AMN Reviews: Violet Spin – Spin [Unit Records UTR4829]

Music has changed in radical ways since the string quartet was established in the 18th century, but as a vital force, this fundamental ensemble of two violins, viola and cello endures, and even thrives. So much so that contemporary string quartets, in both their performance practices and choice of repertoire, may inhabit aesthetic worlds more or less removed from that which we ordinarily think of as classical. Violet Spin, a Viennese quartet of eclectic inclinations, blends the influences of jazz improvisation with compositional forms reflecting more recent classical usages.

Founded in 2012 by violinist Irene Kepl, Violet Spin have performed throughout Europe and in Java. Spin is their first release, and it effectively captures the group’s ability to play within and between genres. The musicians—in addition to Kepl, Andreas Semlitsch on violin; Martina Bischof on viola; and Fabian Jäger on cello–are grounded in the discipline of classical performance and deliver a precise sound when called for, but they can also reach beyond those constraints into the looser language of creative extemporizing.

Improvisation is the predominant element in most of the fifteen pieces included here; in contrast to the conventional string quartet’s reliance on contrapuntal relationships, Violet Spin tend to favor the sound of solo voice soaring over a support of pulsing ostinato, chordal vamps or walking lines. There’s a discernible flavor of gypsy jazz, allusions to Latin rhythms and rock chord progressions, and above all, a rhythmic drive, some of it encoded in craftily changing time signatures. (Dare one tap one’s foot to a string quartet? Violet Spin give permission.) But there is another side to the group as well. The three “Chromalog” tracks are sparsely beautiful pieces in which the negative space of silence plays as important a part as the minimal sounds it surrounds; the aptly titled “Grau” weaves unpitched sounds into an acoustic grey noise. And the a capella “face 2 face” turns a handful of syllables into material for a human beat box.

Daniel Barbiero

RIP Buell Neidlinger

Source: JazzTimes.

Buell Neidlinger, a bassist, cellist and educator who worked within a wide spectrum of jazz styles, from Dixieland to the avant-garde, died suddenly on Friday afternoon at his home on Whidbey Island, Wash. He was two weeks past his 82nd birthday.

Neidlinger was best known for his early collaboration with pianist Cecil Taylor; they appeared together on six albums made between 1956 and 1961. He also recorded frequently with saxophonists Steve Lacy and Archie Shepp and trombonist Roswell Rudd; played in a trio with pianist Herbie Nichols; was the accompanying bassist on Tony Bennett’s hit 1962 recording of “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”; and collaborated prolifically with saxophonist Marty Krystall over a period of nearly 50 years.

This Week in New York

English: Brooklyn bridge at night, New York ci...


Adam Tendler performs Marina Poleukhina’s for thing–Photo by Steven PisanoAdam Tendler performs Marina Poleukhina’s for thing–Photo by Steven Pisano
Shimmer is a 50 minute musical work by composer-pianist D. Riley Nicholson for piano and electronics. Nicholson worked closely with sound designer Zach Miley to record, sculpt, and create an interface suitable for live electro-acoustic performance. Shimmer is performed by Nicholson alongside projected visuals created specifically for the production by artist Robby Gilson. Nicholson shares the evening with pianist Adam Tendler, who will be playing selections from Cage, Glass, and Takemitsu.
Tuesday, March 20 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $15
MISE-EN_PLACE, 678 Hart Street, Brooklyn, NY

Media artist Angie Eng organizes an evening of performance highlighting Asian artists and composers working in transmedia and computerized instruments.
Wednesday, March 21 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $20
Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
..:: Website

Soprano Stephanie Lamprea performs the entirety of Georges Aperghis’s Recitations for solo voice
Friday, March 23 at 7:00 PM
Tickets $15, $10 students/seniors
Spectrum, 70 Flushing Avenue, Garage A, Brooklyn, NY
..:: Website

