Coming Up From Sonic Circuits

From DC’s Sonic Circuits:

Monday June 15
Doors 730pm Music 8pm SHARP
$7
PYRAMID ATLANTIC
8230 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring MD 20910
301.608.9101
located three blocks south of the silver spring metro station (red line)
Free parking in gated lot out front
DIRECTIONS: http://www.pyramidatlanticartcenter.org

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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Fred Frith All-Star Birthday Concert

A bunch of pictures from Frith’s 60th.

This concert, billed as “The Music Of Fred Frith,” was presented as a celebration of Fred Frith’s 60th birthday this year, and took place at Mills College in Oakland CA on the Sunday afternoon of 5 April 2009. Featured were solo and ensemble improvisations, a Frith composition entitled “Water Stories” for chamber quintet, and Frith’s most recent rock quartet, Cosa Brava. It was a fine testament in performance to an artist who has been challenging, expanding and dissolving musical boundaries for forty years.

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Catching up with … Mills College’s Fred Frith

Fred Frith’s career as an educator is profiled:

Wreathed in early-morning fog, the Mills College campus in the Oakland hills looks like anything but the birthplace of experimental music.

But inside the Spanish colonial-style buildings on the 135-acre school – the first women’s college west of the Rockies – the Music Conservatory has for 80 years hosted the cream of the avant-garde.

Titanic talents have taught, performed and studied here, including Henry Cowell, John Cage, Lou Harrison and Darius Milhaud, electronic music pioneer Pauline Oliveros, minimalists Terry Riley and Steve Reich, and jazz innovator Roscoe Mitchell.

So it is pitch-perfect that the head of the department today is a musician who made his name in rock ‘n’ roll.

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Mills College Music Department Turns the Wheels of Progress

Oliveros playing in Mexico City
Image via Wikipedia

A recent Mills College performance is reviewed.

It began with a single riser, draped in black, on a half-lit stage. Atop it sat a desk chair with plain blue cushions, such as you might find in a library or school lab. Surrounding the chair were a laptop computer, an audio processor, and a large black concert accordion. As audience members filed in, the arrangement awaited Mills College composer-in-residence Pauline Oliveros, an internationally acclaimed composer and performer of contemporary music who was set to play the inaugural note in Mills’ newly renovated concert hall.

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Abrams and Mitchell at Mills

Longtime AACM members Muhal Richard Abrams and Roscoe Mitchell have a show tomorrow at Mills College.

For nearly half a century, pianist Muhal Richard Abrams and saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell have been pushing boundaries as improvisers. For most of their lives they’ve been known as jazz guys. Abrams was the guiding light behind Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), a font of revolutionary ideas, especially back in the ’60s and ’70s, when the jazz avant-garde invaded the mainstream. Mitchell was the guiding spirit behind the most famous band to emerge from the AACM, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, which started as his group and had as its motto “Great Black Music: Ancient to the Future.”

Times change. Abrams and Mitchell are now often associated with a broader swathe of improvised contemporary music. When they play, “jazz” isn’t necessarily mentioned, even though these two continue to play with the same eccentric and intuitive abandon, matched somehow by a logical and brainy persistence, that always characterized their music.

Now, Mitchell holds the Darius Milhaud Chair in Composition at Mills College, where he joins Abrams on Friday for a night of duets in the school’s newly renovated Jeannik Mequet Littlefield Concert Hall. The concert is part of the Mills Music Festival 2009, a new music extravaganza running through April 5 and celebrating the hall’s opening. Abrams and Mitchell perform at 8 p.m. Friday. Tickets: $20; $12 alumni, seniors and students. http://www.mills.edu/musicfestival.

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Mills College Music Series Starts Today

saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell at the Pomigliano ...
Image via Wikipedia

If you’re in the Oakland area, stop by Mills:

Mills College will kick off opening night of its music series Saturday by honoring African-American performers and celebrating Black History Month.

The Mills Music Festival will feature pieces by Roscoe Mitchell, a leader in avant-garde jazz and contemporary music. They will be performed by Pauline Oliveros with Tony Martin; Terry Riley; Joseph Kubera and Joan Jeanrenaud.

The event, which runs through April, will be held inside the newly renovated Mills College Concert Hall. The music series will showcase cutting-edge contemporary musical performances that cross genres.

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New From Ambiances Magnétiques

Jean Derome performing with Jandek, Loren Robe...
Image via Wikipedia

A few new releases from Ambiances Magnétiques, a French-Canadian label.

Sébastien Cirotteau/Brigitte Lacasse/Catherine S Massicotte/Éric Normand-Face à la Dérive
“During a ten days residence in Rimouski (Québec), the artists made documentary sounds recordings: interviews and soundscapes. They listen to the sounds heard along the St Lawrence River, underwater, and to the voices of peoples living around. Based on a dinamyc use of these recordings, “Face à la dérive” is a cycle of improvised performances using both musical intruments and acousmatic sounds.”

