $25 might get you a banana for a “ticket” and a “something-close-to-tinker-bell” down-the-rabbit-hole experience. You might also catch the brilliant Goodman playing “unprepared” piano!

The pursuit of artistic originality rather than a defined musical career might be considered either “passion or pathology,” as sound, video, and installation artist Kenneth Atchley puts it. But whether or not most people have any empathy for or awareness of this type of activity, Sonami flatly states that it is “what is keeping society breathing.”

Noisy People, as well as being the “love letter to the Bay Area music community” that Tim Perkis envisioned, is an uplifting tribute to musicians and sound artists everywhere who are intently exploring the edges of sonic reality.

Henry Kuntz, June 2007

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(Thanks to Martha Winneker for editorial assistance.)

Also available are DVD copies of the film, a CD of music and sound clips from the film, digital images and an essay on the filmmaker here… or just click below on the Noisy People banner.

Musicians profiled in Noisy People:

gc_thum.jpgGeorge Cremaschi was born in New York City, and studied jazz at Jazzmobile in Harlem, composition at Greenwich House Music School in Greenwich Village, and improvisation at countless Downtown dives. Recent years have seen many performances and collaborations in the US and Europe with such renowned musicians as Evan Parker, Marshall Allen, Andrea Parkins, Gert-Jan Prins, Mats Gustafsson, Paul Lovens, Nels Cline and Saadet Türköz among others. As a composer, he has written nearly 100 pieces for chamber groups, small ensembles, solo contrabass, electronics, cinema, spoken word, dance and theater. He divides his time between Oakland and Tábor, Czech Republic, where he is an artist in residence, curator and administrator at Cesta, an international arts and cultural residency center.

td_thum.jpgTom Djll, born Indiana, 1957. Studied music at Berklee School of Music, the Colorado College, the Creative Music Studio, and Mills College with Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell, Karl Berger, Lester Bowie, Leo Smith, George Lewis, Pauline Oliveros, Alvin Curran, and many others. Tom has spent over twenty years (ab)using the trumpet as an analog flesh synthesizer. He has made a lifelong study of the art of improvised music, and has been performing since age seventeen. He has performed with Natsuki Tamura, Andrew Voigt, Biggi Vinkeloe, Chris Brown, Gianni Gebbia, Steve Adams, Fred Frith, and many many others. Tom Djll also writes about music for The Wire, Signal To Noise and other publications. Please visit Tom Djll’s web site here…

gg_thum.jpgGreg Goodman is one of America’s most distinguished improvising pianists. He is just as distinguished when he is in Europe. He was also very distinguished when he was in the Soviet Union in 1989, but it is still not clear whether or not Russia is part of Europe, or if it should be. This ordinarily would not affect Greg Goodman, or his distinguished career; at least, not in his opinion. For the purposes of this biography, Greg Goodman has worked with many of the world’s leading improvisers, including John Cage, Nicolas Slonimsky, and his Mother; he has also worked with many who did not lead. When not working, he is the proprietor of Woody Woodman’s Finger Palace, the San Francisco Bay Area’s longest running (since 1978) presenter of avant-garde music and theater. He also runs (from) the famous Beak Doctor Records. Currently, he is writing this sentence. Please visit Greg Goodman’s web site here…

pg_thum.jpgPhillip Greenlief, since 1982, Saxophonist/Composer. He has performed internationally in a variety of settings. Greenlief’s recordings and performances have received critical acclaim in many national jazz publications (Down Beat, Jazz Times, 5/4, Cadence, Modern Saxophone, All About Jazz, The Los Angeles Times, etc.), as well as residing on many Critics Top 10 lists. His duo recordings of improvised music with bassist Trevor Dunn and drummer Scott Amendola received 5 stars in the 1999 Music Hound Jazz Essential Album Guide. Phillip is the founder of Evander Music, an independent record label that presents original composition, improvised music and new jazz. Please visit Phillip Greenlief’s web site here…

cl_thum.jpgCheryl Leonard. Glass shards and pinecones, glaciers, boxspring mattresses, a flock of accordions, circular saw blades, viola, the erhu, hyenas and whales and elk, Cheryl E. Leonard’s works explore subtle textures and intricacies in sounds not generally considered musical. These investigations often include the creation of instruments, primarily from found materials. She has been awarded residencies at the Djerassi Resident Artist Program, Engine 27, Villa Montalvo, and The Lab (with RK Corral), and has been honored in New Langton Art’s Bay Area Awards Show. Recordings of her music are available from Ubuibi, Great Hoary Marmot Music, Pax Recordings, Apraxia Records, 23 Five Inc, Old Gold Records and The Lab. In addition to her musical endeavours Leonard is a mountaineer, studies aikido and Chinese landscape painting, and collects pinecones with handles. Please visit Cheryl Leonard’s web site here…

dp_thum.jpgDan Plonsey is known as a composer, saxophonist, concert presenter and teacher of mathematics at Berkeley High School. He has written music for the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Toychestra & Fred Frith, Santa Cruz New Music Works and the Berkeley Symphony, but most of his music has been for his own ensembles, as documented on a dozen CDs. He has performed and recorded with Anthony Braxton, Eugene Chadbourne and Tom Waits, but more frequently with local greats John Schott, John Shiurba, Robert Horton and many others. Plonsey is currently at work on an opera, in collaboration with Harvey Pekar (of American Splendor fame.) Please visit Dan Plonsey’s web site here…

gr_thum.jpgGino Robair is a percussionist, music journalist, and published composer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Gino frequently tours North America and Europe as a soloist and often improvises in ad-hoc groups. He has performed and/or recorded with Anthony Braxton, Tom Waits, John Butcher, LaDonna Smith, Otomo Yoshihide, Eugene Chadbourne, John Zorn, Nina Hagen, Thinking Fellers Union Local 282, Myra Melford, ROVA Saxophone Quartet, The Club Foot Orchestra, and he is a founding member of the Splatter Trio. Please visit Gino Robair’s Rastascan web site here…

ds_thum.jpgDamon Smith, born Damon Jesse Smith on oct. 17th, 1972 in Spokane, WA. Did “freestyle bmx” bicycle riding (a much more dangerous forshadow to “freestyle” music!) from age 13 to 23. Started music in 1991, under the influence of Mike Watt (Firehose & The Minutemen) on fender bass. Lead several punk/art rock combos until 1994. Upon receiving Peter Kowald’s landmark lp “Duos;Europa,” Damon sold the fender bass and concentrated solely on double bass and free music. Damon’s music is rooted in the tradition of “free jazz”, and has worked with many of the leading voices in that idiom, including Cecil Taylor, Peter Brötzmann, Frank Gratkowski and Joëlle Léandre. Please visit Damon Smith’s web site here…

Musicians profiled in DVD bonus films

ka_thum.jpgKenneth Atchley is a sound, video, and installation artist who fashions and performs works ranging from pure-tone and noise hymns to distortion-studded, richly harmonic, electro-acoustic devotionals. Since 1997, his work has included the use of fountains as sound-sources, objects, environmental and metaphorical elements. His work continues to be informed by and abstract that work and study. Atchley’s music and installations have been featured in venues ranging from U.S. hardcore-noise dungeons and New York dance lofts, to art galleries and performance cellar circuits of Europe. Atchley’s CD of solo, electro-acoustic-noise works Fountains was released by Auscultare Research. His duet with John Bischoff has been released on Bischoff’s 23Five CD “Aperture”. profile of his work was included in the June, 2005 issue of The Wire (#256). Please visit Kenneth Atchley’s web site here…

ls_thum.jpgLaetitia Sonami was born in France and settled in the United States in 1975 to pursue her interest in the emerging field of electronic music. Since 1991 she has developed and adapted new gestural controllers to musical performance and composed works with these materials. Her unique instrument, the lady’s glove , is made out of black lycra and is embedded with sensors which track the slightest motion of each finger, the hand and the arm. The performance thus becomes a small dance where the movements shape the music. he has been performing in numerous festivals across the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan, among which the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, the Bourges Music Festival in France, the Sonambiente Festival in Berlin, and the Interlink festival in Japan. She lives in Oakland, California and is currently guest lecturer at the San Francisco Art Institute, and Milton Avery Summer program at Bard college. Please visit Laetitia Sonami’s web site here…

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What people are saying about Noisy People:

Made by an insider in this scene of outsiders, Noisy People beautifully captures one of the most vibrant and unusual music communities in America. Through his series of affectionate portraits, Tim Perkis illuminates the glimmers and glitches of true invention. This film belongs in the canon of brilliant movies about artistic innovation. Funny, profound, and deeply inspiring.– author of Everybody Into the Pool, Beth Lisick.

It’s hard to find a more daring and tenacious experimental music scene than the one emanating from the Bay Area. Nowhere, not even New York, are the musicians, composers, and technologists more committed to confounding our expectations…. From Phillip Greenlief’s challenge to encounter composition differently, to Cheryl Leonard’s search for sounds in nature; from Dan Plonsey’s desire to find the musical not in every sound, but in every person, to Gino Robair’s instruction to “play nothing, but intensely”: these artists are in a constant state of revelation, coaxing supple sounds from an expanded sense of the sensorium…. –Pacific Film Archive, Steve Seid.

[A] vivid portrayal of the San Francisco Bay Area’s improvised music scene. The movie delivers its message through interviews, concert performances, revealing footage of the musicians’ living spaces and backyards and evocative shots of less-than-fashionable Bay Area neighborhoods…. The appearances of certain high-profile musicians, including saxophonist Anthony Braxton and guitarist Fred Frith, indicate how the local improv scene’s borders blur both geographically and artistically…. The Bay Area improv scene may be a serially homeless and occasionally ephemeral entity, but thanks to Perkis, it now has a good, permanent, slice-of-life document of its quirky creativity…. Noisy People nails a niche that, as Down Beat used to say, deserves wider attention.–SF Gate, Derk Richardson.

What a trip! …a curiously refreshing musical tour through one of the East Bay’s least understood (but hella deep) pools of creativity.–East Bay Express, Oakland, Kelly Vance.

Noisy People, as well as being the “love letter to the Bay Area music community” that Tim Perkis envisioned, is an uplifting tribute to musicians and sound artists everywhere who are intently exploring the edges of sonic reality.  Henry Kuntz



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Cal lives in Santa Fe and plays jazz drums in the surrounding area. Playing in a jazz group offers many opportunities for rhythmic exploration and interpretations of energy as varied as your mind can imagine. Cal uses this improvisational approach in creating his photos, letting each photograph develop according to the energy and feelings present at the moment.

Jazz musicians improvise and alter existing song forms making each performance unique. The outcome is influenced by a number of factors including personal feelings at the moment, skill levels and attitudes of the participating musicians, and the interaction and energy exchange with the audience. The improvisation is a synthesis of those feelings and energies and exclusive to each performance.

Cal Haines has been playing professionally for over forty years. He grew up in Canton, Ohio and studied drums in Cleveland with Charlie Wilcoxin. He was drafted into the Army and played in the Army Band in Augusta, Georgia and in a USO show based in Atlanta. He attended Kent State University and Memphis State University where he played in the percussion ensemble, marching band, concert band, wind ensemble, and the jazz bands.

While in Memphis, Tennessee he performed with Diahann Carroll, Rich Little, Bob Hope, Charlie Rich, Ray McKinley and the Modernaires, Al Greene, Danny Thomas and the St Jude’s Telethon, Clark Terry, Marvin Stamm, and Yul Brenner in the “King and I.” He moved to Nashville where he performed at the Opryland theme park for one year. He then moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico where he performed with Emily Remler, Bobby Shew, Dee Kelly, Richie Cole, the Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra, Real Time Quartet, and at local concerts in connection with the New Mexico Jazz Workshop and the Outpost Performance Space. Cal then moved to California where he played gigs with Llew Mathews, Teddy Edwards, Max Bennett, Eddie Ambrose, Jim Gordon and others. Cal has returned to Santa Fe to continue his drumming career and explore photography.

Most memorable gigs: playing the “1812 Overture” with the Memphis Symphony during a July 4th concert on the banks of the Mississippi River; playing the “Fanfare for the Common Man” with Aaron Copeland conducting the Memphis State wind ensemble; playing with Phineas Newborn Jr. and George Coleman in Memphis; marching at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas; trading drum solos with Roy Burns in Memphis; opening for Michael Brecker with Emily Remler at Popejoy Hall in Albuquerque; opening for Etta James with Emily Remler at the Pines in Santa Fe.

more on Cal Haines and his work as a photographer can be seen here… If you are looking for ideas to illustrate CD covers or other kind of publication, please contact Cal.

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Download “Encontro Das Àguas (Meeting of the Waters)” (mp3) Download “The Checkered Demon” (mp3)

from “Meeting of the Waters”

by Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra Label: OA2 Records


The
Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra, co-founded by Barbara Hubers-Drake and Ellen Finn, was formed to nurture the musical, educational and artistic growth of individual musicians, to encourage women to become involved in jazz performance/composition as a career or avocation, and to foster community interest in and appreciation of jazz as an art form. Since the first rehearsal in January of 2000, the band has performed at clubs, jazz festivals, and concert halls on two continents and performed with many distinguished artists including Don Lanphere, Mimi Fox, Becca Duran, Susan Pascal, Greta Matassa, Kelley Johnson, Hazel Leach, Jill Townsend, and Ingrid Jensen.

swojobanner1.jpgSWOJO will release its second CD, a collection of live recordings entitled Meeting of the Waters, in April 2007. Our debut CD, Dreamcatcher, on OA2 Records is currently in its second printing. The band has performed at Experience Music Project for the Jazz in January series, as part of the Seattle Jazz Vespers series, the Smooth Jazz Stage at the 4th of Jul-Ivar’s celebration, the Triple Door Mainstage, Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, and at Seattle’s Bumbershoot Festival, to name only a few venues. Several exciting festivals will be on our summer 2007 schedule–check our calendar for complete details on all our upcoming performances for updates.

Dreamcatcher

Download “The Hiding Place” (mp3) Download “Big Mama Louise” (mp3) Download “Nisqually Riff” (mp3)
from “Dreamcatcher”

by Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra Label: OA2 Records

more on Seattle Women’s Orchestra here…

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Opened to the public in 1994 in Nantes (France), Pannonica is a cultural space dedicated to live music. It is directed by the Nantes Jazz Action association which handles the programming and manages the place itself. In ten years and more of existence it has helped to further develop and promote the local, national and international Jazz scene as well as new and improvised music, by welcoming young artists as well as some of the most famous names in the Jazz and Free music fields. A true crossroads for Jazz Music in the West area of France, Pannonica supports, hosts and promotes young artists and independent labels versed in contemporary Jazz such as : Jazzophone Company, Quartet Ixi, Alban Darche and Yolk records, Jean-Louis Apple tree, Survivors of Infinite, but also some major American and European artists such as Ray Anderson, William Parker, Scott Coley, Abbey Lincoln, Lee Konitz, Aldo Romano, Henri Texier, Louis Sclavis, Bruno Chevillon, Marc Ducret, François Raulin, Dianne Reeves, Tom Harrel, Stenson Sore, Gary Peacock, Archie Sheep… Not forgetting some of the most considerable activists of the international Free Music scene : Luc Ex, Domenica Répécaud, Ron Anderson, Eugene Chadbourne, Walls Furnace, Assif Tsahar, Axel Dorner, Alan Licht, Loren Mazzacane Connors…

Pannonica organizes approximately a hundred concerts a year, from September to June. It is administered and directed by a private, non-profit association actively supported by the City of Nantes and the French Ministry of Culture and Communication via the Regional Direction of Cultural Affairs. Pannonica is part of the Jazz Scenes and Improvised Music Federation, which gathers about thirty jazz clubs nationwide.

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The artistic project: Pannonica defines its artistic activity as “art et essai” applied to music, a concept to which we are strongly attached. In order to provide a more precise understanding of our activity, it may be helpful to expose some of our primary objectives, which make Pannonica more than a mere concert hall. We seek to :- defend an artistic and cultural project primarily devoted to modern creation in the field of Jazz and improvised music,- devote a broad space to the expression of original ideas and current creations,- set up a scheme of action designed to help the artistic growth and professional development of local artists,- allow the public to discover rare, creative music often ignored by the media.- reaffirm Pannonica’s vocation as both a relay and initiator of many different projects for festivals and other big structures- develop a coherent policy to seduce the public by keeping our prices interestingly low.- work for the consideration of jazz and new music in the debates on public policies and cultural development at national level. Please visit Pannonica’s website for more detailed information.


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Photo: John Rogers

When I came to NYC I was a scared kid full of hopes and dreams. I got a job at a bakery and everyone was mean to me at first and no one would help me. Alfredo was the supervisor and for some reason made friends with me. He told me if I worked hard he would take care of me and make my life better. He did and I owe him all I have in my life. He is one of the greatest people I have ever met. Alfredo came to NY from Oaxaca Mexico in 1986. He worked as dishwasher and busboy for many years before starting at the bakery. He has worked at the bakery for 10 years, and is now the main supervisor of production.

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Photo: John Rogers

Odmaro is perhaps the hardest working person I have ever met in my life. He works 2 jobs, sometimes 3 jobs. He works 7 days a week basically on call at the bakery 24/7. He is in the maintenance department and can fix almost anything. He has worked at the bakery for 13 years. Odmaro has 3 kids. One of whom is serving in the marines in Iraq.

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Photo: John Rogers

Orlando came to New York 18 years ago from the Dominican Republic. He studied at CUNY and speaks and writes very well in English. He has been working at the bakery for 12 years and he is the mixing supervisor. He lives in Staten Island with his wife and 4 kids.

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Photo: John Rogers

Javier has worked as a baker for the last 9 years in Manhattan. One of my co workers from the bakery I worked in for the last 4 years. Today was my last day and it was sad to see the people go. This guy came to ny from Mexico City and has been here about 15 years. He now has two kids and lives in Queens NY.

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Photo: John Rogers

Vincente’ moved here a few years ago from Peru. His english is very basic and poor and he works for very low poor pay as a dishwasher and janitor. He works very hard sometimes 6 or 7 days a week, I feel very bad for him and his financial situation. Yet he remains happy, kindhearted and optimistic.

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Photo: John Rogers

Hector moved to NYC around 3 years ago from Columbia. He is very quiet and a hard worker and faithful churchgoer. He started as a janitor and is now a bakery supervisor. He is patient and has a great work ethic. His english skills are very poor and at times we argued. However I really respect him and hope very much his life goes well.

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Photo: John Rogers

Felix moved to NYC from Haiti about 15 or so years ago. He worked at the bakery as a janitor for 9 years at which point he graduated to a baker. He works very hard and is a devout christian. He has a son and daughter. His wife sadly is still trapped in haiti.

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John Rogers by John Rogers


These are some of my co-workers at the bakery I worked in for the last four years. Today I took another job at a computer store. I will miss these people very much. They taught me how fortunate I am to have been born in this country and to have received a good education. They work so hard their whole lives often for meager pay. To provide a better life for their children by working often times two jobs for 6 or 7 days a week. This is the New York City that most people have no idea about. They are all smart and can do better then this, but because they have no education and no help this is the best their life will ever be. I can tell you from conversations over the years that are all bright and smart people but life dealt them all the tough cards. Keep this in your head the next time you go out to eat. John Rogers


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Download “Culture Of Pain” (mp3) Download “Cauterize/Capture” Download “Coagulation Not Cash” (mp3) (mp3

from “Culture Of Pain”


by Rent Romus Label: Edgetone Records

Rent Romus is a force spanning twenty years of original improvised music, production, and performance. Romus is the founder and producer of Edgetone Records a new music label since 1991. He is also the Executive Director of Outsound.org under which he is the head curator of The SIMM Music Series at the Studio 6 Musicians Union Hall, and the famous Luggage Store Gallery New Music Series in San Francisco. He was the former Director of Promotion for the SFAlt Festival 2002-2004. Romus also runs a new music distribution network for independent artist run record labels called UIRC (Ultra Independent Recording Coalition) currently available online as well as the Artistic Director of the Outsound Presents…The Edgetone Music Summit, a national music festival held in the greater San Francisco Bay Area every summer.

During the mid 80’s, Romus enhanced his studies at the Stanford Jazz Workshop at Stanford University, where he was blessed with the wisdom and guidance from Stan Getz, guitarist Bruce Forman, Dizzy Gillespie, Mel Martin, and drummer Eddie Moore. In 1984 at the age of 16, Romus re-organized directed NAYJE (the North Area Youth Jazz Ensemble), a seventeen piece big band featuring some of the best young high school and college bay area musicians at the time. In the fall of 1986, while attending the University of California at Santa Cruz, he formed the group Jazz On The Line which became the focus for his compositions and productions. JOTL was an acoustic jazz sextet that fused jazz, blues, gospel, and hip-hop into original compositions. Romus produced three albums for this group including his critically acclaimed CD Jazz On the Line with Chico Freeman, In The Moment on Edgetone Records soon to be reissued. Mid span the group changed it’s name to 2AM, and was considered one of the founding bands of the “acid jazz” scene popular in the early nineties parallel to Charlie Hunter and the like .

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In 1993 seeking a more expanded format to explore, Romus formed the modern music group RKZtet, which featured ex-ESP recording artist and drum master James Zitro and former Sun Ra Arkestra cellist Kash Killion, both noted for their contribution to the development of the “new jazz” of the sixties. Later in 1994 Romus renamed the group, The Lords of Outland, and brought in soon to be film music composer Vytas Nagisetty (Brock Lee) on bass, Andrew Borger (currently drummer for Tom Waits) and Jason Olaine (Jay O), (former AR director for Verve Records Universal) on trumpet.

The Lords of Outland recorded their first album You’ll Never Be The Same, Jazzheads Records JH9493 in 1995, and were featured on the then fledgeling BET Channel National Network Show, “Jazz Central” as part of the Jazz Discovery program. (The judges sat and starred at the camera as they tried to say something nice about the Eric Dolphy version of ‘Out to Lunch‘ submitted alongside Pat Matheny) That same year Romus self-produced his first overseas national tour of Denmark which featured many of Copenhagen’s young improvisers discovering such musicians as pianist/trumpet player Jonas Müller who had moved the S.F. Bay Area later in the 90’s, and drummer Stefan Pasborg who now enjoys world wide performance stature throughout Europe.

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In 1996 Romus returned to Denmark for his second tour with Jonas as the Rent Romus Sound Cirkus. The group also inlcuded San Francisco basists George Cremanchi and saxophonist Alex Weiss. After returning to the U.S. they continued on to the Bay Area to finish the tour. During that year he also assisted bluesman Paris Slim produce his first major American release with guitarist Joe Lewis Walker and Sonny Rhodes. In 1997 Romus had the honor of recording with tenor sax master John Tchicai. Tchicai is best known for his work with the NY Art Quartet, NY Ear and Eye Control, and his recordings with John Coltrane and Albert Ayler. The CD of this recording, Adapt…or DIE! was released at the end of 1997. In 1998 Romus released Blood Motions featuring his young Danish protégés Stefan Pasborg and bassist Jonas Westergaard.

In 2001 Romus re-opened his avant, free music lable Edgetone Records, where his as well as some of the best improvisers in Californnia releases can be found. Romus still loves the interweaving science fiction, horror literature, improvisation, Finno-Ugric traditions, socio-political themes, and the inspiration of Albert Ayler in his music.

Since then Romus’ ongoing free improvisational/experimental project the Lords of Outland have mutated through many incarnations. Most recent they have included collaborations with drummer Philip Everett, bassist Ray Schaeffer (of Tri-Cornered-Tent-Show), and noise artist C.J. Reäven Borosque, as well as free-jazz legend Jim Ryan etc. He is also founding member of The Abstractions, who released three recordings during their time together. Although his past is in jazz, he has expanded into other realms of improvisation and sound exploration, including electroacoustic instruments. His fascination for experimental music is cross-genre and all encompassing.

more on Rent Romus here…


Moe! Staiano/Moe!kestra! May, 25 2007. The Lab. MOE!KESTA! 10th Anniversary Show. 2948 16th Street @ Capp Street, San Francisco, California.

Moe! Staiano’s Moe!kestra! will celebrate 10 years of orchestrated cacophony with performances of Piece No.1: Death Of A Piano and the new composition, Piece No.9: When Terrie Had Six, based off of conducted improvisational notated performances from 2006 and music from the Ex. A before-show discussion/Q&A with Moe! Staiano will talk about the history and nature of Moe!kestra!. Presented by KFJC. Sponsered by 21 Grand.

The show will also celebrate a new CD release of the Moe!kestra! with “Two Rooms of Uranium in 83 Markers“, an album of two performances that features Ches Smith, Marika Hughes, Carla Kihlstedt, George Cremaschi, John Shiurba, Scott Rosenberg, Myles Boisen among countless other musicians. Copies, along with the two other Moe!kestra! releases as well as T-Shirts, will be available for purchase.

Musicians for this show will include: Alan Anzalone – Clarinet, Chris Broderick – Clarinet, Alicia Byer – Clarinet, Michael Cooke – Clarinet, Michael J. Dale – Clarinet, Phillip Greenlief – Clarinet, Michael Zelner – Clarinet, Aaron Novik – Bass Clarinet, Dan Plonsey – Bass Clarinet, Scott Rosenberg – Bass Clarinet, Craig Demel – Violin, Angela Hsu – Violin, Dina Maccabee – Violin, Hillary Overberg – Violin, Emily Packard – Violin, Jonathan Segel – Violin, Tara Flandreau – Viola, Charith Premawardhana – Viola, Theresa Wong – Cello, George Cremaschi – Contrabass, Damon Smith – Electric Contrabass, Marianne McDonald – Harp, Kristian Aspelin – Guitar, Michael de la Cuesta – Guitar, Scott Evans – Guitar, Jay Korber – Guitar, Ava Mendoza – Guitar, Pat Moran – Guitar, Bill Wolter – Guitar, Alex Yeung – Guitar, Vicky Grossi – Bass, David B. C. Leikam – Bass, Allen Whitman – Bass, Thomas Dimuzio – Electronics, Travis Johns – Electronics, Norman Teale – Electronics, Jon Brumit – Drums, John Hanes – Drums, Jacob Felix Heule – Drums, Sarah Lockhart – Drums, Sheila Bosco – Drums, Thomas Scandura – Drums, Nathan Hubbard – Percussion, Suki O’Kane – Percussion, Kevin Wiseman – Percussion, Michael Cooke – Saxophone, Phillip Greenlief – Saxophone, Henry Kuntz – Saxophone, Tim Perkis – Saxophone, Jon Raskin – Saxophone, Rent Romus – Saxophone, Jen Baker – Trombone, Loren Means – Trombone, Liam Staskawicz – Trombone, Matt Davignon – Drum machine, Robert Silverman – Theremin.

Hope to see you there! Pass this along and bring eye and ear protection!

Moe! Staiano | 209-814-2524 | moestaiano1 at yahoo.com | moestaiano.com | moestaianomoekestra at myspace

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Moe! Staiano is a percussionist who usually uses found objects, but has moved to doing drumming on found objects on his trap set (i.e. prepared percussion). Moe! (yes, he includes the exclaimation mark in his name) has experimented through the years though solo percussion using pipes, food pans, pressure caps, sheet metals, nick-nacks & other stuff that has been found, given or stolen (mainly from Pizza Hut when he worked there including a nifty Spatula that he bows). One can expect to see Moe!’s show as a visual eye pleaser: running around throwing pipes on concrete, walking on pans with his feet to mute sounds or running amok, throwing his body into old cassette tapes or two dozen cymbals in any given performance. His shows can sometimes expect a big mess in one fashion or another (which he replies that the aftermath of his performances represents his life) with implements of mixers & vibrators on objects spewed throughout the set. He’s been a good boy cleaning up after himself, too. He has two CD’s out of his solo/collaborative recordings. The second CD, “The Lateness of Yearly Presentations” was released in 2002 on his micro-label Dephine Knormal Musik, a release split with a French label, Amanita Records. The first solo CD The Non-Study of First Impressions, is now out of print. He finished recording and mixing a third solo CD due next year, entitled The Absolute Tradition of No Traditions and will be released through Psychform Records.