Shared Space is a concert series that explores ideas around expanding the concepts of a musical concert, performance practice and audience roles, finding different ways of presenting, performing and creating music. This event features works by Vladan Kulišić, Maya Verlaak, Claudio Baroni, Matt Lau, Assaf Gidron/Bach and Laurence Crane performed by Denera James, Lester St.louis, Joseaugusto Mejía, Jesse Greenberg, Teodora Stepančić, and Assaf Gidron.
Friday, March 23 at 7:30 PM
Tickets $15, $10 students/seniors
MISE-EN_PLACE, 678 Hart Street, Brooklyn, NY
..:: Website

Mivos Quartet will premiere works by ICEBERG composers Drake Andersen, Yu-Chun Chien, Will Healy, Jonathan Russ, and Harry Stafylakis. Also on the program is a work by a winner of ICEBERG’s second call for scores. Like every ICEBERG event, this concert features an open bar happy hour beginning at 7:30, and a discussion with the composers and performers after the show.
Friday, March 23 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $20, $10 students/seniors
Tenri Cultural Institute, 43 West 13th Street, New York, NY

Explore aspects of and reactions to the Vietnam War in this program that features live performances of pop and folk music from the 1960s—from Pete Seeger to Woodstock—coupled with extraordinary photographs and film footage. Narrated by John Monsky, who has created a new form of storytelling in this and other multimedia presentations at the New-York Historical Society, this event captures the war’s intense emotions on the battlefield and at home. The afternoon begins with the Friction Quartet performing George Crumb’s amplified string quartet Black Angels.
Saturday, March 24 at 2:00 PM
Tickets $35-$45
Carnegie Hall, Zankel Hall, 881 7th Avenue, New York, NY

LIVE 45 CONCERT: L45-010
The evening will feature a new work for jazz trio by award-winning composer Pascal Le Boeuf, and also showcase selected pieces by the emerging quartet Cisum Percussion.
Saturday, March 24 at 8:30 PM
Tickets $15, $10 students/seniors
Spectrum, 70 Flushing Avenue, Garage A, Brooklyn, NY

Ligeti, Alarm Will Sound in New York Reviewed

The New York Times.

I was a skeptic regarding concerts that try to pull double duty as podcasts. But Friday’s show by Alarm Will Sound at Zankel Hall converted me to the explainer-format gig — at least partially.

It helps when the subject of the evening is a composer as fascinating as Gyorgy Ligeti. The late modernist’s enthusiasm for vertiginous, improbable structures resulted in a slew of masterpieces, including the opera “Le Grand Macabre” and works such as “Lux Aeterna” and “Atmospheres.” (The director Stanley Kubrick used the latter two pieces in his film “2001: A Space Odyssey.”)

Jack Wright, Zach Darrup, and Evan Lipson in Santa Monica, April 11

Santa Monica Public Library

Source: Santa Monica Public Library.

On Wednesday April 11, 2018, at 7:30PM, the Soundwaves new music series at the Santa Monica Public Library welcomes Philadelphia trio Roughhousing for a set of free improvisation at the Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium at the Main Library, 601 Santa Monica Blvd.

Roughhousing is saxophonist Jack Wright, guitarist Zach Darrup, and bassist Evan Lipson. Wright is a legend of underground music, touring constantly, connecting players across generations and communities, and recently publishing The Free Musics, a book of history and theory. His visits to Los Angeles are rare and much-anticipated.

Soundwaves is a concert series presenting artists who appear on the DRAM (Database of Recorded American Music) streaming service. The Santa Monica Public Library is the first public library to offer this service to its cardholders. Listings of past and upcoming Soundwaves shows as well as sound and video recordings are at

This event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and on a first-arrival basis. The Santa Monica Public Library is wheelchair accessible. For other disabled services, call Library Administration at (310) 458-8606 at least one week prior to event. For more information, visit or contact the Santa Monica Public Library at (310) 458-8600.

