Releases Reviews

Wolf Eyes’ Always Wrong Reviewed

Pitchfork reviews this relatively new release.

Wolf Eyes long ago internalized buzzing static, piercing screams, and crashing cacophony– basic elements as essential to the band’s vocabulary as finger picking is to John Fahey‘s, or violin drone is to Tony Conrad‘s. In fact, the most impressive thing about the band at this point in their career is how instantly identifiable their unruly noise is. Reference points remain, such as the industrial bombast of Throbbing Gristle, the gothic dirge of Swans, and the sheer extremity of Whitehouse. But Wolf Eyes now speak their own language exclusively.

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Tom Carter, Steve Gunn, Shawn David McMillen, The Boy Who Spoke Clouds in Syracuse

Coming on June 20, from Metropolis Underground:

Tom Carter is best known for his work with acclaimed psych-drone iconoclasts Charalambides, which he co-founded with Christina Carter in 1991, he has branched out into other collaborations since 2001, playing and recording with long-term projects Zaika (with Marcia Bassett) and Badgerlore (with Rob Fisk, Ben Chasny, Liz Harris, and Peter Swanson), as well as in frequent collaborations with Bay Area sound artist Robert Horton. Other fellow travelers have included Christian Kiefer, Tetuzi Akiyama, Thurston Moore, Shawn David McMillen, Dredd Foole, Lorren Connors, Pip Proud, Inca Ore, Jandek, Bardo Pond, and Matt Valentine, among many others.

Most recently, Carter has focused on his solo performances and recordings, touring constantly from 2007-2008, and finally settling in New York City in early 2009. His solo work covers a vast territory, but latter-day sightings show him to be concentrating on looped guitar drones of immensely-stacked grit and beauty, with heaps of psychedelic melodic content missing from the repertoires of many noise and drone bands.

Shawn David McMillen met Tom and Christina Carter Charalambides—now considered early pioneers of the present avant-folk movement—as well as Heather Leigh Murray. Heather and Shawn moved to Galveston, where she attended Texas A&M/Galveston while “working at an animal clinic, recording music constantly, and having cataclysmic experiences on acid together at the beach.” Shawn and Heather recorded together as Ash Castles on the Ghost Coast, releasing one CD on Charalambides’ Wholly Other imprint and playing one show with Palace Brothers. Circa 1999, the pair moved to Austin where they played with Rick Reed in Abrasion Ensemble and later formed Iron Kite. Recorded mostly at night, Catfish is acoustic-based only because Shawn had no electric guitar at the time. Other instruments include autoharp, Roland keyboard, Indian goat bell, Indonesian gongs, bowed electric bass, African kalimba (thumb piano), and shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute). Cited influences at the time include American Indian lore, music from the Middle East and India, Phil Yost, Robbie Basho, and Malachi.

Steve Gunn plies his trade in the Northeast, calling Brooklyn home. He’s best know for the major role he plays in the group GHQ. Over the course of numerous excellent releases, it became clear that Gunn was a real force in experimental music. Once his solo music started being unearthed, there was no turning back. Steve will be performing a mix of improvisational blues based guitar works.

The Boy Who Spoke Clouds is the moniker of Adam Casey, former guitarist and singer of Australian sextet, Seascapes of the Interior. The Boy Who Spoke Clouds began as a musical departure point from Seascapes of the Interior, amalgamating Adam’s love of gypsy and indigenous music and the polyrhythmic approach of composers such as Steve Reich and Gyorgi Ligeti with his bittersweet shamanic-folk based compositions.

Show starts @ 8pm

$5.00-$10.00 donation

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Upcoming Seattle Shows

From the Wayward Music Series:


FRI. 5/22, 8 PM – WA Composers Forum presents Michael Nicolella, guitar – music by Nicolella, Octavio Vasquez, Steve Reich, Jacob ter Veldhuis, Leo Brouwer, and Jimi Hendrix

SAT. 5/23, 7 & 8:30 PM – Nonsequitur presents Deep Listening Band with Stuart Dempster, David Gamper, and Pauline Oliveros (reservations strongly suggested – email and be sure to specify 7 PM or 8:30 show and how many in your party)


SAT. 5/30 – Oana Rusu-Tomai (piano) with Julie Cho (cello), Natalie Lerch (soprano), and Victoria Parker (violin) – music of Gabriela Lena Frank and Argentinian composers Piazzolla, Guastavino, Buchardo, and Cassadó

WED. 6/3, 7:30 – Subtext Reading Series presents Jim McCrary and Paul Nelson

FRI. 6/5 – Simon Wickham-Smith and Santiago La Torre, electro-acoustic music

SAT. 6/6, 2 PM – Keith Eisenbrey, works for piano

SAT. 6/6, 8 PM – Pran – Greg Powers & Stuart Dempster play Dhrupad music on trombone and dijeridu