He’s collaborated with many musicians including Ron Anderson (the Molecules, RonRuins, PAK), Tom Nunn, David Slusser, Karen Stackpole, Ches Smith, Michael Evans (God Is My Co-Pilot), Caroline Kraabel & John Edwards (Shock Exchange), Gino Robair, William Hooker, and has performed with all these plus Henry Kaiser, Mark Growden’s Electric Pinata, Amy Denio, Cheer-Accident, sfSoundGroup, Ettrick among others. He occasional does a duo with Vicky Grossi called Duo Referal and plays with Thomas Dimuzio and Kanoko Nishi called KaMoTo Trio.

Formaly, Moe! was a member of two important bands: Vacuum Tree Head (formerly doing metal percussion and then playing trap set) and with Sleepytime Gorilla Museum (doing THE metal percussion), a band that consist of Carla Kihlsteadt, Nils Frykdahl, Dan Rathbun (all from Charming Hostess, two from Idiot Flesh) and Mathias Bossi. Sleepytime Gorilla Museum has one release on Seeland (Negativland’s label) and a live CD on Sickroom Records from Chicago as well as a second studio album out on Web of Mimicry, Of Natural History. Many of the members, including Moe!, collaborates with the butoh dancer Shinichi Momo Koga under that company name Inkboat & have performed around Seattle, Mendocino & San Francisco. Moe! has formed a new band called Mute Socialite with guitarist Ava Mendoza and bassist Alee Karim and are currently looking for a second drummer, a trumpet player and someone who can sing very well. Performances with this band will soon follow.

Moreover, he does text/graphic scores for a collective ensemble for what he calls MOE!KESTRA!, which employs many musicians, well at least between 15-45 players (and sometimes more, sometimes less than those numbers), and play scores Moe! has written including a piece for destroying a piano (Piece No.1: Death of a Piano), sex toys (Piece No.2: Death by Dildo; which once got sponsored by Good Vibrations…seriously) among four other pieces that have been performed though 1997-2005 (seven pieces in all; about 40 performances & counting). Fellow employees has included ROVA’s Bruce Ackley, George Cremaschi, Michael de la Cuesta, Cheryl Leonard, Matt Ingals, Fred Frith, William Winant, John Shiurba, Bill Horvitz, Tom Yoder, Aaron Bennett, Dan Plonsey, Garth Powell, Peter Valsamis, Kris Force (Amber Asylum), Jonas Muller, Adam Lane, Matthew Sperry, Jonathan Segel (Camper Van Beethoven), Tony Maimone (Pere Ubu, They Might Be Giants), Michael Evans (God Is My Co-Pilot), Sean Meehan, Shelley Burgon, Danny Tunick (Guvner), David First, all past and present members of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum among many other musicians. In 1999, he wrote & conducted a piece written for the Seattle ensemble, the Degenerate Art Ensemble, entitled “Piece No.6: And They Swore They All Slept Soundly“, which was also performed by the Moe!kestra!. The debut disc of Moe!kestra! was released in June of 2003 of two conducted improvisations entitled “Two Forms of Multitudes: Conducted Improvisations“. He’s currently planning on releasing more Moe!kestra! material in the near future and hope’s to write more in the near future. One piece entitled “Piece No.7: An Inescapable Siren Within Earshot Of Hearing Distance Therein And Other Whereabouts”, was written for guitars (played with all low E-strings played with a coiled implement), strings, percussion, u-bolts, wine glasses and sirens. A recording of that piece along with another large orchestra piece is now out and available on CD through Rastascan Records/Amanita Records. He completed a piece that was performed at the San Francisco International Arts Festival called Piece No.8 for strings, percussion and prepared guitar last year. May of 2007 will mark the 10th anniversary of Moe!kestra! and is planning on performances in Portland and San Francisco (and maybe Seattle) with a massive 100-piece (give or take, of course) ensemble with a new composition as well as performances of Death of A Piano. Any inquireries for spaces and musicians are welcomed.

Moe! has still not yet gone through any music theory.


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Download “Quand j’ai parti du Canada” (mp3) Download “Tout passe” (mp3) Download “The Bedding of the Bride, La Disputeuse / Keep It Up!” (mp3)

from “Tout Passe – Chants d’Acadie II”
by Suzie LeBlanc Label: Atma Classique

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Specializing in repertoire from the early baroque to the classical period, Suzie LeBlanc divides her time between concert performances, opera and festival appearances worldwide. She has been involved in a number of critically acclaimed productions including Sartorio’s Orfeo (as Euridice), recorded for Vanguard Classics and awarded the Cini prize for “Best Opera CD of 1999″, Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea (as Poppea, Opéra de Montreal) and Monteverdi’s Orfeo (Netherlands Opera, Vienna Konzerthaus, Stuttgart and Festival Vancouver).

Solicited by some of the most distinguished period orchestras, she tours extensively with Teatro Lirico, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Tafelmusik, Musica Antiqua Koln, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Musica Classica and Freiburger Barockorchester and performs at home with Les Violons du Roy, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the Metropolitan Orchestra (Montreal).

In the more intimate setting of chamber music, she sings regurlarly with Tragicomedia, Les Voix Humaines, the Purcell Quartet and Fretwork, and forms a duo with lutenist Stephen Stubbs, with whom she has recorded several discs including the 1st book of Airs de cour by Etienne Moulini (CBC Records), which received unanimous praise from the critics.

Her impressive discography, ranging from medieval to contemporary music, includes Bach Cantatas with Tafelmusik for Analekta, Love and Death in Venice with Teatro Lirico for Virgin Veritas, Vivaldi Motets with Teatro Lirico for Vanguard Classics and ATMA, Bononcini’s Amore doppio and Handel’s Clori, Tirsi and Fileno with Lauten Companey for NCA and Ivan Moody’s Passion and Resurrection with Redbyrd for Hyperion.

Recent projects include Bach’s St Matthew Passion at Brooklyn Academy of Ancient Music (directed by Jonathon Miller and conducted by Paul Goodwin), Lully’s Thésée at the Boston Early Music Festival and at Tanglewood, and her film debut in Bach’s Coffee Cantata (Bravo).

Highlights in 2001 include Mozart Concert Arias with the Metropolitan Orchestra (Montreal), Monteverdi’s Orfeo with the Purcell Symphony in Tokyo, and concerts at London’s South Bank with Tragicomedia.

For further information, please contact: Mr. Henry Ingram, Dean Artists Management. Telephone: + 1 (416) 969 7300, Facsimile: +1 (416) 969 7969 dean artists web page More on Suzie LeBlanc here…


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Download “End kun lykke / Vissi d’arte” (mp3)

from “Danish Soprano of the 20th Century”
by Tenna Kraft Label: Danacord Records

More On This Album


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Derek Bailey was interviewed by Henry Kaiser on October 21, 1975 at Bailey’s home in London. The interview was transcribed and edited by Henry Kuntz, with final alterations made by Derek Bailey.

Derek Bailey (Quoting from Edgar Allen Poe): “I found it impossible to comprehend him, even in his moral or physical relations. Of his family I could obtain no satisfactory account. Whence he came I never ascertained, even about his age – there was something that perplexed me in no little degree. There were moments when I should have had little trouble imagining him a hundred years of age. But in no regard was he more peculiar than in his personal appearance. He was singularly tall and thin, he stooped much. His limbs were exceedingly long and emaciated. His forehead was broad and low. His complexion was absolutely bloodless. His mouth was large and flexible and his teeth were more roundly uneven, although sound, than I had ever before seen teeth in a human head. The expression of his smile, however, was by no means unpleasing, as might be supposed, but it had no variation whatever. It was one of profound melancholy, of a phaseless and unceasing gloom.”

Well, this business of playing – to try to put it as briefly as possible: in about 1963-64, I had been a professional musician for about ten years, and I had played more or less every kind of music you can play in order to earn a living. I’d worked in night clubs, dance halls, with country singers, rock singers, folk singers; I had played a bit of jazz. At that time I was also working in studios more than ever. Most of the musics I played were played like any music in the entertainment world. They had quite a lot of improvisation involved in them, or at least some degree of improvisation anyway.

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And at that time (1963) I started working with two musicians, a bass player named Gavin Bryars (now a composer) and a drummer, Tony Oxley. They were both much younger than me, and they represented two quite different ways of approaching improvisation. When we played together then, we played sort of a mixture of what was then current jazz. We played as a trio and actually worked together in a night club for a long time. We used to play Bill Evans and Coltrane tunes from their records, and we were interested a lot in Dolphy. It was moving toward a free jazz thing. And over that period, ‘63 – ‘65, we gradually moved from that position of playing these Bill Evans to Coltrane type things to a position of playing completely improvised pieces. And at that point,1965, early ‘66, I don’t know who we were sounding like. We didn’t record anything, we weren’t even the least bit interested in recording. (I find this is one of the things that has changed now. Everyone seems to record everything they play.) Anyway, by the time we’d got to this position of playing completely improvised pieces, I don’t know how you’d identify the music except to say that it was freely improvised.

The main impetus that had got us to this position was a dissatisfaction with the music we were playing – like conventional jazz, music in which we were improvising the idiom. Gavin, though, was a straight musician. His background was completely straight, and later he went to the States and studied with Cage for a while. And it was Gavin’s interest in contemporary composition, which particularly in the early and middle ’60s was involved in improvisation a lot – aleatoric devices, all that stuff – and Tony’s interest in free jazz that led us to the music we played. There were those two avenues which I think have been the two main avenues of the free improvisation situation, and they were in that one group, and that was very useful.

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Maarten van Regteren Altena | Derek Bailey | Akademie der Künste, Berlin1978, Workshop Freie Musik. Photo: Gérard Rouy

Now I found as regards the instrument – naturally – that whatever traditional equipment I had on the instrument was no use in these situations. It was no good coming on like Charlie Christian while somebody was playing a gong and somebody else was sawing off the end of the bass. While it might now be perfectly acceptable in Holland to do that (reference to musical humor situations which have become prevalent in Dutch and German improvising -ed) – in fact, it’d bring the house down – there were obvious musical incongruities about this. So as regards to changing the way I played to suit the musical situation, that was how it started. I mean, this went on for years, you understand.

After that, I came to London, and again I was lucky because I met Evan Parker and John Stevens. That was the end of ‘66, and we were playing together through ‘67 and ‘68, and we still play together occasionally. It wasn’t exactly a continuation of the thing I’d been doing with Gavin and Tony, but it was for a while. Then it went more heavily jazz-wise because of certain inclinations that were being expressed at that time, mostly from John. But it was still all improvised, the focus was on playing totally improvised pieces. At least, that’s where I felt the main focus of the music was, regardless of what its affinities might have been whether it was jazz or non-jazz or trying to sound like Stockhausen, or whatever it was doing. It was still necessary, though, to have some sort of language to join in this debate with, and so it was a case of carrying on with the earlier process of trying to develop some way of playing in totally improvised situations.

And after that I was fortunate enough to work with Evan continuously and with a couple of other people who are no longer playing now – drummer Jamie Muir and vocalist Christine Jeffrey. That again was something quite different, but I could view it, as regards playing the guitar, as a further extension of working in a freely improvised situation. In fact, I suppose one of the things all of these stages did was to establish more and more the acceptance of the freely improvised situation and the ways you could work in it and these were really all quite different values. And that lasted until 1970-71. Since then, I’ve worked mainly solo.

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Derek Bailey | Maarten van Regteren Altena | Steve Lacy | Akademie der Künste, Berlin1978, Workshop Freie Musik. Photo: Gérard Rouy

I had been playing solo off and on since 1967, but I found for all sorts of reasons from about 1971 onwards that it was better to concentrate on solo playing. That had to do with a lot of things. One of them was to do with working out this language thing – of this way of playing the guitar. I don’t think of it as a way of playing the guitar, though; I think of it as a way of improvising. It seems to me that whatever I’ve been trying to do on the guitar, for me anyway, it is in order to find a more appropriate way of playing the instrument in a free improvising situation.

Because if you play the guitar, or any other instrument, the way you learn to play it is probably going to be closely associated with some style of music. If, for instance, you’re learning the guitar, you’re going to be learning to play as a flamenco player, or as a jazz player, or you’re going to learn to play finger style. And all the finger style players think that’s the way you play the guitar, and all the jazz players think that’s the way you play, and the rock players that’s what. And they’re all particular styles which employ the guitar. They take this bloody thing, this box with strings on it, and they use it in a particular way which suits their purposes. Well, that’s all I wanted to do. I wanted to take that box with strings and use it in a freely improvised situation. And it wasn’t any good, as far as I could see, playing it like a rock player, for instance, and so on. And that description makes it sound quite calculated. But that was a realization that happened over years. In each situation, it wasn’t appropriate to use any of the inherited language, if you like, or technique. It was of some use, but it didn’t seem to be of much use. So there was all that. I was trying to use the instrument as I thought in a more appropriate way.

Another thing that led me to playing solo was the problem of volume. I didn’t see how I could really play with anyone else except maybe another guitar player. It wasn’t that I wanted to work at such a very low volume level, but I wanted to work – particularly at that time – with a wide dynamic range over a short time space, shooting around a lot, up and down. And that’s got interesting possibilities within a group context. But I wasn’t at that time working in a group that was accommodating that type of thing, except possibly “Iskra.” And even in a group like that, where everyone used this fast dynamic fluctuation, there were still certain contradictions; but I think it did at times work very well in that group.

By 1971, it seemed that groups were settling down to a sort of early middle-age period. Most groups by then had been going since the early-middle Sixties. I’ve always felt that an improvising group – it’s only a suspicion, I can’t prove it – but my suspicion is that a lot of improvising groups change quite radically after two to three years. After a couple of years it gets into the sort of thing I’m less interested in, although it’s the sort of thing I’ve gotten into playing solo, and that is playing as an identifiable group, playing a music that is identified with the group. So you get these long term things – there’s been a lot of them in Europe. I think the longest is Han Bennink and Misha Mengelberg who have played together about 57 years. Or John Stevens and Trevor Watts they’ve gone on for a long time and they’ll likely go on forever. Well, that’s fine, and they’ve obviously found it a satisfactory way of working.

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Steve Beresford | Derek Bailey | Uithorn, Holland; 1977 | ICP's 10th anniversary festival. Photo: Gérard Rouy

Yet it always seems to me that after a certain time most groups like that do get into a different type of playing, and for most of them that’s the kind of playing they want to get into. The music becomes much more identifiable, identified with them, and sometimes with a certain idiom – maybe free jazz, funny music, circus-like humor, whatever. They have an identity, and they work within that. Now that’s what doesn’t interest me about a group. At that point, I lose interest in the group. So at that time I was in the “Music Improvisation Company” and I was in “Iskra 1903” and also playing occasionally with Tony Oxley and with the Spontaneous Music Ensemble (S.M.E.); and they all became like that to me, the S.M.E. particularly.

HENRY KAISER: DO YOU THINK THAT’S BECAUSE JOHN (STEVENS) HAD THE SAME SORT OF PROBLEM AS YOU, BUT HE SOLVED IT IN A DIFFERENT WAY BECAUSE HE WAS A LEADER OF A GROUP (THE S.M.E.), SO HE CHANGED THE GROUP TO FIT HIS NEEDS?

Derek Bailey: Quite possibly. John’s a very special case, you know. He’s a very rare figure in this music. He’s a very good musical organizer, and you don’t get good band leaders in this sort of music. So John’s a very special case. But, still, I think he was probably doing the same as most of the regular groups in that he was establishing a music centered around him and Trevor after a while – although I think that was largely based on music that he and Evan used to play in ‘67. But that’s a long story.

HENRY KAISER: WHY DO YOU THINK AT THAT TIME THAT PEOPLE HERE AND IN GERMANY AND HOLLAND WANTED TO GO TO THOSE DEGREES OF MUSICAL FREEDOM WHEREAS MUSICIANS IN OTHER AREAS – IN THE U.S., SAY – HAVE NOT REALLY DONE SO?

Derek Bailey: We didn’t have a music here. We had the great advantage of not having a music, in England particularly. In the U.S. you have jazz and rock. I mean, we had rock here, but no one had taken it that seriously. Now it’s somewhat different. But there wasn’t any question of having to play anything, you see. I mean, the fact that you could go out and play nothing was a great relief. You could go out and play nothing, and someone would say,What the fuck was all that? – and that was fantastic. Because they couldn’t come up and say, Oh, you sort of play like Jim Hall a bit.” To have someone come up and say,What the fuck are you doing there? was a great relief.

But the whole thing about free improvisation coming up at certain times – I wouldn’t try to sell this idea to anybody, but I believe it’s always been present to some extent. I think the idea of improvising freely is such a simple, attractive idea that people must always have tried it. The first band I ever heard doing it was in 1956-57. I played with them a couple of times and hated it. I was too busy trying to get the instrument together in a certain way. I knew that band for a year or two and they were largely a freely improvising band, and that was in the middle-Fifties. And I don’t think that’s unique or anything. I think that possibly you could find somebody who knew of some other free band in another provincial town in England or anywhere else. So I think this is something that’s always been floating around. It’s such an obvious, logical way of making music for people who don’t have an axe to grind or a career to pursue.

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Steve Beresford | Derek Bailey | Uithorn, Holland, 1977. Photo: Gérard Rouy

Now the solo thing – well, there was that thing about groups. It seemed to me that by that time most of the groups had gotten themselves established. They sounded like a certain thing, and they played in a certain way. They had gotten an identity and worked within that identity as a unit. And I think most of them are quite aware about that. They use it as a springboard. In a way that’s how a lot of jazz musicians prefer to work. Familiarity leads to better results, but results in a certain direction. Anyway, I didn’t find that appealing to me. As soon as I’ve been in a group a couple of years, I usually want to get out of it. The only exception to that was theMusic Improvisation Company,” but that was an extraordinary group anyway, and it sort of exploded after three years. It disintegrated. I mean, we were all going in different directions anyway, and – strangely enough – we drew strength from that. I liked that group very much.

HENRY KAISER: DO YOU MEAN THAT WHAT YOU LIKED ABOUT IT WAS THAT THERE WERE ALWAYS A LOT OF SURPRISES?

Derek Bailey: It never had any single identity. We didn’t play very often, and when we played the only thing you could be sure of was that it wouldn’t sound anything like the last time we played. The thing about that group was it was five-piece for its last two years, and it had five leaders. I don’t mean that we competed for leadership, but there were five people who had a completely different idea of what the group should do. And it seemed that any of those five people could establish their influence over the rest of the group, because very often the group would behave the way one guy wanted it to behave. Now that might last for three months and then it would change, but then again it might change from week to week. I’ve never been in a group like that. It was extraordinary. And the people in it were quite different. I mean, the difference between Jamie Muir and Hugh Davies was complete in a musical sense. They belonged to two different ends of some musical scale, with Jamie at one end and Hugh at the other. And yet we worked together within that group OK. I say OK – I mean, there was a lot of friction in that group, but I’ve never known a successful group without friction.

But after a certain period, I was no longer interested in playing in a group; but I was still interested in playing with other people, as I am now. And I thought that one of the best advantages of playing solo – and this is one of the things that really advanced the idea for me – was that I could play with anybody. If I had been working regularly in a group – I mean, there are certain loyalties and associations. Generally speaking, someone who works in a group just works in a group. They might occasionally play with another group, but the scope of their playing as regards playing with other people is usually limited to that group and its immediate associates; while if you’re playing solo you can play with anybody who’ll play with you. And I do play with anybody. I mean, I’ve heard the accusation that anybody who plays solo leads a sort of self-centered musical existence, and that might be right, and I don’t necessarily see anything wrong with that. But in my case, it’s not really applicable. Because I’ve played with more different people since I’ve played solo than before I played solo.

HENRY KAISER: DO YOU FIND PLAYING SOLO, THEN, A BETTER WAY TO DEVELOP YOUR MUSICAL IDEAS?

Derek Bailey: I like working solo – for that reason, and for the reason that I needed to develop some self-reliance in this music. If you’re going to go make a solo improvisation, you’re in about as isolated a musical situation as you can find, I would have thought. To play solo is nothing, but to improvise solo is a pretty demanding situation. So there’s a lot of attractions to the situation, but one of the main ones is that in that situation I can play with other people regularly or occasionally.

Now one of the disadvantages of playing solo, and there are quite a number, is the same as that with the regular groups. I’m going around playing an identifiable music. I go around and play some sort of strange guitar most of the time. But that is not what I’m interested in in playing solo. I am not interested in demonstrating the way I play the instrument. But I guess that most of the gigs I get I get because somebody wants me to come along and demonstrate the way I play the guitar. That side of solo playing doesn’t interest me at all. I mean, I suppose that’s probably what I do on most gigs. But I consider if I’ve finished playing and I feel I’ve done only that, then I think I’ve played very badly. And it can happen that way, unfortunately.

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Steve Beresford | Derek Bailey | Tristan Honsinger | Akademie der Künste, Berlin1978. Workshop Freie Musik. Photo: Gérard Rouy

HENRY KAISER: WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE DOING?

Derek Bailey:To improvise, whatever that means at that particular time. I mean, it might sound pretty much the same as last time, but it isn’t.

HENRY KAISER: DO YOU MEAN IMPROVISING TO YOUR SATISFACTION OR SHOWING THE AUDIENCE SOMETHING ABOUT IMPROVISATION BESIDES SHOWING THEM SOMETHING ABOUT PLAYING THE GUITAR?

Derek Bailey: I’ve never been sure about audiences. I’ve never understood what the responsibility of a performer is to an audience. It’s intensely complicated. When people talk about audiences, they usually drool on about communication. Anyone interested in communication should spend time digging holes for telegraph poles.

There’s much more going on between a performer and an audience than just communication. I don’t know what happens but I think that the audience’s role in listening to improvising – and I never liked saying anything about audiences because if anyone asks what I think about an audience, I’m just grateful there is one – but actually I would think that an audience listening to improvisation has a greater responsibility than any other type of audience because they can affect the musical performance in a direct way, in a way that no other audience can affect the musical performance. They can affect the creative process in every aspect. Every aspect of the music, every part of the process can be affected by the audience if it’s improvised music because the whole thing is going on at the time they’re witnessing it. They’re witnessing the whole process of producing that music. I mean, there’s a lot of work behind it, and they’re not going to affect that, but they can affect the immediate production of the music, its immediate construction, which is the crucial time for improvisation.

HENRY KAISER: IN OTHER WORDS, WHAT THEY CAME TO HEAR IF THEY’RE INTERESTED IN IMPROVISED MUSIC?

Derek Bailey: Well, that’s right. But I don’t know how many people are interested in it. I mean, if they’ve come to hear somebody play the guitar in a certain way, they may not be interested in improvisation at all. But I think of what I do on the instrument as entirely associated with improvisation, so I would have thought that anybody who’s not interested in improvisation couldn’t have been very interested in the way I play the instrument anyway. Because I play the instrument in a way that I think is appropriate to non-idiomatic free improvisation. And that’s the hardest job of all – to keep it open-ended.

That again ties up with the technique of playing the guitar. And the same applies to the music. The two, it seems to me, have to be complimentary all the time. The technique, the way you play the guitar, all of it should be prepared for some movement or change. And the same thing applies to the music. And if at some point you no longer move it along, and this applies either to the instrumental playing or to the music, which are inextricable, completely entwined – if you arrive at some point where it isn’t moving along, then you’re finished as regards the things we’re talking about. Then maybe you’ll do something else. Maybe then you’ll just specialize in playing the guitar in an odd way or playing whatever has become identified as the music you play. Then it’s possible you’ll become so interested in that that that is the end, the end you’re pursuing; it might still be a viable activity, but you can’t call it, it seems to me, free improvisation.

I mean, I’m not so interested in these labels. They are a nuisance. But it does imply something: free improvisation is an area in which you can do all sorts of things. You can go in it, find out the music you want to play, bring it out and play it. And that’s what most people do. That’s what most groups do. They settle down, things start working, then they’re out and they do it, and that’s that. Then occasionally they dip back in to get another member or something, make one or two changes.

The younger guys in London at the moment – actually, apart from me, most of the older guys are still quite young – have a good idea, and it’s very frustrating to the older guys. The idea is that you don’t have set groups. You never see them in the same group twice; or, if you do, in between times, they’ve played in another thirty combinations. It’s just a mix. That’s a free improvising community, and it works like that.

Now that’s the sort of thing that was happening in the S.M.E. around 1967, but not to the degree that the musicians are doing it now. Now, to a lot of musicians, I think the majority, that’s not a satisfactory situation. They do want a music they can get hold of. They want to work on it and go out and play it and show people that it’s good music. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all. I’m not trying to put that down. But the situation I find interesting is that free one, and I wouldn’t want to work in any other way. But I can understand somebody either dabbling in it briefly or not wanting anything to do with it. I mean, the freedom in free improvisation might be just this – that you can take out of it what you want, and you don’t have to stay. But I’m interested in it as a way of working permanently. For one guy in a basic situation of working on his own with an instrument, I think it’s the only way to work. Or, to put it differently, free improvisation makes it viable for one guy to work with one instrument on his own.

But the possibilities are so enormous in free improvisation that I think most people would prefer to back off from it. I know a guitarist, a flamenco player, who’s interested in free improvisation, but he would never play it. He goes and maybe listens to it occasionally and talks about it, but what he wants to play is flamenco. Or I don’t think you could talk to Sonny Rollins about free improvisation. Sonny Rollins is interested in free improvisation in so far as it has some use for his purposes as a conventional black jazz player.

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Misha Mengelberg | Johnny Dyani | Derek Bailey | Tony Oxley | Leo Smith | Maurice Horsthuis | Terry Day | Company, London 1978. Photo: Gérard Rouy

HENRY KAISER: HOW DOES PLAYING WITH DIFFERENT GROUPS OF PEOPLE INTEREST YOU THEN?

Derek Bailey: Well, for different people, it might work differently, but my main interest in playing with other people is their music. I find I’m very affected by people I play with. There are times when I’m not, but usually that’s when I don’t like the music. Actually, whether I like it or not, I’m usually very affected by it. I mean, the difference between playing with Han Bennink and with Anthony Braxton is considerable, and they each take me to musical areas I might not get to on my own. That’s not the only interest I have, but that’s one of the things.

HENRY KAISER: WELL, THE STEVE LACY ALBUM, CRUSTS (EMANEM 304), SEEMS TO BE A VERY DIFFERENT KIND OF SITUATION FOR YOU BECAUSE THEY’RE ALL PLAYING TUNES, AND YOU SEEM TO BE DOING SOMETHING FAIRLY DIFFERENT, WEAVING IN AND OUT.

Derek Bailey: Well, I’m interested in that kind of a situation: in going in and being as complimentary as possible. I don’t want to go in and, in spite of everything, play what I always play. But I’m still not going in there and imitate or take on some other identity in order to be complimentary. So I’m interested in the way they affect my identity, if that’s not too opposite a way of putting it.

HENRY KAISER: WHEN LACY ASKED YOU TO COME ALONG, DO YOU THINK HE ASKED YOU EXPECTING YOU TO DO SOMETHING PARTICULAR, KNOWING WHAT YOU DO? DID YOU DISCUSS A LOT WHAT YOU WERE GOING TO DO AHEAD OF TIME?

