Thollem/Seetha Duo

This is a new project between pianist/keyboardist Thollem McDonas and flutist Seetha Shivaswamy. These two prolific musicians have created structured improvisations specifically for this performance that draws on their respective individual histories, studies and influences. Both are prodigious musicians who have ventured far from their classical training into a lifetime of extremely diverse musical experiences. This will be a concert with many surprises and challenges, through a complex and exciting array of twists and turns, as the duo dives deep into their Omni-Idiomatic worlds.

Seetha Shivaswamy, flutist, performs as a soloist and chamber musician in concerts throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. She has been a featured performer at South by Southwest Music Festival, Fusebox Festival, SAARANG at IIT Madras, and Austin Chamber Music Festival. Her flute playing can be heard on many movie soundtracks, PBS documentaries, TV commercials, and video games. Seetha holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor’s Degree from Ball State University, where she studied classical flute performance. She has a certificate in contemporary flute technique and improvisation from her studies in Europe with the Dutch Flute Virtuoso Wil Offermans.

Thollem McDonas is a perpetually traveling pianist, keyboardist, composer, improviser, singer-songwriter, activist, author and teacher. He is well known internationally as an acoustic piano player in the free jazz and post-classical worlds, as the lead vocalist for the Italian agit-punk band Tsigoti and as an electronic keyboardist through a multitude of projects. Since 2005, he has played over 1,500 concerts throughout N. America and Europe and has released over 60 albums on 21 different vanguard labels to international critical acclaim. A brief cross section of his many recent collaborators include William Parker, Pauline Oliveros, Nels Cline, Rob Mazurek and Carmina Escobar. He is the founding director of Estamos Ensemble, a Mexican-American cross border ensemble for musical exchange as well as a published author about art, politics and his travels in The Anthology of Essays On Deep Listening, Full Moon Magazine (Prague) and First American Art Magazine.

Elijah Jamal

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Nigerian-American experimental artist/producer/sonic weaver/filmmaker Elijah Jamal will be visiting us from Chicago! incongruous display of mercurial beats, improvisational live sampling, and avant-garde audio visuals. chicago tethered òrìsà of fuschia & somewhere. to be continued.

T. Putnam Hill w/Sean O’Neill

T Putnam Hill

T Putnam Hill is a writer, editor, guitarist and electroacoustic musician currently based in Austin, Texas. In recordings and performance, Hill produces impromptu audio collages of various sound materials—from live guitar to field recordings to feedback loops—to create auditory environments that drift between stasis and disorder, from harmonic to discordant, and from the organic to synthetic.

Hill is an active member of Phonography Austin, a sound arts organization dedicated to the exploration of phonography and acoustic ecology, and founder of Loma Editions, a nascent multimedia label focused on electroacoustic music and experimental literature.

Sean O’Neill

Sean O’Neill works with sound, light, and electronic media. He explores both the visible light spectrum and the audible frequency range to examine the ways in which perception shapes the dynamics of spatiality. His work often incorporates elements of field  recordings, environmental/urban impressions, found materials, and embedded electronics. 

NMASS 2019 project description:

For NMASS 2019, Hill and O’Neill present an outdoor, spatialized sound collage of field recordings, site-specific environmental sounds, radio, and other repurposed electronic media. Set beneath the Airport Blvd. overpass just beyond the eastern edge of the Ground Floor Theatre parking lot, the loosely composed, partially improvised performance employs digital processing, physical activation of resonant objects, and feedback networks to engage the audience in a real-time world-building experience in which discrete sonic elements gradually pieced together form an uncanny unreality, an illusory soundscape that drifts between familiarity, musical composition, and collapse. The sound piece is accompanied by digital video art by Grainger Weston.

Donny Who Loved Bowling

Donny Who Loved Bowling began in Chicago in the late 1990s. Joe Griffin and Christopher Petkus met on an independent movie set, became friends, and started making music together for fun. That partnership has lasted through 20 years and six full-length albums.