THU. 6/11, 8 PM – Nonsequitur presents Harold Budd, celebrating new book of poems and duos with bassist Keith Lowe

FRI. 6/12 – Gregory Campbell, percussion

SAT. 6/13 – Wally Shoup Quartet – WS, alto sax; Gust Burns, piano; Paul Kikuchi, percussion; Bob Rees, drums & vibes

FRI. 6/19 – Briana Jones, butoh performance

SAT. 6/20 – Affinity, contemporary chamber ensemble

THU. 6/25 – Nonsequitur presents Novi_Sad, electro-acoustic composer from Greece

FRI. 6/26 – Clifford Dunn, flute

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Ojai Music Festival

This fest takes place next month outside of Los Angeles, and features, among many others, The Eighth Blackbird and Tin Hat. Some scheduled performances are below.


PART I – 4:00 pm
Steve Reich: Double Sextet
Stravinsky: Songs
Lee Hyla: We Speak Etruscan
Victor Ekimovskij: Kites Flying
Taverner: In Nomine
Pete Rose: Tall P

PART II – 5:30pm
Stephen Hartke: Meanwhile
Steven Mackey: Heavy Light
Lisa Bielawa: Kafka Songs
John Cage: Construction No. 3

PART III – 7:00pm
David Rakowski: Selected Piano Etudes
Hartke: Oh Them Rats is Mean in My Kitchen
Nathan Davis/Trimpin: Sounder
Louis Andriessen: Workers Union

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Steve Reich Wins Pulitzer

Reich has been awarded a Pulitzer.

Awarded to “Double Sextet,” by Steve Reich (Boosey & Hawkes), premiered on March 26, 2008 in Richmond, VA, a major work that displays an ability to channel an initial burst of energy into a large-scale musical event, built with masterful control and consistently intriguing to the ear.

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Coming Shows at Wayward Music

From Seattle’s Wayward Music:


FRI. 4/17, 8 PM – 60 x 60 – touring “tape music” concert of one-minute electro-acoustic works by 60 different composers

SAT. 4/18, 2 PM – Music of Remembrance presents Steve Reich‘s “Different Trains” + Daniel Asia‘s “Breath in a Ram’s Horn”, FREE ADMISSION!
(this concert is not part of the Wayward series, but should be of interest to our audience)


THU. 4/23 – Fragments publication event with Jeffrey Taylor (of Climax Golden Twins), Sokai Stilhed, Chet Corpt, The Cursory Design Realms of the Dreaming Mind, Apparent Movement + others TBA

FRI. 4/24 – Matt Ingalls, Bay Area clarinetist – compositions and improvisations, solo and with Jesse Canterbury and other Seattle artists TBA (note: due to visa problems, Seattle Chamber Players were forced to cancel this date)

SAT. 4/25, 8 PM – Nonsequitur presents Fred Frith, guitar improvisations

THU. 4/30 – WA Composers Forum presents electro-acoustic music by Morton Subotnick

FRI. 5/1 – Seattle Composers’ Salon, artists TBA

SAT. 5/2 – Andrew Boscardin, guitar

WED. 5/6 – Subtext Reading Series presents Beverly Dahlen & Ezra Mark

THU. 5/7 – Seattle Occultural Music Festival presents the Phonographers Union, Jason Kopec, Graham Banfield

FRI. 5/8 – Nonsequitur presents Bay Area pianist Sarah Cahill performs selections from eighteen recently commissioned works envisioning peace

SAT. 5/9 – Marcus Oldham, Seattle composer presents a retrospective of solo and chamber works from 1982 – 2008

FRI. 5/15 – Nonsequitur presents Chicago composer Olivia Block, new works for field recordings and acoustic ensemble

FRI. 5/22 – Michael Nicolella, guitar

SAT. 5/23 – Nonsequitur presents Deep Listening Band with Stuart Dempster, David Gamper, and Pauline Oliveros

SAT. 5/30 – Oana Rusu-Tomai, piano

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Performances Reviews

A new music festival brings what Boston isn’t hearing

The Boston new music scene is profiled.

But there is a lot more new music under the sun – including an entire world of viscerally charged contemporary concert works that draw inspiration from improvised traditions, minimalism, popular or folk music. This other music doesn’t have a single name, but it’s clear that it’s not thriving here. Performances of works by Steve Reich, John Adams, Louis Andriessen, Magnes Lindberg – hugely prominent composers with international reputations – still take on the whiff of forbidden fruit. Osvaldo Golijov, a Boston-based composer whose music taps into world-music genres from tango to klezmer, has a far bigger profile nationally than he does in his own hometown. A minimalist landmark like Terry Riley‘s “In C” draws a crowd barely larger than the group of performers on stage. I have heard exactly one work by John Zorn performed here in almost three years. And if you want to hear anything by the legions of younger composers and performers inspired by the various downtown traditions, the pickings are extremely slim.

