AMN Picks of the Week: Cryo Chamber Collaboration / Happy Place / Haunted Me / Suzuki Junzo / Henry Threadgill / Battle Trance

Here is where I post, at a frequency of about once a week, a list of the new music that has caught my attention that week. All of the releases listed below I’ve heard for the first time this week and come recommended.

Cryo Chamber Collaboration – Azathoth (2015)
Happy Place – Northfield (2016)
Haunted Me – The Pale Ones (2016)
Suzuki Junzo – If I Die Before I Wake (2016)
Henry Threadgill / Ensemble Double Up – Old Locks and Irregular Verbs (2016)
Battle Trance – Blade of Love (2016)

AMN Reviews: Happy Place – Northfield (2016; Exit Stencil Records)

happy-place-vinyl-may-27-2_670 Happy Place is a two-drummer, two-guitarist New York based quartet, featuring the writing of one of the drummers, Will Mason. Mason’s Beams of the Huge Night was an AMN Pick of Year for 2015. Here, he is joined by Austin Vaughn on drums, Andrew Smiley on guitar, and Will Chapin on guitar.

With this unconventional lineup, Mason and team gives us a tour of eight neurotic tracks, most under four minutes, but with a centerpiece more than three times that length.  Unlike Mason’s jazz-inflected Beams, Northfield takes a jangly post-rock route. Structurally tight, Happy Place boils with tension. While seemingly a simple layering of interlocked rhythms at first, later tracks on the album prove this initial reaction to be inaccurate. Particularly, Rupture! features start/stop patterns and complex guitar interplay, and Rapture! (the long piece) is a wall of sound punctuated with speed-picking. The latter also provides room for some controlled improv. Still, texture takes a role commensurate with that of melody.

Happy-Place-Primary-Photo-1024x717Comparisons? Try Don Caballero, 80’s King Crimson, Battles, and – according to Mason – Scelsi and Beefheart as well. While you can certainly hear all of the above in places, Northfield is its own animal. Happy Place comes off as a band that would likely be superb live. Big Ears Festival, are you listening?

Northfield will be out in late October on Exit Stencil Records.

San Francisco Scene: August 26 – September 2, 2016

USGS Satellite photo of the San Francisco Bay ...

From the Bay Improviser Calendar.

Friday, August 26

Fri 8/26 7:00 PM Adobe Books [3130 24th Street, San Francisco, CA]
New Frontiers in Song: Grex/Spider Garage/Andrew Weathers Ensemble
An explosive night of Bay Area music at once beautiful, raw, and strange, featuring Oakland art rock astronauts Grex, the dynamic post-punk stylings of Spider Garage, and the miraculous experimental folk of the Andrew Weathers Ensemble.
Grex:Karl Evangelista (guitar/voice/drums), Rei Scampavia (keys/voice/drums)
Spider Garage: Scott Quay (guitar/vocals), et al.
Andrew Weathers: Andrew Weathers (guitar/vocals), Aaron Oppenheim (electronics), et al.

Fri 8/26 8:00 PM The Lab [2948 16th St SF]
The World According to Sound

Saturday, August 27
Sat 8/27 8:00 PM Gray Area Art And Technology [2665 Mission St. SF]
Soundwave ((7)) Architecture: Re-­structured Futures

For our very first partnership with Gray Area and utilizing their historic theater in the Mission District, musicians and visualists explore virtual and imagined architectures through sound, movement, and visual storytelling to dismantle our notions of both physical and digital space. As San Francisco is currently experiencing rapid transformations of our cityscape, artists Surabhi Saraf, Nonagon, Colin Evoy Sebestyen, and Drought Spa reinterpret how our constructs echo ourselves in our minds and our bodies – the interconnections between the communities and the spaces they inhabit, and transparent realms inbetween.

Sunday, August 28

Sun 8/28 4:00 PM Old First Concerts [1751 Sacramento St. SF]
The Complete Music for Solo Piano by Schoenberg
Thomas Schultz, piano

Sun 8/28 7:30 PM SIMM Series @ The Musicians Union Hall [116 9th St @ Mission SF]
Deconstruction Orchestra
Josh Allen – Conductor/tenor saxophone
John Finkbeiner-guitar, Roger Riedlbauer-guitar
Kurt Ribak-double bass, Scott Walton-double bass
Tim Orr-drums, William Winant-drums
Rent Romus-alto saxophone, Tom Weeks-alto saxophone, Josh Marshall-tenor saxophone, Dave Slusser-tenor saxophone, Sam Flores-tenor saxophone, Larry Ochs- tenor and sopranino saxophones, Dan Plonsey-baritone saxophone, John Vaughn-baritone saxophone, Jason Berry-saxophones
George Moore-trumpet, Jarrett Browne-trumpet, Ari Brown-trumpet, Caesare Drachen-trumpet, Matt Gaspari-flugelhorn, Zachary Mariano-trombone, Ron Heglin-tuba

