Artists – June 15, 2013


Conlon Nancarrow: Virtuoso of the Player Piano (film) – Conlon Nancarrow (1912-1997) was one of the most enigmatic, freethinking composers of 20th-century American music. Ostracised in the US for his communist politics, he moved to Mexico and lived there until his death in 1997. There he experimented with player-pianos – mechanised instruments that play pre-programmed compositions – and wrote music with a wide range of influences, including jazz, Indian ragas, flamenco and of course avant-garde music. György Ligeti described Nancarrow as ‘the greatest discovery since Webern and Ives… the best of any composer living today’ This is a short section from the 56 minute documentary by Dr. James Greeson on the life and music of Conlon Nancarrow. The film will be followed by a Q & A with Prof. Greeson and a player piano performance of Nancarrow’s work.


James Greeson is a professor of music composition at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. He has composed soundtracks to over 17 public television documentary films, a few of which have been broadcast nationally. In 2009 his score for “The Buffalo Flows” received a regional Emmy award for its musical score. He has also composed a great deal of chamber and orchestral music which has been performed across the US as well as original jazz band compositions. In 2011 he produced a one-hour documentary film on the life and music of Arkansas born composer Conlon Nancarrow for the centennial of Nancarrow’s birth. It was premiered at the Southbank Centre in London at a Nancarrow Weekend, and has also been shown in San Francisco, Miami, Amsterdam, Oaxaca, Mexico and Los Angeles, and was broadcast by Arkansas Public TV. A Spanish version was broadcast throughout Latin America in 2012 by Canal 22, the equivalent to our PBS network.


‘Ambients VOL. 1‘  is an audio/visual experience by Faces Together.  The music for this piece was co-produced and composed by Aaron Leeder and John Thayer in Brooklyn, New York.  The audio was mastered by Chris Abell in Astoria, New York.  The short film is a contemporary collage of footage shot, treated and edited by Leeder in New York and Louisiana from January to March of 2013.  The juxtaposition of city and country/nature landscapes inspires a visual affection, which alongside the audio accompaniment, guide the listener/viewer through all twelve keys of the chromatic scale.  http://www.


Red Ox vs. Cinders – Cinders, a mostly extemporaneous chamber group was formed in 1998 by keyboardist Kirk Laktas and violist James Alexander, and eventually coalesced into a group formed of Laktas, Alexander and violinist Travis Weller. Over the years they have worked with members of Stars of the Lid, Ultrasound, East Babylon Symphony, My Education, Shearwater and many others. The group recorded one self-released album “Cinders, Live in the Chapel” and contributed material to various compilations and soundtracks. The current lineup includes Laktas, Alexander, and guitarist Brian Purington. Red Ox are a band of long time Austin drone, ambient, and electronic artists comprised of Michael Cockrell, Lee Dockery, Jacob Green, and Xander Harris. These 2 groups are excited to continue their collaboration which started on an unseasonably warm evening in January 2013 at Trailer Space Records. The piece will be improv with Red Ox starting the piece with Cinders cross fading into the piece while Red Ox cross fades out. The original performance can be seen here:


Symphonic Taint –  is the most recent project of long time sonic collaborators Content Love Knowles and David DeMaris. The Taint is the love child of improvisational acting and experimental music. Beginning with a one-word ‘seed’ we create compelling narratives and juxtapositions in layered art song, something like a sonic layer cake – each part is delicious on its own, but together they make up something more than the sum total of the parts. A seamless blend of organica and electronica, effects cubed and the unembellished vox humana.


Brekekekexkoaxkoax – “Fantastically Interesting And Not At All Offputting Brekekekexkoaxkoax Turntable Trio And Boutique Tea Leaf Strainer.”


The Space is a project by Nicholas Trice and Guru Khalsa that investigates the opening that is accessed through improvisation; where musical structure is surpassed and there is a full immersion in the essence of sound. In letting go, the sound finds its own movement; its purpose is continuously created and unraveled through the performers, rather than by them. Colorful, evolving textures, loops and ascending drones merge with guttural expression in the Space’s exploration of the visceral.


