On Friday February 3, I’ll be playing in a special trio with Molly & Eugene Chadbourne opening for the great Lonnie Holley at King’s (14. W. Martin St. Raleigh). Doors at 8:30, show starts at 9pm. $10/12
Free Improvised Music Series at Neptune’s Parlour (Raleigh, NC) night one, programmed by James Gilmore. Performing: Vattel Cherry, Laurent Estoppey, Shawn Galvin, James Gilmore, and David Menestres. Music at 8:30pm.
Eugene Chadbourne Presents the International Wonder of Weird Songbook every Monday in January at Neptune’s Parlour. Featuring a rotating army of weirdos including the Chadbourne Family Singers (Molly, Lizzie, and Jenny Chadbourne), Carrie Shull, Laurent Estoppey, James Gilmore. Dave Doyle. Joe Westerlund, myself, and other assorted oddities.
Doors at 8pm. Music at 8:30pm. $8 at the door.
Friday June 10 at 7:30pm & 10:00pm
Saturday June 11 at 5:00pm & 9:30pm
Sunday June 12 at 11:00pm
Duty explores sonic possibilities and human limits, harnessing the bodily convulsions produced by electrical impulses to control seven performers in a work composed in one octave for fourteen handbells. The title of the work refers both to the movement of a bell and the enforced physical obligation of the performers, and references Pavlovian classical conditioning experiments pairing the sound of a bell with another stimulus to elicit conditioned responses in subjects.
A performative realization of a system where agency is dispersed across people, objects, and the environment, the work creates a distributed system where the artist/composer executes pre-determined motor actions in the performers via electric muscle stimulation (EMS).
A composition converted to MIDI triggers two custom-built EMS devices, which deliver electrical impulses to specific points on the performers’ arms via electrodes attached to their skin, causing their muscles to contract and generating specific involuntary movements at changing velocities.
Variations in voltage, frequency and pulse width dictate different muscular responses in the performers, ranging from unnatural jolts to unnervingly fast movements. Duty uses the induction of involuntary movement to explore the way physical (and psychological) constraint can determine both a musical outcome and extend sonic possibilities. Expanding the potential of the human body beyond conscious control the use of electric muscle stimulation in this context enables experimentation with rhythmic structures and fast movements that the performers would be unable to achieve of their own volition. The ensemble of performers create a unified somatic instrument; a conduit for complex rhythmic soundscapes and visually unnerving movements.
The application of EMS to musical performance provides a novel way to explore the interface between technology and live performance, and raises interesting questions regarding creative agency in the creation of music. The transmogrification of the performers’ body as an input/output device literalizes aspects of musical performance, where musicians frequently describe feeling like conduits or transcribers of a creation that is not their own. A perverse take on Schoenberg’s (1911) claim that “art is born not of ‘I can’ but of ‘I must’”, Duty explores the liminal space between didactic execution and free interpretation inherent in all musical performance.
In a broader sense, Duty questions assumptions about agency and free will both in musical performance and everyday contexts. An enquiry into the nature of agency within systems where cognition is distributed across people, objects and environment through technologies of connection, Duty explores what happens when embodied experience is disrupted or extended, and what kind of agency is created in these distributed systems.
For those of you that don’t know, I am about to move from Raleigh, NC (where I’ve been based for the last 5.5 years) to Santa Fe, NM.
My first gig in Santa Fe will occur on June 17th at High Mayhem along with solo sets from CJ Boyd and The Uninvited Guest. The magic starts at 8pm (MDT). Tickets can be bough here. And for those not in Santa Fe, you can live stream the event here.
Really excited to be moving out to the desert/mountains of Northeastern New Mexico and honored to be taking part in a High Mayhem event.
From The Uninvited Guest:
We are very excited to feature 3 very different and amazing solo bass acts.
We have a limited number of presale tickets available for the in studio performance.
By your tix for $10 in advance – Use the ticket link above. An email will be send to you giving you the address to attend the in-studio performance.
Bassist, composer, vagabond, CJ Boyd uses low-end loops and voices in order to try and stop time. On perpetual tour since March 2008, movement and stasis are both at the center of his music. Though solo performance takes up the bulk of his time and effort, he also plays in the bands Desert Center, Kurva Choir, Rhonya, and Move. His non-stop travels between North America and Europe have been propelled by vans, cars, trains, buses, planes, and boats, but most of all a commitment to ceaseless discovery and re-invention. His oceanic sounds provide a home for the homeless and journeys to the homebound. more at http://www.cjboyd.com/ and https://
David Menestres – new transplant from North Carolina, making his Santa Fe debut – more at davidmenestres.com
“The Uninvited Guest”- Carlos Santistevan High Mayhem co-founder, director, and audio engineer making a rare solo performance. A diverse and eclectic musician from groups such as iNK oN pAPER, The Late Severa Wires, The Uninvited Guests, Out of Context, A. Barnhouse and more!