Sun 8/28 8:00 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor St SF]
We Insist! Freedom Now!: Free Improvisations for Revolution – Amirtha Kidambi

Tuesday, August 30

Tue 8/30 8:00 PM Oakland Metro Opera House [522 Second St. Oakland]
Erling Wold’s Fabrications and Underworld Opera present
Oakland Metro Opera House
Tuesday 30 August 8pm
Wednesday 31 August 8pm
Saturday 3 September 8pm
Sunday 4 September 2pm
A phantasmagoria of delights, the music jazzy, racous, but bitterly sweet, UKSUS is an autobiography of Daniil Kharms and the OBERIU in the Soviet Union of the 1930s, a narrative told through their stories and brief lives, as the OBERIU – The Association for Real Art – maintained their love of words and nonsensical art to their deaths in Stalin’s Great Purge, Kharms starving to death in a psychiatric hospital in 1942 after his arrest at the hands of the NKVD.

Wednesday, August 31

Wed 8/31 7:30 PM Canessa Gallery [708 Montgomery St SF]
For the first installment of the 2016-2017 Composer’s in Performance Series we are excited to present a quartet featuring Kristina Dutton, Adria Otte, Kanoko Nishi and Nava Dunkelman *and* Trois Chapeaux (Kevin Corcoron / Tania Chen / Jaroba).

Wed 8/31 8:00 PM Oakland Metro Opera House [522 Second St. Oakland]
Erling Wold’s Fabrications and Underworld Opera present
Oakland Metro Opera House
Tuesday 30 August 8pm
Wednesday 31 August 8pm
Saturday 3 September 8pm
Sunday 4 September 2pm
A phantasmagoria of delights, the music jazzy, racous, but bitterly sweet, UKSUS is an autobiography of Daniil Kharms and the OBERIU in the Soviet Union of the 1930s, a narrative told through their stories and brief lives, as the OBERIU – The Association for Real Art – maintained their love of words and nonsensical art to their deaths in Stalin’s Great Purge, Kharms starving to death in a psychiatric hospital in 1942 after his arrest at the hands of the NKVD.

Thursday, September 1

Thu 9/01 6:30 PM Contemporary Jewish Museum [736 Mission St. San Francisco]
Soundwave ((7)) Biennial
Multi-media artists create site-specific audio performances for The CJM’s Yud gallery. The night includes two programs: Suzy Poling performs her sound and sculptural piece, “Human Glass Rotation.” Shane Myrbeck and Emily Shisko perform “Laid Plans.”

Thu 9/01 8:00 PM Luggage Store Creative Music Series [1007 Market Street SF]
8:00 pm neem (gabby fluke-mogul and k. kipperman)
9:00 pm Shannon Hayden – cello/electronics

Friday, September 2

Fri 9/02 7:30 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor St SF]
Kyle Adam Blair: Piano Etudes by Bruno Ruviaro
San Diego-based pianist Kyle Adam Blair premieres Brazilian composer Bruno Ruviaro’s Pós-Tudos, a collection of piano etudes based on copying, borrowing, and stealing

Classical Music Listings From The New York Times

Source: The New York Times.

CHIARA STRING QUARTET (Tuesday and Wednesday) The Chiaras have made a name for themselves by playing their programs by heart. Whether that’s a gimmick or not is up for debate; this quartet is excellent regardless. As on their new release, they play the complete quartets of Bartok — odd numbers on Tuesday, evens on Wednesday. At 7 p.m., National Sawdust, 80 North Sixth Street, at Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 646-779-8455, (David Allen)

LOCRIAN CHAMBER PLAYERS (Friday) One of New York’s better-kept secrets, this erstwhile group performs only music from the last 10 years (or thereabouts) and does it in a room perched high in the tower of Riverside Church. On the bill this time are works by Derek Bermel, Elliott Carter, Jonathan Dawe and several others, performed by a team including the violinist Miranda Cuckson and the mezzo Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek, formerly of Anonymous 4. At 8 p.m., Riverside Church, 10th Floor Performance Space, Riverside Drive at 122nd Street, Morningside Heights, (Allen)

RITE OF SUMMER FESTIVAL (Saturday) Venture out from the ferry terminal on Governors Island on Saturday afternoon, and you are likely to bump into at least one of more than 60 percussionists who have fanned out across the Hills and may seem to be engaging in eccentric behavior. No need to be alarmed: Performances of John Luther Adams’s “Inuksuit” are always an immersive experience, as man-made rhythms intertwine with the sounds of nature. The percussionist Amy Garapic leads this performance, which includes Greg Saunier (from the indie band Deerhoof), Brian Chase (from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and a slew of percussion groups from the city. At 2 p.m., the Hills, Governors Island,; free. (da Fonseca-Wollheim)

Jazz Listings From The New York Times

Steve Coleman in Paris, July 2004

Source: The New York Times.

