AMN Reviews: John Zorn – The Painted Bird (2016; Tzadik)

The Painted Bird is the fourth album in John Zorn‘s collaboration with organist John Medeski, drummer Kenny Grohowski, and guitarist Matt Hollenberg. Often referred to as Simulacrum, the trio provides a technical-metal take on Zorn’s compositions. Here, Zorn mixes things up with the inclusion of Ches Smith on congas and voudou drums, as well as Kenny Wollesen on vibes. The result is not the pure heaviness of the trio’s debut – instead, the tracks as a whole split the difference between that and something more reminiscent of Zorn’s Book of Angels series.

Wolleson, in particular, adds color to the forceful elements provided by Grohowski and Hollenberg. For example, the three combine to create a heavy blues feel on the slow-paced opener, Snakeskin.  On the other hand, Medeski takes a leading role on the faster Plague, while the vibes mostly accompany relentless guitar riffs. Another standout track, Comet, features speed-picking and Zorn’s trademark angular lines. The result is a sense of urgency and discordance throughout, but this comes across as being intentional and highly-composed. Night is reminiscent of the trio’s first album, with Wolleson providing an opening theme, which is joined by the requisite metallic riffing. Wolleson and Smith combine for a busy interlude over this. But for the most part, Smith’s contributions are muted and difficult to pick out, especially when appearing alongside Grohowski’s hyperactive drumming. Missal, the final track, is an example of Zorn’s Masada themes wending their way into his other works. Nonetheless, the undistorted guitar themes with a Middle-Eastern flare are a welcome foil to the barely-constrained aggression on the rest of the album.

Ranging from three to eight minutes, the offerings on The Painted Bird are likely to please those who enjoyed the Simulacrum album. While a handful of metal cliches remain, they are tempered by the expansion of the lineup into a quintet. Nonetheless, even with the inclusion of a few conventional elements, there has never been a metal album that takes this particular musical direction as a whole.

Coming to the Vortex Jazz Club

Evan Parker, saxophonist, picture taken in Jaz...

Source: London’s Vortex Jazz Club.

FRI 09 MARCH 2018
A cocktail of interaction and musical experimentation with Maestro Evan Parker, New York-based trumpeter / composer Peter Evans and Chicago-based electronic sound artist / composer Sam Pluta. Rocket Science has…
Time: 8 – 11PM

FRI 16 MARCH 2018
TICKET LINK FOR BOTH NIGHTS Éiríocht is a radical alternative to traditional celebrations for St. Patrick’s Weekend 2018. With curated performances by Diatribe Records, Ireland’s foremost label for new sounds…
Time: 6.30 – 11PM

SAT 17 MARCH 2018
DAY 2: The festival continues with its presentation of new Irish contemporary and improvised music.
Time: 1.30 – 12AM

SUN 18 MARCH 2018
Three contrasting sets to delight and inspire in the relaxed and intimate listening environment of the world famous Vortex Jazz club. FIRST SET Neil Metcalfe (flute) / John Rangecroft (sax/clarinet)
Time: 2 – 6PM

San Francisco Scene: March 9-16, 2018

Top of the Transamerica building, downtown San...

Source: Bay Improviser.

Friday, March 9

Fri 3/09 6:00 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor St SF]
Opening Reception: The Universal Music of Dr. UM, Works by Darrell DeVore

Saturday, March 10
Sat 3/10 12:00 PM Noisebridge Hackerspace [2169 Mission St SF]
Noon until 2pm SHARP!

Sat 3/10 8:00 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor St SF]
Elevate Ensemble Presents: Old Girls Club

Sat 3/10 8:00 PM The Back Room [1984 Bonita Ave Berkeley]
Rova Sax Quartet warms up for a Southern USA tour with 2 sets of pieces rarely performed in the Bay Area. Only scheduled East Bay appearance until September 2018.
Larry Ochs, Jon Raskin, Steve Adams, Bruce Ackley – saxophones.

Sat 3/10 8:00 PM Stork Club [2330 Telegraph Avenue Oakland]
Modular Meltdown (SYNTHesthesia March)
Featuring sets by haptic synapses, Franck Martin and more…followed by a Modular Jam…all to be recorded as a 360 video! Enjoy some superior sets by fantastic purely analog/modular artists. Come thru to hear, to play and to learn from each other at the legendary dive in Oakland, The Stork Club.

Sunday, March 11
Sun 3/11 4:00 PM Old First Concerts [1751 Sacramento St. SF]
Trois Bois
Trois Bois examines the idea that insecurity can be a springboard for creative expression, and that music reflects the times in which it is written, through a program of works by Kirke Mechem, Donald Waxman, Sean Osborn, and Damian Montano.

Sun 3/11 7:00 PM Private home in Berkeley []
Larry Ochs (reeds) and Don Robinson (drums) in duo performance in private home in North Berkeley hills.
For ticket information, please contact

Sun 3/11 9:00 PM The Lab [2948 16th St SF]
Stranded presents: Ellen Arkbro / Sarah Davachi
There will be a limited amount of $12 tickets available for members of The Lab, but they must be reserved in advance. Please email to have your name added to the member list.

