Bay Area alive with new music

New music in the San Fran area is reviewed.

In the ’60s and ’70s, the Bay Area was a new music mecca. Minimalism was forged there. East mingled with West. Electronic music came of age. Such European avant-garde composers as Luciano Berio, György Ligeti and Karlheinz Stockhausen joined the scene. After graduating from Harvard, John Adams hopped in a Volkswagen bus and headed for Northern California.

Our current century rejects headquarters. San Francisco is now but one of many centers in a multi-centered universe. But pick a good weekend and the Bay Area still hops. Last weekend was a good weekend — as well as something of a preview of upcoming concerts in Southern California — and here is a diary of a writer trying to get a handle on it all.

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John Duncan at Lampo

From Chicago’s Lampo:

FEB 21 9pm

John Duncan returns to Chicago for his first visit in over five years, presenting a new 4-channel work, “The Hidden.” Digital audio debris, generated noise, field recordings and shortwave radio static. Cinema for the blind, where the sighted are the challenged.
John Duncan (b. 1953, Wichita, Kan.) is widely recognized for his performance events, music and installations, often exploring audience response to sensory deprivation and stimuli. His work has been presented at MOCA in Los Angeles, PS1 in New York, MAK in Vienna, MACBA in Barcelona and MOT in Tokyo.

His formative artistic years were spent in and around Los Angeles. As a teenager Duncan left Wichita and his strict Calvinist upbringing for CalArts, where he studied for 18 months before moving to Hollywood and then Pasadena. Throughout the 1970s he presented his first controversial performance events, recorded early audio experiments with shortwave radio, hung out with friends Paul McCarthy (with whom he co-produced Close Radio) and Tom Recchion (John says, “Tom introduced me to an entire spectrum of sound, patiently playing one record after another…”) and was an unofficial L.A.F.M.S. associate. He spent most of the 1980s in Tokyo collaborating with Japanese noise artists, and the 1990s in Amsterdam, before moving to Italy. He now lives and works in Bologna.

Of special note, his 1996 project “The Crackling,” composed with Max Springer from field recordings made at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in California is considered a landmark in experimental sound. “Nav,” his audio project with Francisco López, received a 1999 Prix Ars Electronica award for digital music. More recent work includes collaborations with zeitkratzer, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, Asmus Tietchens, Valerio Tricoli, and Pan Sonic members Mika Vainio and Ilpo Väisänen.
John Duncan first appeared at Lampo in April 2000, when he performed the U.S. premiere of “Palace of Mind.” In October 2003 he presented “Infrasound-Tidal,” made with sounds derived from seismic data and tidal readings collected on the Australian coast.

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Advocate for the Arts

Mostly of US interest.

Advocate for the Arts allows you to email your representatives and show your support for the arts in the Economic Stimulus Package now in the Senate (recently, most funding for the arts was eliminated).

It is fast, easy, and for a good cause. Thanks to Greenleaf Music for the tip.

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Roger Kleier: New CD, Live Performance

Roger Kleier has a few words to share about a CD releases and an upcoming New York performance.

Roger Kleier’s “El Pocho Loco” Project
Tuesday, February 17, 8:30 PM
Roulette (at Location One)
20 Greene Street, New York City, between Canal & Grand Streets.
Admission $15, (DTW, Harvestworks, Seniors, Under 30, and Students $10)
212 219 8242

This concert is the premiere performance of “El Pocho Loco”, Roger Kleier’s new quartet,
and celebrates the release of his new CD “The Night Has Many Hours”.
Roger Kleier (guitar), Annie Gosfield (keyboards), Trevor Dunn (bass), Ches Smith (drums and percussion)

Join us as we charge through noisy guitar instrumentals, twangy improvisation, and mangled, tangled, and newfangled electric sounds. Led by downtown stalwart guitarist/composer Roger Kleier, the band includes innovative percussionist Ches Smith, who has worked with Marc Ribot and his own project Good for Cows; bassist Trevor Dunn from the influential band Mr. Bungle and John Zorn‘s Electric Masada; and keyboardist Annie Gosfield, a composer with three releases on the Tzadik label.

Roger’s newest CD release, “The Night Has Many Hours” (Innova 685), is a collection of Kleier’s personal vocabulary of manipulated guitar sounds and electronic effluvia incorporated into fully notated compositions, driving instrumentals, and pure texture. It features a three movement piece for cello and electronically altered guitar performed by ex-Kronos cellist Joan Jeanrenaud, titled “What Is The Price Of Iron?”, and a ripping organ solo by composer Annie Gosfield. “The Night Has Many Hours” consists of 11 diverse pieces Inspired by urban chaos, cold and icy winters, deserted alleyways, dark subway tunnels, rolling California hillsides, and even an occasional quiet pool of beauty.

Roger says of the CD:

This CD is the final third of a trilogy that includes my previous two releases “KlangenBang” and “Deep Night, Deep Autumn”. The entire trilogy has been a while in the making, but, at last, here it is…

I have always enjoyed the works of fiction writers who have main characters that reappear in sequential novels, especially noir masters like Raymond Chandler, Walter Mosley, and William Gibson. For my three solo CDs, I have thought of my own guitar playing and the sound world it occupies as a “character” who shows up repeatedly in a myriad of musical situations, with each variation somehow related to the last one.

For the first part of the trilogy, “KlangenBang”, my musical character dealt with concert performance, improvisation, and song form. In “Deep Night…” this character explored a dark world of electronic manipulations and sinister development. For this final episode, “The Night Has Many Hours”, the guitar player character investigates the concept of variations in ambience. These ambiences might include those found in urban chaos, cold and icy winters, deserted alleyways, dark subway tunnels, rolling California hillsides, or even an occasional quiet pool of beauty…

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