NELS CLINE AT THE STONE (through Sunday) Mr. Cline, the excellent lead guitarist in Wilco, closes this weeklong residency with groups like the Radical Empathy Trio, with Thollem on keyboards and Michael Wimberly on drums (Friday at 10 p.m.); Crusher Collective, which includes Dave Rempis on saxophone and Chris Corsano on drums (Saturday at 8 p.m.); and White Out, which has Tom Surgal on drums and Lin Culbertson on flute, synthesizer and other instruments (Sunday at 8 p.m.). Avenue C and Second Street, East Village, (Chinen)

STEVE COLEMAN 60TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION (Tuesday through Sept. 25) Mr. Coleman, an alto saxophonist and composer, is one of the most rigorously conceptual thinkers in improvised music and a figure of acknowledged influence on the scene. To celebrate a milestone birthday, he’s setting up shop at the Stone for a month with an array of collaborators; he will start next week with Five Elements, his working band. At 8 and 10 p.m., Avenue C and Second Street, East Village, (Chinen)

FRESH CUT ORCHESTRA (Monday) Jointly led by the bassist Jason Fraticelli, the trumpeter Josh Lawrence and the drummer Anwar Marshall, this midsize band from Philadelphia has a smartly blenderized style, drawing from various downtown and experimental scenes. This one-nighter is a release celebration of the band’s second album, “Mind Behind Closed Eyes.” At 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, 60th Street and Broadway, 212-258-9595, (Chinen)

Yarn / Wire 2016-17 Season

Source: Yarn / Wire

September 16, 2016: Yarn/Wire/Currents #5 – Season Opening at Pioneer Works

Brooklyn, NY
We celebrate the opening of our 11th anniversary season with a program of three new commissions written specifically for the event, presented by Blank Forms. The evening includes a new work by legendary composer Alvin Lucier, an American Composers Forum/Jerome Foundation commission by Anthony Vine, and a meditation on sound by Catherine Lamb. This concert marks the fifth live installment of Yarn/Wire/Currents, an ongoing series that explores the boundaries of contemporary music performance.

Alvin Lucier – Oases (2016)
Catherine Lamb – curvo totalitas (2016)
Anthony Vine – distance / absence (2016) **

Pioneer Works
159 Pioneer St
Brooklyn, NY 11231

September 27, 2016: Miller Theatre’s Popup Concert Series

New York, NY
Yarn/Wire presents works by Los Angeles-based composer Andrew McIntosh for the opening concert of Miller Theatre’s popup series. In addition to a movement of McIntosh’s 2012 work Hyenas in the Temples of Pleasure, we will give the world premiere of a new percussion duo, and trio for voice, 2 percussion and keyboard. Rounding out the program are three solo works written by other composers associated with McIntosh’s plainsound music catalogue, including Plainsound-Litany No. 2, to be performed by McIntosh himself on viola.

Andrew McIntosh – We See the Flying Bird (2015-16)*
Wolfgang Von Schweinitz – “64:57:51:48” Waltz for Waltzer (2009)
Andrew McIntosh – Hyenas in the Temples of Pleasure (3rd Mvt) (2012)
Wolfgang Von Schweinitz – Plainsound-Litany No. 2 (2004)
Mac Sabat / Stefan Bartling – Eudaimonia (2009)
Andrew McIntosh – Five Songs (2015)*

Miller Theatre at Columbia University
2960 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

October 19-22, 2016: UT Knoxville Contemporary Music Festival

Knoxville, TN
The School of Music at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville presents its second annual Contemporary Music Festival to be held October 19-22, 2016 at the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center. Over four days of concerts, presentations, lectures, and masterclasses, Yarn/Wire will interface with students and the public about its unique repertoire and approach to chamber music. We will also present a new work commissioned by the festival specifically for the occasion by Austin-based composer Travis Weller.