Polyorchard will be opening for the great Jon Mueller on May 2 at Neptunes Parlour. Very excited to be opening for one of my favorite musicians (Death Blues, Volcano Choir, Collections of Colonies of Bees, Pele, etc.). The show will start promptly at 7:30pm.
Jon Mueller is one of music’s most versatile drummers. Pounding on the kick and cracking at the snare, he has served as the engine behind the rock-scrambling bands Pele, Collections of Colonies of Bees and Volcano Choir (essentially a collaboration between that last act and Bon Iver). As an improviser, he’s created long-form, stamina-demanding pieces that turn simple beats into pulsing, tantric drones. And as a bandleader, he built Death Blues, a cathartic and communal collective that treated symphonic forms, gospel choirs and string arrangements as methods for going loud and triumphant. For this solo tour, he will create an immersive, meditative soundworld using a hand drum and wordless vocals that he loops and mutates in real-time. Don’t be surprised if the set rattles your perception; Mueller’s ecstatic explorations have a tendency to do that. With Polyorchard. 7:30 p.m., $10, 14 W. Martin St., Raleigh, 919-833-1091, www.kingsbarcade.com. —Grayson Haver Currin
Within a 40 minute solo performance of percussion and voice, using a hand-made Arabic bass drum and looped wordless vocals, Mueller conjures world music and sound while remaining very particularly other worldly. Drawing from minimalism and a variety of musical and non-musical disciplines, including meditation, trance, and physical stamina, Mueller’s solo performances have been described by audiences as resilient, intense, and meditative.
The aim of Mueller’s solo performance is to engage an audience in listening practice by creating a variety of input both recognizable and not, understood and not, which causes a unique experience in each individual.
Jon Mueller has been a drummer and percussionist for over twenty-five years, performing throughout North America, Europe, United Kingdom, and Japan at places such as New Museum (New York), The Arnolfini (Bristol, UK), Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, (Montréal, QC), Issue Project Room (New York), Guggenheim Museum (New York), Alverno Presents (Milwaukee), Hopscotch Fest (Raleigh), SXSW (Austin) and Cafe OTO (London, UK). His recordings have been released by record labels such as Table of the Elements, Type Recordings, Hometapes, Important Records, SIGE Records, Taiga Records, and others. A founding member of the bands Volcano Choir, Collections of Colonies of Bees, and Pele, he has also worked with musicians Rhys Chatham, Jarboe, James Plotkin, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Marcus Schmickler, Asmus Tietchens, and Z’EV, dancers Molly Shanahan and Heidi Latsky and filmmaker Scott Kawczynski, among others. In recent years, Mueller has directed the multi-disciplinary project Death Blues, encouraging presence and celebration of each moment. More info at www.rhythmplex.com.
“An audacious ringleader for new music.” – Pitchfork
“A complex experience you touch, live in, and meditate on.” – NPR
“Cerebral, emotional, and spiritual in nature.” – A Closer Listen
From the EMSG:
Tuesday, April 14, The Carrack, 8pm – Michael Pisaro and Greg Stuart: numbers and the siren
The concert will feature trumpeter Jacob Wick, who’s playing a series of concerts in the Southeast around then. Jacob is an artist, writer, and improviser with musical connections to the communities in New York (including Jason Ajemian’s avant-party High Life), Chicago, and the Bay Area. He lives in Mexico City. Information about Jacob is at www.jacobwick.info .
The concert will start at 8 PM, and there will be a jar for voluntary donations. Feel free to bring your own beverage.
Dan Lilley’s home is a beautiful and unique setting for live music, and we are lucky and grateful to have the chance to present these concerts there.
Every society has rules that people deal with in different ways. What I basically create [in the game pieces] is a small society and everybody kind of finds their own position in that society. It really becomes, like, a psychodrama. It’s like scream therapy, or primal therapy. People are given power and it’s very interesting to see which people like to run with that power, which people run away from it [and] who are very docile and just do what they’re told [and those] who try very hard to get more control and more power. . . . It’s very much like the political arena, in a certain kind of a sense . . . [where performers] are having a little carrot dangled in front of them. And it’s interesting to see who tries to grab the carrot and who doesn’t. And a lot of times the people who try to grab the carrot, it’s pulled out of their hands by someone else in the band. So, it becomes kind of a scary, frightening thing to be in front of that band to see these people blossom and become the assholes that they really are.