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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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Weirding Module, Trigal, Heavy Hymns, March 23 in Syracuse

From Metropolis Underground:

Weirding Module is former Wolf Eyes housemate Michael Troutman’s solo project made during every available moment of time when he’s not playing bass in the Detroit/Brooklyn psych-rock band, Awesome Color (on Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace label) or skateboarding. The music is a heady delay-drenched mix of synthesizers and samples, heavily influenced by repetition (Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Tony Conrad, Throbbing Gristle, et. al.) and seasoned with some Tangerine Dream and dub reggae. Weirding Module’s first release was an American Tapes bootleg cassette for the No Fun Festival (NYC) in 2004. Other releases have followed on Troutman’s own Senseless Empire label, Ozonokids (Spain), Scumbag Relations (US) and Silver Ghosts (Netherlands). Since a recent European tour with UK noise icon, Family Battle Snake, Weirding Module has been back in the studio recording new material for a killer new year. Future releases are due on: Night People (US) and an LP on Ultra Eczema (Belgium).

Trigal (Juan A. D’Amico) is a solo artist from Barcelona, Spain. After playing for the last decade in hardcore punk bands, both in Spain and in Argentina, he has decided to now focus his energy on psychedelic music. Signs of both his South American roots and more recent, experimental German and Japanese influences can be heard throughout the soundscapes invoking images of madness.

Heavy Hymns is the solo projcect of New Thing Productions founder and American Sphinx’ Michael Hentz.

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Asko Schoenberg Ensemble on Tour in March

A few European shows from Asko Schoenberg:

Saterday, 14 maart, 16:30 uur
The Hague, Theater aan ‘t Spui

Ligeti Academy

Paroxysmal Distorted Resonance
Periods of ellipsis
Punta de Fuga
For Frank O’Hara
Momenti Musicali

Saterday, 14 maart, 20:30 uur
Rotterdam, Kunsthal, Auditorium

Redsound: Steve Reich

NB. EXTRA CONCERT 23.30 uur: Music for 18 Musicians

Music for 18 Musicians


sound Jan Panis

“The study of non-Western music led me back to myself”, said Steve Reich in an interview. The American composer was referring to the fact that, especially in retrospect, his music showed similarities to traditional music from Africa and Indonesia:”I wound up looking under my own bed”. Shortly after his study trip to Africa Steve Reich composed Drumming, a milestone in recent music history. In this piece he combines the principle of ‘phase shifting’ (allowing motifs to gradually go out of phase with each other over time) with the use of ‘resulting patterns’. This involves a performer highlighting notes from motifs played by his fellow performers as a result of which hidden melodies become audible. This composition is combined with Reich’s final breakthrough work Music for 18 Musicians.

Tueday, 24 maart, 19:15 uur
Amsterdam, Het Concertgebouw, Grote Zaal
Wednesday, 25 maart, 20:00 uur
Antwerp, De Singel

Contemporaries: About Ligeti

7.00 – 7.45 pm: Introduction in the Spiegelzaal

Musica Concertante
Trois airs pour un opéra imaginare
Three Movements (bew. Carlos Sandova)
Violin concerto

conductor Reinbert de Leeuw
soprano Susan Narucki
violin Frank Peter Zimmermann

The great composers of violin concertos from the Romantic period would probably have got the shock of their lives upon hearing Ligeti’s Violin Concerto. His bizarre tonal colours and pulsating ‘cogwheels’ give one the feeling of walking around in an extraterrestrial factory. In this piece, warm harmonies or folkloristic dance motifs suddenly appear, thus revealing that it is a work created by man. And this is exactly what makes the work so oppressive and fascinating.

One could call Ligeti’s tonal universe an imaginary land – a land having several inhabitants, for Claude Vivier claimed his own secluded corner there with serene, fabulous panoramas. Conlon Nancarrow sought his refuge in the engine room: he created a work that can (only just) be performed by real, live musicians out of music he initially composed for mechanical instruments. And in view of the fact that new sound worlds are always derived from a source, a piece by Sándor Veress will be performed, Ligeti’s teacher and the guardian of his Hungarian roots.

Ticket reservations: +31 (0)20 671 83 45

photo: Susan Narucki

Tueday, 31 maart, 20:30 uur
Amsterdam, Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Bernard Haitink Hall


conductor Bas Wiegers

Nine new works lasting seven minutes by composition students at the conservatoires in Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam. Nothing is as important to a young composition student as practical experience. At the same time, it’s vitally important for an ensemble focusing on contemporary music to discover new talent as early as possible. On the threshold of tomorrow’s music history, nine students and musicians from the Asko Ensemble find each other in the works lasting seven minutes.
free entrance

photo: Bas Wiegers (Hans Vissers)

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