AMN Reviews: Jamie Drouin – The Island (Infrequency) & James Wyness – Stultifera Navis (Mystery Sea)

TheIslandJamie Drouin‘s long, skinny island lies off the northwest coast of Alaska. Called Sarichef, it was infamous long before his arrival (to collect recordings for an installation) on account of its rapidly eroding shoreline, caused by climate change. Returning to these recordings, The Island captures and explores this “fragile”, isolated body as it struggles to survive. Precisely forty minutes long, it becomes a “sonic time capsule”, an absorption of place, possibly for a posterity that will not be able to visit it in any other manner.

Drouin´s arrangement may be heard as a series of acts, as he allows textures to seep into one another, swelling waves underscored by electricity generators, wind seething though burning waste, oil runoff dripping into the coastal water. Most strikingly, the crackling one mistakes for radio static near the end of the piece is in fact degrading permafrost – the sound of the island literally falling apart. Sarichef, experts fear, may eventually have to be abandoned by its inhabitants. In the meantime, Drouin´s preservation recording is cruel ambience.

R-5160586-1386159437-2165Wading into the natural element of Belgium’s Mystery Sea imprint (purveyors of refined abstract ambient recordings, always resting cozily in refined abstract cover art), Stultifera Navis by James Wyness addresses an “archetypal liquid state” by manipulating the sounds produced by “Scottish ponds, Iberian geophonies, mountaintop chapels and transmission masts, metal factory, hand bells, metal drinking vessels” and launching them across the brine. The passengers aboard his fantastical ship may be high, dry and blissfully unaware, but a world is passing just under their hull and the shoreline of their destination is approaching – not an untouched distant purity but the homes and tools of a small community left to weather and rust. Why it was abandoned is hidden in the mists of time, but it will now be their new abode.

Wyness’ and Drouin’s respective work addresses possible endings, possible beginnings, fact and fiction. The common thread is the ubiquity of human foolishness.

Stephen Fruitman

Avantwhatever Show in Brunswick, Australia

From Avantwhatever:

Avantwhatever Monthly – July 2015

Martin Kay (Microphones, mixer and recordings)
Michael McNab (Percussion)

The Alderman
134 Lygon St
Saturday July 18
Entry $10 | 3pm

Avantwhatever Monthly is held at The Alderman in Brunswick. This year it’ll be happening on different days and at different times month to month. Join the Avantwhatever group on Facebook or go to and sign up to the mailing list to hear about upcoming releases and events.

Performer details:

Martin Kay

I am a sound recordist/artist/designer currently producing audio-montages and compositions that explore the intersection of architecture, psychoacoustics, social-dynamics and place. My works are constructed primarily from un-mixed and un-edited environmental sound recordings, which I capture using a mixture of straight, extended and oblique recording techniques – probing the various unheard material realities, angles and perspectives of a given sound event, as well as providing a tactile space that has surface, texture and reflection, whereby the listener is sensitised to hearing as if it were touch. Through employing a technologically limited (recording focused) work methodology, I have been increasingly motivated to find inventive ways of capturing sound, and increasingly compelled to develop fresh compositional approaches that reflect my own psychological and emotional relationships to the places and situations I encounter.

Michael McNab

Michael McNab is a percussionist and electronic musician based in Melbourne. He is a member of Tchake with Josten Myburgh and performs regularly with the THIS ensemble.

Seattle Scene: July 16-31, 2015

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.

Substrata Festival opens!
Thu. July 16; 7:00 PM will call, 7:30 doors

The inaugural evening of this year’s Substrata is as far ranging in its forms as it is the approaches employed in creating them. Spanning the spaces between software sound sculpting and acoustic fingerpicking, it is a night of great variance and broad stylistic references. 7:45 – Tara Jane O’Neil; 8:30 – Rauelsson; 9:20 – bvdub + Leo Mayberry. Tickets still available for this show!

Substrata Festival continues!
Fri. July 17; 7:00 PM will call, 7:30 doors

Three artists as stylistically varied in their approaches as the sound sources and the materials used to construct them. From the meditative electronic fringes of sound-art to the bewildering cascade of piano to the re-purposing of classical instrumentation. 7:45 – Mary Lattimore; 8:30 – Lubomyr Melnyk; 9:20 – Taylor Deupree. Sorry, this show SOLD OUT.