Tuesday, March 13
Tue 3/13 9:00 PM Uptown Nightclub [1928 Telegraph Ave Oakland]
Active Music Series presents:
– Euphotic (Bryan Day, Tom Djll, Cheryl Leonard)
– Nail-Biter (Josh Marshall – sax, Matt Chandler – bass, Daniel Pearce – drums)
– Gabby Wen
– VOL. (FKA “The Blues”)

Wednesday, March 14
Wed 3/14 7:45 PM The Bindery [1727 Haight St SF]
OMMO, Ctrl-Z, Madalyn Merkey, Minor Fluctuation
Julie Moon & Adria Otte’s configurations of voice, analog and digital electronics, free and structured improvisations, as well as theater, ritual and song, may all be employed in the process.
Ryan Page, Nick Wang and Daniel Steffey specialize in the performance of scored music for live electronics. Tonight features the work of Sarah Belle Reid and Pauline Oliveros.
Madalyn Merkey
Within the weave of her sound there appears a warp of voice, an instrument you might expect to feel the most natural, instead it comes as a wondrously alien element the way the color green is both grass underfoot and UFO suspended ominously above.
Minor Fluctuation
New tremulations from the multi-instrumental madman behind such projects as Ubzub, Black Goat, and Grains. Rob William’s solo project, Minor Fluctuations, is his one way foray into the tangled connections between eurorack modules and the still stranger circuitry encased in skull.

Thursday, March 15
Thu 3/15 5:30 PM Santa Clara University Music Recital Hall [952 Franklin Street, Santa Clara, 95050.]
SCLOrk concerts are often full of surprises. That’s what it happens when you have a stage full of computers, loudspeakers, cable spaghetti, and humans making sound. SCLOrk, a computer music ensemble dedicated to experimental electronic music composition and performance, was founded in 2013 by Bruno Ruviaro. SCLOrk’s intrepid student performers are interdisciplinary musicians using cutting-edge technology to explore the intersections of music, creative coding, engineering, and computer science.

Thu 3/15 8:00 PM Luggage Store Creative Music Series [1007 Market Street SF]
8:00pm Banyan Tree
Maneesh Raj Madahar – Rhodes, Jamie Green – violin
9:00pm Daniel Steffey – electronics

Thu 3/15 8:00 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor St SF]
ensemble proton bern: One Night Only

Friday, March 16
Fri 3/16 7:00 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor St SF]
Free As AIR: Celebrating 30 Years of Asian Improv aRts

Fri 3/16 8:00 PM Old First Concerts [1751 Sacramento St. SF]
Holes in the Floor
Cello quartet Holes in the Floor present a program of works including West Coast Premieres by Jeremy Crosmer and Bosba Panh, along with works by Alexandre Tansman and Laszlo Varga’s arrangement of the Ciaccona from J. S. Bach’s Violin Partita. No. 2.

2018 MATA Festival Schedule

Source: 2018 MATA Festival.

Monday, April 2
Divine Mysteries
Ariadne Greif (soprano), Sarah Brailey (soprano), Miranda Cuckson (violin), Blair McMillen (piano), Russell Greenberg (percussion)
7PM at the The Church of the Epiphany, 1393 York Avenue (at 74th St), NYC, $25
Shawn Jaeger (USA): Thousands of Years to Make it What it Was (2015)
Lydia Winsor Brindamour (USA): pale, pale light (2015) NYP
Nico Muhly (USA): New work (2018) WP – MATA Alumni Commission
David M. Gordon (USA): Mysteria Incarnationis (2015) NYP

Monday, April 9
20th BIrthday Gala
Liminar and Friends of MATA
7PM at Paula Cooper Gallery, 534 W. 21 St., NYC
Lisa Bielawa (USA): Vireo Caprice (2015)
Samuel Cedillo (Mexico): Monologo III (2009)
Philip Glass (USA): 1 + 1 (1967)
Eleonor Sandresky (USA): Contemplation 1 (2007) – WP

Tuesday, April 10
Liminar: Out of Bounds
8PM at The Kitchen, 512 W. 19th St., NYC; $25
Annie Gosfield (USA) New work (2018), WP – MATA Alumni Commission
Daniel Silliman (USA): New work (2018), WP – MATA Commission
Sergey Khismatov (Russia): D-Musik (2015), AP
Juro Kim Feliz (Philippines/Canada): Pangkur (2017), AP
Joe Bates (UK): A Noise So Loud (2017), WP
Carlos Iturralde (Mexico): Fata Morgana (2013/15)
Tania Rubio (Mexico): Siete Colores de la Luna (2012)

Wednesday, April 11
States of Union
Liminar + Friends of MATA
8PM at The Kitchen, 512 W. 19th St., NYC; $25
David T. Little (USA): obscure clues and shiny objects (2018), WP – Alumni Commission
Hugo Morales Murgía (Mexico): Generador 1 (2013/18), WP – Revised version
Michael Winter (USA): Pedal, triangle machine, and (perhaps) coda (2010), NYP
Kristin Boussard (Sweden): Ecdysis (2013), AP
Sky Macklay (USA): Density Dancity (2016), NYP
Valentín Pelisch (Argentina): a Florence Foster Jenkins (2016), AP