Derek Bailey: No. I mean, those are quite carefully arranged parts, and they rehearsed them. But I didn’t actually have a part, because Lacy doesn’t have guitar parts. He has piano parts. So I had the piano part, but I didn’t actually play it. I’ve played his music, though, in some other situations – in a trio, for example, with Misha Mengelberg, me, and Lacy. I like his music. He’s a very strong musician. But, in general, that’s all I could say about that. I mean, I don’t mind playing in any situation at all. The only people I would not want to play with are people who don’t want to play with me, who are afraid I might upset something they want to do.

But I wouldn’t think that the way anybody plays is any good unless it’s open-ended, unless it allows them to play with almost anybody. Whether other people feel they could play with me, I don’t know. But I wouldn’t worry if they were playing tunes or whatever. I’d be very interested in finding a way to make it work. And if I couldn’t find a way, then I’d consider that was something I had to do something about – because I think any way of playing should be, if not necessarily all inclusive, at least have a certain openness to playing with other people, particularly other people whose music you enjoy.

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Misha Mengelberg | Johnny Dyani | Derek Bailey | Tony Oxley | Leo Smith | Maurice Horsthuis | Terry Day | Company, London 1978. Photo: Gérard Rouy

HENRY KAISER: DO YOU OFTEN TALK MUCH ABOUT THE MUSIC BEFOREHAND, IF YOU’RE PLAYING WITH DIFFERENT PEOPLE? DO YOU THINK, IF YOU DO, THAT THE IMPROVISATIONS ARE MORE SUCCESSFUL?

Derek Bailey: There’s a lot of discussion about that, whether it’s useful or not. I don’t think it’s always necessary.

HENRY KAISER: WHAT ARE THE USUAL POINTS OF DISCUSSION IF YOU TALK ABOUT IT?

Derek Bailey: I don’t know. I think usually you’re just trying to establish some sort of personal relationship or to reassure each other. I don’t know how useful it is. Then again it could be harmful. I know people that I can play with, but I can’t talk about music with. We disagree. Han Bennink and I are like that. If we were to discuss any piece of music, I think we’d take diametrically opposed views. But I think we can play with each other OK. But then if we discuss music, I think we usually find out that we hold opposite views on almost any aspect of music, or on many aspects of music. So what does that prove? I think it proves that a discussion of music is only part or is some parallel activity to playing, an activity that might have correspondences with the business of playing but is actually a totally different thing. It’s just a parallel structure, and occasionally you can shoot lines across and say that that’s referring to that. But they’re not the same.

HENRY KAISER: I WONDER HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT THE DUTCH IMPROVISERS? A LOT OF THE STUFF THEY’RE DOING SEEMS KIND OF STRANGE, THE MUSICAL JOKES AND SUCH.

Derek Bailey: Well, they use a sort of collage. And they’re very influenced by composition. I mean, in my view, it’s sort of unfortunate. But they are influenced by composition. And one of the fashions in composition in European avant-garde circles in the last few years is that whatever music you’re into, it will allow you to write these pretty melodies – whether it’s political music, theatre music, circus music, systems music, whatever. It’s been very prevalent in European avant-garde circles for about five years now, back to the melody. And in England it takes the form of a sort of cozy Sunday evening Edwardian-type drawing room music. Like Gavin Bryars’ music, for instance. Or Christopher Hobbs’. They call it experimental music, and it allows them to work with melody. The Dutch improvisers too are very influenced by composition; partly because Misha Mengelberg and Willem Breuker are both composers actually. They’re fine improvisers as well. But they are still governed by pre-determined statements and concepts.

HENRY KAISER: DO THEY STILL PLAY FREELY VERY MUCH?

Derek Bailey: Well, they do play freely, I would say. But you have to appreciate these guys from a composition point of view: they have a number of points, predetermined points, that they’re going to make in a musical performance. There’s that whole composition view of things.

HENRY KAISER:
BUT DON’T YOU HAVE THAT TOO? IF YOU’RE WORKING ON CERTAIN MATERIAL, THEN YOU’RE GOING TO BE PUSHING CERTAIN THINGS AHEAD.

Derek Bailey: Somebody might take that interpretation. But I don’t have a specific point to make when I go to make a performance, any more than I have a point to make if I play here at home. And that’s one of the differences between composition and improvisation, in that each composition usually has a definite, clearly defined, pre-decided point to make. Improvisation is not much use for making statements or presenting concepts. If you have any philosophical, political, religious or racial messages to send, use composition or the post office. Improvisation is its own message. But now in Holland there are some newer players: Maarten van Regteren Altena, Michel Waiswich, and the cellist Tristan Honsinger who, together with Han, have, I think, brought a freer approach to playing over there. But there is room for many approaches to improvisation, and I think that what Misha does is very interesting. And it’s getting more interesting.

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Derek Bailey | Leo Smith | Tony Oxley | Johnny Dyani | Company Week, London 1978. Photo: Gérard Rouy

HENRY KAISER: GOING BACK TO SOLO IMPROVISATION, I’VE NOTICED THAT YOUR WORK ON THE FIRST SIDE OF INCUS 2 IS VERY DIFFERENT FROM THAT ON LOT 74 (INCUS 12). HOW QUICKLY DOES YOUR PLAYING CHANGE?

Derek Bailey: Well, there aren’t any radical jumps. I’m never quite sure what’s happening at the moment. It seemed to me there was quite a big change that happened to me two or three years ago. But the big changes don’t interest me that much. If they happen that way, then they happen. I think maybe at the moment there’s been a sort of change. I’m not sure about that, but I’ve started playing a lot more acoustic. So the electricity’s gone out of it almost entirely, and when I’m playing electric, it’s at a pretty low volume level. Just high enough to be present in the two speakers. All I use them for is to get rid of that stationary thing which I don’t like about electric music, any electric music, that beady eye or speaker eye – the point source. And as long as there’s some kind of mix going out – I don’t know exactly what it is – that’s fine for me. So I just sort of keep things moving around. I mean, I try a lot of different things. I have sort of exercises for the feet.

HENRY KAISER: A GUITAR PLAYER WITH EXERCISES FOR THE FEET?

Derek Bailey: Well, you can get certain effects. When I say effects, I mean aural effects. Like there’s a way of playing fast single note things with a slow movement that has a certain type of effect that’s quite strange. It has an effect or it appears to have an effect on the movement. I mean, playing fast single note things and moving your feet very slowly is not very easy as regards your limbs. Physically, it’s a bit awkward, it’s difficult; to put it to a finer point, it’s fucking hard! And the opposite is difficult – that is, playing slowly and moving your feet quickly. As everyone knows, there’s a synchronicity between things. And it particularly comes out in instrumental playing.

There’s a guy – Curt Sachs – an old German musicologist, dead now, but he’s written some interesting stuff about ethnic music; he’s written some interesting stuff about everything really. And he locates two centers – he calls them mind centers, but they are two general centers for producing music. And one he associates with song – the voice, and the other he associates with dance which is instrumental music. And he makes this point, which I like very much, that instrumental music’s got nothing to do with song at all. I mean, there’s this big thing you hear about every instrument, like making the piano “sing” and the violin “sing.”

HENRY KAISER: TO TRY TO BE A VOICE.

Derek Bailey: That’s right. And one of the main objectives of a lot of instrumentalists is this voice-like music. And it’s considered a desirable thing to have this approximation of the voice. But he produces this argument that playing an instrument has absolutely nothing to do with the voice at all. It doesn’t use the same nerve centers, mind centers, whatever you like. He makes this point that it’s all associated with physical movement, the dance largely. And I like that very much. And you can hear it in free improvisation, though he’s talking largely about ethnic music. And he puts in this description about drummers; like most drummers, the way they play is dictated just by where the drum is. What do the feet do? The feet might not be making any sound at all, but the feet are going like mad when they’re playing. And possibly, depending on whether the ground is wet or whether it’s dry effects what they play on the drum. And I can see that entirely. And you can hear it.

In free improvisation, you get this purely physical – and I don’t just mean the sort of heavy German physical strength type thing, but like the nervous system taking over. Now, allying that sort of natural instrumental drive which is associated with the dance to a deliberate control of all four limbs in a particular way is a strange thing to do, you know; to not lose that feeling, that sort of “up there” feeling for about thirty minutes, the tenseness, committedness, that involvement, whatever it is – and yet still be trying to do something with absolute control. And I have one or two exercises for that type of thing which has to do with waggling feet and doing certain things on the instrument.

HENRY KAISER:
I WANTED TO ASK YOU ABOUT SOMETHING YOU SAID IN THE LLOYD GARBER INTERVIEW (IN GUITAR ENERGY, 1972) AROUND THE DISCUSSION OF NON-TONALITY. YOU SAID THAT IDEALLY IF YOU PLAYED TWO NOTES, THERE WOULDN’T BE ANY POINT OF CONNECTION, EXCEPT IN SO FAR AS THE NOTES FOLLOWED FROM EACH OTHER IN TIME. WHAT KIND OF INTELLECTUAL WAYS DO YOU TREAT THE GRAMMER OF WHAT YOU DO, THE CONTINUITY OF IT, THE LINEAR OR LONG MOVEMENT?

Derek Bailey: Well, I don’t think the grammar lies in the pitch.

HENRY KAISER:
DOES IT LIE IN MENTAL ASSOCIATIONS OF DIFFERENT KINDS OF SOUNDS?

Derek Bailey: It lies in the sort of musician you are. It’s like everything you know about music or would like to know about it, and what you know about the instrument. I mean, some of it will be in the instrument, some of the structure, if you like.

HENRY KAISER:
HOW SO?

Derek Bailey: It’s to do with this instrumental impulse we were talking about, Curt Sachs’ instrumental impulse, that if you’re playing an instrument in a certain way that’s got a physical side to the playing of it – that is, it’s not just two wires plugged into your brain, there’s a whole physique about it, you use both feet, both hands – then many times there are going to be occasions where there are physical continuity things. They’re all variables, of course. But if you play two notes, for example, in very quick succession, then probably you’re going to play the third note in quick succession; and that’s more than anything a physical thing. If you played the third note after a gap – if you play a sequence of notes with a very differentiated spatial relationship – then that’s probably less of an instrumental thing.

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Derek Bailey playing the big banjo | Maurice Horsthuis | Company Week, London 1978. Photo: Gérard Rouy

HENRY KAISER: WELL, IF YOU’RE GOING ALONG, AND YOU PLAY A LINE WHERE THERE ARE A LOT OF FAST NOTES, BUT ALL OF A SUDDEN YOU THINK A THOUGHT, AND YOU DECIDE THAT THIS TIME THE NEXT NOTE WON’T BE A FAST NOTE, THEN I’M WONDERING IF THERE’S SOME KIND OF PARALLEL TRACK RUNNING ALONG WHERE AN APPRECIATION OF THE MUSIC MAKES YOU DECIDE, “WELL, THIS TIME I WON’T DO THAT,” OR “I’LL DO THIS ABOUT FOUR TIMES?” THIS IS NOT A PURE MOTIVE THING, BUT I’M WONDERING WHAT KIND OF INTELLECTUAL RELATIONSHIP EXISTS?

Derek Bailey: Does anybody play like that? What you are asking for, I think, is a definition of improvisation. I don’t know one. Decision making for the improviser comes, I suppose, out of a joint meeting that takes place at the time of performance between his musician ship, his memory, his intuition, his relationship with the instrument, his intellect, his outellect, his undellect, and about 1,000,000 other things as well. (Did I mention the pills?)

I find it very difficult to think of a situation where everything you play is decided intellectually, in a conscious way. But it plays its part. Its influence might melt in all the time. And I would think that when you’re playing badly, it plays a very strong part. It really surfaces. But you can work on that sort of thing. You can work on those situations where nothing’s happening – employing a technique, for example, where you alter the degree of control you have over the technique; introduce an aleatoric element.

A device I use sometimes is to play something quite nothing – sloppy would be a good word – then try to figure out what it was. So then you slow it down a bit and try to look at what it would have sounded like if you had played it properly. It’s deliberately very indeterminate. There are also certain things I find very difficult to control, like some of the noisy things. I don’t know exactly what they’re going to sound like when I play them. A little trick I’ve been working on lately is sliding the pick on the side of the string, which can produce a high scream. It may not work at all, and the pitch is totally unpredictable. And there are quite a lot of things like that where you can’t tell exactly what the result is going to be. So you can move into those things. I prefer them to silence. Anyway, I believe Cage has a copyright on silence.

HENRY KAISER: DO YOU TEND TO TAKE SOME SPECIFIC KIND 0F ALEATORIC TECHNIQUE AND THEN GO INTO SOMETHING LIKE THAT?

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Derek Bailey: No, not specifically. I just think it’s part of the technique. I would expect to have it in the technique, anyway. I mean, usually I get suspicious of things you can do best. When you can do something really well, that’s when it gets more or less no good to you. Because you know exactly what’s going to happen the moment you start it. You’re just going to do it. And there are some things I’ve never gotten the hang of and those are the things I quite like. I’ve been playing them for years, and I’ve never had complete control. I mean, I know exactly what’s happening. But I couldn’t produce the same thing twice doing these things. As soon as I can, I’ll stop playing them. But some things, I know what’s going on all the time. They’re patterns really. I may as well be playing licks. But they’re useful in that they form the basis of the language and you can get some impetus going from them. You can keep the thing moving along like that. But it’s in other areas where the music can carry on, where you can be in it. Those are the areas where the work is – unless you’re going to be an improviser in the pure sense and never get the instrument out of the case except when you go on the gig. I have another guitar I do that with.

HENRY KAISER: DO YOU HAVE CONSCIOUS PLANS TO STAY WITH THE INSTRUMENT AND TO STAY WITH THIS INDEFINITELY ON INTO THE FUTURE? DO YOU HAVE ANY GOALS YOU’RE WORKING TOWARDS?

Derek Bailey: I don’t have any plans to give up. I retired, though, a long time ago. I used to be a commercial musician – for ten years. That’s when I retired. I retired out of an interest in music.


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Moe! Staiano/Moe!kestra! May, 25 2007. The Lab. MOE!KESTA! 10th Anniversary Show. 2948 16th Street @ Capp Street, San Francisco, California.

Moe! Staiano’s Moe!kestra! will celebrate 10 years of orchestrated cacophony with performances of Piece No.1: Death Of A Piano and the new composition, Piece No.9: When Terrie Had Six, based off of conducted improvisational notated performances from 2006 and music from the Ex. A before-show discussion/Q&A with Moe! Staiano will talk about the history and nature of Moe!kestra!. Presented by KFJC. Sponsered by 21 Grand.

The show will also celebrate a new CD release of the Moe!kestra! with “Two Rooms of Uranium in 83 Markers“, an album of two performances that features Ches Smith, Marika Hughes, Carla Kihlstedt, George Cremaschi, John Shiurba, Scott Rosenberg, Myles Boisen among countless other musicians. Copies, along with the two other Moe!kestra! releases as well as T-Shirts, will be available for purchase.

Musicians for this show will include: Alan Anzalone – Clarinet, Chris Broderick – Clarinet, Alicia Byer – Clarinet, Michael Cooke – Clarinet, Michael J. Dale – Clarinet, Phillip Greenlief – Clarinet, Michael Zelner – Clarinet, Aaron Novik – Bass Clarinet, Dan Plonsey – Bass Clarinet, Scott Rosenberg – Bass Clarinet, Craig Demel – Violin, Angela Hsu – Violin, Dina Maccabee – Violin, Hillary Overberg – Violin, Emily Packard – Violin, Jonathan Segel – Violin, Tara Flandreau – Viola, Charith Premawardhana – Viola, Theresa Wong – Cello, George Cremaschi – Contrabass, Damon Smith – Electric Contrabass, Marianne McDonald – Harp, Kristian Aspelin – Guitar, Michael de la Cuesta – Guitar, Scott Evans – Guitar, Jay Korber – Guitar, Ava Mendoza – Guitar, Pat Moran – Guitar, Bill Wolter – Guitar, Alex Yeung – Guitar, Vicky Grossi – Bass, David B. C. Leikam – Bass, Allen Whitman – Bass, Thomas Dimuzio – Electronics, Travis Johns – Electronics, Norman Teale – Electronics, Jon Brumit – Drums, John Hanes – Drums, Jacob Felix Heule – Drums, Sarah Lockhart – Drums, Sheila Bosco – Drums, Thomas Scandura – Drums, Nathan Hubbard – Percussion, Suki O’Kane – Percussion, Kevin Wiseman – Percussion, Michael Cooke – Saxophone, Phillip Greenlief – Saxophone, Henry Kuntz – Saxophone, Tim Perkis – Saxophone, Jon Raskin – Saxophone, Rent Romus – Saxophone, Jen Baker – Trombone, Loren Means – Trombone, Liam Staskawicz – Trombone, Matt Davignon – Drum machine, Robert Silverman – Theremin.

Hope to see you there! Pass this along and bring eye and ear protection!

Moe! Staiano | 209-814-2524 | moestaiano1 at yahoo.com | moestaiano.com | moestaianomoekestra at myspace

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Moe! Staiano is a percussionist who usually uses found objects, but has moved to doing drumming on found objects on his trap set (i.e. prepared percussion). Moe! (yes, he includes the exclaimation mark in his name) has experimented through the years though solo percussion using pipes, food pans, pressure caps, sheet metals, nick-nacks & other stuff that has been found, given or stolen (mainly from Pizza Hut when he worked there including a nifty Spatula that he bows). One can expect to see Moe!’s show as a visual eye pleaser: running around throwing pipes on concrete, walking on pans with his feet to mute sounds or running amok, throwing his body into old cassette tapes or two dozen cymbals in any given performance. His shows can sometimes expect a big mess in one fashion or another (which he replies that the aftermath of his performances represents his life) with implements of mixers & vibrators on objects spewed throughout the set. He’s been a good boy cleaning up after himself, too. He has two CD’s out of his solo/collaborative recordings. The second CD, “The Lateness of Yearly Presentations” was released in 2002 on his micro-label Dephine Knormal Musik, a release split with a French label, Amanita Records. The first solo CD The Non-Study of First Impressions, is now out of print. He finished recording and mixing a third solo CD due next year, entitled The Absolute Tradition of No Traditions and will be released through Psychform Records.

He’s collaborated with many musicians including Ron Anderson (the Molecules, RonRuins, PAK), Tom Nunn, David Slusser, Karen Stackpole, Ches Smith, Michael Evans (God Is My Co-Pilot), Caroline Kraabel & John Edwards (Shock Exchange), Gino Robair, William Hooker, and has performed with all these plus Henry Kaiser, Mark Growden’s Electric Pinata, Amy Denio, Cheer-Accident, sfSoundGroup, Ettrick among others. He occasional does a duo with Vicky Grossi called Duo Referal and plays with Thomas Dimuzio and Kanoko Nishi called KaMoTo Trio.

Formaly, Moe! was a member of two important bands: Vacuum Tree Head (formerly doing metal percussion and then playing trap set) and with Sleepytime Gorilla Museum (doing THE metal percussion), a band that consist of Carla Kihlsteadt, Nils Frykdahl, Dan Rathbun (all from Charming Hostess, two from Idiot Flesh) and Mathias Bossi. Sleepytime Gorilla Museum has one release on Seeland (Negativland’s label) and a live CD on Sickroom Records from Chicago as well as a second studio album out on Web of Mimicry, Of Natural History. Many of the members, including Moe!, collaborates with the butoh dancer Shinichi Momo Koga under that company name Inkboat & have performed around Seattle, Mendocino & San Francisco. Moe! has formed a new band called Mute Socialite with guitarist Ava Mendoza and bassist Alee Karim and are currently looking for a second drummer, a trumpet player and someone who can sing very well. Performances with this band will soon follow.

Moreover, he does text/graphic scores for a collective ensemble for what he calls MOE!KESTRA!, which employs many musicians, well at least between 15-45 players (and sometimes more, sometimes less than those numbers), and play scores Moe! has written including a piece for destroying a piano (Piece No.1: Death of a Piano), sex toys (Piece No.2: Death by Dildo; which once got sponsored by Good Vibrations…seriously) among four other pieces that have been performed though 1997-2005 (seven pieces in all; about 40 performances & counting). Fellow employees has included ROVA’s Bruce Ackley, George Cremaschi, Michael de la Cuesta, Cheryl Leonard, Matt Ingals, Fred Frith, William Winant, John Shiurba, Bill Horvitz, Tom Yoder, Aaron Bennett, Dan Plonsey, Garth Powell, Peter Valsamis, Kris Force (Amber Asylum), Jonas Muller, Adam Lane, Matthew Sperry, Jonathan Segel (Camper Van Beethoven), Tony Maimone (Pere Ubu, They Might Be Giants), Michael Evans (God Is My Co-Pilot), Sean Meehan, Shelley Burgon, Danny Tunick (Guvner), David First, all past and present members of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum among many other musicians. In 1999, he wrote & conducted a piece written for the Seattle ensemble, the Degenerate Art Ensemble, entitled “Piece No.6: And They Swore They All Slept Soundly“, which was also performed by the Moe!kestra!. The debut disc of Moe!kestra! was released in June of 2003 of two conducted improvisations entitled “Two Forms of Multitudes: Conducted Improvisations“. He’s currently planning on releasing more Moe!kestra! material in the near future and hope’s to write more in the near future. One piece entitled “Piece No.7: An Inescapable Siren Within Earshot Of Hearing Distance Therein And Other Whereabouts”, was written for guitars (played with all low E-strings played with a coiled implement), strings, percussion, u-bolts, wine glasses and sirens. A recording of that piece along with another large orchestra piece is now out and available on CD through Rastascan Records/Amanita Records. He completed a piece that was performed at the San Francisco International Arts Festival called Piece No.8 for strings, percussion and prepared guitar last year. May of 2007 will mark the 10th anniversary of Moe!kestra! and is planning on performances in Portland and San Francisco (and maybe Seattle) with a massive 100-piece (give or take, of course) ensemble with a new composition as well as performances of Death of A Piano. Any inquireries for spaces and musicians are welcomed.

Moe! has still not yet gone through any music theory.

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Download “Seven Days Of Falling” (mp3) Download “Did They Ever Tell Cousteau?” (mp3) Download “O.D.R.I.P.” (mp3)

from “Seven Days Of Falling”
by Esbjörn Svensson Trio Label: 215 Music

more on Esbjörn Svensson Trio here…


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Download “Tide Of Trepidation” (mp3) Download “The Well-Wisher” (mp3) Download “The Unstable Table & The Infamous Fable” (mp3)

from “Viaticum”
by Esbjörn Svensson Trio Label: 215 Music

more on Esbjörn Svensson Trio here…


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Download “Subterranean-Phil-Holy-Feast-Of-All” (mp3)

from “Live Upstairs at Nick’s”
by New Ghost Label: ESP Disk

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Download “Skønne fru Beatriz” (mp3)

from “Else Paaske. A Portrait: Live and Studio Recordings 1967-1983″
by Else Paaske Label: Danacord Records

The Danish mezzo-soprano, Else Paaske, has had a long and distinguished career as a concert-singer. Her work as a Lieder-singer was important but she was also a noted oratorio singer. Else Paaske is the owner of one of the richest well-schooled voices of the last decades but also as an expressive and penetrating interpreter. Her voice is a true mezzo-soprano which could never be mistaken for a soprano with limited upper range but more contralto-ish. It’s a beautiful rich voice with a perfectly controlled characteristic vibrato. It is used with great sensitivity to the varied requirements of the various songs, and she can be chillingly dramatic with an almost visible intensity.


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Download “Tosca, Act I, Duet (1964)” (mp3)

from “Lone Koppel Live & Studio Recordings 1963-86″
by Lone Koppel Label: Danacord Records

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Download “A Burlesque And A Tarantella” (mp3) Download “Russian Recap” (mp3)

from “Rave”
Andrew Violette Label: Innova Recordings

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Download “Tweety” (mp3) Download “Airline” (mp3)

from “Powder”
by Drew Krause Label: Innova Recordings

Drew Krause has written over 50 works for instrumental and electronic media. His music is published by Frog Peak and has been recorded by Innova, New Ariel, Frog Peak, and Bonk Records. He has received grants from Harvestworks, The MacDowell Colony, The Wurlitzer Foundation, and Meet the Composer, and residencies at Stanford University and Brooklyn College. A composition graduate of Juilliard (MM) and the University of Illinois (DMA), his principal teachers were Herbert Brun, Salvatore Martirano, Vincent Persichetti, Bernard Rands, and Stuart Smith.

drewdesk-bw.jpgDr. Krause has conducted works by Boulez, Xenakis, Braxton, Varese, Webern, Stravinsky, and others. He has performed the piano music of Cage, Messiaen, Finnissy, Lachenmann, Stockhausen, Feldman, Andriessen, Kagel and numerous European modernists; dozens of commissioned works, and collaborations encompassing music theatre, improvisation, and live electronics with the Thump Piano Duo, the Performer’s Workshop Ensemble, and many others. From 1988 through 1995 he led seminars in computer music and experimental composition at the University of Illinois. He has served as resident pianist for the Bonk, ThreeTwo, New Music Miami, and SubTropics festivals, and was musical director of FUNMusic in Urbana from 1993 to 1996. Performances include Roulette, Diapason Gallery, International Computer Music Conference, SCI National Conference, FOCUS!, and Ought-One festival. Active as a composer and pianist of contemporary music, he lives and works in New York City.

more on Drew Krause here…


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Download “Sonata in C, Op. 65″ (mp3) Download “Moderato” (mp3)

from “Britten, Schnittke & Shostakovich”
by Wilhelmina Smith Label: Arabesque Recordings

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Download “Frühlingstraum” (mp3)

from “Lotte Lehmann: A Sung & Spoken Tribute”
by Christoph Prégardien Label: Arabesque Recordings

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Download “equal grace” (mp3) Download “yellow are crowds of flowers, ii” (mp3)

from “Be Bread – The Image of Your Body”
by Myra Melford Label: Cryptogramophone

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Download “Scrape” (mp3) Download “Dramaturns” (mp3)

from “Streaming”
by Muhal Richard Abrams / George Lewis / Roscoe Mitchell Label: Pi Recordings

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Download “Double Jeux” (mp3) Download “Liege” (mp3) Download “Broken Promises” (mp3)

from “Aerials”
by François Houle Label: Drip Audio

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Download “From Empty Came” (mp3) Download “The Clown Of War,” (mp3)

from “Poor Stop Killing Poor”
by Thollem Mcdonas Label: Edgetone Records

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Download “Night Dance” (mp3)

from “Night Dance”
by Jimmy Giuffre Label: Candid Productions

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Download “02′-15′” (mp3)

from “Stockhausen – MANTRA”
by Karlheinz Stockhausen Label: New Albion Records

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Download “Reminds Me” (mp3)

from “Movement, Turns & Switches”
by The Oliver Lake String Project Label: Passin Thru

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Download “Cloth Two” (mp3) Download “Creole Talkin’” (mp3)

from “Cloth”
by Oliver Lake Big Band Label: Passin Thru

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Download “Breathe Of Life” (mp3)

from “Matador Of 1st & 1st”
by Oliver Lake Label: Passin Thru

more on Oliver Lake here…


john-rogers-portrait1.jpgan interview with John Rogers…

metropolis | When did you start documenting the jazz/improvising scene as a photographer ?