Luciferins – Fireflies, crystal jellies, sparkling squids, glowworms, glow-in-the-dark fungi. Neither heaven sent nor human made, lowercase luciferins bring illumination and beauty where they should not be—light-starved ocean bottoms and stifled forest floors. Uppercase Luciferins search for the unexpected in the sonic and the shrill through guitar mutilation, sample shredding, and pedal-based manipulation. Luciferins, named after the compounds that produce bioluminescence, is Marisa Pool (Suspirians/Ichi Ni San Shi) and Sheila Scoville (No Mas Bodas/Ichi Ni San Shi/Suspirians/Vile Wine). In this collaboration conceived for 2013’s NMASS, these two Austin musicians will tread deeper into the more disorienting moments of their past projects with an improvised set that might bring to mind an eerie library music score or the frenzy of a puppy fight that might need breaking up any moment now. Comfort zones will be forfeited in search of shimmers of enlightenment. Squint hard with us and watch for the colored glow.


Derrick Fore and Mohadev Bhattacharyya- Mohadev and Derrick perform improvised and semi-composed music that draws from their diverse backgrounds.  Mohadev grew up immersed in North Indian Classical music, and learned several instruments before settling on the electric guitar.  Equally interested in Extreme Metal, Jazz and Non-Idiomatic Improvisation, he moves freely between a traditional and extended-technique approach to guitar. Derrick grew up in New Orleans where he was first exposed and influenced by the complex rhythms of the marching bands of Mardi Gras, and intuitively explored rhythmic and tonal patterns on the families piano, and has continued exploring sound through a variety of instruments and sounds making devices over the year.


Bryan Day (b. 1979) is a sound artist, musical instrument designer and conceptual artist based in Richmond, California. Day’s sound work focuses on the subtle textural interplay of natural and electronic sounds generated by his invented instrumentation.  Day has toured extensively throughout the US, Europe and Asia and has been featured as part of the Megapolis (Baltimore), Heliotrope (Minneapolis) and Sonic Circuits (Washington, D.C.) festivals. In addition to his own audio work, he has run the Public Eyesore / Eh? labels since 1997.


Stephen Hal Fishman is an Austin-based visual artist and filmmaker creating experimental animated films, music videos, installations, poster art and live visual accompaniment for music and dance under the monikers Fischlegtz, Fresh Fuckerman and Mac&Cheez. Stephen’s work combines collage, hand-drawn illustration, keyframe seizures, 3D animation and visual effects to create a singular alternate universe where pop personalities, advertising, fetish culture, science fiction and pulp horror spawn infected baby comb-over pizza hammer blood wind. His work has been featured in film festivals across the country and galleries and bars throughout Austin. Stephen also comprises the visual portion of a special multidisciplinary project, Total Unicorn, which he developed with composer, Lyman Hardy, and choreographer, Lindsey Taylor. In addition to his day job as a design mercenary, he teaches in the Visual Communication Department at Austin Community College.


Brent Fariss – Anathema II (2013)

“Anathema II” is a piece for contrabass and owl (an string instrument designed by Travis Weller) utilizing harmonium recordings and small transducer speakers that use the instruments as resonating objects. The piece focuses on the acoustic properties of stringed instruments and their reactions caused by the vibrations of the transducers and preparation on the instruments, as well as “ghost” tones that might arise as a result of acoustic phenomenon.
This piece will be performed by Travis Weller (owl, objects) and Brent Fariss (prepared contrabass, objects)


Sarah Ruth Alexander performs with various bands including Violent Squid and Cerulean Giallo in addition to playing solo. When playing solo, her set includes a variety show including tape pieces, discussions of animal husbandry, readings from a childhood diary and accompanying herself on the harmonium. She is working on finishing a solo album that should be coming out in a couple of months.


Lindsey Taylor is a choreographer/dancer working in Austin. She received a BFA in Dance from the University of Texas, and went on to create the award-winning interpretive dance trio Little Stolen Moments. Her professional dance experience includes collaboration with the anarchistic dance society, Sheep Army/Elsewhere Dance Theater, and appearances with Austin’s Blue Lapis Light, Chaddick Dance Theater and Sharir + Bustamante Danceworks, as well as New York artists Martha Bowers and Neal Medlyn. Lindsey also performs with the multi-disciplinary psychedelic outfit Total Unicorn. She is currently exploring dance for film, and has had her work screened at the ADF International Screendance Festival.


Vanessa Rossetto is a composer based in Austin, Texas. Her work utilizes assembled field recordings and improvised techniques to create richly textured narratives at once evocative, deeply personal and ambiguous. Her recorded works include the critically acclaimed ‘Exotic Exit’ and ‘Mineral Orange’ LPs, both released by Kye records, and ‘Dogs in English Porcelain’ released by Music Appreciation Records. In a live environment, Rossetto assembles narratives in real time, creating a sense of immediacy from pre-recorded moments.


Jason Zeh is a gifted sound artist who works with the cassette medium. He uses multiple modified tape decks and prepared recordings of himself, field recordings and other things that only he himself would know.