Christopher’s move to Austin in 2000 meant finding a way to collaborate over the internet—after their first album, “Tree Fort,” was released in 2002 the pair recored a set of cover songs (entitled “Butcher Covers”) to get the feel of trading files and making music in two different places. 2010’s “Screeching And Exploding” solidified their working methods with a set of original material. Cataclysmic life events informed 2013’s “Headstone,” and the pair rebounded for 2015’s heavily abstract, dream-informed, and ridiculously long-titled “The Approaching Flock Of Birds Is A Metaphor For The Onset Of Madness.” 2016’s “Avignon” adds musique concrete and jazz influences to the mix.

For this first-ever live performance, Joe and Christopher will be augmented by Scott Charvet, Cynthia Goosby, Andrew Trent, and Paul Connolly

Transitory Sound and Movement Collective

TSMC performing

Founded by Artistic Director, Lynn Lane, Transitory Sound and Movement Collective (TSMC) collaboratively creates interdisciplinary and experiential works of sound, movement, and visual art. Each performance is a uniquely structured, conceptually connected, yet spontaneous composition, created through the process of consideration and response of each artist to the other artists, and of all of the artists to the concept. Through this process, TSMC creates an unspoken conversation with each other, the audience, and the visual/spatial environment.

Within the first two years of the collective, TSMC has created over 20 original  works for venues such as the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the Asia Society Texas Center, the Rothko Chapel, the University of Texas at Dallas, Arts Mission Oak Cliff, the Texas Dance Improvisation Festival, the Rice University Gallery, the Rec Room and the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.

Collaborating Artists:

Lynn Lane is the founder and artistic director of the Transitory Sound and Movement Collective. He comes from a very broad career base in the Arts most notably as a photographer in the performing arts arena. Prior to returning to Houston, his birth city, he spent almost two decades in NYC as an artist/filmmaker represented in London and NYC and designer with his furniture designs still being represented there. His work has been exhibited in galleries/museums internationally as well as published in many publications such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Elle Decor and others. He has written for International Documentary Magazine and is now solely focused on his work as a photographer and sound artist/artistic director.

Jennifer Mabus, hailed as “bold” by the NY Times, has performed as a soloist with Robert Battle’s Battle Works, Amy Marshall, Heidi Latsky, Takehiro Ueyama, Bruce Wood Dance, Noble Motion Dance, and Dark Circles Contemporary Dance. She has served on the faculties of Texas Christian University, Booker T. Washington HSPVA, Interlochen Arts Academy, Houston’s HSPVA, and Sam Houston State University. In addition to presenting work in regional and national festivals, Mabus has been Artist in Residence at Rice University, Texas Women’s University, the Univeristy of Texas at Dallas, Noble Motion Dance, and Dance Source Houston, among others. She has choreographed works for METdance, Pilot Dance Project, Contemporary Ballet Dallas, and Muscle Memory Dance Theater, as well as for the Foundation for Modern Music at the Miller Outdoor Theater. She is currently the founding dance program chair at the University of St. Thomas, and a founding member/core collaborator with the Transitory Sound and Movement Collective.

Ben Aqua

Ben Aqua is a multidisciplinary artist based in Austin, Texas. Born in Brooklyn, New York, his visual work has been exhibited internationally and published in Rolling Stone, NPR, NYLON, SPIN, NME, Flaunt, Bloomberg Businessweek, OUT, ARKITIP, XLR8R, Beautiful/Decay, Rhizome, Hi-Fructose, JOGGING and Fecal Face. His music has been featured in Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” campaign, Resident Advisor’s podcast series, Interview Magazine, The Creators Project, Mad Decent, DFA, VICE, Dummy Mag, FACT Mag, Modular, URB, BUTT and Opening Ceremony.

Ben Aqua’s Wireless Orchestra creates a multi-user, improvised mobile device soundscape based on a program of 4 systematic themes:

1. I’M RIGHT HERE WHY CAN’T ANYBODY HEAR ME
2. NOW I’M ANGRY F### THE WORLD
3. UGH NOW I FEEL GUILTY
4. ALL IS WELL, BUT I’LL BE WATCHING YOU

See and hear Ben Aqua perform in the courtyard outside of Dimension Gallery  at 8 PM on Saturday, July 21.

ecco screen

ecco screen is a San Francisco based experimental art practice created by American artist Jeffrey Bryant in 2015. ecco screen explores human emotion, interaction, and introspection through the use of light, sound, and technology. The works range from interactive installations, immersive experiences, to audiovisual performances, designed to invoke crowd participation. Resulting in a marriage between art, design, and interpersonal connection.