John Rogers | I started documenting the Jazz scene in N.Y.C around 2000, but i didn’t move here until 2003. I would come up for a few months in the summer from Tennessee and go to a lot of shows. It was around this time that I first met and became friends with William Parker, Matthew Shipp, Roy Campbell, Daniel Carter and Marion Brown amongst many others. I didn’t really get serious about it until 2003-2004; that’s when I started sharing my photos at first with friends and then in the media.

metropolis | Is this a part of your profession? What is your profession anyway?

John Rogers | Photography is a part of my income. I would like it to be more of a part of my income, but these things take time I suppose. I’m also a full time baker at Amy’s Bread which is one of the more high end bakeries on the east coast; if not the whole country.

metropolis | Who is using your photographs? Why you are giving them away for free?

John Rogers | All About Jazz N.Y.C published my work as does a small magazine called Beyond Race. I have done a few CD album covers in the last year as well as promo shots for musicians. I’m not of the mindset to just give my stuff away free, so I can’t say that I’m doing that. However, it is like a catch 22 because everyone wants your stuff for free and you have to get started somehow. What I am doing is putting photos on Flickr and the web to share in the joy of music with other like minded people.

metropolis | Are you a musician as well?

John Rogers | I was a bass player for about 14 years and I led a large Big Band in Nashville Tennessee called the Transcendental Crayon Ensemble. However, when I moved to N.Y.C the cats here made me not wanna play since they were so good. So that’s another reason I got into photography is, because it made me feel like I was part of the music. Photography also made me feel like I was doing something creative and artistic with my mind.

metropolis | You are a N.Y.C native? And what does this city means for you?

John Rogers | I’m not a N.Y.C native. I was born in Nashville and lived there till I was 12 years old. I went to Military School in Southern-Alabama, boarding school in Southern-Tennessee and spent a few years travelling the country. I eventually went back to Nashville, but my heart was always in N.Y.C. The city right now to me; to be honest, is pretty fucked up. The police basically have created a Police-State, where even the most basic things like riding a bike can get you beat up and arrested.

Manhattan has basically turned into a damn shopping mall and anything with character has or will be forced out because it’s sky-rocketing rent prices. In the last few weeks 4 small music venues have been closed due to this problem. However I take it in stride, N.Y.C has so much history rooted in music and even when it sucks here it’s still better then other places. I just hope that all the politicians who only see $$ will not be able to succeed in turning the city into a suburbia-nightmare.

metropolis | Besides taking photographs what are you doing else in your free-time ?

John Rogers | In my free time I’m a year round bicycle rider. I participate in races, workshops and group rides. I enjoy reading and watching good movies usually on the smaller non Hollywood screens. I enjoy good food and have recently gotten into the wonders of Chinese cooking.

metropolis |
Any future plans ? Dreams ?

John Rogers | I have been really lucky to make friends with almost all of musical heroes since moving here and that was a big dream of mine. For me you see I’m living my dreams its all about staying above water and not crashing the dream. N.Y.C is a really hard place to live, you really have to WANT to be here because many things will happen to make you want to leave. However only here could I have say become friends with Ornette Coleman or Frank Wess. My dreams now include one day photographing for the New York Times or some other sort of major publication, getting out of debt, and being able to not worry about being broke.

John Roger’s web page with more than 1.900 great images. A must see.


daniel_blinkhorn_jpeg_pictu1.jpgDaniel is a composer and digital media artist who was born in the Blue Mountains, just west of Sydney. He studied composition as well as music education at a number of universities including the University of New England, University of Griffith, University of Wollongong and the Australian Institute of Music and has a BMus (Hons), MMus and a MA(R)…

Daniel began lecturing in composition at the Australian Institute of Music in 1999, then, in 2004 as a lecturer in composition in the faculty of creative arts at the University of Wollongong…Further to his preoccupation with acousmatic, electroacoustic and audiovisual works, Daniel has written, performed and produced music in a variety of styles including music for film and television, music for jazz and rock ensembles, and electronic music…

Some of the international events Daniel’s work has been performed and exhibited at include:

ICMC, ACMC, FEMF15, Diffusion 2006, Biennale Music en Scene (GRAME), Unruly Music: Peck School of the Arts, BEAF, International Symposium of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology, Empirical Soundings, InsideOut, Full Sail, Spark, Mantis: South-North with his works for video exhibited at: Festival Internacional de Vídeo y Artes Digitales, Spain, Cologne OFF II, Cologne, PI5 Video Festival – National Museum Szczecin/ Poland, 2nd Digital Art Festival, Rosario/Argentina, 8th CHROMA, Festival de Arte Audiovisual, Mexico, Victory Media Arts, Dallas, Carnival of e creativity and change and the IPFF…

In 2006 he was awarded 2nd prize at the diffusion 2006 international Electroacoustic composition competition, a joint award from the Centre for CMCM and RTE Lyric FM, Ireland

He was an artist in residence at the ‘Atlantic Centre for the Arts’- New Smyrna Beach, Florida. One of his works was selected as part of the Australian National Selection for inclusion at the ISCM-ACL, World Music Days Hong Kong, 2007. Two of his works were both preselected at the 33e Concours Internationaux de Musique et d’Art Sonore Electroacoustiques de Bourges…

And he received an honourable mention at the XXV Concorso Internazionale di Composizione Originale per Banda, Italia…

Daniel’s music has been published on a number of CD’s, including the ACMA 07 CD, ACMC 06 Conference Concert CD, Quiet Design Records ‘Resonance – Steel Pan in the 21st Century’ Compilation CD, Incidental Amplifications CD and Liquid Architecture 05 CD… As well as lecturing and composing Daniel is currently completing a Doctorate at the University of Wollongong…

Daniel also owns a restaurant called Red Squirrel in the seaside suburb of Coogee, in Sydney, Australia…When in Sydney you’re always welcome…(forgive the shameless promo…!)

please visit Daniel Blinkhorn’s book of sand web page with more samples. This page was designed by Leonardo Solaas from Argentina and Metropolis highly recommend a visit as well.

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descent with modification

The title of the work refers to adaptive radiation, a term indicating the rapid evolution of a single ancestral organism into numerous other organisms that are each adaptively specialized to occupy particular environmental conditions…

A duality exists in the piece at the intersection of the figurative, where transitory images of sonic miscellany coalesce, and the literal, where the sound transformations function as distilled narrative, combining the physical and gestural characteristics of performance into a series of primal soundscapes, all of which depict the adaptation from one ecological niche to another…

Through transformations applied to recordings of physical gestures generating fret squeaks and clicks on the classical guitar, I have sought to create a work that, on the one hand captures the torque click of the machine head, the buzz of wound strings on brass frets, droplets of sweat on the tips of fingers and the squeal and chirp of friction, whilst simultaneously occupying a larger framework encompassing ecological diversity; from the single sound to a rapid divergence of highly specialized sonic environments, as in descent with modification…

Daniel Blinkhorn, 2007


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Download “In Deep” (mp3) Download “Blues Sea” (mp3) Download “A Delicate Balance” (mp3)

from “In Deep End Dance”
by Julian Priester Label: Conduit Records

more on Julian Priester here…


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Download “The Ministry Of Truth” (mp3 Download “Airstrip One”
from “The Coalition Of The Willing”
(mp3)

by Bobby Previte Label: Ropeadope Records

more on Bobby Previte here:


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Download “Piru” (mp3) Download “Miles Star in 3 parts: I-II) Star/Seed, III) Blue Fire” (mp3)

from “The Year of the Elephant”
by Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet Label: Pi Recordings

more on Wadada Leo Smith here:


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Download “Composition No.165″ (mp3)

from “Composition No.165 [For 18 Instruments]”
by Anthony Braxton Label: New Albion Records

more on Anthony Braxton here:


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Download “138A ballade” (mp3)
from “19 [Solo] Compositions, 1988″

by Anthony Braxton Label : New Albion Records

more on Anthony Braxton here:


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Download “Berlin Erfahrung” (mp3) Download “Ism Schism” (mp3)

from “And Now…”
by The Revolutionary Ensemble Label: Pi Recordings

more on The Revolutionary Ensemble here:


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Steve Dalachinsky | Photo: Peter Gannushkin

Cecil Tayor – Derek Bailey Duo @ Tonic 5/3/00

as if he were playing the music on his skin

hair tangled wire

case made orange in black orbit of choices

sympathetic cord red i cu lous in conjunction with dynamic

snap the
way wrists refuse to bend
as if my ears were the changes addressed

don’t make up what’s right in front of you hot mustard
salad
BITTER chorus’ soured candy broken
heart
not yet thru the sketches & the scribe’s already in my BLOOD

feet of buzzards waiting in head
pounding eyes
saying Come to Me come TO mE (wish i had
a camera

that could make people real)

tripping over organic step
having less choice than will/string allows incarnate
rooted in bulb
keep “I” out of
rational choices
because museums allow such a thing

as if played the mass
your pockets full o’ theories
the basic combination of movements
the eventual ride home
sealed walls unhinged

if i never saw that face again
i would blessit take the juice away (improvise within
the vocabulary
& fleece the sadly rumor of
the particular language
but the time for invention is never gone
you are speaking)
& thrives it like an old tongue
thru an intricate series of bailed canals

it’s a basin in here a self-created cistern of dark
was L i gh t once
a bowl of delectable condiments
even now with temperaments awash & the whole meal sampled
for FREE.

steve dalachinksy nyc @ tonic 5/3/00


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Steve Dalachinsky | Photo: Peter Gannushkin

cecil taylor trio @ castle clinton 7/29/04 ( for (e) shadow )

tell this dy /// nam is mos
useless blues & pinks
in mentus
this is daylight when we most need it when
there is no day left
this is river in a shadow
shadow against an even/ing when
tree become sky

no mental can the shadows stay this silent for so long
the bricks that never saw the war they fought for

it is a yellow in the eye
useless magenta that crosses our lives

the sun is behind me the sun
it heats my neck
dy na mis mos contrarios
one
immigrant says to another
i passed thru here
(too)

vialavitsef feast & live
tale tail’s tale to taste
aventus creatus
rowldtercompat

the act of natural act of………………
i’ve come thru here too
the shadows never move
the trees & sky are one
glass & stone
& steel a blding make
fingers make things happen
one immigrant says to another
glass stone & steel
are the building blocks of this world

trader trapped inside the gullum
is a wink the paper asleep
i crumble
in uniform your day begins
like this: shadows never move
sun behind your back
useless magenta
bricks that tell a tale
fingers make things happen

running spotlights cannot function before the nite arrives
it is really not the clock that determines transition
that crosses our lives
one immigrant says to another
it is when the sun crosses our backs like a river
a festival a world -

sonic tellin panic
when the light that was created
becomes the light that was invented
a bet earned a wise trade a gorge traversed

2( money is the (M) angle
we will not be fed by sunlight a loan
even now as evening turns snurt the concessions
no time for this/that it’s obligat(o)ion
0bli / Gate
it’s now dark it feels

one immigrant says to another

feel my neck it passed this way
this is no joke
privitize my sacrament it’s cool now hands on it’s cool now
the useless magenta adds to the piano’s song
this world was built by hands
tree & sky no longer touch
the shadows have become a river
that does not flow
brick is what i call your face
i remain attached to my allegiance
tea is a drink for two (3)
this shifting desire is a wedge
between the clock & the hrs
clamusin tourista raditsula bo ard

such useless appendages these hands against the unmanacled day.

steve dalachinsky nyc


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Steve Dalachinsky | Photo: Peter Gannushkin

Braxton Twelvetet plus One ( live @ the Iridium )

set 1 | 3/16/06

hr.glass tippedspills/each grain repeatedly
(like kandinsky connecting to schoenberg)
to A/B connecting to self

60/this will spill good-wined & changing toward

set 2 | 3/19/06

(smoke..am happy if she is with me
we will one day duo in some setting of)

