Iancu Dumitrescu Radio Shows

Tim Hodgkinson, Gerard Pape, Iancu Dumitrescu,...
Image by andyw23 via Flickr

ResonanceFM will feature two 3-hour online radio shows featuring the music of Iancu Dumitrescu, one of the most important living composers.

Born and bred under the yoke of Ceaucescu’s “communist” regime in Rumania, Dumitrescu proposes an intolerable intensity that blossoms and decays like natural sound in cosmic space. For his admirers and proselytisers, Dumitrescu’s music has wiped the field of modern music clean and restarted everything: he really is the ground-zero sound artist promised in everyone else’s publicity. He’s attracted a weird crew of supporters: the Rumanian government sponsors him at home and abroad; Chris Cutler‘s Recommended Records distribute his CDs; Tim Hodgkinson from Henry Cow plays bass clarinet in his Hyperion Ensemble and even writes his own compositions for them. Having heard his music as a school girl, Ana-Maria Avram, the prize-winning classical instrumentalist, dropped everything to become his lover, promoter and fellow composer. Now industrial-noisemaker Andy Wilson (author of Faust: Stretch Out Time 1970-1975) and Ben Watson (author of books on Frank Zappa and Derek Bailey) join forces to present two 3-hour programmes of his music sourced from Spectrum Festivals in Bucharest and London

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Music Unlimited festival in Wels, Austria: Unlimited 23 “Whispers & Cries” curated By Ikue Mori:

November 06, 2009
John Zorn Cobra, Schl8hof, Wels
Tony Buck, Sylvie Courvoisier, Chris Cutler, Shayna Dunkelman, Fred Frith, Arnold ‘Noid’ Haberl, Makigami Koichi, Okkyung Lee, Ikue Mori, Zeena Parkins, Maja Ratkje, Kazuhisa Uchihashi, David Watson
KTL, Schl8hof, Wels
Stephen O’Malley, Peter Rehberg
Speak Easy, Schl8hof, Wels
Martin Blume, Thomas Lehn, Phil Minton, Ute Wassermann
Spunk, Schl8hof, Wels
Kristin Andersen, Lene Grenager, Maja Ratkje, Hild Sofie Tafjord

November 07, 2009
Thinking Out Loud, Im Kornspeicher, Wels
Pamelia Kurstin
Phil Minton & dieb13, Im Pavillon, Wels
Dieter ‘dieb13’ Kovacic, Phil Minton
Agra Dharma, Schl8hof, Wels
Sylvie Courvoisier, Makigami Koichi, Ikue Mori
Anker-Lee-Kallerdahl, Schl8hof, Wels
Lotte Anker, Lindha Kallerdahl, Okkyung Lee
Fred Frith & Chris Cutler, Schl8hof, Wels
Chris Cutler, Fred Frith
Phantom Orchard Orchestra, Schl8hof, Wels
Shayna Dunkelman, Makigami Koichi, Ikue Mori, Maggie Parkins, Sara Parkins, Zeena Parkins, Maja Ratkje, Hild Sofie Tafjord

November 08, 2009
Ikue Mori Ipcress Theater, Medienkulturhaus, Wels
Makigami Koichi, Ikue Mori, Mark Nauseef, Kazuhisa Uchihashi
Zeena Parkins Saw Sun Here, Medienkulturhaus, Wels
Maggie Parkins, Sara Parkins, Zeena Parkins
Anker-Courvoisier-Nauseef, Schl8hof, Wels
Lotte Anker, Sylvie Courvoisier, Mark Nauseef
Peter Evans & Okkyung Lee, Schl8hof, Wels
Peter Evans, Okkyung Lee
The Ex, Schl8hof, Wels
Arnold de Boer, Katherina Bornefeld, Terrie Hessels, Andy Moor
Watson-Olive-Buck, Schl8hof, Wels
Tony Buck, DJ Olive, David Watson

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X Avant New Music Festival

The X Avant New Music Festival takes place this week in Toronto.

Oct. 21-25 • The Music Gallery presents
“Convergence and Collaboration”
Generously supported by Celebrate Ontario

Inspired by ambient music forefather Brian Eno’s idea of “scenius,” the festival celebrates the notion of co-operation in modern music making, as opposed to the glorification of individual genius. In contrast with the stereotype of the solitary composer locked in his attic railing against the ignorant outside world, some of today’s most innovative music is forged out of communities — through co-operation, collaboration and unexpected convergences of mutual interests and ideas. The Music Gallery is grateful to Celebrate Ontario for their support of X AVANT.

X AVANT IV: Convergence & Collaboration will feature five days of world-calibre concerts, workshops and symposia, with visitors from Germany, Czech Republic, Japan, the US and UK. This year will also feature two high-profile concerts at an off-site venue: the larger-capacity SPK (Polish Combatants Hall), a 300-seat theatre, just up the street on Beverley, south of College.”