Travis Weller – new work (2016)*
Luciano Berio – Linea (1974)
More repertoire TBA

School of Music
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
117 Natalie L. Haslam Music Center
1741 Volunteer Blvd
Knoxville, TN 37996-2600

November 10, 2016: Chicago Arts Club

Chicago, IL
Yarn/Wire explores the boundaries between sound installations and performance practice through new works by Chicago-based composer Olivia Block, and long-time collaborator, Aaron Einbond

Olivia Block – calibration circle (2016)*
Aaron Einbond – Literalists of the Imagination (2016)*

Arts Club of Chicago
201 E Ontario St
Chicago, IL 60611

December 1, 2016: Composer Portraits at Miller Theatre – Zosha DiCastri

New York, NY
“Imagine sound on a spectrum,” says Zosha Di Castri, “moving fluidly between abstract soundscapes, gestural outbursts, and referential echoes of musics half-remembered.” Pianists, percussionists, and vocalists come together alongside electronics to explore the rich gamut of Di Castri’s work. Two premiere performances—including Near Mute Force for members of both ensembles—are among the evening’s repertoire.

new work for Yarn/Wire (2016)*
Near Mute Force (2016)**
The Animal after Whom Other Animals are Named (2013)
The Thinking Eye (2006)

Miller Theatre
2960 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

January 25-28, 2017: University of Virginia

Charlottesville, VA
Yarn/Wire presents masterclasses, lectures, and a concert of new works by UVA graduate students

February 23, 2017: Montréal New Music (MNM)

Montréal, Québec
Yarn/Wire makes its first trip to Canada to perform on the MNM festival, bringing two of its newest commissions for their Canadian premieres.

Chiyoko Szlavnics – Mind Is Moving (2015)
Zosha DiCastri – new work for Yarn/Wire (2016)

March 2, 2017: Composer Portraits at Miller Theatre – Misato Mochizuki

New York, NY
Shaped by studies in Tokyo and Paris, composer Misato Mochizuki’s music integrates Occidental tradition, the Asiatic connection to breath, and a fascination with ritual. Equally active in Japan and Europe, she has been featured at the Louvre and Tokyo’s Suntory Hall. Mochizuki has just begun to make inroads in New York, and Miller is pleased to introduce her work more broadly through this Portrait, building on her relationship with local ensemble Yarn/Wire.

Intermezzi III (2010)
Terres Rouges (2005-06)*
Moebius-Ring (2003)*
Le monde des ronds et des carrés (2015)
Au bleu bois (1998)*

Miller Theatre at Columbia University
2960 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

March 13-18, 2017: Harvard University Residency

Cambridge, MA
Yarn/Wire presents masterclasses, lectures, and a concert of new works by Harvard graduate students

April 7-8, 2017: Hamilton College Residency

Clinton, NY
Yarn/Wire presents lectures and workshops with Hamilton College students, and premieres a new work by longtime collaborator, Ryan Carter.

April 20, 2017: Enno Poppe – Works for Piano Percussion Quartet at EMPAC

Troy, NY
A sensation on Europe’s festival circuit and an established favorite among its leading new-music bands, Enno Poppe (b. 1969) is one of Germany’s most talked-about composers. The founder and conductor of Berlin’s ensemble mosaïk, Poppe is as inspired by his experience with and love of chamber ensembles as it is by his theoretical interest in the nearly infinite permutations possible with even the tiniest musical motives. Following a weeklong residency at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing arts Center in Troy, NY, Yarn/Wire will give the world premiere of a new 30 minute work by Mr. Poppe written for the ensemble. The group will also perform the tour-de-force Tonband, a piece he wrote in collaboration with Wolfgang Heineger in 2008/2012.

Tonband (2008/12) [written with Wolfgang Heineger]
new work for Yarn/Wire (2017)

May 6-7, 2017: Tectonics Festival

Glasgow, Scotland
Yarn/Wire makes its debut at this prestigious international festival, with works spanning an array of international and US repertoire.

May 8-10, 2017: City University – London Residency

London, UK
Yarn/Wire is in residence at London’s City University, where we will give a series of workshops and readings, culminating in a concert on May 9th.

Program to include:
Aaron Einbond – new work (2016)
Olivia Block – Calibration Circle (2016)

May TBA, 2017: Look and Listen Festival

Brooklyn, NY
Yarn/Wire makes its second appearance on this eagerly anticipated yearly festival of new music. The festival has generously commissioned Zibuokle Martinaityte ( to write a new piece for us, which we will premiere this year.

Zibuokle Martinaityte – new work (2017)

May / June TBA, 2017: Americas Society – New Music from Colombia

New York, NY
Yarn/Wire presents new music by Colombian composers, including Caroline Noguera and longtime friend Ricardo Gallo

June TBA, 2017: Yarn/Wire Institute at Stony Brook University

Stony Brook, NY
The Yarn/Wire Institute at Stony Brook University is a place for practitioners of modern music to hone their skills and collaborate with dedicated artists from across the globe. Now in its second year, the ten-day institute for pianists, percussionists, and composers focuses on the the music of today in its vast diversity of sound and style.

Participants work closely with faculty on the development and performance of new work, interpretation of existing work, and take part in a variety of masterclasses, workshops, and presentations. Topics covered include collaborating with composers/performers, working with electronics, project development, commissioning, exploring extended techniques, improvisation, entrepreneurship, and responding to the evolving cultural landscape with a personal voice and optimistic approach.