AMN Reviews: Stefan Thut – Two Strings and Boxes

Stefan Thut: Two Strings and Boxes [flex_005]

This new release presents a single 40-minute realization of a work by Swiss cellist/composer Stefan Thut. The piece is scored for two zithers—the two strings of the title—placed on top of cardboard boxes, which serve not only as surfaces on which the zithers rest, but as sounding chambers and sound sources as well.

As with much of Thut’s music, Two Strings and Boxes is a meditation on the entwined relationship of sound and ostensible silence. In Thut’s hands the relationship is a highly permeable one, with the intentional sounds called for in the composition and the accidental sounds pervading the interstices between them overlapping and serving equally well as background or foreground. The resulting exchangeability of field and figure defines the character of the performance. Accordingly, much of the sound produced by Thut and Johnny Chang, who joins the composer on zither, seems poised at the edge of disappearance. The timbres are at once brittle, as in the muted surf of faintly crackling sound that makes itself felt more than heard at various points, and subtly robust, as with the quietly sustained drones—the result of ebows?–that provide a sonic foundation for the performance. Occasionally a harmony will emerge from the coincidence of zither lines—a reminder that here we’re in the borderland where music and sound cohabit easily.

The limited edition CD is accompanied by Patrick Farmer’s evocative essay, the indirectly allusive nature of which nicely complements Thut and Chang’s performance.

June at Roulette

Tim Berne
Tim Berne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From New York’s Roulette:

June 3, 2013, 8pm
C Spencer Yeh (Jerome Commission)
Violinist, vocalist, and composer C. Spencer Yeh is the idiosyncratic and unpredictable mastermind behind Burning Star Core and collaborations with John Wiese, Justin Lieberman, Paul Flaherty, and many others. For his Jerome Foundation Commission, Yeh will premiere a series of new works, including a portrait/homage/perversion of longtime collaborator Nate Wooley, and a work for piano and electronics – both featuring Wooley, first as an improviser, and as accompanist on piano for the latter. In addition to these and other works, a quad channel tape composition “The Ohio Guitar”, documenting the acquisition of a replica Kay Solo King K4102, will be premiered, as well as the screening of trailers Yeh edited for Spectacle Theater in Brooklyn.

June 4, 2013 8pm
Ear Heart Music Presents: TRANSIT New Music: Corps Exquis
The multimedia opera Corps Exquis by “imaginative, skillful” (NY Times) composer Daniel Wohl incorporates aesthetic fragments of video installations, rock concerts, avant-garde cinema, and experimental classical and electronic music. Wohl based his structural process on the Surrealist’s “exquisite corpse” parlor game to create an immersive performance piece that vibrates with the fervent creativity of both NYC’s experimental video and underground music scenes, while communicating eloquently in a hybrid multimedia vocabulary. This concert celebrates the CD release of Corps Exquis on New Amsterdam records.

June 5, 2013, 8pm
Peter Gordon and Love of Life Orchestra
Peter Gordon’s Love of Life Orchestra is know for layering lyricism and complexity over funky grooves, with tight ensemble playing interwoven with sharp improvisation. Featuring Peter Gordon (sax, organ is joined by LOLO veterans Peter Zummo (trombone), Ned Sublette (guitar), and Randy Gun (guitar), with Max Gordon (trumpet) and Paul Shapiro (saxes) and the Afro-Cuban jazz powerhouses Robby Ameen (piano), Yunior Terry (bass) and Elio Villafranca (piano.) With video by Kit Fitzgerald,

June 7, 2013, 8pm
Ben Greenberg’s HUBBLE (Jerome Commission)
Ben Greenberg began Hubble in 2011 as a solo guitar project extended from his work with avant-rock band Zs and punk-fuck band Pygmy Shrews. Relying on virtuosic guitar techniques more in line with metal shredders or blues heroes than the experimental scene, Greenberg implemented finger-tapping and minimal use of pedals in his long-form compositions, setting him apart from legions of crescendo-building contemporaries. For his Jerome Foundation Commission, Greenberg presents new work composed for electric guitar.

June 19 – 22, 2013, 8pm
Molly Lieber & Eleanor Smith “Tulip”
In Tulip, a new work by Dancer/choreographer duo Molly Lieber and Eleanor Smith, two women rely on each other to make work and perform it. Using the abstract realm as the container for the work, they want to be able to do anything with their bodies. Together they create an empowered and isolated performative culture where movement is used as a way to understand feeling.

June 27, 2013 @ 8pm
TILT Brass presents TILT 10: An Anniversary Celebration
TILT Brass turns 10! To celebrate, they’re presenting TILT 10, a month-long festival of performances featuring a cadre of brand new commission works and other premieres by a diverse roster local and international composers. Tonight’s program at Roulette presents an exciting set of local and world premieres (Enno Poppe, Mario Diaz de Leon, Lainie Fefferman, Andrew Hamilton, Filippo Perocco, Chris McIntyre), works dedicated “To TILT” from its first 10 years (Anthony Coleman, Dave Ballou), and an open form gem from the early 70’s (Jon Gibson).