Since 2015 ecco screen has exhibited at world renowned festivals and galleries across the United States, Canada, and Europe including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Igloofest, ArtFutura Roma, Mutek, Stanford University. Collaborations with established brands and agencies include Dolby, NASA, Acura, Tool of NA, MullenLowe, Google, ASAP Rocky, A-Trak.

Check out ‘fade’ by eccoscreen at any time in the lobby of Ground Floor Theatre July 20, 21, 22 – no admission fee necessary to hang out in the lobby.

Adelante Winds

Adelante Winds is a multicultural chamber ensemble based in San Antonio, Texas which focuses on educating and exposing audiences to a diverse range of composers and styles.  Current members include Ramona Douglas, Dawn Iglesias, Patrick Dolan, LaNetra Carther, and Sabrina Stovall.

Adelante, which means forward, is the ensemble’s mantra in exploring new sounds and imaginative ideas for the woodwind quintet.  The ensemble aspires to challenge itself and its audience to approach music in innovative ways.

Their NMASS2018 program features:

Bronwen McVeigh – Spring Songs
Arturo Marquez – Danza De Mediodia
Emily Sullivan  – Spirit Moves
Astor Piazzolla, arr. Fish – Libertango
& free improvisation

See and hear Adelante Winds at 5pm on Sunday, July 22 inside Ground Floor Theatre.

Mélanie Genin

Hailed as “a globe-trotter” and “singular harp virtuoso” by L’Union France and the Epoch times of New York, Mélanie Genin is known for her “desire to re-shape and re-invent classical music” (Justine Philippe, L’Union, France).

For this set at NMASS2018 Mélanie will present pieces she has scored for strings and percussion in collaboration with players from Austin, TX.

A native of France, Ms. Genin received her Bachelor’s degree and Master’s from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, where she studied with Isabelle Moretti. She was then selected as one of only two recipients of a Bruni-Sarkosy Foundation scholarship to study at The Juilliard School in New York with Nancy Allen. She subsequently became the first harpist to ever be admitted into the Artist Diploma program at The Manhattan School of Music, where she studied under the guidance of the late Deborah Hoffman, Susan Jolles and Mariko Anraku. In 2014 she was named the only harpist finalist of the Concert Artist Guild competition and was also a semi-finalist of the Young Concert Artist series in New York.

Art is subjective. It can be empowering, it can be an escape, beauty, ugliness, everything, anything… in that sense it’s not so different from many of the things surrounding us in our society: politics, social media, health care, GMOs, smoothies…

One thing that art should always fulfill is to unite. I believe art is particularly empowering when it is abstract because you come and you connect. You receive what you’re given and you process it through your perception, shaped and chiseled by your personality, your story, your imagination. Because the point is to connect together, to listen, to sharpen our critical sense, to make art – the great gift of humanity – ours and to live in it. – Mélanie Genin

See and hear Mélanie Genin perform at Ground Floor Theatre at 10 PM on Saturday, July 20.

Iris Sidikman

Iris Sidikman is an experimental musician and installation artist currently located in Austin, TX. She recently completed her MFA in Experimental Sound Practices at California Institute of the Arts and received bachelor’s degrees in Cello Performance and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Northern Illinois University in 2016. Her work grapples with sound as an object and stillness as a medium, often crossing borders between performance, installation and tableaux. Often understated and emotionally rooted, her works explore stasis and persistence as ways to transport audiences in another world. Much of her work also uses language as a way to both reveal and obscure meaning, as well as to create an accessible space for listeners of many backgrounds.

In addition to creation and performance, Iris is also a scholar well-versed in expressions of femininity and fat identity in experimental music and embodied performance. She will be presenting her paper “Feminized Anger in Avant Garde Music”at the 2018 New Music Gathering at Boston College in May 2018.

Education, community engagement and public art are all central to Iris’s practice. She currently works as an early education literacy tutor with Literacy First in Austin.

See and hear Iris perform in The Resonant Lung at 7pm on Saturday, 7/21/2018