….hr.glass no / slag
learning of salty sand / lags salger out
der way acalls right dat seeps thru shirts
saw ya trickle in der mittle range
fluid avians prickle down whadoo
landwholes for ifin not fer fillin in
retawd in da lineseems not to be movin
even as it spills time
from one dropped glass t’nother
kicked grains stained white with bleach
frickle faster ‘n smattrin
stutter the vast & crimpled spans
glance dance prancen’ in a clickle
cyclical cabbin thru stawdinary hites
shaker spit & spillin ~~~~~~~~ “ ~
~ .’{[ ….///// ~~~~~
~~~~ ~ ~ ~“`~~ “~~~~` `~~~~`~~ ~ ~ / ./?
ton o rabx refrax a circle quickle n’ splats

steve dalachinsky nyc


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Steve Dalachinsky | Photo: Peter Gannushkin

ct in absentia < elvin jones tribute @ blue note

until recently
cecil would play only on a
bo send or fer sob for
tonite one awaited him sub for
re fer
but he was a no/show send for
dense
money /fend
bend/er
was whispered
into
an ear
we see that it did not mean a thing
into the air it whispered
but for the drummer we must keep playing
the blues
send for
option
on slaught ex act i tude re act off
ad
re
con verse serve multiples
lost swing
wings
boast
here the or lost not surely just freedom speaks
theory terror
bus end or refer to
file
away boost
dogyouham good only
while supply lasts.

steve dalachinsky nyc 6/04


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Steve Dalachinsky | Photo: John Rogers


cecil taylor @ iridium set 2 10/26/06

i am faithful to the music
museful faith
girth of muse in domini
onimo
domini onimo ragus
sargu lumzala lamzu -
i will be here for the music
inminodomgaru
wazoo walla clazzyjub ridum
d’irepump jitters yubkin
tingue-talin here
here here for the music here

dalachinsky nyc, 2006


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Steve Dalachinsky | Photo: John Rogers

Bud Powell – for Yoshiko Otomo

ho ho keh kyo ho ho keh kyo ho ho keh kyo oh oh Yo shi ko
oh oh Yoshiko
– throat is gloved & we are so full of self-pity
taut urges diminished

nightingale singing outside your window ( oh oh Yo shi ko oh oh Yo shi ko )
followed unexpectedly i send you my twisted fear & young man’s love
strutting like a wild bird of desire in the dense rainy morning
& breaking down – stroked & diminished
( your appetite still full like your smile )
i kiss you gently on the lips & say goodbye
you chanson me with your tiny voice & utter Bud Powell
i kiss you again on the forehead – yup that Bud Powell is really sumthin -

you die on a beautiful spring morning
slight wind
scent of flowers in the air
one canary yellow sock on – the other off
there on the floor beside you in the kitchen where you had fallen
it is Mother’s Day
what is this strange gift you give us @ 9 a.m.? Ah Yoshiko
the talking doll that kept you company
sits on the kitchen table
mumbling unintelligibly in its funhouse voice -
i break with the room
pull away the table
& become that brilliant partner
soft stuffed lizard of a doll with its programmed emotions
i’m not allowed to eat bad food but i do
the day smells of perfume
the women break down then the men
i send you my slippers
my lonely selfish consciousness
strawberries
watermelon
pudding – french toast
& romantic french cinema
wrought iron roses – linked arms – & a kiss on the lips every day
soft pale lips – OH OH YO SHI KO OH OH YO SHI KO
a tear falls on my shoe – single voice clustered harmonies – ghost of a chance
there is a perfumed wind as you cross the channel
a slight mist hangs over the mountains
this one’s about grey hair i think
Bud Powell splashed quick & delicate around the kitchen
i missed your departure but saw you lying there breathless
a shy & breathless dignity that even death could not dismiss
a slight wind & i hand out tissues to everyone
as we weep a tear falls onto my shoe it is Mother’s Day
everything but death is in a language i don’t understand
but maybe death too
alright i’ll stop crying – a perfect gift for us all on this day of mothers

we all write our own stories
the emergency room is one legged bleeding fingers
teeming with LIFE
it’s Mother’s Day
did we push your innocent smile too hard?
Oh oh Yoshiko Oh oh Yo shi ko
i pick up your tiny sock & place it on the chair
push the table back into place
this time it was death that brought us here
not good food – scenery – or strong constitutions
those these are in abundance
clusters of notes fall
you must learn to live for others
if you’ve given up living for yourself
don’t wear red on red days
breathe Yoshiko breathe
this is a perfect gift you give us on this day of mothers
even the doctor must feel blessed

mist rising & exploded
wind exploded
tears falling exploded
smells exploding
your heart full just exploded

i touch your brow – break down
Bud Powell
i whisper
Bud Powell

mist rising from my eyes Ho oh Yoshiko Ho oh Yoshiko Ho oh Yoshiko

steve dalachinsky sasebo city japan 5/14/06


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Download “Hail We Now Sing Joy” (mp3) Download “Tech Ritter and the Megabytes” (mp3)

from “The Meeting”
by Art Ensemble of Chicago Label: Pi Recordings

more on The Art Ensemble of Chicago here…


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Download “Sirius Calling” (mp3) Download “Everyday’s A Perfect Day”
from “Sirius Calling”
(mp3)

by Art Ensemble of Chicago Label: Pi Recordings

more on The Art Ensemble of Chicago here…


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Download “Song for Charles” (mp3) Download “Big Red Peaches” (mp3) from “Non-Cognitive Aspects of the City”

by Art Ensemble of Chicago Label: Pi Recordings

more on The Art Ensemble of Chicago here…


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Download “By the Rivers of Babylon” (mp3)

from “Enclosure Two: Historic Speech-Music Recordings”


by Harry Partch Label: Innova Recordings


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Download “Revelation in The Courthouse Park After The Bacchae of Euripides” (mp3)

from “Enclosure 5″
by Harry Partch Label: Innova Recordings

more on Harry Partch here…


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Download “Heliocentric” (mp3) Download “Outer Nothingness” (mp3) Download “Other Worlds” (mp3)

from “Heliocentric Worlds Volumes 1 & 2″
by Sun Ra Label: ESP Disk

more on Sun Ra here…


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Download “Cell Walk For Celeste” (mp3)

from “Cell Walk For Celeste”
by Cecil Taylor Label: Candid Productions

more on Cecil Taylor here…


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Hi All, Just when you think your at the bottom of the ladder , there seems to be just one more wrung to go. How far down is down ? When or shall I say where does it end? All thats left to say is “they were expendable” . Not that this constitutes a reason, just a general attitude. The Maya, wrote their story on temple walls . Where should we leave our story for future generations to find and study ? Dominic Duval

Requiem for a Club: Saxophone and Sighs Written by NATE CHINEN Published: April 16, 2007 at NYTIMES

There was plenty of exuberant noise at Tonic on Friday night: shrieking horns, fuzzed-out guitars, the jackhammer thump of a bass drum. It could almost have passed for a typical night at the club: two sets of improvisation organized by the saxophonist John Zorn and an installment of the Bunker, a techno party hosted by Bryan Kasenic, a k a DJ Spinoza. But Friday was the final night at Tonic, a hub and hangout for avant- garde musicians, a constituency with few reliable resources. For them the club’s eviction, because of rent arrears, has hit hard. “It’s a disaster,” said Stephanie Stone, a concertgoer who has frequented Tonic since Mr. Zorn’s first event there nine years ago, a few months after the club opened. Back then Tonic was an outpost, situated on a stretch of Norfolk Street on the Lower East Side that might charitably have been described as rugged and obscure. Formerly a kosher winery, the space had attracted the attention of Melissa Caruso and John Scott, proprietors of Alt Coffee, a cyber cafe on Avenue A.

Together with the accordionist Ted Reichman they had been presenting experimental music at Alt Coffee regularly. Tonic was an entrepreneurial expansion, with costs cheap enough to support the risk. Now high-rise condominiums tower over the space on either side, an apt illustration of the squeeze of gentrification. In some respects it is surprising that Tonic survived as long as it did. Facing similar rent pressures, numerous clubs have shut down in recent months, notably CBGB and Sin-é. (Alt Coffee closed last week too.) “Our rent has doubled since we opened, and business has not doubled,” said Ms. Caruso, who is now married to Mr. Scott. “We’ve always struggled in that building,” she said. “Whether it’s flooding or a complete disaster with our plumbing system, it just seems that we’re hit with something every couple of years that’s a huge expense.”

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In the most recent setback Subtonic, the club’s basement lounge, was shut down by the city for permit violations. It was fitting that Mr. Zorn presided over Tonic’s swan song: his initial two-month stretch of programming in 1998 was what put the club on the map. His two sets on Friday night were a succession of ad hoc instrumental lineups. Some — like a trio consisting of the saxophonist Marty Ehrlich, the pianist Anthony Coleman and the drummer Gerry Hemingway — delivered the glorious dissonance of top- grade free jazz. Other performances were less idiomatic, but had a common denominator of tonal friction and dynamic variation. Among the dozens of artists in rotation were the keyboardist Annie Gosfield, the pianists Sylvie Courvoisier and Vijay Iyer, the clarinetists Ned Rothenberg and Chris Speed, and the guitarists Elliot Sharp and Marc Ribot.

All of them found a home in Tonic, to one degree or another, over the years. Of course so have many artists outside the orbit of improvised music. “You would be able to go to three different shows in a week and have three completely different musical experiences,” said Daniel Blumin, the former host of a popular WNYC radio show, who was standing outside the club with Drew Daniel of the experimental electronic duo Matmos. Mr. Daniel, who has performed at Tonic, agreed. “There would be pin- drop-silent things that were very sparse, and then raucous hellish stuff,” he said. “The only thing they really had in common was a commitment to a kind of integrity.” Along with Mr. Blumin, Mr. Daniel was waiting for DJ Spinoza’s shift, which stretched well into the morning hours. (On Friday the Bunker will set up shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, at the Luna Lounge, a club that was priced out of the Lower East Side two years ago.) The club’s increasing proportion of indie-rock and pop shows had alienated some musicians in recent years. “For the immediate community of players that I work with,” Mr. Reichman said on Friday afternoon, “this loss is reflecting a change that happened a while ago.”

Yet Mr. Reichman was quick to credit Tonic with being the only centralized haven for the avant-garde jazz and improvised-music crowd. “When the Knitting Factory went corporate rock, Tonic filled the void,” Mr. Speed said between Friday’s two sets. There are other sympathetic places in the city, he added, like Barbès and Issue Project Room in Brooklyn and the Stone in Manhattan, a nonprofit space opened by Mr. Zorn in 2005. But none have Tonic’s size (capacity 180) or the sociable environment sustained by Mr. Scott and Ms. Caruso, who took in Friday’s festivities with their one-month-old baby, Addison, in tow. The indignation surrounding the club’s closure was best illustrated by the demonstration held on Saturday at Tonic by an activist group called Take It to the Bridge, led in part by Mr. Ribot, the guitarist. Lasting from 11 a.m. till shortly before 5 p.m., it culminated in two brief arrests.

In an interview that morning Mr. Ribot said the purpose of the demonstration was not to save Tonic, but to expose the need for city financing for experimental music. “New music serves as research and development for a much larger music scene,” he said. “It has a cultural and economic weight beyond its immediate audience.” Moments later Mr. Ribot was playing a solo acoustic rendition of “Cold, Cold Heart,” as a worker on a ladder beside him wrestled with one of the club’s hanging speakers. During the afternoon a number of musicians took the stage, including Mr. Rothenberg, the pianist Matthew Shipp and the conductor Butch Morris. Patricia Nicholson, the founder of the Vision Festival, which will present several of Tonic’s previously scheduled shows this week in a neighborhood gallery (information at visionfestival.org), served as a de facto stage manager.

By 4:30 most of the club’s equipment had been carted out, and the room was empty of patrons. A smattering of police officers stood watch as Mr. Ribot played “The Nearness of You” (a wry dedication to the officers, perhaps). Then there was an announcement that any lingerers would be guilty of trespassing. “I wouldn’t say that we want to get arrested, but we will not leave,” Mr. Ribot replied. Along with Rebecca Moore, another Take It to the Bridge organizer, he was handcuffed and led outside to a squad car. Across the street a gathering of supporters let out a cheer. For more information please read and see also here.


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Artistically speaking, Norbert Stein has found a place in the sun: he is one of the happy few in German jazz to have created a sonically distinctive concept of his own. Whether or not the style called “Patamusic” hails from Alfred Jary’s “Pataphysik” (as Stein himself will jokingly concede), or from any other school, is immaterial. The name attached to sound-driven art is always arbitrary, a useful analogy upon which musical logic cannot be built.

Tags such as “hymn-melody” or “narrative melody” may do greater justice to the essence of the form, but sound long-winded and are no match for the pithy “Patamusic”. The same applies to the sound itself: Patamusic, played by a trio, as here in an octet, or by a big band, is instantly recognizable, unshakeable in its identity and never hampered by format.

A few years ago, in a quartet line-up, Norbert Stein brought the jazziest rendition of Patamusic to the provincial stage. Its studio production remains eagerly awaited. Which encourages me to go one further: Patamusic is Norbert Stein and Nobert Stein is Patamusic, if only because its repertory is out of bounds to its exponents, who are called upon to interpret, and not to compose. Patamusic stays the same, what changes is presentation, or, more plainly speaking, the line-up. “Liquid Bird”, for example, appears here for the fourth time since 1993, and still sounds different. “Monks” is here for the second time, leaving us wondering about the absence of the much-loved “Atonal Citizen”.

carnivalcd.jpgUnlike earlier productions, “Code Carnival” doesn’t drop anchor in an ethno-musical port, be it in Morocco, Bahia, Java, or anywhere else, but disembarks, as it were, onto Norbert Stein’s very own home turf in the realm called jazz. This isn’t about “jazz plus X”, too often revered to the point of dogma, but about the old set of rules which first inspired – an enterprise which many a musician would fail to pull off. Not so Norbert Stein, who unearths the strengths of variegated, jazz-influenced rhythms, starting from swing through to heavy rock eights and then free metre (although bass and drums could knit a bit tighter).

One of the big assets of the production are the solo qualities of the extended line-up – credit here goes to Thomas Heberer and Christopher Dell, and no less to the band leader, who displays Ayleresque panache.

“Code Carnival” starts and finishes with marches: the opening title track is a kind of jazz march, and “Just Brave in a Brain” the rock march finale – a punky 2-bar bass ostinato that carries the bass at 3:58 into triplet afro-feel, picking up the theme again later in binary beat. Norbert Stein clearly relishes the rhythmic modulations. The penultimate track, “Ballade von Zounds” is yet another 2-bar ostinato with a counterpoint theme which dissolves the metre and then dips back into a ternary groove, this time an uptempo swing, Norbert Stein dazzles us with the myriad possibilities of his system, and its constituent parts work together excellently. Even with a more reductive recipe, we cannot imagine a result less sparkling. Michael Rüsenberg

Norbert Stein Pata Generators – the compact orchestra – combines the wealth of colours and the density of a large band with the intimate expressiveness of a chamber music ensemble. The latest CD: “code carnival” Imaginative and powerfully rhythmic Pata compositions carve spaces for expressive solos and launch an adventure in contemporary music. A powerful ensemble in exciting time.

carnivalcd.jpgCode Carnival
Pata Music CD 17

Norbert Stein / tenorsaxophone, composition, Michael Heupel / flutes, Thomas Heberer / trumpet, Frank Gratkowski / clarinet, Matthias Muche / trombone, Christopher Dell / vibraphone, Achim Tang / double bass, Klaus Mages / drums.

Tracks: Code carnival – Raga vom einfachen Leben (Raga of an ordinary life) – Bersten in rot (Bursting in red) – Liquid bird – Monks – Frozen Kakadu – Sing a pure song – Sterntagebuecher (Star diaries) – Ballade von Zounds! und Pox! (Ballad of Zounds! and Pox!) – Just brave in a brain.

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PATA JAVA the CD documents the unique collaboration which evolved between Norbert Stein’s Pata Masters from Cologne and “Kua Etnika”, a group of Gamelan musicians from Yogyakarta, led by Djaduk Ferianto. PATA JAVA is a successful experiment in connecting different musical personalities, forms and sounds. In their head-on encounter, Pata Masters and Kua Etnika go beyond simply exchanging or synthesising forms to achieve innovative compositions in which two modes of musical expression meet and interact, sometimes exchanging roles, but always finding themselves again. This is a meeting of cultures which is immediate, intense and sincere.

The Pata Masters had already visited Indonesia in 2001 on the invitation of the Goethe Institute in Jakarta. It was during this visit that the idea of the German jazz ensemble working with the Gamelan musicians first came into being. On their second visit in October 2003, the Pata Masters and Kua Etnika worked together in Djaduk Ferianto’s studio for a fortnight, mainly playing in an open-air theatre on the edge of Yogyakarta city, a place which put them immediately in touch with the scenery and sounds of rural life in Java. This gave the creative background to the original and melodious compositions which inspired the 2500 concert-goers to “PATA JAVA on Tour” – the round of performances subsequently given in Yogyakarta, Bandung and Jakarta.

cdjava1.jpgThe Goethe institute is glad to have been able to bring the two composers – Norbert Stein and Djaduk Ferianto from Pata Masters and Kua Etnika – together, thereby facilitating PATA JAVA as a German-Indonesian co-production. Our thanks goes to all musicians who participated and to all who helped organize the workshop, concert tour and recordings in Jakarta. Warta Jazz from Jakarta was our key partner in logistics. The project was sponsored by DaimlerChrysler AG as part of “Culture in Motion”, a programme set up by the Goethe Institut in Jakarta for cultural cooperation in Asia. Without this generous support, PATA JAVA would not have been possible. Dr. Marla Stukenberg, Head of Cultural Programmes, Goethe Institute, Jakarta.

PATA JAVA (Pata 16) Norbert Stein PATA MASTERS meets Djaduk Ferianto KUA ETNIKA (Gamelan)

“… innovative compositions in which two modes of musical expression meet and interact, sometimes exchanging roles, but always finding themselves again.”

The Pata Masters are: Norbert Stein / tenor saxophone, Michael Heupel / flutes, sub-contra-bassflute, Klaus Mages / drums, Matthias von Welck / bass-slitdrums, deep mallets, Christoph Hillmann / electronics.

javacol_05.jpgThe Kua Etnika are: Djaduk Ferianto / Srompet, Kendang, vocal, Beduk, Klunthung, Kemanak, Ketipung, Krincing, Triangle, Shaker, Purwanto / Bonang, Klunthung, Calung, Rebana, Rebab, Kemanak, vocal, Suwarjiyo / Demung, Klunthung, Rebana, Demung, vocal, Suharjono / Saron, Klunthung, Calung, Rebana, Siter, vocal, Fredy Pardiman / Saron, Klunthung, Rebana, Rebab, vocal, Wardoyo / Peking, Krincing, Kendang, Rebana, Klunthung, vocal, Sukoco / Gender, Kendang, Calung, Ketipung, Beduk, Sony Suprapto / Kempul, Gong, Beduk, Rebana, vocal.

Tracks: Sing a pure song – Jiwa – Dialog – Speak yomm – Juzzla Juzzli – Code Carnival – Cublak Cublak Suweng – Sound theatre of Tukang Pijad – Wulang Sunu

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layersofsound.jpgGraffiti Suite – Norbert Stein Pata Music, played by NDR Bigband. A technique partially employed by Norbert Stein in his various hybrid productions, notably those with Brazilian bands and Indonesian Gamelan ensembles, is applied in Graffiti Suite in its purest form: graphic pata-compositions for improvising orchestra.

This new approach to Pata music, which uses elaborate graphic symbols to generate orchestral events and guide complex musical sequences, was developed by Stein in his many years of work with improvising ensembles.

graffitisuitecdcover.jpgCD 1: Franz Pataeng’s powerful sound sculptures at the opening of the Graffiti Suite are the first of many unconventional locations in this extraordinary musical excursion. A hailstorm of shattering chords crowns the end of the first movement and the dramatic culmination of the five-part suite is a torrent of pulsating jazz rhythms. In U.B.U. the melody soars up out of the dark-tone morass like a human utterance, and the masterly harmonics of the experienced horn players demonstrate their natural instinct for the sound of contemporary horn sections. A bubbling stream of modern jazz rhythms flows into dense blocks of collective improvisation which offer occasional glimpses of the musical oases which can be created by spontaneously formed ensembles.

The sequence of sound pictures in Music in 7 houses invites us to meditate on time, individuality, and the natural simultaneity of European and non-European aesthetics.

graffitisuitecdcover.jpgCD2: The mountain in Flocking birds is a slow, winding ascent between reverberating rock faces. In Birds´flight we experience the auditory transformation of a swarm of birds in flight. Machine People continues the musical box theme in a pleasantly relaxing groove. In their performance of the Graffiti Suite premiere, the NDR Bigband shows itself exceptionally open to the adventure of contemporary music. In Hot spots, Thai Chi and More, Norbert Stein guides the band away from instrumental music into the realm of music as the spoken word. In Purgatory of vowels, the choir is the vocal backdrop against which the instrumental solos can unfold.

Graffiti Suite is the eighteenth Pata Music release and cleverly combines the proficiency and potency of a big band with Norbert Stein’s trans-boundary innovativeness.
ndrbigband.jpgThe line up of the NDR Bigband for Graffiti Suite:

Thorsten Benkenstein, trumpet – Ingolf Burkhardt, trumpet – Claus Stoetter, trumpet - Michael Leuschner, trumpet – Philipp Kacza, trumpet – Fiete Felsch, alto saxophone, clarinet, recorder – Peter Bolte, alto saxophone, clarinet, flute – Christoph Lauer, tenor saxophone, flute – Lutz Buechner, tenor saxophon, clarinet, flute – Frank Delle, bariton saxophone, bassclarinet, flute – Markus Steinhauser, tenor saxophone – Gabriel Coburger, tenor saxophone – Dan Gottshall, trombone – Sebastian Hoffmann, trombone – Stefan Lottermann, trombone – Ingo Lahme, bass trombone, tuba – Christophe Schweizer, trombone – Stephan Diez, guitar – Lucas Lindholm, double bass – Vladyslav Sendecki, piano – Marcio Doctor, percussion – Mark Nauseef, drums – Norbert Stein, composition, conductor.

graffitisuitecdcover.jpgGraffiti Suite
Pata Music 2-CD set 18

Thorsten Benkenstein / trumpet, Ingolf Burkhardt / trumpet, Claus Stoetter / trumpet, Michael Leuschner / trumpet, Philipp Kacza, trumpet, Fiete Felsch / alto saxophone, clarinet, recorder, Peter Bolte / alto saxophone, clarinet, flute, Christoph Lauer / tenor saxophone, flute, Lutz Buechner / tenor saxophon, clarinet, flute, Frank Delle / bariton saxophone, bassclarinet, flute, Markus Steinhauser / tenor saxophone, Gabriel Coburger / tenor saxophone, Dan Gottshall / trombone, Sebastian Hoffmann / trombone, Stefan Lottermann / trombone, Ingo Lahme / bass trombone, tuba, Christophe Schweizer / trombone, Stephan Diez / guitar, Lucas Lindholm / double bass, Vladyslav Sendecki / piano, Marcio Doctor / percussion, Mark Nauseef / drums, Norbert Stein / composition, conductor.

CD1 tracks: Franz Pataeng (Part I to IV) – U.B.U. (No.w.here) – Music in 7 houses (First to Seventh house)
CD2 tracks: Flocking birds (The mountain/Purgatory of vowels/Birds´flight) – Hot spots, Tai Chi & More (Global positions/Machine people/Zigzag Aethernitas)

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The godfathers of noise

Nihilist Spasm Band

They’re the ones who started all this 37 years ago. And they continue to “make a noise”, in-different to tendencies, fashions and strategies. Take it or leave it, as the band like to say.

The Nihilist Spasm Band Members are: Hugh McIntyre (1936 – 2004), John Clement, John Boyle, Bill Exley, Murray Favro, Greg Curnoe (1936 – 1992) and Art Pratten.

Refusing even to be labelled as “nihilists” and “anarchists”, despite the name of the group and their attitude in relation to music itself and to the music establishment, the one and only Nihilist Spasm Band is the real nihilist/anarchist thing. It was them who invented the word “radical” to identify a specific approach to the sound world. Murray Favro, Art Pratten and John Boyle tells us how, and why…an interview by Rui Eduardo Paes

Rui Eduardo Paes | Nihilist Spasm Band seems to be part of the North-American maverick tradition. Even if your music isn’t similar, I can’t stop thinking about Harry Partch and Moondog when I hear your music. You were pioneers in the Sixties, and you’re the godfathers of a today’s complete musical reality, the one highlighted by Sonic Youth, Japanese noise hardcore, Borbetomagus, some electronica. And you’re still more radical, consistent and authentic than all of them. Do the band members accept this maverick condition and this pioneering spirit, still alive in the music you play today?

Murray Favro |- Yes, we see no other way to enjoy what we do without being mavericks.

Art Pratten | Collectively we were totally oblivious to what was and is going on in the music world. Some in the band neither listen to or have a contemporary music collection of records. In the beginning, most of us were aware of people like Cage, Tudor and Stockhausen, but it was rock music and free jazz that had the greatest influence on us. Not in the sense we wanted to be that, but because it pointed out that anything was possible. It just never occurred to us that we could not just acquire some things, make a noise and call ourselves a band.

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Hugh McIntyre ( 1936 - 2004 )

John Boyle | We certainly are mavericks in the sense that we were and are unwilling, and more importantly incapable of conforming to any musical tradition. I don’t think you can have a tradition of mavericks because each maverick is unique. Some of us, myself included, were aware of and appreciative of Partch and Moondog while being completely ignorant of or unappreciative of some of the others you name. We heard Borbetomagus first when we played with them. I think our unintended maverick condition has become central to our development. In fact, we can’t even accept our own conventions and we are constantly at war with ourselves and with each other, in an usually amiable way, to break down combinations and patterns that seem to be becoming too comfortable, repetitive or redundant.

Rui Eduardo Paes | Considering the name of the band, your attitude and your music, it’s seems clear to me that you have strong conceptual references – Nihilism, Anarchism perhaps, or at least anti-establishment convictions. In the text the band included in one of your records you tell that there isn’t much theory behind your work, but I suppose you always wanted to make a point, to make a statement, a political and cultural one. What can you tell me about that?

nsblogo.jpgMurray Favro | I have no references, I don’t give a shit about Nihilism, I hate to find out what Anarchism might be. I am myself, not a collection of ideas. I especially dislike tired ideas that can be looked up in books. I never wanted to make any statements, I just like to play in the band and do whatever I want. Some other members of the Spasm Band may think they are Nihilists, but they’re not the entire band. It is this very fact that we disagree about so much, but agree to play in five or six directions at once or perhaps cooperate at times. That is the secret to understanding what the band is about and why it has lasted so long with no leader and no planned direction. Our practices are not practices, they all are performances. These things make the Spasm Band one of a kind.

Art Pratten | The band has no statement to make and no message to share. We simply interact with each other. If people find that interesting and can make something out of it, that’s OK. If not, they should look elsewhere. We are a free standing event…take it or leave it. For me, Nihilism simple mean no law, rule, custom, practice or religion should go unquestioned. You are at liberty to say NO to any part or all of it but you have to be ready to deal with the consequences.

John Boyle | We were never serious about Nihilism in any historical and political way. What we wanted to destroy was conventional ways of thinking and performing. We chose to do this by utilizing ineptitude and disorganization to confront cultural expression in all of its forms in the face of the externally imposed culture in which we found ourselves living (Hollywood movies, Nashville music, New York books, plays, etc.). If we refused to follow or learn the established rules we would be forced to invent our own. We seek, I think, originality outside of rather than from within any conventions.

Rui Eduardo Paes | The “Chicago Reader” used in 1999 the expression “creative art terrorism” to describe your work. That’s what you’re doing?

Murray Favro | No!

unique.jpgArt Pratten | This is an external and intellectual observation and I have no problem with this. As I stated before, if you do something you have to accept the consequences and the consequences are other people interpreting your endeavours. For me it is simple… nearly 40 years ago, some people who were already friends thought it would be fun to make a noise together and call ourselves a band and we did. There was no one to say we could not… so we did. It continued to be fun, so nearly 40 years later we continue to make a noise.

John Boyle | We’re not terrorists, artistic or otherwise, because we do not intend to harm or destroy anybody’s art methodology but our own. Being mavericks, we are not evangelistic. Other people should not feel threatened because what we do is not in their tradition.

Rui Eduardo Paes | You’re being labelled a free/noise rock band, but your main inspiration come from the blues “spasm” bands of the beginning of the 20th century in the South of the United States. It’s blues what you play? And tell me: when you started to play this music were you conscious ot the world’s ethnic trance musics (I ask this because your music is kind of a tribal, ritual thing)? Was/is free jazz an influence?

Murray Favro | Hugh McIntyre likes the things you mentioned, but they are of no influence on him or us. And if they were I would screw up the sound because I do not like blues. I find it depressing. Our music is not tribal. Perhaps Bill Exley once did something at one time that reminded you of tribal. I do not like jazz. We start with noise and no structure and patterns may or may not form from the noise. I like to think there must be some link to physics like Chaos Theory and that the younger people now have grown up with these new concepts and new ways of looking at things much like we happened to recognize and anticipate before it was formalized and a part of everyday thinking. I see jazz as the old determinist way of looking at things. You start with organized reference of music and improvise on it. The Spasm Band, in contrast, does not improvise. We make noise and sometimes patterns form from it.

noborders.jpgArt Pratten | Again, labels are imposed from the outside. Blues has had no more influence on the band than any other noise. The only real influence spasm bands had on us was the fact they used home-made or cheap second hand instruments. We are not trying to play anything. We are just responding to each other in sort of a conversation of noise. If we sound tribal, is probably because we are primitive. It must be stated clearly… although the band as a whole has no objection to the world of music as a whole, there is a healthy disinterest. Although some of us buy CDs regularly, other only own the CDs given to them. Some listen to contemporary music on the radio, some never. It would be very difficult to find a single group we could or would all be able to comment on.

John Boyle | We are a band of disparate individuals, each with very different interests and influences. Some of us liked and were influenced by free jazz, rock, so-called world music (which here means music from anywhere except Canada), but others liked very conservative classical music, pop or country music and knew nothing of the rest. We are a spasm band in that we build or modify our own instruments in the tradition of New Orleans street bands in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. But the nature of those instruments and the music we make differ in most respects from any of the forms you mention. Even the improvisation aspect is different in that we, lacking musical training, are nearly wholly improvisational. But our individual musical loves obviously influence what we play in uncoordinated expressive ways.

Rui Eduardo Paes | Like the spasm bands use to do, you design and build your own instruments. And they’re derivations of existing ones, just like the spasm musicians use to do. The Pratt-o-various is an electric violin, the kazoo, even if a giant and electrified one, it’s just… a kazoo, and the guitars, even if custom-built, even if the bass use a piano string, are just that, guitars. Why didn’t you invented new instruments?

Murray Favro | We recognize that every kazoo will have its own sounds, as it is with every guitar, etc. This is true with factory made instruments too. I want to play guitar, so I make guitars, but I seldom play them more than a year, and since someone always seems to want to buy it I sell them. Usually for about $20,000 American. And the fact is that I have never been able to make a guitar with as much variety of noise as an old cheap factory made guitar I have had for over 30 years. It is curiosity that makes me try making my own pick-up’s and guitars.

Art Pratten | The prime motivation is to play, not re-invent, the world. In the beginning, we just grab and played whatever was handy. The modifications that followed were to accommodate our abilities and increase volume. I gravitated to a stringed instrument then a 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 stringed “violin shaped” instrument simply because it was compacted and my father played violin… a family joke. I now also play a electronically altered length of 1 1/2 inch water pipe I call the “water-pipe”.

norecord.jpgJohn Boyle | It’s partly, I think, because we were and are, in a sense, a parody of a conventional band. Our particular situation, living in London, Ontario, Canada, a former colony of Britain and France, and completely dominated economically and culturally today by the United States, where our own indigenous musical forms have been completely inundated and obliterated in the American wash, it seemed necessary for creative people to ridicule the imposed culture. Our instruments are mockeries of conventional instruments. In a sense, we are trying to vandalize instruments, but we are fascinated by the vandalized music that results. We are playing non competitive music. We are always the best and the worst in the world at what we do. Our music is a new form.

Rui Eduardo Paes | None of you has musical formation, and you use to present that as an advantage. You even told in an interview that this is your difference in relation to present noise music, played by “real” musicians that want to cut with music conventions. So, Nihilist Spasm Band is trying to show that, to make music, no conventions are necessary, which is a very important statement. But you also admit that what you do isn’t music. Are you surrendering, after proving that music doesn’t need an Academy to be alive and well?

Murray Favro | Music can have all the conventions it wants. I don’t need them. I am part of the audience also when the band performs. I want to hear things I have not heard before. Do audiences need to be trained in academics of music before they are allowed to listen?

Art Pratten | The band has never produced a manifesto, never a plan, never a philosophy. Our only propose for existing is to play… our only long term plans are to play “every monday night”. How we fit into the greater world of music or how the world of music relates to us is not only meaningless, it is beyond our control. This is not arrogance, it is just a statement of fact. I would hope if the band has any influence it would be… someone responding to us by saying… Hell, if they can do it so can we.

everymondaynight.jpgJohn Boyle | My Canadian dictionary says music is the art of organizing sounds, also, a succession of pleasant sounds. Our sounds are neither organized nor pleasant and therefore, by definition, they’re not music. At the same time, there is a sort of tribal organization imposed by the eight, then seven, now six personalities who have been improvising together for 37 years, and we and a few others have acquired a taste for our succession of sounds. So the music is in the ear of the listener. Because we have never aspired to conventional music, it is not surrender to say we haven’t achieved it. On the contrary, it’s a success. Another large aspect of music is the ability to be reproduced by other practitioners. Obviously, that is not possible with what we do as it is un-codified. I challenge some obsessive person out there to notate a selection from one of our recordings, assemble a sextet with copies of our instruments and perform it as closely as possible to our band’s version. Then we will be musicians.