June 28, 2013, 8pm
Tim Berne “More Snake Oil”
Commanding “considerable power as a composer and … frighteningly deft ability as a soloist,” (All Music) saxophonist Tim Berne has composed and performed prolifically since the 1980s. For this very special occasion, Tim Berne will be presenting a mixture of improvised music and new compositions for an 8 piece ensemble and a quintet including Herb Robertson,Trevor Dunn, Matt Mitchell, Ches Smith, Oscar Noriega, Erik Friedlander, Ryan Ferreira and and Mat Maneri.

June 30, 2013, 6pm
The Bill Horvitz Expanded Band
The 17-piece Bill Horvitz Expanded Band performs music from their new CD, The Long Walk, a suite of pieces composed as a tribute to Bill’s brother Philip Horvitz, who passed away of heart failure in 2005 at the age of 44. The music includes a wide range of styles drawing on jazz, funk, folk, and new music. The compositions are tightly composed and arranged and contain sections of improvisation. Each piece relates in some way to a part of Philip’s life.

July 1, 2013, 8pm
International Society for Improvised Music (ISIM): Second Cross-cultural Improvisation Workshop and Performance
Featuring Gamin, Hyun-Sik Shin, Jane Ira Bloom and Elliott Sharp joined by members of ISIM. Program Director Jin Hi Kim. Virtuoso guest artists from Korea meet with leading American improvisers to explore cultural differences and create collective new voices.

A Word With Pat Metheny and John Zorn

John Zorn (cropped version)


At first glance, Pat Metheny and John Zorn might seem to come from different planets. Mr. Metheny, 58, is a guitarist whose music has resonated broadly throughout jazz and instrumental pop, a dazzling virtuoso with a warm human touch. Mr. Zorn, 59, is a saxophonist of firm avant-garde conviction, a natural polarizer and provocateur.

June Frequency Fridays at the Fuse Factory

From Columbus’s Fuse Factory:

Our June 2013 Frequency Fridays show features experimental electronic performers PAS (NYC), sound sculptors Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel (ATL), experimental electronic music trio Circuitry Room (CMH) and experimental sound artist Sun Thief (CMH). Date: Friday, June 7, 2013. Location: Wild Goose Creative (2491 Summit St. 43202). Admission: $10, $15 for 2. Doors open 8pm. Our Frequency Fridays 2012-2013 season is supported by a grant from the Greater Columbus Arts Council.

About the performers:

PAS started in 1995 out of Brooklyn, NY, USA, driven by the creative talents of Robert L. Pepper working in the mediums of sound and video. Since then PAS has evolved into a collective with many different instrumentations and line ups. Permanent members include Amber Brien, Job “Vomit” Worthley, Michael Durek, and Will Seesar. Guests and occasional collaborators include, Z’EV, HATI, Steve Beresford, Thomthom Geigenschrey, Matt Chilton (Vultures), Anthony Donovan (Vultures), Damien Olsen, Philippe Petit, Robert Pascale, and many others. PAS have released 9 full length releases and have been on several compilations throughout the years. Some of these can be found on or iTunes. PAS have performed in various countries including the United States, Germany (including Fausts Avant Garde Festival 2009, 2010), the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Macedonia, and Poland, just to name a few. Sound and video installations have also included Chile and the United States (including the 18th Olympia Experimental Festival in Washington and the 2010 Spark Festival in Minneapolis).

The name of this Atlanta duo implies a proper classical recital, a rigid formality. But Scott Burland (theremin) and Frank Schultz (lap steel) don’t do scripted, improvising not so much distinct sounds as evolving eddies of sound, vapors of tones that develop and transform gracefully. Hypnotic pulses and dreamy drones weave together to form a kaleidoscope of sounds and moods, ambient clouds and swooning collages that are as much about texture as they are timbre, like a long-lost soundtrack to a deep-sea documentary.

Circuitry Room is a collaborative audio project featuring three individuals – Jeff Chenault, Andy Izold and Dan Rockwell – who have reunited in soundmaking after creating their first recording together back in 1989. This collaboration was titled The Desert. Jeff and Andy went on to form 10-Speed Guillotine, Resonance and The Sex Musicians. Dan Rockwell aka Hatch Man continues to make unusual sounds with his collection of keyboards, iPads, and anything else he can get his hands on. Together they generate a unique sound that continuously evolves, bordering on audio schizophrenia at times. Enjoy!

All About Jazz Reviews

English: Japanese avant-garde jazz pianist and...
English: Japanese avant-garde jazz pianist and composer Satoko Fujii (藤井郷子) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From All About Jazz:

Sudo Quartet
Live at Banlieue Bleue (No Business Records)

Multiple Artists
Babel Label: More Songs from the Tower of Sound

Daniel Bennett Group
Clockhead Goes to Camp (Manhattan Daylight Media Group)

Denis Fournier / Nicole Mitchell
Watershed (Rogue Art)

Rich Halley 4
Crossing the Passes (Pine Eagle Records)

Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society
Brooklyn Babylon (New Amsterdam Records)

Hedvig Mollestad Trio
All of Them Witches (Rune Grammofon)

Confusion Bleue
East Side Banquet (Ictus Records)

Pat Metheny
Pat Metheny: Tap – John Zorn‘s Book of Angels | Vol. 20 (Nonesuch Records)

Eyes of a Blue Dog
Rise (Babel Label)

Satoko Fujii New Trio
Spring Storm (Libra Records)