Wednesday, October 21 @ SPK
Cluster (Canadian debut!)
+ Hauschka with String Quartet
MG Presentation at SPK, 206 Beverley St.
8pm • $30/$25/$20

Thursday, Oct. 22 @ MG
Phantom Orchard (Zeena Parkins & Ikue Mori)
+ Ken Aldcroft’s Convergence Ensemble (CD release)
8pm • $20/$15/$10

Friday, Oct. 23 @ MG
Phantom Orchard
FREE workshop @ noon!

Friday, Oct. 23 @ MG
“Beats, Notes & Loops”: A Hip-Hop/New Music Summit
with: Nicole Lizee + DJ P-Love; Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan, Abdominal + InsideAMind
8pm • $20/$15/$10

Saturday, Oct. 24 @ MG
A New Way of Hearing: Music and Auditory Research
Co-presented with Array and SMART Lab
3pm • $20/$15/$12

Saturday, Oct. 24 @ SPK
Iva Bittová
+ Chris Cutler
with Antonin Fajt
MG Presentation at SPK, 206 Beverley St.
8pm • $25/$20/$15

Sunday, Oct. 25 @ MG (Fellowship Room)
X Avant: Convergence & Collaboration Symposium
More info TBA
3pm • FREE

Sunday, Oct. 25 @ MG
Start : Stop
Co-presented with Continuum Contemporary Music
8pm • $25/$15/$5

Note: Tickets on sale Tuesday, Sept. 15.
Music Gallery members can reserve tickets in advance at 416-204-1080
Tickets available online at

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Vancouver New Music Festival

The 2009 Vancouver New Music Festival takes place next week and features Chris Cutler, John Oswald, and many others.

21 – 24 October 2009
Show starts 8pm each night
Free Artist Chats at 7pm each night
Negative Landscapes: free symposium on 24 October 2009, 2:30pm
Scotiabank Dance Centre
677 Davie Street

Tickets $20 regular, $15 students/seniors each night; available at Zulu Records (1972 West 4th Avenue), Scratch Records (726 Richards Street), through Tickets Tonight (; 604.684.2787; surcharges apply) and at the door.

Passes for all four nights $60 and $40, available only through Vancouver New Music (604.633.0861) and at the door.

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Culture and politics after the net

Mute magazine hosts an article on modern music by Ben Watson.

Just when I thought ‘contemporary music’ should be renamed ‘missed opportunity’, I came across the music of Iancu Dumitrescu and Ana-Maria Avram, two composers from Bucharest in Romania. Despite support from the Romanian government, they’ve made little impact on the pusillanimous music scene in the UK, and it’s been left to the usual malfunded outsiders to support them. Over the last few years, London Musicians Collective (as was) and Resonance FM have organised concerts for them at Conway Hall. The Avram and Dumitrescu CDs on their own Edition Minuit label are distributed by ReR Megacorp in Britain and in the rest of the world by the network of ‘avant’ labels which drummer Chris Cutler has assiduously knitted together over the last three decades. The fact that Tim Hodgkinson (along with Cutler a member of Henry Cow in the early-’70s) is actively involved with Dumitrescu/Avram – playing bass clarinet in their ensemble, contributing his own pieces – shows that I’m not alone in considering their music as the ‘rebirth of avant garde‘.

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Coming Up From Sonic Circuits

From DC’s Sonic Circuits:

Monday June 15
Doors 730pm Music 8pm SHARP
8230 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring MD 20910
located three blocks south of the silver spring metro station (red line)
Free parking in gated lot out front

Gregg Kowalsky resides in Oakland, California where he completed a Master of Fine Arts degree in Electronic Music and Recording Media at Mills College. Kowalsky’s compositions range from drone and noise pieces to meditative psychedelia with minimalist aesthetic. Gregg has composed dance, sound installations, ?lm and acoustic ensembles.

For the past 15 years, Ben Bracken has slowly been creating a unique sonic language utilizing electronics, acoustic sound sources (guitar, cymbal, bells, found objects, etc), electric guitar, and field recordings. Primarily interested in the possibilities of a kind of echo- relocation that exists with sound based art, his work has oscillated from performance to installation, often blurring the lines between the two. In both, the location of the event becomes an active participant, intimately shaping the nature and direction of each work. After finishing a graduate degree in Electronic Music at Mills College in Oakland, CA, Ben moved on to his current technical support position at Cycling ‘74, the developers of Max/MSP. Ben also curates the Totally Intense Fractal Mindgaze Hut, a performance space in West Oakland, CA. Some previous or current musical groups include Crystal Village (with Gregg Kowalsky), Flashpapr, Tiny Lights, Remote Viewing Ensemble, Duo with Luis Maurette, Duo with Zach Wallace, Bones (with Jacqueline Gordon). Ben has improvised with Le-Quan Ninh, Brent Guetzeit, Kevin Drumm, Peter Kowald, Chris Cutler, Phil Minton, Rhodri Davies, Werner Dafeldecker, Fred Van Hove, Johannes Bauer, among others.