Now Hear This Festival in Edmonton, March 21-25

Source: New Music Edmonton.

Wednesday, March 21
Holy Trinity Anglican Church, (10037 84 Ave NW) 12:10 – 12:50 p.m.
Preview Event
Join us in the beautiful surrounds of Holy Trinity Anglican Church for this informal festival warm-up. A select group of festival artists will offer offer exclusive performances of music not included elsewhere in Now Hear This. We are delighted to partner with our friends at Holy Trinity in making Now Hear This part of their regular series of afternoon concerts. Watch for an update of exactly who will be on hand to perform. Admission is by donation.

Thursday, March 22
City Hall (1 Sir Winston Churchill Square), 12:00 p.m.
Earth Ears: A Sonic Ritual, by Pauline Oliveros with the Now Hear This City Hall Players
Spend your lunchtime with us at City Hall and be prepared for an astonishing, moving and deeply profound experience as a band of some 20 Edmonton musicians present Earth Ears, a work by musical pioneer and prophet Pauline Oliveros. The City Hall Players will each bring musical materials of their own invention and, under the leadership of Raylene Campbell and Allison Balcetis, will assemble a beautiful, meditative ritual. With the musicians spread throughout the City Hall atrium you can sit in the middle of the sound on the chairs provided, or take a stroll around to experience the result from different perspectives. Free admission.

Studio 96 (10909 96 St NW)
Tapestry – Don Berner Trio Featuring Nico Arnáez, electronics, 7:30 p.m.
Don Berner – Saxophone, Clarinet and Flute
Ryan Timoffee – Keyboards and Piano
Gord Graber – Drums, Cymbals and Percussion
With special guest Nicolás Arnáez – Live Processing, Bass and Found Objects
Don Berner, Ryan Timoffee and Gord Graber are familiar names in Edmonton music circles, and New Music Edmonton is proud to feature them on our opening night show. Moving way beyond the confines of a standard jazz performance, Tapestry, with guest artist, Nicolás Arnáez, promises a scintillating, possibly startling, combination of straight ahead and free form jazz, dance, electronic, electroacoustic and chamber music.

Live Mix I, 9:30 p.m.
After the Don Berner show, stick around Studio 96 for the second show of the night when we present a unique double bill of performances beyond categorization. Mixing live music, electronics, theatre and text, Live Mix is our chance to shine the spotlight on remarkable innovators from Edmonton and beyond.

Tab C.A. and Ocra: Moonbathers
Moonbathers is an interdisciplinary collaboration between poet Tab C.A. (2016 Edmonton Slam Team finalist and original member of The Edmonton Poetry Brothel) and experimental musician Ocra (the solo project of Myles Bartel). The duo formed for the purpose of performing at the release party of Tab C.A.’s Moonbather chapbook. This will be their second live collaboration based on that material. Tab C.A.’s poetry strives to create honest, heartfelt connections and bring their audience into shared catharsis, while the music of Ocra specializes in sounds of brooding and meditative drones, loops and excursions via prepared guitar, vocals, and more.

Gel Nails: Under the Sea
Under The Sea is a narrative about being invisible and in plain sight at the same time. The performance is built using cassette samples with elements of Musique Concrète and the influences of Michele Chion and Steve Reich. The cassette medium is truly central to this Gel Nails’ show, but not just with recorded sounds: tape warble and hiss are features of the work, not to mention the mechanical sounds of cassette decks opening and closing. There’s also going to be plenty of sonic contributions emanating from the sound of the stop/ play/ pause/ rewind and eject buttons being called into action. Connecting it all: looping live electronics, slabs of guitar and vocals.

Tab C.A. and Ocra and Gel Nails are both appearing for the first time on a New Music Edmonton program. It’s a unique chance to experience these Alberta artists performing on the same bill, and a great close to the first day of Now Hear This.