Nick Hennies  – Solo piece for triangle, snare drum and sine wave.


Coppice (Noé Cuéllar & Joseph Kramer) is a Chicago-based duet of bellows and electronics. Since its formation in 2009 they have produced original compositions for stage, fixed media, and performed installation settings, with a focus on adhering textural attenuation, processed gradation, the contours of instrumentation, and their multiple aspect highlights.  Their variable instrumentation departs from bellows and reed instruments (accordion, pump organ, shruti box), custom electronics (reproduction, transmission, spatialization, interference and gentle feedback), and multi-channel systems adapted in ways responsive to location, audience flow, and aural perspectives. Recently praised for “blurring sounds and centuries,” Coppice has appeared at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, The Flea Theater in New York, Spark Festival of Electronic Music and Arts in Minneapolis, McNeill Street Pumping Station New Music Festival in Shreveport, and internationally in Iceland, Sweden and the Netherlands. Their music has been published by labels Consumer Waste (UK), Senufo Editions (IT), and most recently by Pilgrim Talk (US) and Notice Recordings (US).


TESSERACT 3.0  By Clay Odom, Sean ONeill and Adam Owens Continuing on in a series of installations for the NMASS festival (tesseract, and tesseract 2.0) that have focused on the confluence of light, sound, surface, and space, the design and art team of Clay Odom (Designer and Assistant Professor of Interior Design at The UT School of Architecture), Sean ONeill (Designer and Sound Artist) and Adam Owens (Designer and Photographer), has created a new gallery installation for the 2013 edition of the New Music and Sound Summit being held at the Salvage Vanguard Theater.  Inspired by childhood reminiscences on the book ‘A Wrinkle in Time’, the Tesseract series are sound and space installations designed to create a heightened sense of the mutability place and time by creating interactive, variable, overlapping fields of sound, space and reflection. The project extends upon other recent projects such as CLOTS (with musician Nick Hennies) that have dealt with issues surrounding the confluence of time, space, light, sound, surfaces and human interactions and how these issues may be aligned and patterned into a holistic experience. The installation focuses heavily of the modulation of space and light through both passive/spatial and active/electronic means, and is driven by the use of surfaces that both reflect and transmit light while also creating area and passages for people to move through or slow-down in order to engage with the piece. The project will also use sound that is being processed live and passed through liquid mediums to create another ephemeral layer of content and patterning that is then captured and projected into the space creating a new potential for spatial reading and interactive possibility for visitors. In addition, live feeds from the NMASS performances will be captured, manipulated and fed into the system creating another link to the broader festival content while also experimenting with both temporal and spatial displacements. The final aspect of the work will be places where visitors are allowed to stop, sit and even lay down within the space of the work, literally becoming part of the installation. Within these spaces a series of mirrored lenses will invite visitors to view the project literally in a new way. The desired effect of the installation is to allow for people to become aware of the rich potential of sound, light, and space and how it is inextricably linked to basic qualities of human perception and interaction.


The Dialtones, a project spearheaded by Austin’s acclaimed multi-instrumentalist Lauren Gurgiolo, will perform songs from their latest EP Calculated Carelessness surrounded in video designed specifically for the music by Angela Chen. While on the road with Okkervil River, Lauren Gurgiolo began composing a set of tunes inspired by Soren Kierkegaard’s The Seducer’s Diary. Her longtime obsession with the book led to 7 tunes musically influenced by the characteristics of Kierkagarrd’s writing with deconstructed lyrics from the story. The music was written specifically for the The Dialtones, a collaboration between some of Austin’s most in-demand musicians; Karla Manzur (Alejandro Escovedo, Dana Falconberry) Lindsay Green (Paula Nelson, Elizabeth McQueen), Michael St. Clair (Okkervil River, Polyphonic Spree), Andrew Gerfers (Friends of Dean Martinez, The Conrads). Along with the projection skills of David McKay and Ryan Padgett, this performance promises to immerse audiences in the eerie, dreamlike world of Kierkegaard’s The Seducer’s Diary; the text inspiring the work’s sensorially dense moods and themes through music nestled in projection.


Skye Ashbrook – Decline –  ”The working title for the June 15th late night work is “decline”
The concept for the composition and performance is tied to the Indian classical concept of musical works that are composed for and only intended to be played at certain times. This structured musical performance is proposed in that same lineage- it is designed to only be performed late at night, and will only ever be performed uncomfortably late, after 2 am and before 4 or 5 am.


Click here to hear some tracks by these artists