Weasel Walter / Sandy Ewen / Damon Smith

Performing on Friday, 6/13/2014


The trio of Sandy Ewen (guitar), Damon Smith (7 string electric upright bass, laptop) and Weasel Walter (drums) issued a 78-minute CD in early 2012, containing nothing short of alien technique and structural disruption. The music offers complete modernist abstraction with teeth and urgency. It is the sound of extreme polyphony and counterpoint, veering radically from density to space, pinprick to roar within instants. The eight pieces range from 4 to 17 minutes in length and each retain their own tight focus.

Canadian born Sandy Ewen is a rising talent hailing from Houston, Texas best known for her work with the active rock band Weird Weeds. Her vision expands upon the likeminded approaches of heralded deconstructionists like Kevin Drumm and Keith Rowe while never imitating.

Her setup is simple: a guitar, stereo amplification, distortion and various preparations. She prefers to extend the vocabulary of the instrument with raw ingenuity, eschewing the overly complicated electronic enhancements of many of her contemporaries.

In this ensemble, she is backed by the prolific improvisers Damon Smith and Weasel Walter. The duo has worked regularly as a rhythm section in varied contexts since 2006 and the music here is an excellent example of their urgent, brisk interplay. Smith is a master of the extended bass lexicon, following in the footsteps of the great Peter Kowald, forging ahead towards the beyond. Walter’s percussion is ceaselessly restless, defying logic and breaking speed records with glee.


Sandy Ewen was born in Toronto, Canada in 1985, and received a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008.  Since then she has resided in Houston, TX where she pursues her musical and visual projects and her architecture license. Ewen has performed music throughout North America as a collaborative improviser and as a member the Weird Weeds. Lately, Ewen has been focusing on her visual art, frequently presenting it alongside experimental music. More info: http://www.sandyewen.com/


Damon Smith studied double bass with Lisle Ellis and had lessons with Bertram Turetzky, Joëlle Leandré, John Lindberg, Mark Dresser and others. He has also done considerable research of the ´sonic palette´ of the double bass. This has resulted in a personal, flexible improvisational language based in the American jazz avant garde movement and European non-idiomatic free improvisation. He is also very influenced by visual art, film and dance. His work with director Werner Herzog (soundtracks for “Grizzly Man” & “Encounters at the end of the World” and an early performance with the Merce Cunningham dance company reflect this. He has collaborated with a wide range of musicians including Cecil Taylor, Marshall Allen (of Sun Ra´s Arkestra), Henry Kaiser, Birgit Ulher, Fred Frith, Wadada Leo Smith, Marco Eneidi, Wolfgang Fuchs, Peter Brötzmann and Peter Kowald. He worked often in the San Francisco Bay Area Creative Music Community and is now based in Houston, Texas. For more information go to: http://www.balancepointacoustics.com


Weasel Walter is best known as the drummer and primary composer for the cult punk jazz/no wave/brutal prog band, The Flying Luttenbachers. Between 1991 and 2007, the group recorded 16 full-length albums, toured Europe and the US extensively, and included such musicians as Ken Vandermark, Mick Barr, Ed Rodriguez (Deerhoof), Jeb Bishop, Jonathan Hischke (Hella) and Fred Lonberg-Holm in its ranks. Mr. Walter has also worked with other experimental rock groups like XBXRX, Behold…The Arctopus, Burmese, Lake Of Dracula and many others. Also known as an improviser, Mr. Walter has performed and/or recorded with Evan Parker, Marshall Allen, Elliott Sharp, Peter Evans, Henry Kaiser, Mary Halvorson, Marc Edwards, Nels Cline, William Hooker, Darius Jones, Jim O’Rourke, John Butcher, Vinny Golia, John Lindberg and members of ROVA among many others. He appears on over 100 commercial releases and runs the independent record label, ugEXPLODE. More info: http://nowave.pair.com/weasel_walter/