Thursday, April 12
Bad Romance
Friends of MATA + Charlotte Mundy (soprano/actor) Ken Ueno, Du Yun, Erin Rogers
8PM at The Kitchen, 512 W. 19th St., NYC; $25
Ken Ueno (USA): New work (2018), WP – Alumni Commission
Alessandro Perini (Italy): Canto di Lontananza (2013), AP
Bahaa el-Ansary (Egypt): Nightmare (2015), AP
Steven Whiteley (USA): [ ][ ][ ][ ][] (2014), AP
Chris Perren (Australia): Samurai Loops (2015), AP
Jenny Hettne (Sweden): While She Was Dreaming (2012), AP
Aaron Graham (USA/Canada): Old Voltage (2015), AP
Erin Rogers (USA): Light-on-Light (2018), WP – MATA Commission

Friday, April 13
MATA’s Greatest Hits
Sandbox Percussion, Friends of MATA, members of the Orquestra Experimental de Instrumentos Nativos, Face the Music, Vicky Chow (piano)
8PM at The Kitchen, 512 W. 19th St., NYC; $25
Carlos Gutierrez Quiroga (Bolivia): Jintili (2012)
Randy Hostetler (USA): P(L)aces (1994)
Eric Wubbels (USA): Viola Quartet (2006-7)
Kate Moore (Australia/Netherlands): Sensitive Spot (2005)

Saturday, April 14
Contemporaneous: Stop Motion
8PM at The Kitchen, 512 W. 19th St., NYC; $25
Jennifer Higdon (USA): Dash (2018), WP new arrangement – Alumni Commission
Lasse D. Hansen (Denmark): Face the Music (2016), AP
Andreas Eduardo Frank (Germany/Switzerland): Samouraï Progressive (2016), NYP
Jenna Lyle (USA): Let them stop swaying; then there won’t be any wind (2018), WP – MATA Commission
David Kirkland Garner (USA): DwnByThRckyMntns (2016)
William Dougherty (USA): a stillness of zero sensation (2015)

Saturday, April 21
A Room of One’s Own: Nadia Botello’s Sono/Aqua
6:30pm–9:30pm at Imagine Swimming, 40 Harrison St., NYC; $25*

Upcoming Ensemble Dal Niente Concerts

Source: Ensemble Dal Niente.

DN Presents: Winston Choi, Katie Schoepflin, Chris Wild
Sunday, March 18, 2018
8:30 PM 9:30 PM

This dynamic concert of works for clarinet, cello, and piano features Georges Aperghis’ Trio, comprised of nine contrasting miniatures; Franck Bedrossian’s meditation on language L’Usage de la Parole, and the North American Premiere of Marta Gentilluci’s frenetic, resurgent Über (“Over”). The program also includes Kaija Saariaho’s tranquil duo Oi Kuu, Winston Choi’s new composition Fata Morgana for solo piano, and gut-busting solo pieces by Jason Eckardt and Enno Poppe.

Georges Aperghis – Trio (1996) for clarinet, cello, piano
Franck Bedrossian – L’Usage de la Parole (2003) for clarinet, cello, piano
Marta Gentilluci – Über (2015) for clarinet, cello, piano
Kaija Saariaho – Oi Kuu (1990) for clarinet & cello
Enno Poppe – Holz (2004) for solo clarinet
Jason Eckardt – Practical Alchemy (2015) for solo cello
Winston Choi – Fata Morgana (2017) for solo piano

Dal Niente @ Western Michigan University
Monday, March 19, 2018
7:30 PM 9:30 PM
Dalton Recital Hall

Dal Niente is delighted to perform as a featured artist for the Entrepreneurship Extravagaza at Western Michigan University, with a program of works for soprano, horn, piano, and violin featuring Amanda DeBoer Bartlett, Matt Oliphant, Mabel Kwan, and Tara Lynn Ramsey. The program will include works by Kaija Saariaho, Jonathan Sokol, Hans Abrahamsen, Dai Fujikura, Leiei Tian, Carola Baukholt, and Pauline Olivieros.

Dal Niente @ RED NOTE New Music Festival
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
7:30 PM 9:30 PM
Kemp Recital Hall
Dal Niente is delighted to be a guest artist at Illinois State University’s annual RED NOTE New Music Festival. On Wednesday, March 28, the group takes the stage to perform music of contemporary European composers, including Salvatore Sciarrino, Kaija Saariaho, and György Kurtag.

Dal Niente @ RED NOTE New Music Festival
Thursday, March 29, 2018
7:30 PM 9:30 PM
Kemp Recital Hall
Dal Niente is delighted to be a guest artist at Illinois State University’s annual RED NOTE New Music Festival. On Thursday, March 29, the Festival concludes with a concert of premieres by the participants in the RED NOTE New Music Festival Composition Workshop: James Chu, Joshua Hey, Howie Kenty, Joungmin Lee, Minzuo Lu, Mert Morali, Erik Ransom, and Mac Vinetz.