Rui Eduardo Paes | Nihilist Spasm Band never was a professional group. You always developed other careers besides making music and the most part of your public concerts (an example: your Monday reunions) weren’t conventional ones. Even your records (except one or two) are documents of concerts you’ve played. You don’t promote yourself, you don’t have a permanent contract with any label. You’re the broken piece in the musical industry. Was that intentional, being outsiders, rebels, in the music business (that’s political too), or you decided to do that because, since the beginning, your idea was to make music only for fun? If all that was for fun, what an achievement…

Murray Favro | We like our band and it is still together after a lot of years. I think we are more serious about what we do than most bands.

vol2.jpgArt Pratten | We are professional in the sense we are serious about what we are doing and doing it to the best of our abilities. We take money for performing publicly and always perform responsibly. The band is an important but integrated part of our lives. There was never any illusions about making a “living” playing in the band. That would have been devastating. If we were to be dependent on the band we would become dependent on the band’s acceptance and to put ourselves in the position of depending on other people’s approval is suicidal. “Fun” is serious business and you have to work at it.

John Boyle | Most of the band’s members met as adults in our 20’s. We were all either finishing studies for disparate careers or already launched in them. The Nihilist Spasm Band (music), along with the Nihilist Party of Canada (political), the Nihilist Lacrosse Team (athletic), the annual Nihilist Picnic (recreational), of which there have been 37, the annual Nihilist whataboutme.jpgBanquet (institutional), of which there have been six, 20/20 co-operative Gallery, Region Gallery (co-op), Forest City Gallery artist-run-centre, the London Filmmaker’s Co-operative (cultural), Twenty Cents Magazine (literary), and a number of other group activities in and around London, Ontario, constituted our sometimes parodic, sometimes somewhat serious parallel society which made creative and intellectual life stimulating, exciting and productive in the middle of the generally conservative, stultifying and counter-productive society of South-western Ontario, Canada. Everything was for fun. It was and is fun. We never expected to be paid for having such fun. We made this fun to save ourselves. If the rest of the world became interested… that was up to the rest of the world.

Rui Eduardo Paes | During your first years as Nihilist Spasm Band were you conscious of what other radical bands were doing in Europe, like AMM, Scratch Orchestra and Spontaneous Music Ensemble in the United Kingdom, New Phonic Art in France, Nuova Consonanzza and Musica Elettronica Viva in Italy (the last one with some American musicians) and Taj Mahal Travellers in Japan? The approach to free improvisation and noise is very similar…

Murray Favro | No.

Art Pratten | Ignorance is bliss. Thank God we didn’t have and don’t have common reference points or the band would not exist. It is no secret the members of the band agree on very little. In fact, we spend most of the time arguing about anything and everything except playing. We spend little or no time together outside the band… we certainly do not live in each others pockets.

liveinjapan.jpgJohn Boyle | It’s possible that Greg Curnoe was aware of these groups you name. Personally, I was not and am not aware of any of them, and although some of the other members may claim to be aware, I have never heard these groups discussed on Monday nights. I will have to look for some records and have a listen. Again, we were not trying to become part of any movement or even to lead one. As far as most of us knew, we were the only group of our kind in the world. Actually, most of us still believe that.

Rui Eduardo Paes | Your recent “fame” derives from the admiration of people like Thurston Moore, Jojo Hiroshige and Alan Licht, all of them with a rock formation. You’ve played with them and also with John Corbett and with a post-free jazz player, Joe McPhee. Free improvisation was the common ground. What is improvisation for the band members? How do you see it? A method, a playing technique? An aesthetic option?

Murray Favro |

Art Pratten | For me, free improvisation is a dialogue of noise… “call and response”. This opens it up to anyone who has something to say with an instrument of noise. There are a lot of noises that can be made with a saxophone that are not found in “Moonlight in Vermont”.

John Boyle | For us, lacking common musical interests and having no musical training or rules to follow, free improvisation was the only option if we wanted to play together. I think all of us were at least marginally aware of the jazz improvisation tradition, the baroque improvised music and classical Indian music, and I’m sure this knowledge made it easy for us to improvise without much soul searching. Oddly, most jazz improvisers who sat in with us on occasion in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s could not adjust to our playing, which was, of course, entirely free of musical conventions. Very few rock people seemed to be interested in us back then. We played a concert with a popular Canadian rock band called Lighthouse, and there were fights in the audience between those who liked us and those who hated us. From our perspective, it wasn’t until the late 80’s and early 90’s till young people started to show an interest, and most of them came from a rock background, as you point out. Joe McPhee is a brilliant improvising musician and a fantastically curious and open creative intelligence, but it’s interesting to note that in the jazz world the response has been decidedly cool if not hostile to our beautiful collaborative double CD “No Borders” (Non Musica Rex), a common opinion being that McPhee has debased his art by playing with us.

Rui Eduardo Paes | And what about the label “noise music”? Do you accept it to describe your work? What’s “noise” for you?

Murray Favro | Noise for me is sound that is not tasteful. Noise Music is when you allow it to form into something that you have never heard before.

Art Pratten | As you have pointed out, we have been called a lot of things and “noise music” is as good as any. I also think that there has always been “noise music”. I am sure down through history whenever music was played and some self proclaimed critic did not approve he would stand up and declare that’s not “music”, that is just “noise”.

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John Boyle | Most of us, if not all of us, knew nothing of “noise music” before we were contacted by Alchemy Records of Osaka. I didn’t like it when the term was applied to us because it was too limiting. We listened to each other and played off each other much more carefully than the noise musicians, it seemed to me. While we often played very loudly, that wasn’t the objective. It was just the result of not wanting to be drowned out by all the other noisy bastards. While cacaphony sometimes resulted, we were happiest when we could hear each other and when the sound developed a surprising new texture and energy. Also, the lyrics were important to us, and coherent, comprehensible words and thoughts are not compatible with the “noise” moniker. We are sound improvisers interested in the full range of what is audible to humans, but also interested in ideas. In fact, I believe the Nihilist Spasm Band is a genuine folk music phenomenon. Obviously, this is not true if you compare us to the acoustic guitar strumming songsters who dominate the programmes at North American folk festivals. But it is true in the sense that we, as an indigenous social group in a particular place generated our own musical form appropriate to our circumstances. Maybe someday after we are dead little ensembles of acolytes and disciples will be performing our stuff to the best of their abilities at true folk festivals.

Rui Eduardo Paes

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anthonybraxtonstuhl.jpg9 Compositions | Iridium 2006 is a 9-CD box set documenting what Time Out New York called “last Spring’s epochal run” by the Anthony Braxton 12+1tet at Iridium in March 2006. Braxton has been called a “jazz legend” The New York Times, “an obvious genius” All Music Guide, “an extraordinary musician” Village Voice, and “one of the past forty years’ great radical musical thinkers” AllAboutJazz.

His ground-breaking and continually evolving approach to music, developed over the past five decades, embraces a wealth of musical traditions ranging from jazz saxophonists Warne Marsh and Albert Ayler to innovative American composers John Cage and Charles Ives to pioneering European Avant-Garde figures Karl-Heinz Stockhausen and Iannis Xenakis. Fanatically documented by a dedicated following around the world, his multi-faceted career includes hundreds of recordings, an influential legacy as an educator and author of scholarly writings, and awards such as the prestigious John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowship.

Firehouese 12 is happy to announce the formation of Firehouse 12 Records! Founded by Nick Lloyd, owner and chief engineer at Firehouse 12 and Taylor Ho Bynum, composer and cornetist, Firehouse 12 Records will be releasing three records in April. First to be released is a deluxe, 10-disc boxed set with nine audio CDs and one video DVD, documenting famed multi-instrumentalist and composer Anthony Braxton’s complete run at New York City’s Iridium Jazz Club from March 2006.

fh12-recordslogo.jpgFirehouse 12 will also release Taylor Ho Bynum’s “The Middle Picture”, an album of new music for his sextet and trio culled from his performance as part of Firehouse 12’s Fall 2005 Concert Series as well as a handful of studio dates here. Finally, Firehouse 12 will make available a selection of material recorded during the Fall 2006 Concert Series – Firehouse 12 is currently in discussions with all the excellent musicians who were part of that run of concerts.

All these titles will be available for order directly on the Firehouse 12 website, either as physical discs or as downloads. Firehouse 12 will also make downloads available through all the other major on-line providers, and distribute the physical products through a handful of selected stores and Amazon.

Please keep your eyes on this space for the Firehouse 12 redesigned website, which will incorporate an area dedicated to the record label as well as announcements of the Spring 2007 Concert Series.



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an interview with Peter Gannushkin…

metropolis | When did you start documenting the jazz/improv scene as a photographer?

Peter Gannushkin | In the summer of 2000. I was taking photos before then but never put them on-line.

metropolis | Is this a part of your profession? What is your profession anyway?

Peter Gannushkin | It all depends on how you would define the word “profession.” Do I make the living on it? No, I don’t. Do I make any income on taking photos? Yes, I do. Although in most cases I give away photos for free. My full time job is web development.

metropolis | Who is using your photographs?

Peter Gannushkin | There are several places besides DOWNTOWNMUSIC.NET which are using my photos. They are decorating the walls of a Lower East Side performance space, The Stone. I often provide images to All About Jazz/New York. My photos have also been published in many off- and on-line magazines around the world, as well as in CD booklets and in a few books. You can view a longer list on my site

metropolis | Why you are giving them away for free?

Peter Gannushkin | When I started taking photos the original idea was to use them as illustrations in my weekly column in jazz.ru/mag. From the very beginning I was not going to make a profit on these photos, but rather I wanted to let more people know about the music. From that perspective and also from the fact that I do not support modern copyright laws, I came to the idea of giving photos away for free to any non-profit or no budget project.

metropolis | Could you describe your relation with downtownmusic.net?

Peter Gannushkin | DOWNTOWNMUSIC.NET is a web site I started in 2000. In the beginning, it was meant to be a place for many NY downtown music scene related projects, but it ended up being primarily an archive of my photos.

metropolis | Are you a musician as well?

Peter Gannushkin | No. I studied cello when I was a kid. Then I played the guitar and a bunch of other instruments ranging from the accordion, recorder and saxophone to various percussion instruments, duck calls and a do-it-yourself banjo made from a Boy Scout drum and trashed guitar parts. However, I never took it too seriously and in the last several years I haven’t picked up any instruments.

metropolis | Are you planning to continue your blog in the Russian language?

Peter Gannushkin | No, that blog is mostly dead now. I have almost lost all interest in journalism, especially in music and, more than anything else, in Russian music journalism. Some blogs are still interesting but very few. I think there is more than enough information coming from the artists themselves. In most cases, there is no need to add anything to it. That is the main reason to quit writing. I don’t want to contribute to the immense heap of useless information. Besides, since the internet took over the media the quality of writing has gone down a lot.


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All about Norbert Stein is pata: music, scores, label, formations.

All things have to flow, says Norbert Stein. This is his motto for life as well as for the music he writes, that is more a commonplace than a pearl of wisdom. Relating to music the flow-metaphor means: it should be in motion without being frantic but be steady even with changing tempos; it doesn’t have to linger in idyllic landscapes, but rather should make the listener ready to be taken away in it; it should communicate tranquillity rather than allay you, and it should be far from suspending the listener´s self-perception. Also it should have stylistic limits that are not valuable until the end of time but be open and vague enough for changes and new influences.

workbook.jpgNorbert Stein´s music suggests a special kind of letting time pass by. The flow-metaphor is above all ruled by the two parameters melody and rhythm You have to listen very well not to get caught in a trap suspecting only superficial anti-academic, anti-modernist new-age or the „back-to-c-major-and 4/4 beat“- affect. Both parameters are essential in Norbert Stein´s music: he sees melody and rhythm as a universal human basis for music. It should have something to sing along with, to hum along with, to recognise and to follow, and it should create a situation of unity for those who listen and those who play it. He is sure that even courageous listeners of contemporary avant-garde (Norbert Stein claims to be one of them) have this need.

This shows the many requirements for encores in concerts. It all depends on how you see it: take it or leave it. Refusal, he says – and here another musical and vital principle comes up – doesn´t take you far, and some time or other you pretty mark time. Rhythm also must flow, not necessarily pulse, push or hammer, neither change permanently. It should be the centre of the music to which you like to return to, no bizarre component rebuilding the cutting rhythm of the world of media.

Encouraged by his father in his early exercises on the alto saxophone Norbert Stein was one of the first jazz music graduates in Cologne University. During the busy Seventies he was one of the musicians citizen-initiative of the Kölner Jazzhaus, which is one of the most successful and effective musicians co-operation of our time. He was also a member of the initiative’s central groups …His compositions often deviated a bit from the diffuse consensus of the group. Even then he never liked ironically exaggerated humour: he found dissociating-destructive work with the music material and a composer´s eloquent craft work with humorous-sarcastic gestures too superficial. Humour, Norbert Stein says, should not be a medium for a need of limitation. Humour should not narrow stingily the horizon instead of widening it ambitiously, and make contradictions and oppositions bearable.

jarryfaustroll.jpgAs he… started to go his own ways he founded his PATA music. PATA is a double syllable, found by Alfred Jarry (Taten und Meinungen des Pataphysikers Doktor Faustroll), and is in his phonetic structure similarly essential and far-reaching as DADA. Pataphysics is the science of imaginary solutions, and it defines the way to gain knowledge avoiding the rigorous rules of reason and tradition without disrespecting them). PATA is the name of his music, of his label and of the formations with whom Norbert Stein works. (PATA Horns, PATA Orchester, PATA Trio, PATA Masters). Some compositions contracts – Moers, Kölner Philharmonie – helped him to formulate his musical language which doesn’t lead into a definite vocabulary, and they fixed his relations to a circle of musicians who took part in the performances of different constellations

A pata physician is no neo-romantic. Norbert Stein´s music is often loud, sometimes eruptive. Curiously he uses music electronics as a contemporary instrument but is not obsessed by it. He loves the little, song-like forms, but connects them to greater contexts and returns to already performed pieces to re-examine them. The compositions for his wind players give room to improvisation and often built the background for freethinking soloists: he learned from jazz without feeling obliged to its idioms, he learned as much from other idioms and idols.

It may happen that a homely melody turns out to be a twelve tone string. One central item of his scores is that he doesn’t prescribe every sounding moment note by note. While composing certain musicians with their virtues and abilities come to his memory. What he writes should be carried out as precisely and responsibly as possible – he insists on that like every composer does. But this includes also for example that metrical concepts that are not completely congruent create little frictions in rubato-parts. Such little deviations are intended bows in front of the performing situation, and like solos they give the musicians their stand in music. Thus, his pieces are not commanding works, rather schedules for performing situations, embodied with creative musicians who also bring their surprising ideas and their individuality to the team. And with that they also bring: pata-scores.

cdlucy.jpgPata music is like a living organism in motion and underlying changes. Years ago it sounded totally different. The LP Lucy und der Ball (1988) was recorded by the unusually casted Pata Trio: two saxophone players (Norbert Stein and Hennes Hehn) and one drummer (Reinhard Kobialka), the music is rough and uncompromising at the same time airy, unflowery and loud. That is, says Norbert Stein, the reverse of the „turn to the world-happiness“: the need for sparseness of a disillusioned Beckett setting only with the light of a bulb, the chairs in a empty room at the edge of the abyss of the absurd. In such a room you can easily think and create music. If a melody is composed here it has no candy topping, if there is rhythm in it, it is no pompous waltzing dream. If you compose there you don´t fill a plastic bag with bizarre surprises.

cdpferde.jpgThe compositions for the pata orchestra on the CD „Die wilden Pferde der armen Leute“ (1990) followed old music without forgetting contemporary music and jazz entirely. The wind quartet PATA HORNS on „Talking People“ (1992) plays a warm, swinging wind music that is often well composed with free solos and loud intermezzo. And the music of PATA ORCHESTRA on the CD „The secret Art of Painting“ - a composition contract for a Bayer exposition – finds itself in a surprising context of fine arts. Now, Norbert Stein is writing for a contract of the ARFI (Association de la recherche d`un folklore imaginaire) and their orchestra La Marmite infernale in Lyon. The music will be performed on the festival „Le grand barouf“ in Lyon and, after that, once in Paris on the Banlieue-Festival. He didn´t meet the musicians till now. With that he meets a new situation of composing: Pata Music flows on. Hans-Juergen Linke

selected Pata Music recordings:

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Pata Music or the Concept of Composed Spheres

patalogo1.jpgIf you want to know the meaning of “pata” you will have to learn that your dictionary stubbornly refuses to reveal any information in this respect. To illuminate the origin of the little word we need a short literary excursion into the fascinating world of Doctor Faustroll. Because it was he who in 1898 under the overall control of the French Alfred Jarry created the expression of ” pata physics “. In the epilogue of the German edition (Alfred Jarry, Heldentaten und Ansichten des Doctor Faustroll, Pataphysiker; Publisher: Zweitausendeins) the translater Klaus Völker gives the following definition: ” Pata physics is the science which is based on unreal logic and a new reality beyond the borders of the world of external appearences removed from the usual principles of causality. Everything is able to be mixed up, to be changed, to be turned around and exchanged: things, times and spaces. But nothing is arbitrary, only that every simplicity consists of an interrelated and self-penetrating complexity.”

Following Jarry ´s word creation, the saxophone player Norbert Stein, who lives near Cologne, derived some years ago the name Pata Musik establishing the collective term ” pata ” as a constant which should offer the listener a basis of identification of the composer-musician ´s different projects. …

The changes of casts in every single Pata group may be compared to the rich variety of the resulting programs. To transpose his diverse musical ideas into acts worth listening to Norbert Stein chooses always top-class co-musicians from the colourful and creative Cologne scene … none of them a musical leight weight, who may – within the given frame of Pata Musik – keep their creative licence. Norbert Stein is not interested in an egocentric self-portrayal, instead he turns his attention to the component of composing. In this respect he likes to talk about ” composed spheres ” which he creates, i.e. he creates a certain atmosphere for the players wherein they are allowed to be soloists. Very few passages of his pieces are arranged in detail, thus leaving much room for spontaneity and authentic interactions. Not least thanks to this Pata Musik presents refreshingly sparkling, thrilling and charming moments. The music is permanently developing, the committment of the individual becomes comprehensible and, thanks to the arising contrasts the listener ´s ear will really be sensitized.

The Pata Musik is full of surprises and phrases, it is open to all sorts of influences, it tears down fences of seemingly contradictory idioms and, coming from jazz improvisation it builds up something new and exiting. Joerg Eipasch, Jazzpodium

carnivalcd.jpgCode Carnival

Pata Music CD 17

Norbert Stein / tenorsaxophone, composition, Michael Heupel / flutes, Thomas Heberer / trumpet, Frank Gratkowski / clarinet, Matthias Muche / trombone, Christopher Dell / vibraphone, Achim Tang / double bass, Klaus Mages / drums.

Tracks: Code carnival – Raga vom einfachen Leben (Raga of an ordinary life) – Bersten in rot (Bursting in red) – Liquid bird – Monks – Frozen Kakadu – Sing a pure song – Sterntagebuecher (Star diaries) – Ballade von Zounds! und Pox! (Ballad of Zounds! and Pox!) – Just brave in a brain.

14 Euro incl. shipment world-wide

Download listen to code carnival

Download listen to bursting in red

cdjava1.jpgPata Java

Pata Music CD 16

The Pata Masters are: Norbert Stein / tenor saxophone, Michael Heupel / flutes, sub-contra-bassflute, Klaus Mages / drums, Matthias von Welck / bass-slitdrums, deep mallets, Christoph Hillmann / electronics.
The Kua Etnika are: Djaduk Ferianto / Srompet, Kendang, vocal, Beduk, Klunthung, Kemanak, Ketipung, Krincing, Triangle, Shaker, Purwanto / Bonang, Klunthung, Calung, Rebana, Rebab, Kemanak, vocal, Suwarjiyo / Demung, Klunthung, Rebana, Demung, vocal, Suharjono / Saron, Klunthung, Calung, Rebana, Siter, vocal, Fredy Pardiman / Saron, Klunthung, Rebana, Rebab, vocal, Wardoyo / Peking, Krincing, Kendang, Rebana, Klunthung, vocal, Sukoco / Gender, Kendang, Calung, Ketipung, Beduk, Sony Suprapto / Kempul, Gong, Beduk, Rebana, vocal.

Tracks: Sing a pure song – Jiwa – Dialog – Speak yomm – Juzzla Juzzli – Code Carnival – Cublak Cublak Suweng – Sound theatre of Tukang Pijad – Wulang Sunu

14 Euro incl. shipment world-wide

Download listen to sing a pure song

Download listen to speak yomm

graffitisuitecdcover.jpgGraffiti Suite

Pata Music 2-CD set 18

Thorsten Benkenstein / trumpet, Ingolf Burkhardt / trumpet, Claus Stoetter / trumpet, Michael Leuschner / trumpet, Philipp Kacza, trumpet, Fiete Felsch / alto saxophone, clarinet, recorder, Peter Bolte / alto saxophone, clarinet, flute, Christoph Lauer / tenor saxophone, flute, Lutz Buechner / tenor saxophon, clarinet, flute, Frank Delle / bariton saxophone, bassclarinet, flute, Markus Steinhauser / tenor saxophone, Gabriel Coburger / tenor saxophone, Dan Gottshall / trombone, Sebastian Hoffmann / trombone, Stefan Lottermann / trombone, Ingo Lahme / bass trombone, tuba, Christophe Schweizer / trombone, Stephan Diez / guitar, Lucas Lindholm / double bass, Vladyslav Sendecki / piano, Marcio Doctor / percussion, Mark Nauseef / drums, Norbert Stein / composition, conductor.

CD1 tracks: Franz Pataeng (Part I to IV) – U.B.U. (No.w.here) – Music in 7 houses (First to Seventh house)
CD2 tracks: Flocking birds (The mountain/Purgatory of vowels/Birds´flight) – Hot spots, Tai Chi & More (Global positions/Machine people/Zigzag Aethernitas)

14 Euro incl. shipment world-wide

Download listen to Franz Pataeng

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sharp_hand.jpgElliot Sharp

the guitar player and multi – instrumentalist that connects the blues with mathematics and the theory of chaos says that he doesn’t like ”artificial divisions” in arts. For Elliott Sharp, being a musician isn’t an exclusivity. He did some visual work in the past, his instalations are getting as important as his performances and he has some projects with visual artists. One of them is Janene Higgings, with her intimate and very feminine video work. And he is an artist exactly when he is a scientist, because almost all of his creations explores elements coming from mathematics, physics, biology and so on. When we say that the author of “The Velocity of Hue” is an experimentalist, that’s true in more than one way – his music experimentations are also science experiences…an interview by Rui Eduardo Paes

Rui Eduardo Paes | How would you describe your partnership with the video-artist Janene Higgins? You already called the work you do with her “more a soundscape than music”. That doesn’t fit very well with what we know about your music…

Elliott Sharp | My partnership with Janene Higgins is both a “life partnership” and a “working partnership.” One cannot just walk away from differences in aesthetic approaches – we discuss everything and find a way to be both true to our individual visions and to create something that merges into a common work.

sharp_higgins.jpgEdgar Varese had made the best definition ever of music: it is organized sound. This is simple and elegant and I suscribe to it completely. Of course, there are various conventions used to describe stylistic gradation and perhaps I am guilty of this in describing my work in this context as “more a soundscape than music”. My music has been described at various times by critics, other musicians, and the lay-public as “horrible noise,” “not music at all”, “just a big ‘fuck-you’.” So, perhaps in their own way, they are saying it is “more a soundscape than music”. I will say that in all of my work, sound and all that it includes (timbre, transient attack, the harmonic structure, duration, dynamics) are at least as important if not more than mere pitch relationships.

Rui Eduardo Paes | You have also a solid activity in the sound instalation field and you wrote and recorded several film scores. What you play in «Suspension», «Ombra» or «Prey» with Janene Higgins have anything to do with those two areas of work?

Elliot Sharp | All of my work activities inform and feed each other. I find odious the artificial divisions categorizing human experiences and activities. I don’t put barriers up – sound-design, improvisation, narrative musical concepts, principles of underscoring – these all come into play equally and transformatively in this collaboration.

Rui Eduardo Paes | Higgins work is known for the feminine intimacy of her videos. It’s a very personal world, and very gendrified. How do you interact with it?

Elliot Sharp | Gender issues have been very much a part of the mainstream of cultural/political discussion in American thought for many years now. While I may not address these issues directly in my own work, to be a progressive and activist artist means that one must understand and be part of the feminist movement! I don’t like didacticism and I don’t think Janene does either! In collaboration, one must find ways to support each others speculations, visions, acts – sometimes with understanding, sometimes without any calculations at all.

Rui Eduardo Paes | I know that Janene improvises sometimes with her camera, her tapes, laptop and mixers. You’re also known as an improviser, but I’m aware that you’re not really a devout of free improvisation. You said once that “improv can be fun to do but not always to listen to”. So, at what extent you’re going to improvise in this portuguese performance next September?

Elliot Sharp | In our performance, I map out areas and define approaches within these zones. We may also agree on points of intersection and cues. Within these parameters, I will improvise the internal detail of the sound within planned strategies or sonic realms. Besides my own vocabulary on my instrument, I may bring in soundfiles that I have prepared in advance. Finally, I sometimes use digital processing plug-ins in my laptop that have absolutely no predictability in their usage – this is certainly a type of improvisation.

Rui Eduardo Paes | You also said once “I don’t think of what I do as ‘improvisation’ or ‘composition’”. This is an old subject and many musicians today are not concerned with what is improvised or composed, solving the problem with the sentence that “improvising is to compose in the moment” or “composing” in the studio what they improvised before. I still think, anyhow, that things are much more complicated than that. What’s your position about this?

qsf1.jpgElliot Sharp | “Improvising is to compose in the moment” remains a truism, however I choose to concentrate on other ramifications. I resonate to structures that map natural forms and processes and have explored a number of strategies over the years to manifest this. The most esthetically successful have been the algorithmic approaches utilized in such compositions as the recent “Quarks Swim Free” (2003), “Radiolaria” (1999), “SyndaKit” (1998) and a number of others dating back to “Crowds And Power” (1982) and “Tessalation Row” (1986). These pieces all use simple instruction sets to create a defined structure and operations that simultaneously allow for infinite variation of internal detail in the realization – the contradiction of a composition that is always the same yet different. I hope to create compositions that function more as living organisms and that take their operational metaphors from biological processes as much as the mathematics of chaos theory and fractal geometry and musical grammar.

Certainly improvisational ideas from the 50’s-70’s make their appearance at times within the operating systems of these pieces yet they are not at the central core. So-called “free improvisation” became a rigid genre very early on with its own set of dogmas and rules, high priests and inquisitions. It did not interest me much except for those few individual players whose own personalities transcended the typical. I especially disliked the antipathy to rhythm and groove in this movement – these elements remain vital for me. More and more in recent days, I am asked to compose for ensembles that do not improvise – orchestras, contemporary ensembles. One wants to preserve the vitality and visceral quality found in the best improvisation. I try to use algorithmic processes to create one version and “freeze” it to create a fixed score. One may hear this in such orchestra pieces as “Calling” (2002) and “Racing Hearts” (1996), both performed and recorded by the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Frankfurt.

Rui Eduardo Paes | I never heard you talking about what you do in this area as intermedia actions. You’re always more concerned with the sound/music part of it. Does that happens because you do this seeing yourself as “a musician” and nothing more?

Elliot Sharp | I’m not often asked to speak about things other than musical or sonic! When I describe my installations, I try to remain simply descriptive or technical. When I work with musicians in ensembles, I more often use visual and mathematical metaphors to describe the desired processes. I define successful installations or compositions as having “inevitability” – one can only describe it and its synaesthetic effects by hearing it – it escapes being reduced to verbiage. My first and most concentrated artistic activities were visual: my obsession as a child was drawing and painting and I even exhibited work at the ages of 8 – 13. My activities were discouraged by a few idiotic and destructive teachers and so the visual work left my focus.

Rui Eduardo Paes | Some of your music deals with technology. What’s the importance of technology in your work? Does technology enable you to do things that would be impossible without it?

Elliot Sharp | Technology has always been a fascination but ultimately, it’s a tool and tools have always been a way of catalyzing intellectual and physical evolution – they are extensions of our complete selves, whether it’s a stick used to dig out honey or plug-in used to achieve real-time granulation – a means to an end and the end is infinite! Growing up in the 50’s, science was everywhere and touted in the propoganda as the means by which war, hunger, poverty, ignorance, would be eliminated. I was a science geek growing up and thought I would be a scientist. At age 17 I received a National Science Foundation grant for work I had done – this allowed me to go to Carnegie-Mellon University for the summer of 1968 where I immersed myself in extreme musics as a DJ at the radio station and spent most of my time in the lab experimenting with multi-head tape decks and designing and building boxes to process the sound of my newly-acquired electric guitar.

I also made the connection between the funding of science by the Pentagon and Defense Department and decided I did not want to contribute to the Vietnam War or any other militaristic activities. But technology and sciences remained an interest and I delved into synthesis and sonic experimentation. I had sounds I wanted to make, processes I could imagine, but lacked the means to realize them. In this service, in addition to extended techniques and procedural strategies, I embraced first analog and then digital delays and later, by 1986, samplers. When the first personal computers became available, I acquired an Atari ST and in my Virtual Stance project starting in 1986, pioneered the use of personal computers in onstage realtime improvisation and processing using the software M, a precursor to Max/MSP. This extended to using the laptop onstage when it first became available in 1992, both in solo work and in my ensemble Carbon. The computer allows one to “play” with sound, to mold it, to easily try out unpredictable processes and see if they resonate with the inner ear.

Rui Eduardo Paes | Almost in the opposite end of technology (if we forget microphones and studio devices) we have “The Velocity of Hue”, a record with simply an acoustic guitar, playing what I like to call, in the good sense, of course, “broken blues”. Simplicity and blues are synonimes for you? Are the blues always in the roots of everything you play and compose, regardless of the situation, even those in which you use Fibonacci series, algorithms, fractals, strange atractors and so on, factors of complexity?

velocity_of_hue.jpgElliot Sharp | When I first began to delve into the world of music, I was very much influenced by the 1966 collection of writings by LeRoi Jones (now Amiri Baraka) in his book “Black Music.” In speaking of Albert Ayler, John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, he spoke to how they always retain a blues feeling, a human voice, no matter how “out” they get. I took this to heart and found equal blues feeling in the music of Blind Willie Johnson, Iannis Xenakis, Archie Shepp, Muddy Waters, and Harry Partch. I always try to apply this. “Velocity Of Hue” makes a very explicit connection. While it sometimes overtly references blues gestures, it equally deals with my own extended technique vocabulary created in the service of exploring the overtone series and other sonic realms. It’s not at all about “simplicity” – blues music may be very complex: sonically, structurally, emotionally.

Rui Eduardo Paes | Your atraction to science and mathematics is explained also by what atracts you to technology (wanting to see how things work)? But… what about your fascination for sci-fi literature and cinema, in which is the imagination, the impossible, that matters? I know that you like the little games played by the equation between order and chaos. Why?

Elliot Sharp | Sci-fi was always a means by which an author could speculate on future possibilities as a relatively safe way to analyze and critique the present. I see my own work defined as “ir/rational music” bearing the same relationship to “music” as science-fiction bears to “science.”