Trio O is Rich O’Meara (Kwo’m Percussion Group, Silent Orchestra) on amplified vibes, electronics and percussion, Kevin O’Meara (Videohippos, Blood Baby) on drums and percussion and Gary Rouser (Vector Trio, Nine Strings) on NS bass/cello and other objects.

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KFJC Reviews

Chris Cutler at the Hyperion Ensemble Spectrum...
Image via Wikipedia

From KFJC:

Tickmayer, Stevan Kovacs – “Cold Peace Counterpoints” – [Rer Megacorp]
A crazy cut-up tour de force of keyboards, string instruments, percussion, and sampling, all whirled together in Tickmayer’s compositional blender. Piano, organ, and harpsichord-type sounds are heard throughout, but it’s not all about keyboards; Track 7 goes heavy on electric guitar, and Track 9 features violin. Chaotic arrangements keep the surprises coming, with Tickmayer holding the throttle wide open for most of this 50-minute CD. Tracks 6 and 8 give us a bit of a breather before we dive back into the madness. Among the guests is Chris Cutler (Henry Cow, Art Bears) on drums/percussion.

Ellman, Liberty – “Ophiuchus Butterfly” – [Pi Recordings]
Album is named for the Butterfly nebula in the Ophiuchus (Oh-fee-YOU-cuss) constellation. Former Bay Area resident Liberty Ellman is a fine guitarist who now lives in New York City. This is not a guitar album, however; guitar interplays with alto and tenor saxes, tuba(!), bass, drums. Some electronics on “Snow Lips” and Borealis.

Halvorson, Mary and Walter, Weasel – “Opulence” – [Ug Explode]
Virtuoso playing from Brooklyn based composer and improviser Mary Halvorson on guitar and Oakland based Weasel Walter on drums (and clarinet mouthpiece!) makes for eight tracks of energetic, madly improvised insanity. Humorous, mostly fast-paced, genre defying – is it rock, jazz, experimental? Simultaneously strange and a good listen.

Emeralds – “What Happened” – [No Fun Productions]
Ambient drone: John Elliott (synth), Steve Hauschildt (synth), and Mark McGuire (guitar) form Emeralds, a Cleveland-based improv group who have been compared to Tangerine Dream. Shimmering synths leave you awash and “Alive in the Sea of Information”

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Rick Potts at Lampo

From Chicago’s Lampo:

JAN 24 9pm
Ever have one of those soul-searching moments in the middle of the night, when you look at yourself in the mirror and wonder—how come Rick Potts has never been to Chicago? We did. Now Lampo is thrilled to bring Rick here for his long overdue local debut.

Potts is a founding member of the Los Angeles Free Music Society (L.A.F.M.S.)—a loose collective of musicians formed in 1973, with a shared interest in Cage, Partch, Zappa, Beefheart, Bailey and Ra (Sun). Together in various ensembles Rick, brother Joe, Tom Recchion, Chip Chapman, Dennis Duck, Fredrik Nilson, Joseph Hammer and others crossed genres and techniques, mixing free jazz, noise rock, chance composition, tape collage and kitsch.

Here, he performs new versions of two recent works.

In “Carousel of Progress,” he offers an abstracted audio history of technology, inspired by the Walt Disney / General Electric promotional amusement park ride that displayed with human-like robots how life has improved for us each decade because of the invention of new household appliances. The last part of Disney’s ride heralded the promise of a utopian future where humans would enjoy increased leisure time because of advances in technology. These ideas are contrasted with the reality of living in a world with more and more machinery. Using samplers with carousel sounds, musical saw, the “Mando-Bird” hinged-neck electric mandolin, synthesizer and effects, the rise and fall of these dreams of technology’s past, present and future are expressed. It runs about 22 minutes.

In “Kasper,” Potts plays a freeform mix of chopped up percussive rhythms and synthesizer sounds with pre-recorded, record manipulated, thrift store LPs providing the vocal track. The title and muse for this comes from a ghostly black cat that appeared on the day his family dog died, Friday the 13th, July 2007. With a little help, the machines play themselves.

Rick Potts (b. 1957, San Gabriel, Calif.) is an improviser and instrument maker who has been on the musical fringe of Los Angeles the last 35 years. A founding member of the L.A. Free Music Society, Potts played in one of its premier units, Le Forte Four, as well as Airway and numerous spin-off ensembles. He is a homemade sound scientist, with custom hinged-neck guitars, musical saw, synths, samplers and random objects, who produces sounds which are unique, alarming and funny. He has played with tape loop maestro, Joseph Hammer, in the ensembles Solid Eye and Dinosaurs with Horns for many years and improvised with a vast array of international artists such as Chris Cutler, Eugene Chadbourne, Keiji Haino and Otomo Yoshihide, as well as locals Tom Recchion and brother Joe Potts.

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