Collapss + Polyorchard present John Zorn’s Cobra:
March 29 at The Shed 8pm (807 E. Main St., Durham NC 27701)
April 3 at Empire Books in Greensboro at 7:30pm (1827 B Spring Garden St., Greensboro NC 27403)
Scheduled to be participating:
Carole Ott (voice) Tadeu Coelho (flute) Steve Stusek (saxophone) Nick Rich (guitar) Jonathan Wall (electronics) David Menestres (bass, objects) Jason Bivins (guitar) Dan Ruccia (viola) Bill McConaghy (trumpet) Christopher Robinson (saxophone) Charles Phaneuf (clarinet) Laurent Estoppey (Cobra Commander)
John Zorn’s Cobra is a sort of musical game. The composer becomes the conductor, leading an ensemble of varying sizes by holding up cue cards, making some gesture or movement, and commanding a subset of players to respond to the instructions. By design, it’s incredibly mutable, capable of shifting from atonal paroxysms to dreamy drones without any sense of logic. For this performance, Raleigh’s Polyorchard and Greensboro’s Collapss combine for a two-show tour, starting in Durham tonight but ending in the Gate City April 3rd. For maximum edification, see both, and understand just how flexible games can get. —Grayson Haver Currin
On March 17th there will be an excellent house show featuring three incredible musicians. Erik Carlson (International Contemporary Ensemble, Talea Ensemble, etc.) and the Kalmanovitch Maneri duo will be playing at the former Nordon Grocery Store at 719 Devereux St., Raleigh, NC 27605 (corner of Devereux & Gaston) at 8pm. We are incredibly lucky to have three world class musicians playing in one of the most beautiful homes in Raleigh. There will be a suggested donation of $10 at the door.
Erik Carlson will be playing the first set and is expected to play works by Jürg Frey, Manfred Werder, and other composers. Kalmanovitch Maneri duo will be playing a fully improvised set starting around 9pm.
Special thanks to the Experimental Music Study Group for bringing Erik Carlson to town for a three day residency March 15-17. Check the EMSG Calendar for more information about Erik Carlson & R. Andrew Lee’s residency and sign up for the EMSG newsletter to be informed on future events.
Erik Carlson has performed as a soloist and with many chamber and orchestral ensembles throughout Europe and the Americas. He is a highly active performer of contemporary music and has had works written for him by numerous composers, including Karlheinz Stockhausen, Tom Johnson, Jürg Frey, and Georges Aperghis. Mr. Carlson is an enthusiastic proponent of interdisciplinary collaboration, and performs frequently with poets, dancers, actors, and film.
He is a member of the International Contemporary Ensemble and the Talea Ensemble and is the founder of the New York Miniaturist Ensemble. He has been featured on over a dozen recordings, including his own two recent albums of music for violin. Also a composer, he has had his musical compositions performed in a wide variety of venues. He studied violin with Jorja Fleezanis, Ronald Copes, and Robert Mann, and holds a Master’s degree from The Juilliard School. Mr. Carlson enjoys expensive bourbon and long walks on the beach.
About Kalmanovitch and Maneri
Praised for his high degree of individualism and a distinctive marriage of jazz and microtonal music, violist and violinist Mat Maneri has established an international reputation as one of the compelling artists of his generation. His recordings are widely acknowledged as among the most important developments in improvised music. Maneri lives in Brooklyn, NY and teaches at the New School.
Over the course of a 25-year career, violist, writer and ethnomusicologist Tanya Kalmanovitch has continually re-defined what a 21st century musician can be. She teaches in the Department of Contemporary Improvisation at New England Conservatory, and is Coordinator of Entrepreneurship at Mannes College the New School for Music. Kalmanovitch lives in Brooklyn, NY.
About The Music
It can be difficult to write about what we do as improvisers. Perhaps it’s easier to explain it through a series of questions we’ve been asking, ourselves.
What is composition?
What is chamber music? Is it repertoire, or rather an approach to creative collaboration?
What is musical time? Is it linear? Cyclical?
What is jazz when you remove its canonized instrumentation and approach?
What are the essentials in the musical language we like to present?What are the styles and ideas that motivate us? Abstract art? Schumann lieder? Eliot Carter? How do we evoke these ideas without mimicry?
What do you call this music? Is it chamber music; is it jazz? Is it Mahler? Is it free improvisation?
It’s everything we love.
* * *
I’ve worked with Tanya Kalmanovitch on and off for ten years and, of course, our musicality together has strengthened in that time. That being said, our very first encounter was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Two violas (an unusual instrumentation) improvising with no genre or premeditation, producing fully realized gems. How was this possible? Sometimes I feel there’s a hint of magic in it, but the best definition I can come up with is ‘exponential experience’ – a kind of super-consciousness, rare in even the best of musical collaborations, that involves some sort of alchemical transformation into some element much richer and deeper than we could each find on our own.
In some ways, we’ve had very similar backgrounds: string players in the classical realm, both fighting our way into the jazz hierarchy, and both passionate about the extreme diversity in the music this world has to offer. We’ve also had many dis-similarities along the way, whether geographical (Tanya grew up in Alberta’s isolation, while I came of age in the environment of New England Conservatory), educational (Tanya studied at Juilliard, while I leaving the conservatory at 17 to work with the Joe Maneri Quartet) and gender (which was a big deal when we were coming up in through the jazz ranks). Through these differences and similarities, it was our hard-found empathy that allows for the shared, exponential experience that we are continuing to explore, fine tune, and share with others.
Mat Maneri, January 26, 2015