Rui Eduardo Paes | Even if you’re influenced by new music, classical contemporary, free jazz and several ethnic musical traditions, I can’t stop seeing you as, essentialy, a rock musician. The use you make of all those references seems to me filtred by a rock vision. Am I wrong? It bothers you, to be seen as a rock musician? Well, not a very common rock musician…

Elliot Sharp | It doesn’t bother me to be called a rock musician any more or less than it does to be called an improviser, a noisemaker, a jazz musician, etc., etc. As I mentioned before, I don’t like genrefication. I really see myself as a composer who uses a number of approaches to manifest the sonic work. At the same time, I certainly was first and most inspired to get on this path by the innovations of guitarists Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck in the Yardbirds but it was only a question of months before I found my way to Stockhausen, free jazz, and the wider world of non-Western musics. Rock at that time was the “voice of my generation” and it resonated loudly against the government and for open attitudes towards everything. But rock soon therafter became stolid and stagnant and is now quite reactionary (at least musically).

Rui Eduardo Paes | Man of many interests, scientific, literary, artistic and musical, you’re also a multi-instrumentalist. You play several members of the guitar family, but also the soprano and the tenor saxophones, the bass clarinet, and you invented some stringed instruments. I see a relation there. You’re feed by multiplicity. I suppose you’re conscious of that?

Elliot Sharp | I do believe diversity provides the greatest fertility for creativity. I try to keep my eyes and ears open. As to the various instruments, one might see this as an act of orchestration – an attempt to channel the feeling of each particular activity through the filter of my own personal strategies (and to delve along the way into the great histories of these instruments).

Rui Eduardo Paes | In a very different way from the American mavericks in music, who tried to reinvent almost everything (OK, Cage loved Satie, an European composer with a big historical burden at his back, but look what he did with him), you and other musicians in the same circunstances can’t have the same, let’s say, “innocence”. You’ve heard everything. Does that determine what you do in some way? Does that limit you, or is it the condition to do something else? But it’s really possible to do what anybody did before in the present day? Do you have notice of any new directions in music?

Elliot Sharp | I find all of the innovators of the last century (Cage, Ornette, Cowell, Varese, Ayler, Partch, Coltrane, Xenakis, Monk, Hendrix, Stockhausen, Miles et al) to have VERY strong roots in historical thought and activity. Their innovations are certainly real but have to be seen as part of the greater flow of ideas. I don’t believe this has changed much for many of us – we look back and forward simultaneously. But for younger musicians perhaps the extremely wide-ranging activities of the last part of the 20th century is a troublesome burden as if there is no turf left that they may call their own.

I hear a lot of work that seems to define its parameters of operation within a very tiny range – composers that ONLY explore glitches, or granulation, or sinewaves, etc. To me, it’s like a writer that says they will only use vowels or the letters between J and Q. There is also an incredible feeling of ambivalence in many of the scenes I have experienced. But i do believe it is possible to remain “innocent” and therefore excited – we certainly haven’t heard everything or experienced everything. That is the unfortunate premise of post-modernism with its reliance on appropriation and smug irony. There is always something new to be discovered, to be heard, to be played – we are not yet inhabiting a static entropic planet. If we could imagine the next paradigm, then we would be able to define it. But since it’s beyond our imagining, we can’t know it until we are part of it – living Godel’s Proof!

Elliot Sharp web page

Rui Eduardo Paes

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“A solo is a dialogue with reason.”

José Oliveira annotated his reflections about the work he was developing during the recording of “Tactus Music”. In this diary we observe an idea taking form, but more interesting are the lateral conjectures, the enunciated doubts, the raised problems. More than this: everything that escapes, in the music field, from the exclusive rational sphere, to touch more subjective questions. And in the same way that this percussionist, who represents a good piece of the history of improvisation in Portugal, has ascertained that to record a solo on disc (or to play it on stage) is like doing a strong arm with rationality, he immediately concludes, in these lines written in the spur of the moment, that in such context reason can only be aleatory, and after all “the shadow of reason”.

Thus, if this CD-R contains a conceptual work, the concepts that are confined here are not properly so, but the result of the erosion of hazard on the reactive capacities of the central nervous system of a sound artist. As a matter of fact, the confessed wish of Oliveira “to put some order in chaos” was of little value. After all, it was chaos itself that defined the order… from the order, and this is precisely what characterises any improvised music. To all intents and purposes, he was aware of this. “This music is perverse”, he peremptorily comments.

tactus.jpgJosé Oliveira is a disciple of that particular line of percussionists like Paul Lytton, Paul Lovens or Roger Turner, who attach an endless number of “extensions” to the common drum kit, from small ethnic instruments to metallic and other objects that may give them non-typified sonorities. The option of these musicians for a large quantity of utensils is not an easy one, as they have to use this plurality of means in a way which allows them not to enter into dispersion. This as always been Oliveira’s struggle, and dilemma. And in the same way that other percussionists reduced more and more the proportions of their set of instruments, in quest of a much larger concentration, as it is the case of Lê Quan Ninh, the former collaborator of the Vitriol duo and member of the Percustra project also went through this process of depuration (or was it “purge”?) in which are enough a gong with a bow or a zube-tube in conjuction with the voice. It is his purpose to meet a language or, as he prefers to say, “an autonomous sound dialect”, as long as it is concrete.

“Concrete” like the “musique concrète” of Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry? The diary of his recording explains exactly what he means by this: “Improvised music is becoming “cleaner” and “cleaner”, and in some way “romantic”, or at least “lyrical”. Quite the opposite, I feel like doing a dirty work that goes to the fountain-head. Not only the fountains of reference but to the origin of sound itself, of the sound being organized and transformed into music. When everything was virgin and rough and ugly. A music from an age before music existed. When sound, for instance the sound of the leaves of a tree, was not “the” sound-of-the-leaves-of-the-tree, fully identified and recognized as such, but only and simply the sound of the leaves of a tree. Exactly like this, in the raw. For me, this is concrete music, not so much the dislocation of determined sound sequences, deviating them from context, subsequently organizing them in formal narrative sequences of affinity and contrast, but the concrete sound of the things of the world, independently of its context and of its greater or lesser aesthetic and/or sound quality.” Do some of the passages sound electronic? So much the better, since it was Oliveira’s wish to treat the acoustic material as if it was electronic.

In “Tactus Music”, José Oliveira wanted to do “a kind of improvised concrete music, as opposed to concrete music formally elaborated in studio, in which the arrangement is not based on editing/collage of the sounds according to rational criteria, but on the properly called sounds and on arbitrary sequencial decisions” of its author. The pieces recorded on this disc are numbered from 1 to 8, without titles, which accentuates still more the objective of exploring a sole instrument/object or assemblage of instruments/objects in each of them, in a labour which Oliveira presents as of “composition-for-improvisation”, in conformity with an elliptical structure. How? This is his intention: “To improvise in order to obtain narrative sound syntheses which on their turn allow a work of composition-grouping for the improvisation. To compose the conducting wire but to improvise the wire to the coil.”

However, free will – he is compelled to agree on this – is also somewhat very romantic. Other improvisers had understood this before: Joelle Léandre even used to say that improvisation, with its accentuation of the emotional character of expression, is an heir of the Romantism of the 19th century. Does Phil Minton like to sing Schubert? Nothing more natural if he does…

“Always the eternal conflict between nature and culture”, José Oliveira opens his heart in his notes. Now, the depuration claimed by this musician, not engaged with schools and tendencies, does not want more (or better written: does not want less, as it is not easy) but to go to the essence, searching for “a tautology that provides this music with an ethical guarantee, a philosophical justification by itself”. Again the temptation to rationalize? Not in the least, according to Holderlin, quoted in Oliveira’s diary. In “Hipérion or the Eremit from Greece”, Holderlin considers that “no philosophy arises from the pure intelect, as philosophy is only the limited knowledge of what already exists”, and also that “no philosophy comes from pure reason, as philosophy is nothing but the blind demand of an endless progress in the union and in the differentiation of a possible substance”. Therefore, philosophy is something which stands between nature and culture. And which permits Oliveira to state, like an ethno-musicologist: “The sounds were already there, I did not do anything and limited myself to organize the gaps of silence amid them.”

And so he did, by blocks or modules in which he always tried to fit a “fiercely individual” approach, to use again his own words. With a metal lamella and a violin bow, for instance, he wove a net of continuous multiphonics; with burma bells and bobbins he tried the “incitement to accident, a “decay music” in which the sound is gradually dissipated, like water penetrating the soil”. The concepts succeed track by track, now taking care of exploring the “hidden face” of the instruments, now of finding “new ways”, now of escaping “the stereotyped (non?)-idiom of percussion in the traditional improvisation”, this despite the fact that he considers that improvised music itself is an idiom.

The saxophonist Mats Gustafsson (with Teddy Hultberg and Thomas Millroth) wrote in “Solo Essays” that it is in a solo situation that the improviser must be more implacable – in this (his first) CD totally alone, José Oliveira is faithful to this postulate, not giving way to any conditionalisms. In fact, a concrete music made in real time does exist, and it is here. Please, listen to it.
Rui Eduardo Paes

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José Oliveira on Creative Sources Records. All records are available in the Metropolis shop here.

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In Joseph Beuys’ collection of images, we find two videos which particularly clarify his purposes. In one, the artist is locked inside o room where he tries what we would consider impossible: to pacifically live together with a coyote. In another one, he sweeps up the material vestiges of a left-wing demonstration and piles up all the collected rubbish, among revolutionary pamphlets and consumer goods’ packages, inside an art gallery where he would open an exhibition. The work he had on his hands at the end of life, which came in the middle of the last decade, was a continuation of the preoccupations that had already distinguished him in the 60s and 70s.

The production of olive oil ond wine represented to him a positive relationship between human and nature – utopian equilibrium which he looked for, as it happened with the foundation of the Institute for the Renaissance of Agriculture, for example. From this, so, the video on that simultaneously artistic, anthropological, and environmentalist ultimate investment – recalled at the 1998 Milan Triennial – was received as title the “Difesa della Natura”, in reference to his “operations” in the Italian city of Bologna.

“Difesa della Natura” also is the title of this cd by Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimenta, with a music premiered at this homage to Beuys. And, although the composer follows the first of principles to which multimedia art must obbey – the autonomy of means practised by Cage and Cunningham, or by Var se and Le Corbusier – it is cear that the “ecological” character of Joseph Beuys’ aesthetics has spread to him. With the usual “tools” – computer (virtual reality, to be more precise) and synthesisers – he has created a work in two movements which instead of the spectral atmospheres we knew in him, he puts dense and organic sound matters, linking his music more to the earth.

difesa_della_natura_149.jpgWhat is a surprise, explaining the greater attention given to rhythmic plane, with an occasional protagonism even of percussion. Undoubtedly it is digital, but completely to do with the drums that in some regions are still our planet’s lingua franca Thus, a new field of action for Beuys’ utopia is announced: almost at the start of the twenty-first century and the third millennium, our “return” to Nature does not necessarily exclude technological advances achieved during the period when, to use terms beloved of the German creator, they lived in rupture. The important task now is to conciliate or, rather, the reconciliation. Pimenta’s music is cybernetic and virtual; it relies on chips and RAM memory, but it is inhabited. We hear voices in it, the utterances of living people hovering in the ether.

DIFESA DELLA NATURA is the fifth individual compact disc by the composer Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimenta.

A concert commissioned by the Baroness Lucrezia De Domizio Durini (RISK ARTE OGGI), DIFESA DELLA NATURA is the soundtrack of a film about Joseph Beuys’ life, specially his last years in Italy and his famous project on Nature. DIFESA DELLA NATURA was launched in the Triennial of Milan, Italy, in 1998.
Rui Eduardo Paes

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Simon H. Fell

“Collage is one of my weapons”

He crosses three worlds of music, “classical” contemporary, jazz and free improvisation, and this renowned composer and double bass player has a name for the resulting hybrid: “fourth stream”.

When art is the first victim of the international economic crisis and the neo-liberal ideology that governs the planet, Simon H. Fell keeps a personal struggle: to make music for orchestra with classical musicians, improvisers and jazzmen. He tries the impossible and show us that there aren’t enough great ideas to achieve when the will to do it is stronger than any surrounding mediocrity… an interview by Rui Eduardo Paes

Rui Eduardo Paes - | You presented “Kaleidozyklen – Composition nº 57” as “classical music realised with the sensibility, techniques and flexibility associated with experimental jazz and improvisation”…

Simon H. Fell | Well, an attempt to realise it. I think that’s what I said…

Rui Eduardo Paes | Your compositional work, specially for large groups and orchestras, trie to achieve that in a general way, but “Kaleidozyklen” might be the most “classical”. What is the purpose of your “messy heterophony”, the name you give to your associations between written music, verbal notation and improvisation, and between extreme complexity and the opposite?

kaleido.jpgSimon H. Fell | As far as I remember, the term “messy heterophony” is one I appropriated from Martin Archer, although he may well have sourced it from elsewhere. It’s just a convenient phrase which seems to encapsulate the exhilarating combination of complexity and looseness which the best modern jazz composition seems to excel at, and which is something that “jazz” still does so much better than most “classical” music.

Rui Eduardo Paes | Can I conclude this is another approach of the “encounters” between classical music and jazz proposed by the “third stream”?

Simon H. Fell | I’ve described a lot of my compositional work as “fourth stream”, because I’m not aiming to duplicate the achievements of those people working in the “third stream” idiom of the 50’s & 60’s; I want to expand the remit of this concept to include the developments realised in free improvisation since this time, and consequently reflect at least three different realms: jazz, classical and free, although the use of all these labels and terminologies of convenience is something which I greatly deplore.

This constant obsession with trying to pigeon-hole music according to which tradition you think it’s coming from – rather than simply listening to it in its own right – is a problem which plagues music and its appreciation. Certainly it does in the UK, where no-one’s interested in promoting, funding or supporting your music unless they can categorise it conveniently… and yes, I’m exaggerating, but it’s a problem!

Rui Eduardo Paes | In “Kaleidozyklen” you return again to what seems to be a great passion of you: serialism. Can you tell me the influence it had on you?

Simon H. Fell | I’m very interested in structures, patterns, architecture, coded information, etc. I think as a composer you pretty much have to be fascinated by some of these things, since if composition’s about anything it’s about clarifying some implications of the music and its structure, and putting others to the side. If you have experience of improvised music, you can no longer believe, as some people seem to, that music can only be brought into being by “the composer”; rather the composer is simply the person who suggests which of the billions of possibilities inherent in the musical universe we’re going to examine for the next few minutes.

Anyway, going back to the mid-seventies, the initial attraction of serialism was twofold; firstly it seemed to prioritise the manipulation of numbers and codes, which I’ve always enjoyed, over the intangible preciousness of traditionalist “music lovers”; in my younger days their love of beauty, tone, Western intonation was something I very much wanted to sweep aside. In some ways serialism allowed me to (a) thumb my nose at traditional concepts of beauty, (b) begin composing straight away without waiting to learn a lot of old-fashioned stuff which I didn’t see as relevant to what I wanted to do, and (c) remove my (at that stage undeveloped) personal taste from the equation – for this reason I was also very interested in Cage and aleatoricism. But the second, and probably most important, element of this is that I just liked the way serial music sounded, and still do. I don’t find it “difficult”, “complex” or “obscure”, I really enjoy it. Of course I wanted to experiment with something that could make music sound like that.

Of course, in the intervening 25 years I’ve learnt a lot about the music I want to make, and (I hope) how to make it. Whilst I still use serial methods regularly, I’m not a serialist; I tend to manipulate the outcome of my serial experiments (along with my aleatoric experiments, and my historical collage experiments, etc.) so that they come out sounding how I want my music to sound. In this sense, and this sense only, I suppose I’m a postmodernist; I’ll use any compositional technique which seems to have the potential to realise the music I want to create, but always filtering them through my personal idiosyncracies!

Rui Eduardo Paes | Why the use in “Kaleidozyklen” of quotations by Strauss, Stravinsky, Ives, Varèse, Mahler, Messiaen and Brahms and, in the jazz side, the use of some orchestral processes of Charles Mingus, Sun Ra and Gil Evans? Is important for you a close connection with the recent history of music?

compilation.jpgSimon H. Fell | Collage has always been one of the main weapons in my compositional armoury; I’m particularly interested in the effect generated when something familiar, or almost familiar, appears in an unfamiliar setting, and the complexity of resonances this can create. To a certain extent the quotations you allude to are really autobiographical acknowledgements of key compositional insights from my career, but then subjected to processes which disrupt, de-personalise and destabilise the direct implications of these references. Most of the composers quoted were themselves quoters (indeed most composers are) – whether it’s Strauss constantly quoting himself, Ives and his love of the vernacular, or Mahler being quoted by Berio, etc. – and I was interested in what would happen (how it would sound) if they were all quoted together, in a structure determined by non-musical means. Not sure what Brahms is doing in there, but it doesn’t really matter; these technical minutiae become irrelevant on the music becoming absorbed into this new piece. I’m also very interested in the process involved in knowing something only as a quotation in another work, and there for part of that work and that context; and then much later hearing the original source, and hearing it as a (predictive) quotation. This has happened to me many times!

As for Mingus, Sun Ra, etc., “Kaleidozyklen” is actually a rare piece in my output in that I don’t think there are any real jazz elements in the mix, apart from perhaps a few seconds in “Movement III”; of course the way of thinking about writing music that comes from a knowledge of the modern jazz tradition is right in there, but there aren’t really any direct musical expressions of “jazz playing”; in some ways this is a “third stream” work, although the (con)fusion is between “classical” and free improvisation. But this was actually as a result of practical factors outside my control; if I’d been able to use the musicians I’d wanted for the performance, there would have been a lot more direct reference to contemporary jazz performance techniques.

Rui Eduardo Paes | In your “Compilation” works, there’s no “fusion”: jazz, free improvisation (or so it seems, but it may be structured), classical music and even rock (like in the Part 5 of “Compilation III – For Improvisers, Big Band and Chamber Ensemble”) coexist without melting, differently from “Kaleidozyklen”. It’s also a much freer and less conceptual work, depending the results, precisely, from the clashes between all the idiomatic and non-idiomatic elements. “Kaleidozyklen” is from 2000 and “Compilation III” is from 1998, but I think this has much more to do with your other work than the very classical, very systematic “Kaleidozyklen”. Is the “real” Simon H. Fell here, or is your present compositional/orchestral concerns better represented by “Kaleidozyklen”?

compilationtwo.jpgSimon H. Fell | Essentially, my interests are much better represented by “Compilation III” than “Kaleidozyklen”, even though I feel my technique has developed considerably, and “Compilation III” feels very old to me – don’t forget the piece itself was written in 1994. I would do things differently now, and the result would be better, but “Compilation III” is nearer to my own unique area of exploration. “Kaleidozyklen” was in effect me seeing what I could do with only an ensemble of classical students and myself; I would have dearly longed to have had other improvisers and jazz players with me, but it was not possible. So it was an experiment to see what I could achieve in as near to a mainstream “classical” context as I’ve ever got; I’m very pleased by the outcome, but it’s not as idiosyncratically unique as “Compilation III”, although I’m glad it still doesn’t sound quite like anything else…

Rui Eduardo Paes | I suppose this simultaneous dedication to the classical, the jazz and the improvised music fields is not very peaceful for you. There’s always someone that doesn’t like the “other” things you do. Do you feel dislocated in each of the “scenes” you’re in, the improvised scene, the jazz scene, the classical scene? They consider you one of them or there’s always some suspicion? If so, does that affect you in some way?

compilationdrei.jpgSimon H. Fell | Yes, absolutely. It is far easier to just fit in to an existing scene and try and exploit (or explore) the potential of it, than trying to make music that doesn’t fit particularly into any of the scenes. Which I can only assume is why so many musicians seem happy to continue their particular tradition, even when it’s an “avant-garde” tradition! And the whole structure of music making in all societies seems to be based primarily around the social contacts and friendships built up as part of being on “the scene”; if you’re outside that most of the people providing funding, work opportunities, and other support assume that you’ll be looked after by someone else’s “scene”. The effects of these questions tend to be simple and very practical; it’s very hard to get funding for the work I do (always a problem in Britain anyway), and it’s very hard to get work in terms of performances and commissions. Promoters, funders, record labels all tend to be frighteningly conservative, even when they think they’re “experimental”, although there are a few notable exceptions…

Rui Eduardo Paes | I noticed that, when you play with other musicians, collectively or in someone’s groups, you do it more often in free jazz contexts – something very different from what we find in your own projects, where jazz has not necessarily a free identity, going deeper in its roots, and where improvisation is generally non-idiomatic. So, how do you relate to free jazz, peacefully or with some conflict?

Simon H. Fell | Well, this kind of work reflects the kind of situations that I’m asked to participate in. There seems to be an inertia in people’s perception of your musical development, although this is perfectly understandable, and a lot of the time people are thinking about the way you played 15 or 20 years ago when they ask you to do a project. And again, this sometimes comes down to the conservatism of promoters, who will often only offer you a gig if you’re going to play the music that you were playing many years ago, rather than the music you play now, and which is far too awkward for the audience.

After my initial terrific passion when I first discovered the music, my relationship with free jazz is now more like my relationship with other repertoire musics (classical, modern jazz, etc.), in that it’s a music I love, and it’s always a pleasure to be asked to play it, but a lot of it seems to have forgotten to move forward. Too much of the music that I hear in all these genres doesn’t tell me anything new, and – whilst I’ll always enjoy a good performance of a classic piece of free jazz – to get onto my life-changing music list these days you have to show me or tell me something new about the possibilities of creating sound, creating relationships between instruments, creating relationships between sound and non-sound, etc. Every time I hear a piece of music I ideally want to hear something that moves forward my understanding of what’s possible with sound – of course this is too high a demand, and there is much enjoyable music which confirms what you already know, and indeed reminds you why you love music. For me most free jazz is now in the latter category, but of course I could hear a piece tomorrow which surprises me completely.

istproject.jpgRui Eduardo Paes | You’re one of the few players of your generation to play both in more conventional contexts of free improvisation and in the radical improvisation domains, like with the IST project. Generally, musicians of those sides don’t mix, which means that even in the improvisation scene you’re a crossover. I suppose you don’t think that the “old” and the “new” improvisation are so afar from each other than some say it is…

Simon H. Fell | No. I think there’s a lot of posturing going on within the improvised music community, as with any other community. Essentially what’s important is that people play with conviction, with a focus on the implications of what they’re doing, and with a belief that there is actually something worthwhile that can be created through playing; within this context the music will be interesting, challenging and worthwhile, regardless of its idiom. The problems come when players become lazy, desensitised or intransigent, playing in a certain way because that’s the way they play, or because it’s easiest for them, or because the audience like it, or because it’s easy to get gigs, or whatever. That’s when the magic evaporates from the music. I don’t consider the “new” improvisation either “new” or “radical” per se; as with any other music, it only becomes so by what it is, not by the posture it adopts.

Rui Eduardo Paes | What attracts you to the “new improvisation” practices? The non-linear, fragmentary playing, avoiding the use of phrases and even conventional notes, the permanent flirt with silence, with the use of big spaces, the preference for textures and not structure?

Simon H. Fell | Yes, all of these things attract me, but in any music. But I don’t regard any of these as “new”; they’ve all been part of improvised music as long as it’s existed, and some of them are also found in other traditions dating back through the whole of the 20th century, not to mention traditions of non-western music. And the minute that musicians start formalising these elements into an official “language”, “idiom” or “style” (as some players have), and then start playing that way because that is their language (or someone else’s language that they’ve appropriated), the music loses its interest for me. It becomes just another musical club you can be part of.

I’m interested in players as individuals, and the contribution they make to a specific musical situation; some of the players I admire and like to work with come from the “new” improv stable, some from the “old” improv stable. But I’m sure none of them actually would want to have such a label, and I think those who might do themselves no favours by it.

Rui Eduardo Paes | The concert of the new Zíngaro-Fell Project, with you, Carlos Zíngaro, Marcio Mattos and Mark Sanders, at the Guimarães Jazz Festival was one of the most interesting moments of the 2002 edition of that event. What is your impression about that first public presentation of this new group? It’s a project for the future?

Simon H. Fell | As you know, that was the first time we’d played together as a quartet, and I’ve not heard the recording of the concert, so my impressions are very unreliable and extremely subjective – it’s a very different experience being part of a performance than listening to it objectively. But I think the concert went well, and the feedback I’ve had from people who heard the concert has been good. The project was not really the idea of any of the musicians, in the sense that the festival commissioned the collaboration between Carlos and I, and then we chose musicians we would like to work with. So of course this was always bound to be a project with a unique musical identity…

I’m certainly hoping it’s a project for the future, as I’d love to do it again; as there’s meant to be a CD release of the concert recording, that will give us a good reason to continue the group! The problems are going to be the traditional ones in this music; not enough hours in the day to develop all the projects that need developing, too many musicians and groups chasing too few performance opportunities, promoters being overwhelmed by musicians having too many projects which they wish to develop, etc., etc. Still, Carlos seemed quite keen to perform again, and he has good connections on the international circuit, so perhaps something more will happen. But regardless of that, it was one of those experiences which you can only have with improvised music; turn up, meet up and play. And it’s perfect!

Rui Eduardo Paes | Tell me about other personal projects you’re involved in now. The continuation of the “Compilation” series? A more serious commitment to classical music? Something else?

Simon H. Fell | My main commitments at the moment are the SFQ group, which is now my main vehicle for small group composition, and “Compilation IV”. I’ve been very excited by some of the things SFQ has achieved (and very depressed by others!), but it is a difficult project to organise. The musicians are very busy, the music is difficult and needs a lot of rehearsal, and I’ve tried to keep the whole thing “professional”, which has led to funding problems. Also, I’ve been very disappointed by the reluctance of promoters and labels to commit to the group’s music…

“Compilation IV” is currently gestating. I’ve written a good deal of the music, and some of it has even been adapted into pieces for SFQ & SFD. I’m excited by several new ideas in this project, and I know if I ever can get it recorded it will update everyone on my thinking about what might be possible in the “fourth stream”. But on the negative side, I’ve no idea whatsoever how the realisation of the project will be funded; the funding possibilities in the UK for projects like this have declined dramatically even since the difficult days of “Compilation III”, so practical problems may prevent this work from being finished for many years.

compilationvier.jpgOne of the problems I have is that the music I want to do, whether it’s recorded (“Compilation”) or live (SFQ), is expensive to realise and requires a lot of preparation, rehearsal and regular performances to realise its best possible outcomes. So why do it? I can’t help it, it’s an expensive format, like film or opera, but it’s what drives me. I’m basically working from within a scene (improvised music) which has no real provision for any of these ideas about extended, complex projects, and where these ideas are not part of the underlying culture; however, I’m determined to continue trying to realise these ideas, since it seems to me that what really makes a difference is not just having ideas, but actually being able to make music out of them. I already know too many musicians who have been defeated by the system, and keep their ideas to themselves.

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Rui Eduardo Paes

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selected Simon H. Fell recordings

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Reinhold Friedl on Zeitkratzer. “Music is a physical experience”.

They play very loud – or really, really soft – and they have a battle to fight: to show that there are many contemporary musics and that all of them can touch our bodies.

This acoustic chamber orchestra that plays with contact-microphones and other amplification systems (electronic, after all) can interpret now a Berio or a Cage piece and imidiatly after a cover of the death-metal band Deicide, a “queer” composition by Terre Thaemlitz or “Metal Machine Music”, the most discussed work by Lou Reed. The (inside) piano player Reinhold Friedl is the leader of this original and provocative project and we had a long conversation. Watch out this guy: he’s one of the most brilliant musicians working in the present European “avant garde” scene… an interview by Rui Eduardo Paes

Rui Eduardo Paes | The dimension of marketing in the project Zeitkratzer seems to be fundamental not only for its consumption by the public but also for its identity. You’re trying to present and to sell “experimental” music as if it is a form of (pop)ular music, or even a sort of folk music (music by the people, for the people: the idea “Zeitkratzer in the park”, which is also adopted by “classical” music in Germany and Austria, with the same purposes). Can you explain me what do you want to do and achieve with this kind of approach?

Reinhold Friedl | The dimension of marketing is, in the first sense, not important for the identity, but for the existence of the group. If you just imagine what it means in financial terms to bring together the musicians of Zeitkratzer, coming from very different places in Europe, you can verify that marketing is quite important to pay travels, hotel costs, etc.

On the other hand, as Zeitkratzer has a quite provocative aesthetic – that is not at all intended to be so, but the musicians involved have just a “normal” approach to very different music -, the stalinistic contemporary music scene reacts in a very nervous way. So, to get money from this source is not only not easy, but the attitude of this scene – to have well-paid jobs in festival structures or universities, to pretend to have the Monopol of so-called “contemporary music” and to ignore completely every non-academic approach – leads to a completely boring idea of “new music” in a closed society. So, we never thought about treating or selling experimental music as a kind of pop or folk music, we just don’t hide the fact that it’s fun for us to play this kind of music we play. And I’m quite convinced, that’s how it should be…

The park project was not at all a copy of the “classical music in the park” thing, but a research on special musics for open spaces, even more in a sense of installation than a concert situation: there was no stage at all, the musicians were spread in the park, the pieces had between one and three hours long and were convinced to walk around and enjoy the spacial dimension of sound in a open park situation. We even took care that nobody could know exactly before when we were playing where or which piece. So, the most interested audience was some older turkish guys sitting in the park, really enjoying it, and other people that never had any idea about the existence of contemporary music, who just liked the music. So, this was more a mission than a selling project.

What seems to be a pop approach is more related to the “band” structure of Zeitkratzer. Most of the musicians, having played or still playing in contemporary music ensembles, are quite pissed off of fast-food culture in this metier: playing pieces, so-called “world-premier’s” just once, then throwing them into the garbage, and always playing with musicians that are just engaged for a special job, playing music like a job. So, one of the important decisions in the programming of Zeitkratzer is also to play and to replay repertory pieces, in order to play them better and better (hopefully). On the other hand, the musicians are nearly the same than in the beginning of the band, five years ago, so they know each other really well and are able to play whatever in a kind of band approach, more than in a kind of score fetishism.