Friday, March 23
Holy Trinity Anglican Church (10037 84 Ave NW)
Windrose – Kagelian Ensemble with special guest Miguel Belllusci, 7:30 p.m.
Chenoa Anderson, flutes
Don Ross, clarinets
Charles Stolte, narration
Mark Segger, percussion
Viktoria Reiswich-Dapp, keyboards
Haley Simons, keyboard
The Vaughan String Quartet:
Neda Yamach, violin
Mattia Berrini, violin
Fabiola Amorim, viola
Silvia Buttiglione, ‘cello
and Jeff Johnson, bass
Conducted by Miguel Bellusci
The 2018 Now Hear This Festival is pleased to welcome renowned Argentinian conductor and composer Miguel Bellusci to Edmonton to lead some of our finest musicians in a brilliant evening of music by composers from his own country. This is a rare opportunity to hear works by Mauricio Kagel, a towering figure of the post-war era, in selections from his mammoth opus, Die Stücke der Windrose. In these complex, yet inviting and humorous works, Kagel re-interprets aspects of traditional Argentinian music such as tango and carnavalito through the lens of a new music chamber ensemble with and amazing percussion set-up that including anvils, electric fans and stones. The program also includes a mind-blowing, kaleidoscopic work for string quartet and octophonic, three-dimensional live electronics by Edmonton’s very own Nicolás Arnáez, performed by local favourites, The Vaughan Quartet.

Listening Lounge I, 9:30 p.m.
We’ll be around after Windrose is over and you should be too! The Listening Lounge will be a free, relaxed gathering space for festival-goers to relax and enjoy the festival in a unique way. You can meet some of the festival artists, look at scores and other artifacts, and enjoy refreshments and discussion. We’ll also be setting up some places for attendees to listen to and share recordings, and to watch videos of music and sound art. This is kind of an experiment for us, but we’re looking forward to enjoying an hour or two spending time with you!

Saturday, March 24
Holy Trinity Anglican Church (10037 84 Ave NW)
Social Sounds, With Catherine Lee, Oboe and Electronics, 2:00 p.m.
On the first weekend of spring, especially, with the sun shining through stained glass, an afternoon recital in Holy Trinity’s exquisite sanctuary is an extraordinary experience. Now Hear This is delighted to welcome Edmonton-raised oboist Catherine Lee as she returns to our city for a performance certain to be part of the magic of the newly minted spring. Her compelling, beautifully curated program of Canadian works will bring to mind many aspects of the natural world – flowers, wind, colour, the movement of sand and rock sediment through water and the irresistibly hypnotic nocturnal songs of whales.

Catherine Lee is a renowned oboist able to produce the full range of sounds from lyrically traditional to grittily experimental. She is also a highly regarded and sought-after improviser and has chosen this program specifically to explore the continuum between improvised and strictly notated music, often within the same composition. Combining oboe and oboe d’amore with a rich stream of expertly diffused electronic sounds, this recital will fill the phenomenal acoustic of Holy Trinity with magical and memorable music.

Dorothy Chang – Still
Catherine Lee – a tiny dance
Jérôme Blais – Rafales
Dana Reason – Chanson de fleurs: Eleanor of Aquitaine
Taylor Brook – Alluvium
Emily Doolittle – Social Sounds From Whales At Night

Listening Lounge II, 3:30 p.m.
Please see the note about our Listening Lounges for Friday, March 23!
Trio in Trinity – Swell/ Burrell/ Segger Trio, 7:30 p.m.
Dave Burrell, piano
Steve Swell, trombone
Mark Segger, drums and percussion

Collaborations between visiting and local artists have been an important stream of most Now Hear This Festivals. Continuing that tradition, join us and revel in the unique combination of New York’s Dave Burrell/ Steve Swell Duo with Edmonton percussionist Mark Segger. You won’t want to miss this explosive meeting of three great musicians in a show created especially for Now Hear This.