Michel F. Cote/Isaiah Ceccarelli-Vulgarities
“Bored of the future, two drummers meet and ask each other: what can we do when we’re just two drummers? “We can be vulgar” was the answer. They put together a few vague ideas and obsessions. For the sake of amateurism, they added their respective failures. This meeting is the audible result of being overworked. What comes out of it is a sullen form of grace, an elegy for the destruction of things. In short, this CD features the sound of a plethora of objects being struck and stroked.”

Ensemble Super Musique-Y’a du Bruit dans ma Cabane
“Y’a du Bruit dans ma Cabane, Ensemble SuperMusique’s second CD, marks a serious side step from its debut Canevas +, which culled excerpts from concerts presented in Montréal between 1998 and 2004, and featured various facets and line-ups of the group. This brand-new release is the product of a single line-up and features some tasty homogeneity. One really hears a group sound from beginning to end. One can feel the unity of breath, the deep and intense cohesion existing between Jean Derome, Joane Hétu, Diane Labrosse, Danielle Palardy Roger, Pierre Tanguay, and Martin Tétreault. Built from concepts suggested by Derome, Hétu, Labrosse, and Roger, this lively shack full of adventurous sonic outbursts is inhabited by a true family, a team of improvisation champs. A fun shack where sonic brilliance has been enhanced by Paul Dolden’s magic ears.”

Philippe Lauzier/Pierre-Yves Martel/Kim Myhr/Martin Tétreault-Disparition de l’usine éphémère
“Disparition de l’usine éphémère is the first release of a quartet consisting of prominent improvisers from Québec and Norway. The peculiar combination of old and new instruments renders a poetic image of a faded, bygone industrial plant. The quartet works within both narrow and broad acoustic areas: sometimes focusing on a tiny vibration, other times a polyphonic orchestra of pipes, pumps, wheels, objects, bells and motors ring together: a multiplicity of cogwheels spinning in different tempos, all working together to create a large machine of acoustic and electronic sounds.”

Joelle Leandre/Quentin Sirjacq-Out of Nowhere
“If a book is not to be judged by its cover, as the saying goes, here is one recording whose title should not be mistaken as a collection of jazz standards. But all of the music contained in these eleven tracks literally comes from out of nowhere, the result of an impromptu encounter of two like-minded players. By now it may well be unnecessary to introduce Joëlle Léandre, but it’s worth noting here that “Madame Contrebasse” has always thrived in these intimate duo settings, a fact borne out in her considerable discography. Almost 25 years her junior, pianist (and fellow countryman) Quentin Sirjacq heralds from a different generation; yet, improvisation enables the keyboardist to bridge the gap with his former Mills College teacher-mentor and carve out a very personal musical space à deux. Don’t expect them to fall into any of those soloist and accompanist routines, or contests of wits and chops; instead, these collaborations are full of nuance and detail, like chiaroscuro effects floating gracefully over their soundscapes. Primarily introspective, with a couple of more jaunty escapades along the way, the music is warm and inviting, but never does it lapse into a kind of facile easy listening ambiance. Beyond all labels and descriptions, this offering will reach both heart and mind alike.”

Quatuor Bozzini-Arbor Vitae
“The sixth volume of the collection, Arbor Vitæ, pays homage to the Canadian-American composer James Tenney with performances of the complete quartets and quintets. These works were composed over a period of more than 50 years, from the first string quartet, written at 21, to the last, posthumous quartet. Through various acoustic and musical phenomena, Tenney creates broad, open musical spaces, making music that is both rigorous and sensual. We feel privileged and honoured to be associated with these works by one of the most important North American composers of the 20th century.”

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Mills College Music Festival 2009

saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell at the Pomigliano ...
Image via Wikipedia

Interesting music coming up from Mills College in Oakland.

OPENING NIGHT: Pauline Oliveros with Tony Martin; Terry Riley; Joseph Kubera performs Roscoe Mitchell; Joan Jeanrenaud
Saturday, February 21, 2009 8:00 pm

A CELEBRATION OF THE CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY MUSIC
Sunday, February 22, 2009 3:00 pm

LEGENDARY COMPOSER AND IMPROVISER MUHAL RICHARD ABRAMS
Friday, February 27, 2009 8:00 pm

DARIUS MILHAUD‘S BRAZILIAN CONNECTION
Saturday, February 28, 2009 8:00 pm

ARDITTI QUARTET
Sunday, March 8, 2009 3:00 pm

THE MUSIC OF FRED FRITH
Sunday, April 5, 2009 3:00 pm

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