Rui Eduardo Paes | Continuing to talk about this subject: do you assume that the interpretation of “Metal Machine Music” by Zeitkratzer and the concerts with Lou Reed were a statement, an homage to a very important and historical music achievement in the 20th century, but also a way to project your music to the media and to the public? Tell me: how this idea was born, what were the intentions?

Reinhold Friedl | The idea was born a few years ago in a discussion with Ulrich Krieger, the saxophone player of Zeitkratzer. We both thought that “Metal Machine Music” was a very important piece – compared with the contemporary music pieces of that time, its nearly impossible to ignore that fact. And, the important thing, its constructed in a very orchestral way, so we thought this music asks for a live instrumentation. And that’s actually what Ulrich did, and I think it really worked. For that we had two main preparations: we had already worked with noise musicians like Merzbow or Zbigniew Karkowski, and all the musicians of Zeitkratzer worked before with electronics and re-influenced their instrumental techniques with “electronic” sounds.

I think that, if a lot of people came to those concerts, it was a sign that this project is musically interesting. That the fact that rock ’n’ roll is contemporary music has been ignored for too long time in a too arrogant way. That also could explain that we got really enthusiastic critics for it from very different fields, except one really nervous from a stalinistic contemporary music critic.

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Rui Eduardo Paes | Zeitkratzer plays the music of some important “classical” contemporary composers, and also of many experimental authors, from Keith Rowe to Masami Akita (Merzbow), and others connected with the fringes of rock culture, like Elliott Sharp, and with the techno/dance culture, like Terre Thaemlitz. That’s not very usual, as you know. Why? What are your purposes: to represent today’s music reality, in it’s plurality? To abolish the division between “classical” (even if “avant garde”) and “experimental”? Is this an aesthetic proposition, a political statement?

Reinhold Friedl | Every good music is a political statement, as Platon told us already. But for us its not interesting at all to choose pieces or composers because of political reasons or aesthetic reasons. Our aim and our job is to try to play good music – and not to try to be part of a special social scene, pretending to be the only ones who take care about our days new music. I think if somebody is interested to hear and curious about music happening, you cannot ignore what happened in the experimental field the last decades.

Rui Eduardo Paes | Zeitkratzer is a chamber orchestra that frequently plays the music of electronic/electro-acoustic composers. Why this idea that acoustic instruments can play electronic? What do you want to prove? That acoustic instruments like the cello or the trumpet aren’t “out” yet, that their presence in the music of this new technologies age is far from unnecessary? Isn’t that a political statement?

Reinhold Friedl | I think we are not important enough to make political statements about the existence of acoustic instruments. They exist anyway or they don’t. We are just looking for interesting music, and for sure, the sound of acoustic instruments is still much more complex and alive than purely electronic sounds (what doesn’t mean at all that there are not great pieces using only pure electronic sounds).

But on the other hand, you shouldn’t forget that we are nearly always playing amplified, and that means: using electronics. A microphone IS electronic and I could tell you a lot about hour-lasting discussions, which microphones should be used in which case, or which piece needs microphones for the string sound, and which needs the pick-up sound for example. The new thing in Zeitkratzer is that all the musicians are able and used to play amplified, and that we treat amplification also as a musical parameter of our playing. We always use to joke about which instrumental sound will be mentioned as a electronic playback in the next critic…

Rui Eduardo Paes | When you chose as composers, for Zeitkratzer interpretations, controversial figures like John Duncan (who, in one of his performances, raped a female cadaver) or Terre Thaemlitz (a trans-sexual that promotes trans-gendering in music, whatever that is), what do you had in mind? Certainly, isn’t only because of the quality of their respective music productions, which is a matter for debate (I’ve heard some very good and some very, very bad things from both of them).

Reinhold Friedl | We have invited them to work with us because of the outstanding musical quality of some of their work. We always discuss very precisely which kind of projects we realize together, and all the members of Zeitkratzer have been really interested in the idea to work with this special setting.

Concerning the political discussions, I think that most of the interesting artists are quite sensible to political themes. And I can understand that a lot of people have been provoked by the mirror John Duncan showed them, fucking a dead lady – just imagine how many people are fucking dead women that pretend to be still alive. I also can understand that Terre is fighting for an acceptance of trans-gender living-forms, as he lives it – that’s probably a completely normal thing. We were all very impressed by Terre Thaemlitz, who is probably one of the best musicians I ever worked with (also concerning studio-mixing of acoustic instruments, for example).

noisenoisegross.jpgRui Eduardo Paes | I find a delicious paradox in Zeitkratzer: you assembled a group of musicians whose personal music, outside the orchestra, is known because of their choice of a radical reductionism of materials, like Axel Dörner, Franz Hautzinger, Michael Moser, Melvyn Poore, Alexander Frangenheim and yourself, to play what is, generally, a music of overload information, excessive (as in «Noise\ … (Lärm)»), brutal sometimes, and very loud, with lots of phantom sounds and frequency shocks. Why? We know that “near silence” is becoming a fashion in certain circles, and you have a CD just like that in the label that most represents this kind of approach, Trente Oiseaux («Au Défaut du Silence», with Michael Vorfeld): is this the way you refuse to become “fashionable”?

Reinhold Friedl | No. I really would like to become “fashionable” in terms of my bank account! But seriously: you only mention the other sides of the musicians: I think that there is a new generation of musicians that did not grow up with one kind of music only. Melvyn Poore, for example, is known very well as an improviser, but at the same time he is the best contemporary music tuba player today, invited for the jury of the Gaudeamus competition. He is also a directory member of the great new music group Musikfabrik. Ulrich Krieger used to play not only with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra or the Ensemble Modern, but also in rock bands, and released the first volume of the complete compositions for saxophones by John Cage. Franz Hautzinger worked with a lot of famous jazz and improvising players, like Joachim Kuehn or Bill Dixon or Derek Bailey, but also with Klangforum Wien, for example.

The noise music we play is a physical experience. Its not at all an overload of information, I think. All the musicians have been impressed by the work with Merzbow for example, who cared about all the little details in the music. The loudness of this music is necessary for the physical experience: it touchs your body. And on the other hand, some sounds and acoustical phenomena are only possible if you play them very loud. To play that live and to enjoy that without hurting your sanity, there is a very easy solution: good linear ear-protection.

I’m actually very proud of the CD I released with Michael Vorfeld on Trente Oiseaux: it’s the first acoustic CD ever released on this label. And if you listen to it, you will realise what Bernhard Guenter told me: this minimalistic sound music could already be an information overflow for his audience. The double-sense title “Au Défaut du Silence” reflects this ironically too.

Rui Eduardo Paes | Still about Zeitkratzer’s musicians: It’s a mere coincidence that many of them have carriers as free improvisers and jazz players, or you wanted for the band musicians with certain skills, capable of dealing with open forms and to improvise, or at least to play in a certain way?

Reinhold Friedl | I was just looking for good musicians with a good presence on stage, able to play very different music and open minded to do so, and last but not least, ready to work for that and to criticise very hard in a rehearsal situation.

Concerning improvisation, composition and interpretation, I have a very conservative approach: I don’t know any famous composer of the Western music history before… let’s say 1945, who did not do all the three things. Beethoven’s improvisations are said to be much better than his sonatas, Bach was a great improviser, etc. So, I think it’s just taking back a musical normality: to improvise, to compose and to interpret.

Rui Eduardo Paes | I know you have some ideas of your own about improvisation – you told me once that you only like to improvise with people with whom you’re used to do it. Tell me why.

Reinhold Friedl | Oh, if I told you that, I changed my mind. I actually did it and do improvise with other musicians too. I just played with musicians like Dean Roberts or Gene Coleman.

Rui Eduardo Paes | Even if Zeitkratzer deals with composed music, texture seems to be more important in the orchestra’s playing than structure, just like in improvisation. I presume that’s thinkd and intentional. Am I right?

krieger_lou_reed.jpgReinhold Friedl | No. Sound is very important. That was probably one point that made us to really met with Lou Reed, who is also a true sound fetishist. And as far as I know Alexander Frangenheim’s improvisations, he is not at all a textural player, but more a gestual one. Since we very different things, there are a lot of pieces dealing with structure. One of the most significant is, perhaps, “Monochromy”, that Zbigniew Karkowski did for us, if you think about the four minute long composed crescendo at the end. This is a true composition structure, like the pieces by Elliott Sharp, Nicolas Collins, etc. are too. I would have a problem, anyway, to devide our repertory digitally into structure and texture pieces. The last two pieces we did are cover versions of the death-metal band Deicide – which is very structural in terms of rhythm and the combination of incredible virtuosic-asymetric patterns – and “Hamburger Lady” by Throbbing Gristle, that would be treated as an early industrial sound texture as well, as as a well-composed structural piece.

Rui Eduardo Paes | Another thing that characterises Zeitkratzer music is that, in the orchestra, nobody plays their instruments conventionally (or almost) – for instance, you only use the inside of the piano, the strings, Hautzinger plays quarters of tone in the trumpet and everybody thinks in terms of harmonics. Are you trying to “reinvent” the playing of acoustic instruments and to reinvent acoustic music itself? Others did it before you, of course, but maybe not in such a programatic, conceptual way. The truth is that you present it like a “package”…

Reinhold Friedl | In a certain way, we do. And I think that the invention of new technic’s is a normal thing for an instrumentalist, and we use them. But we also have a lot of pieces in which almost everybody is playing his instrument very conventionally. Like the piano in the composition “c1” by Carsten Nicolai or in some Thaemlitz pieces. And Hautzinger is one of the best traditional jazz players I’ve heard. Luca Venitucci included several times italian folk songs into the programs, as a kind of interludes between the other pieces, and the violin player also plays tango.

Rui Eduardo Paes | To finish, tell me about the importance of the orchestral arrangement in Zeitkratzer’s music. It’s a long time since I noticed such a presence of the arrangement in an interpretation of music. Arrangement almost in the sense of translation, adaptation. How do you develop this work, specifically?

Reinhold Friedl | There are very different approaches. We normally work in a way I call “constructive anarchistic structure”. It means that, for each piece, one or two of us take the responsabillity, and also do the instrumentation if necessary. Ulrich Krieger did the instrumentation of “ Metal Machine Music” and wrote a 34 page score, which is a real master-work of instrumentation: it includes orchestration technic’s that you can learn in Debussy scores, like mixtures of sounds, etc. Melvyn Poore did the same for other pieces. This is only possible because we know each other and the sonic possibillites of the band quite well. Zeitkratzer is a composer-performer group, which means that all the members are able to think like composers too. So, the musicians involved normally propose more specific or differentiated sounds during the rehearsal work and really take care about what could make sense (and sensuality).

If we work with invited musicians, we normally make proposals to them, and then they can choose the sounds they want to have. That’s how we worked with Carsten Nicolai, who just played us something from his laptop, and every instrumentalist proposed him different sounds. That’s also how it came up that John Duncan, who is not a conductor, conducted the performances of his pieces in a great way: we showed him a huge palette of sounds and possibilities and he could treat them like in a live multi-track performance on the mixing-board.

Rui Eduardo Paes

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selected Zeitkratzer recordings.

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Reinhold Friedl and Zeitkratzer web pages.


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From the scores of the Indeterminist school to free-improvised noise and from New Music to rock, the German multi-saxophonist and composer has a moto: music must have a vision.

He plays several instruments of the saxophone family and is deeply involved with electro-acoustics, using it to perform the music of others, even if carving his own mark on it, or improvising and playing the compositions he wrote himself. Between a contemporary music piece by Berio, for instance, and the free rock of Text of Light, his band with Lee Ranaldo, of Sonic Youth fame, and DJ Olive, Ulrich Krieger says there’s an obvious connection: they’re both musical expressions of our time. That’s his vision for the future, beginning now: that each of us turns a real multidimensional being… an interview by Rui Eduardo Paes

Rui Eduardo Paes | Your work is done in two fronts: as a saxophonist, generally performing the music of names like John Cage or Phill Niblock, and as a composer. Only sometimes those two activities coincide in the same piece. Any special reason for that?

Ulrich Krieger | That is actually not true. There are quite a couple of pieces for saxophone(s) I wrote, performed and recorded by myself. This was true specially in the 80’s and 90’s. And I am planning to do a CD with my (solo) saxophone music performed by myself. There is a 60 minute long soprano sax quartet, ‘Up and Down 23′, I recorded alone and which will be released this year on Quakebasket. Also my 50 minute composition ‘Fathom’ for contrabass sax, two electric guitars and percussion was recorded with Lee Ranaldo, Alan Licht, Tim Barnes and me, and will hopefully be released next year. Both pieces were performed live a couple of times and I always played the saxophone. ‘Fathom’ will be performed at two festivals in autumn, and in June I will perform my piece ‘( ) …\’ with Radu Malfatti, Antoine Beuger and others.

There is also a new 30 minute alto sax solo, which still waits to be premiered. But anyhow, since a while I don’t feel the urge to write for myself so much anymore. I used to include at least one original piece in programs with other composers. But I don’t do these kind of mixed-composer programs hardly anymore. These days I find it more interesting to write for other players and hear them perform my music. The last piece I wrote is for the Swiss KontraTrio (contrabass flute, contrabass saxophone, contrabass tuba). So the saxophone comes back in my composition, I don’t avoid it. But as far as my own playing goes I prefer to either play music of composers I love – to get into their heads, so to speak (Niblock, Cage, Bryars, Riley, Tenney, Scelsi – to name some of my favorites) or to improvise and collaborate with people directly, to have spontaneous exchanges. The kind of material I use in this context is very similar to what I would use in a piece I would write just for myself.

I always made a difference between pieces I write for other players, which have to have a different kind of form and the pieces I write for myself, which I call performer/composer pieces. These are sometimes not written down at all or only in a very loose way and which can develop from performance to performance. This last aspect of development, of work-in-progress, was a main interest in writing for myself (rather than just improvising). But a lot of my performer/composer works developed after a while to a point that I wrote them down, ‘finalized’ them so to speak and they are now also available to other performers (Rote Erde, …wie oben, so auch unten…). So the newer saxophone pieces are all written out. There are two compositions at the moment, which were from the beginning conceived as ‘work-in-progress’: ‘Book of Sins’ (guitar and electronics) and ‘Azrael 1’ (cello and electronics). Here I have two pieces for other players which develop and change from performance to performance and sometimes even take different directions after a while – and probably will be finalized at some point.

Rui Eduardo Paes | You’ve been working lately in the fringes of pop music, which you call your “old love”. Give me some examples and tell me why this kind of investment…

Ulrich Krieger | There is and always was a strong experimental current in pop culture. Saying ‘pop culture’ I mean more Rock and electronic music than actually middle-of-the-road commercial charts pop music. I grew up listening to New Music and Rock at the same time and there never was a (quality) difference for me between them – just different styles, languages. When I was 16 I would listen in one day to Schönberg piano pieces, then Velvet Underground, then Stockhausen, Bauhaus, etc. My projects Text of Light with Lee Ranaldo and Alan Licht and zerfall_gebiete with Thomas Köner fall within this ‘category’ of pop culture for me because of my formative background (as opposed to academic new music, free jazz, etc.). This is music which is surely experimental or avant-garde or whatever you want to call it…, but it is in no way coming from a ‘New Music’ background, but a rock music, industrial, metal, electronic, club and ambient background.

I can’t really understand nor support the arrogant and ignorant ways many New Music composers look down on Rock music. In certain ways there is at the moment more experimental, progressive things going on in this kind of music as in ‘classical contemporary music’, which is in a phase of mannerism and in a crisis. Here are some referential bands I like: Sonic Youth, Can, Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music, Scott Walker’s ‘Tilt’ and ‘The Drift’ CDs, Throbbing Gristle, Henry Cow, Pan Sonic, Velvet Underground, Clock DVA, Brian Eno, Underground Resistance and early Detroit Techno, early Drum ‘n Bass, Merzbow, SunO))), Deicide, Meshuggah, John Zorn, The Pop Group…

Rui Eduardo Paes | A good part of your attention as a performer is dedicated to the minimalist tradition. That choice connects you to the memory of a specific movement of the 20th century. Of course, you don’t do only that, but this seems to be an aesthetic option. I know that the Sixties and Seventies minimalist procedures are reflected in today’s electronica, but when you name two of your recordings as “Early American Minimalism”, interpreting scores by Philip Glass, Steve Reich and Terry Riley, it seems you’re revising history (doing history) and adopting a repertoire. Or are you enlightening the minimalist influence in the present, showing that all this (the “walls of sound”) started with those guys? What is the purpose, afterall?

Ulrich Krieger | Having performed mainly European New Music during the 80’s I actually got tired of the academic and ‘brainy’ limitations of this music as well as of the political bourgeois implications it carries. This is a music coming out of a classical tradition.

krieger_nightmares.jpgSee, if you are just a ‘normal’ performer, nobody even considers asking you why you play Berio, Cage, Mr. Unknown, Tan Dun, Ms. Premiere and Reich in one concert or on one CD (who ever asked the Arditti Quartet this question?). But as soon as a performer starts getting selective and picky people start wondering … With composers it is just the other way round: everybody expects a composer to have not only a, but ONE aesthetic position. If you write pieces in more than one style everybody calls you a post-modernist (which is a four letter word in music) or questions your integrity. Why is that??? Instead of doing CDs with a mix of different composers (my first solo CD was like this: ‘Nightmares and Other Stories’), I decided to do CDs highlighting a specific composer or musical style or theme I like and find important to work on deeper.

The ‘Walls of Sound’ series consists of three CDs: #1 long tones and drones: Niblock, Tenney, Cage, Celli; #2 classical American Minimalism (pattern music): Reich, Riley, Glass; #3 will be European (extended sounds): Nono, Bertoncini, Krieger, Radulescu.

krieger_walls_of_sound.jpgThere is also the Cage series, which will be four CDs, and then there is one CD with the saxophone music of Henry Cowell and Percy A.Grainger, etc. Also I like to show the saxophone world that there is a whole world of repertoire which was neglected for so long by saxophone performers, which only play Berio (which I just recorded for Mode), Stockhausen, and a few other European mainstream composers.

See, the world is complex and our societies seem to want to press people into linear beings. But we are not linear, we are multidimensional, and I like to give my different interests, my different personalities different outputs. Minimalism is an important musical style of the 20th century. I like the early music, but I am not so fond of the later stilistic developments. So I decide to bring these early pieces back into the mind of a larger audience and sax players, special now that it is such a strong (and often unconscious) influence everywhere. And of course it is historic, meaning that I want to show these pieces as part of a historical canon, as repertoire, it is an important part of the musical history of today. This question/remark came often in reviews about the ‘Walls’ CD, but when you record a piano solo CD with Lachemann, Stockhausen, Nono and Ligeti, nobody ask you this question. Doesn’t this raise some questions in itself?

Rui Eduardo Paes | Do you still work with Thomas Koner ? If the minimalists were the grandfathers, he’s one of the fathers of today’s drone / static electronic music…

Ulrich Krieger | We still play together. The last thing we did was in a Berlin planetarium in January. I love our collaboration, which of course is very sustained, ambient, droning and dark. The idea of working with Thomas goes years back, when I was doing a concert series called ‘New Sax Electronica’. I started this around 1998, when I decided to stop doing the normal interpreter programs mentioned above. I didn’t want to play ‘New Music’ anymore, but I liked to continue with a solo program. So I asked musicians I like, NS which normally don’t write for other musicians, to write pieces for me: Duncan, Karkowski, Hegenbart, Ranaldo, etc., mostly musicians from a Noise, Rock, Electronic Music background.

Thomas was not so much interested to write for me, but he was interested in working with me and so this collaboration started years later. Today I agree with him. I rather collaborate directly with someone than having him write pieces which I then have to study. We have released one single on Die Stadt under the name of ‘zerfall_gebiete’ and will do more in the future.

Rui Eduardo Paes | Speaking of influences: how do you envision the influence of Cage’s music and thinking in the present? In this context, what is for you the importance of your “A Cage of Saxophones”, a colection of your own versions of his compositions?

krieger_a_cage_of_saxophone.jpgUlrich Krieger | There is a lot of great music he wrote for saxophone, which I wanted to perform and make a part of the saxophone repertoire. There is a very academic way of performing Cage and much misunderstanding about him as a composer. I wanted to record theses pieces in a way I like them to be heard, my vision of them, which is much more sensual, also showing Cage’s influence on Ambient Music (‘Atlas Eclipticalis’, the number pieces, ‘Ryoanji’, and others) and newer developments. There are two kinds of performers (to simplify things): 1) the one who plays everything you ask him to. This is for people who are happy just to play their instruments (you find them mostly in orchestras and ensembles – I’m not criticizing!); 2) the other who, although performing other composer’s music, has is own artistic idea and intention. This means to select what you play, because you want to say something with it.

For me it is very much like composing with found material, material I never would come up with myself. Cage’s influence at this moment on New Music is not so strong. We have quite a conservative and academic backlash here – also specially with young composers, not only the old guard. But Cage’s influence, often even unnoticed, in all kind of genres and art is broad…

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Rui Eduardo Paes | With the post-post-modern chamber orchestra Zeitkratzer you did also an acoustic version of Lou Reed’s “Metal Machine Music”, a work that is pointed out as opening the way for current noise practices, from Merzbow (you also had a colaboration with Masami Akita) to the band Wolf Eyes. Tell me how was that experience. You presented it live with Lou himself…

Ulrich Krieger | This was great. It was a lot of work to transcribe it off the record. But it was worth it. ‘Metal Machine Music’ is probably one of the most misunderstood musical compositions in the 20th century. It is neither Rock ‘n Roll nor ‘New Music’ (nor Free Jazz) – and at the same time it is the absolute essence of all of it. So it was misunderstood from all sides – remember it was done in 1975! Today there is an audience for this kind of thing, but back then just very few people got it. Lou Reed first didn’t believe that it is possible to do a version for classical instruments and was very reluctant and very surprised that after all this time some guys, who were still kids when the record came out, now have such a strong interest in it. We then did a concert with other pieces of Lou from a theater collaboration with Robert Wilson. Lou was very pleased and after we approached him again about ‘MMM’, he gave his ok, but only after first hearing a 5 minute demo.

krieger_lou_reed.jpgLuca Venitucci and me transcribed the piece independently in order to compare it afterwards. This was done so we could see what each of us has heard in this thick, dense sound world. And surprisingly enough we had heard pretty much the same. There were some minor things each of us hadn’t paid attention to, but then the other had. I had made a precise plan for an arrangement already before the transcription, because I knew which instrument could produce which sounds. So only after hearing the piece with these instruments in my mind we started the transcription. Lou loves it and it was great to perform with him.

Rui Eduardo Paes | I remember an Italian journalist saying that your playing (or better still: your hearing perceived in the performative act) is very analytical. Your interpretation of written music is in itself not only a study but a critique of that music, a kind of transposition for another plane of things?

Ulrich Krieger | Yes, this is right. And very well coined. If I play music by someone else I can’t just play the notes. I have to get into the head of the composer, his thinking, his intention, and specially his philosophy. Only through this, playing other composers works makes sense for me. I have to deconstruct a piece and then put it back together again, and then it has to become sensual again. I have to understand the piece, its structure, its aesthetic in order to make it come alive. It has to make sense for me, which means I have to make it MY piece, I have to have a personal vision of the composition I play. It has to have a meaning for me – if it is the meaning the composer thought of or not doesn’t really matter. But I never change the content of a piece, never change notes or structures, etc. So it is also a compositional process by first de-construction and then re-construction. I work with a material I never would write myself.

Rui Eduardo Paes | And what about improvisation, a field in which you’re also developing some work? Do you consider it a critique of music, in that case not of the score, but of memory, background, taste, aesthetic choices or whatever? Or improvisation is for you something completely different, calling other type of considerations? If so, what are those considerations?

Ulrich Krieger | All the fields of music I am working in have different special focuses for me. In composition you are able to use whatever material you like, you are not limited to just your own instrument, you have much time to really figure out detailed structures and sounds. In playing other composers music the task is to get into another person’s mind, playing something I never would come up with. Improvising is to react, to have to make decisions on the spot. Also it is about creating music with others a single musician would not come up with, to join forces for something that hopefully will be more than the sum of its single elements. Text of Light is a good example of that.

textoflight.jpgText of Light is an absolute free improvising group. We never rehearse and never perform concepts. Through the background of everybody the result is not Free Jazz nor (European) Free Improvisation, but a kind of ‘Free Rock’, which is very sound oriented and ecstatic. Very often we ourselves cannot always say who is making which sounds – our sounds melt. Our concerts range from ambient to noise, but often we are pretty loud, but not only.

Rui Eduardo Paes | In an improvising way, with Text of Light you’ve been trying to answer to the question: “What is the sound of a Stan Brakhage film?”. But does not a Brackhage film function in some way as a score? What problems (either in the good and in the bad sense) are born from playing live music during cinema presentations? And specifically what problems are implicated by the cinema of this experimental director? Do you try to translate to music his cinematic concepts or things flow in paralel without attempting to fuse?

Ulrich Krieger | We don’t try to play a soundtrack at all. We often don’t even watch when we play. I played whole concerts with the back to the screen. The film is an influence.

It is so by simple being there, knowing there is a Brakahge film going on at the same time. So we don’t use it as a score at all. Sometimes some of us watch for a while and get influenced by what they see, but it is never an illustration or copy of visual material to musical material. And that influence then again influences the others who don’t watch. For some people it seems to be difficult to understand. It is two things happening at the same time in the same room. There is no 1:1 connection between the films and the music. It is all non-direct, more sub-conscious, if you like. But of course it is a clear aesthetic decision and part of the concept of the band to use (mostly) only Brakhage films.

Rui Eduardo Paes | Text of Light have a strong rock accent – afterall, it includes Lee Ranaldo, from Sonic Youth fame, and Alan Licht. What interests you in rock?

Ulrich Krieger | Rock music and New Music are musical styles of the second half of the 20th century. As I said before, I don’t make quality distinctions between musical styles – only within the styles. Experimental Music always interested me. And every musical genre has its interesting experimental sub-genres and fringes. I grew up with Rock music and just never saw the necessity to go away from it. It is a vital, lively and down to earth art form. I always was involved in different kinds of Rock music: Not just in my teenager days, in the early 90s I had an improvising, techno-rhythm based, ambient-noise trio called Murilag. I had a noisy free improv Rock band, The Koan Pool, with David First in the mid-90’s. Now I have a band-project called Blood Oath in which I try to mix death metal, doom metal, free improvisation, and noise. Rock music is a part of me – much more than classical music ever was. Rock music is an authentic art form and it is very creative in the usage of sounds.

Rui Eduardo Paes | And what about jazz? Your saxophone sound and playing is completely alien to the saxophone jazz tradition. Or not?

Ulrich Krieger | Hm, yes and no. It is true that again my sax sound and concept of playing comes mainly from the two big mainstreams I love: New Music (and therefore the classical music tradition – I did study classical saxophone after all) and Rock. Jazz focuses mainly on harmony and melody. Structure and sound was never such a big issue in Jazz. Of course individual sound was always important, but never as a compositional tool. This only changed when Free Jazz came and here my real interest in Jazz started. I did play BeBop as a teenager and in my early 20s, but I soon abandoned it. I wasn’t so interested in playing melodic solos over a rigid harmony structure. But I always was a big Ornette Coleman fan – I guess I know nearly all his records, and I love Miles Davis. But again my preferred periods are the electric, rocking, funky ones: Miles in the 70’s and Ornette in the 80’s. My personal interest lies in sounds and structure (which also means rhythm). I once did a concert with my versions for sax and electronics of Coltrane’s ‘Love Supreme’, Aylers’s ‘Ghosts’ and Sun Ra’s ‘Blues on Planet Mars’. And with my sax quartet Intersax I covered more Coltrane and Sun Ra.

Rui Eduardo Paes | Your recent concerts with a saxophone quartet included pieces by such diverse names as Stockhausen and Coltrane, Sun Ra and David Bowie, Cage and Pink Floyd, and you even played the Star Trek theme. What was the “conceptual” frame for this broad openness?

Ulrich Krieger | Since long I am interested in Science Fiction and its implications on society. In our days, where even the left is conservative and everybody tries to save something (the ‘good ol’ times’ mostly), nobody has a vision for a new society, nobody wants to see what the real problem is. We are living in a time of the end of one society and the birth of a new one. Very much like around 1700. Science Fiction is an art form, which has this potential of visions. It is strong in film (unfortunately recently mostly ‘ferry tall like’) and in literature, where it still has much of its vision, many of the authors of SF are scientist, mathematicians and physicists. But within music it seems to be difficult to deal with SF. Sun Ra, late-Coltrane, Stockhausen, are some of the composers who are interested in Science Fiction, visions of the future and the cosmos. I wanted to do a project about SF in music and not about a specific musical style.

There is interesting Jazz, New Music, Pop, Rock, and film music. I was interested in seeing how these different musicians approached this theme from different positions and angles and what are their differences and what are the overlaps. At the same time there was a video being shown made completely out of Science Fiction film footage with different thematic sections. Of course I could have chosen music from just one style. But if you are dealing with the future and visions it seems like a contradiction to restrict a concept to one point of view only.

Rui Eduardo Paes | You’ve been using the computer as an extra instrument. Another world for your intervention, or simply a tool more?

Ulrich Krieger | The computer for me is an instrument like any other. I love its possibilities. I substitute old electronic hardware with it. It is lighter, more efficient, andJmore open. I have been working with electronics on my saxophone since the late 80’s. So this is just a overdue step. I would need more time to learn some of the programs better. And of course it is an extension of the ‘acoustic electronic’ sounds I play on the sax.

Rui Eduardo Paes

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Ulrich Krieger’s web page

selected recordings with Zeitkratzer

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Rui Eduardo Paes | Photo: SusanaPaiva

Author

of several books about experimental and improvised musics, always in relation with other art disciplines and with themes from philosophy, sociology and anthropology, Rui Eduardo Paes is the editor of the magazine Jazz.pt and he writes for some European publications, namely Oro Molido (Spain) and Revue & Corrigée (France), also maintaining a personal website with interviews, articles and record reviews in Portuguese, English and French.

He was one of the founders of the Ernesto de Sousa Fellowship, to which jury he takes part as the representative of the Luso-Americain Foundation for the Development, and he was the music comissary of the Apreciation Comitee for the 2005-2008 Supports of the Art Institut – Portuguese Ministry of Culture. He is a member of the board of directors of Granular, a non-profit cultural association dedicated to promote experimentalism in the Portuguese sound and audiovisual arts.

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