The Burrell/ Swell Duo first worked together in 2011 and have given performances of Dave Burrell’s Civil War Project music at the Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia, at the Vision Festival in New York and in Houston presented by the Nameless Sound Foundation. For Now Hear This, the duo has invited Edmonton’s Mark Segger to join with them in what is certain to be a “masterclass” in infusing improvisation with a stunning array of sound and rhythm drawn from all corners of the jazz and new music worlds. The trio’s highly developed improvisational skills and phenomenal sensitivity to each other’s playing will be radically, readily apparent as they bring us an intense, absorbing evening of music rarely heard in our city.

Live Mix II, 9:30 p.m.
After The Trio show we’ll have a short break – a chance to grab a snack or drink, or take a walk, but don’t go home! Our third show of the day is the second of our unique Live Mix double bills, once again bringing cutting edge, risk-taking performers into focus. This is going to be fantastic way to finish the day off as we pair…

Ryan M. Hemphill: Overfill Undergrowth
This is an orchestra of a different kind – a collection of a half dozen or so decommissioned propane tanks and some audio transducers. Feed them some pre-recorded voices, sine-wave oscillations and live amplified brass, let the transducers do their work (i.e. converting the sound into vibrations) and voila: an orchestra of resonating propane tanks! Since each tank is unique it will resonate in different way, resulting in the room being filled with gorgeous, bell-like sounds. Overfill Undergrowth can exist as both an installation and live performance, and Ryan Hemphill will offer some of both during this performance. With the gas tanks set up surrounding the audience, expect to be immersed in a rich, warm, constantly changing pool of ambient sound.

blablaTrains: blablaOdyssey_3
blablaTrains is a duo formed by Takuto Fukuda (DIY sensor instrument), and Ana Dall’Ara-Majek (extended Theremin). Respectively from Japan and France, they moved to Canada to study composition and to take the train. The duo develops new ways of narrativity and musical meaning by extending idiomatic gestures to theatrics.

The improvisation performance ‘blablaOdyssey_3’ is a theatrical exploration of two instruments that require a kind of choreography to generate sound. The duo uses electronic sounds generated by their instruments and recordings from different travels by train. Those sounds are processed in real-time with body movements and hands gestures. The performance illustrates a surrealistic odyssey in which they create links between our two instruments and the electroacoustic world.

As with our March 22 Live Mix I artists, Ryan M. Hemphill and blablaTrains are making their New Music Edmonton debut appearances on Live Mix II. We’re excited to be capping off this amazing and varied Saturday with these original, unforgettable performances.

Sunday, March 25
Workshop With blablaTrains
Strathcona Community League (10139 87 Ave NW), 11:30 AM – 1:00 p.m.
In this workshop, blablaTrains will talk about the way they conceived Human-Computer Interaction with their respective gestural interfaces. Participants will have the opportunity to try Takuto’s gyro-based sensor instrument and Ana’s augmented Theremin in order to experience the cause-effect relationship between gestures and sound. After the talk, audience members will be solicited for a demonstration of Human-Computer Interaction by taking part in an audiovisual game-piece that was specifically designed for the improvisors. Audience members that want to volunteer for the game are encouraged to bring their own musical instruments!

Yardbird Suite (11 Tommy Banks Way)
Rise Up Singing – UltraViolet Ensemble, 2:00 p.m.
Roger Admiral, piano
Chenoa Anderson, flutes
Allison Balcetis, saxophones
Amy Nicholson, ‘cello
Closing our festival this year: Edmonton’s amazing new music group, UltraViolet. This quartet gave an awe-inspiring debut performance of new, multi-media works during our 2017 festival, and we have every reason to believe they will outdo themselves as the closing act of Now Hear This 2018.
Alice Ho – Cothemus
Erin Rogers – Rise Up, Singing
Bernhard Lang – Differenz / Wiederholung 1.2
Doug Hoyer – Theme for the Largest Organism on Earth
Emily Casavant – Fuse