Substrata Festival concludes!
Sat. July 18; 7:00 PM will call, 7:30 doors

Our final night will be another one of variations from the evolving field of electro-acoustic music‘s intersections with chamber music, improvisation and non-rock forms. Dismantling the synthesizer & piano’s central role in popular music for larger, more expansive frontiers. 7:30 – Panabrite; 8:30 – Rachel Grimes (featuring Loscil); 9:20 – Shuttle358 + Paul Clipson. Sorry, this show is SOLD OUT!

Master Class with Lubomyr Melnyk
Sat. July 18, 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM; $65 advance

Substrata hosts a workshop for pianists of all skill levels with composer/pianist Lubomyr Melnyk. You’ll learn to develop strength in your fingers and improve your agility and mental control. Afterward, you will learn the art of playing different patterns simultaneously in each hand and discover the wonderful possibilities of this piano technique Lubomyr has pioneered since the 1970s. Space is limited to 15 people.
Upcoming Events (always subject to change; check our website for updates)

If you are interested in playing on the Wayward Series and have never done so before, PLEASE READ THIS before requesting a date.

THU. 7/23 – Earshot Jazz presents Jazz: The Second Century, Bad Luck + Frank Kohl Trio + Citizens Band

FRI. 7/24 – Percussionist Mike Gebhart presents large ensemble improvisations inspired by Santeria

THU. 7/30 – Earshot Jazz presents Jazz: The Second Century, w/ Action Figure + Meridian Big Band

FRI. 7/31 – contrabass clarinet duo improvisations by Paul Hoskin and Arrington de Dionyso

DC Improvisers Collective, the Lost Civilizations experimental music project and Utenzil in DC

On July 19, the DC Improvisers Collective, the Lost Civilizations experimental music project and Utenzil will perform at the Tap Room of the Black Squirrel, which is located at 2427 18th St NW, Washington, DC.

The DC Improvisers Collective (DCIC) is a trio exploring the intersection of jazz, contemporary composition and rock music. Their current lineup features Ben Azzara (drums), Jonathan Matis (guitar), and Mike Sebastian (reeds). These musicians come together from diverse backgrounds, bringing experience from performing in rock bands and jazz groups, as well as post-classical composition.

With ears wide open, they craft intricate compositions on the fly. Although the common metaphor for group improvisation often seems to be conversation, this metaphor fails to capture the true real-time, simultaneous collaboration that fuels the work. Equal parts tightrope act and group meditation, the ensemble explores the fertile territory of surprise just beyond the boundary where words fail. Drawing on the visceral energy and immediacy of rock music, along with the spontaneous creativity and subtlety of the jazz tradition, DCIC is able to forge new music that possesses both great intensity and mindful nuance.

The music of DCIC has found receptive ears in the rock world, for example they performed several concerts during 2007 as the backing band for Joe Lally (of Fugazi). DCIC also finds themselves rooted firmly in the jazz world; they have performed alongside many of the nation’s cutting-edge improvising musicians as well as performing with Blue Note recording artist Greg Osby.

The Lost Civilizations experimental music project is a collaboration between Mike Sebastian (Tenor Sax, Saxello and Baritone Sax) and T. A. Zook (BassCello). Although it is essentially a duo and performs most frequently as such, it often features guest performers. When complex schedules permit, it now performs with Doug Kallmeyer on bass and electronics, Jerry Busher on percussion and electronics, Sam Lohman on drums, Larry Gomez on percussion, Patrick Whitehead on horns and Emily Chimiak on vocals and violin. This project began performing in 2008. Sam Lohman and Patrick Whitehead will be featured at this performance.

Utenzil is the solo project of Michael McMorris, which brings together fitful decades of musical experience/experiments plus software, laptops, mixer and instruments which include various controllers, a DIY double neck midi guitar, live guitar and voice.

This event is no cover/no minimum (donations are always welcome!) and all ages.

The performance begins at 9 pm.

For more information:

Facebook Event: