Seattle Scene: December 3-19, 2015

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From Seattle’s Wayward Music Series:

Chapel Performance Space at Good Shepherd Center
4th Floor, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N, Seattle 98103 (corner N 50th St. in Wallingford)
Every month, Nonsequitur and a community of like-minded presenters and artists offer ten concerts of adventurous music in an informal yet respectful all-ages setting: contemporary classical, free improvisation, the outer limits of jazz, electronic music, microtonal/new instruments, sound art, and other extraordinary sonic experiences.

Steve Griggs: solo improvisations
Thu. Dec. 3; 7 PM; $5 – $15 at the door

Formally trained in classical music performance and seasoned in jazz rhythm, free improvisation gives saxophonist Steve Griggs the freedom to explore ideas and emotions in the moment with audiences. This solo performance reveals a long hidden side of his muse that can be glimpsed in his more refined mainstream projects. With no written score and an empty stage, a blank slate awaits.

Carol Robinson
Sat. Dec. 5; 8 PM; $15 at the door

Nonsequitur presents Paris-based composer and clarinetist Carol Robinson in a rare Seattle appearance, performing her recent works for basset horn, electronics and voice. Described by Derek Horton as “warmly sensuous but deeply cool,” her work often combines acoustic sounds with electronics, and her musical aesthetic is strongly influenced by a fascination for aleatoric systems.

Yann Novak | Robert Crouch | guest
Fri. Dec. 4; 8 PM; $5 – $15 at the door

An evening of elegant minimal electronics and visuals by LA-based touring sound/media artists Yann Novak (ex-Seattle, Dragon’s Eye label boss) and Robert Crouch. Both bring a distinctive approach to their shared reductive aesthetic. A special mystery guest mploys a sound palette that incorporates field recordings, radio frequencies, hand-drawn waveforms, raw data, and digital sound synthesis.
Upcoming Events (always subject to change; check our website for updates)

THU. 12/10 – electronic music by Noisegasm + Goldenrod + Brad Anderson + Matt Fay

FRI. 12/11 – Zero-G Concerts presents a tribute to Charles Mingus

SAT. 12/12 – Neal Kosaly-Meyer does his next installment of Finnegans Wake

TUE. 12/15 – Inverted Space plays music by Antoine Beugher

THU. 12/17 – Nineteen Crimes (ex-GRID) + Bad Luck do live film scores

FRI. 12/18 – Seattle Phonographers Union

SAT. 12/19 – A Gathering of music, visual art, and words by Renko Dempster, Jessika Kenney, Alan Lau, Mariko Marrs, Cristin Miller, Shin Yu Pai, Steve Peters, and Matt Shoemaker

The Lodge Reviews

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Source: The Lodge.

John McLaughlin, Black Light
Ben Monder, Amorphae
Sonar, Black Light
Orion Tango, Orion Tango
Kevin Kastning, Otherworld

Noise along the Potomac: The Washington D.C. Scene

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Source: Perfect Sound Forever, where Dan Barbiero reviews the Washington D.C experimental scene.

The Washington D.C. area is home to a community of experimental musicians and sound artists who, while existing largely below both the surface and notice of the area’s official culture, have created an eclectic field for the exploration of sounds in relation to other sounds and to the environment. While “experimental” is difficult if not impossible to define in relation to music, it is nevertheless a term with an established history of use, and all or nearly all of the artists discussed here would accept it to describe their own work if for none other than expedient reasons. For present purposes, “experimental music” isn’t meant to name a genre but rather to characterize a set of practices shaped by an attitude of curiosity often informed by a DIY spirit; these practices run the gamut from playing pitched sounds on conventional instruments to creating harsh noise with electronics and non-instruments, and much else in between. The backgrounds of the individuals involved are varied, but virtually none are professional musicians or affiliated with institutions. All are highly committed to their art, which exists as a marginal yet vivid presence in such venues as art galleries, former industrial spaces, basements–and occasionally, the Kennedy Center.

What follows is a set of impressions organized into loose aesthetic groupings. A caveat: I write as a participant, not as a disinterested observer. The artists covered here are friends, colleagues and in very many cases collaborators. A second caveat: music deriving from the tradition of free jazz improvisation, while a significant presence within D.C. area experimentalism, won’t be covered here; it would require an account all of its own.

Henry Threadgill, Devin Gray, Jaga Jazzist New Albums Reviewed

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Henry Threadgill Zooid
In for a Penny, in for a Pound

Devin Gray
Relative Resonance

Jaga Jazzist


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November 29, 2015
Frode Gjerstad Trio with Steve Swell, The Stone
Frode Gjerstad Paal Nilssen-Love Jon Rune Strøm Steve Swell

November 27, 2015
Anthony Pirog Solo, IBeam
Anthony Pirog

November 27, 2015
Anthony Pirog Jarrett Gilgore Ian McColm, IBeam
Jarrett Gilgore Ian McColm Anthony Pirog

November 24, 2015
Improvising Trombone Trio, The Stone
Dick Griffin Joe McPhee Steve Swell

November 24, 2015
Dragonfly Breath, The Stone
Paul Flaherty Steve Swell Weasel Walter C. Spencer Yeh

Musique Machine Reviews

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Photo of Pauline at a dinner/concert in Oakland

Source: Musique Machine.

Pauline Oliveros, David Rothenberg, Timo – Cicada Dream Band
Big Hole – I Don’t Want To Save The World
RRR – Decompsition
Psicopompo, Lorenzo Abattoir, Hermann – Synchronicity (Theory Of Carl Jung)
Body Stress – No Flesh Will Be Justified
Schräge Musik – Fleischmaschine
D.S.W.A.C.V/Chaste – Black Tape Series 004
DeaD!!! – A Terminal Grief
Christopher Bissonnette – Pitch, Paper & Foil

AMN Reviews: Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø – Melting into Foreground [Sofa SOFA550]

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sofa550Some instruments or classes of instruments are particularly known for their capacity to create acoustic musique concrète. Think of the low strings—especially the double bass—and their rich overtone structures, stolid materiality and deep resonance, all of which have allowed adventurous performers to explore an expansive and sometimes quite otherworldly palette of sound. Less associated with this type of sound exploration perhaps are the brass instruments. To the extent that this perception holds, Norwegian trombonist Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø is out to challenge it.

Trained in jazz and improvisation at the Gothenburg and Oslo music academies, Nørstebø seems to take a holistic approach to his instrument, one that encompasses its full range of dynamics as well as the different voices available to it. As an instrumental personality, the trombone can be brassy and broad; Nørstebø doesn’t evade this side of it, but he does also manage to elicit a quieter, more abstract side: he reveals the trombone’s secret life as an introvert.

Both sides of the instrument are explored on the first of the album’s two tracks, Sources of Internal Heat, for solo acoustic trombone. Introducing the piece with several long C# notes separated by silences, Nørstebø proceeds to build timbres marked by a low-buzzing, rough flutter, contrasts of register, beats and multiphonics, and dynamic variations. Abstract sounds bordering on the quasi-electronic have a place as well, but so do legato melodic fragments and voice-like microtonal drifts and glissandi.

The second track, Melting into Foreground, brings in the prerecorded sound of Nørstebø on half-clarinet, which is multiplied and overlaid into irregular relationships with itself. Like the first track, this one trades in sonic ambiguities. Sounds of rumbling and static, or apparent birdsong and feedback can sometimes be traced to their sources in the acoustic trombone or in the manipulated recording—and sometimes not. The effect is acousmatic but unmistakably rooted in the recognizably musical.

On both pieces, Nørstebø keeps his compositional structures clear through a balanced use of filled and empty space. The silences he allows between passages of sound tend to act as boundaries separating sections into disjunctive events defined by dramatic changes in timbre as well as in organization and dynamics. And despite his deliberate distorting and dismantling of the trombone’s conventional voice, he allows a fundamental warmth to pervade both performances.

Daniel Barbiero