Outsound 2011, #1: Face Music

The Outsound New Music Summit takes place July 17-23, 2011, at the Community Music Center, 544 Capp St., San Francisco.

The first concert in this year’s Outsound New Music Summit is “Face Music“(Weds., July 20), devoted to vocals. The program describes the larynx as the world’s oldest musical instrument, but the sounds you’ll hear in these four solo sets will be steeped in 20th- and 21st-century technology.

I remember seeing bran(…)pos, a.k.a. Jake Rodriguez, in the late ’90s, back when he was The Bran (Another Plight of Medics) POS. Hence, the ellipsis. He was kneeling on the floor, screaming into a mic and sending the distorted sound through electronics to produce an enormous, blunted roar. I have to admit, I chuckled a bit inside when I thought about him practicing this stuff at home as a teenager. I don’t know if he ever did, but I found myself imagining his parents’ reaction.

His electronics work has become more textured and varied, and his hair has become more gone. Here’s a sampling of what to expect. It’s hard to tell what the volume level is, but I’m guessing it’s quite high.

Aurora Josephson has been a big part of the Bay Area scene for several years, although she’s been less active lately. It’s good to see her back on a bill.  She uses a wide range of extended vocal styles from the operatic to the cartoonish. You can hear her playing around with lyrics, singing them straight and in all sorts of tweaked-out ways, on Healing Force, the Albert Ayler tribute that includes Henry Kaiser and Weasel Walter. I’ve also seen her in a more straight, spacious format, as the vocalist with two saxophonists in a performance of Steve Lacy’s “Tips,” and she’s been the female lead (all babbling and insane) in Gino Robair’s I, Norton. (See here.)

Whatever she does for this performance, it’ll likely be done with drama and style. Find out more — and see the good work she did photo-blogging the local scene for a few years — at aurorarising.com.

I’m not as familiar with Joseph Rosenzweig, but he’s been involved in some interesting sound-based projects, including an installation called “Books on Tape” where a prerecorded vocal loop moves a pencil on a page. His Web site is the amusingly named rosenklang.com.

Theresa Wong, another familiar name on the local scene, rounds things out. This performance will focus on vocal improvisation, but Wong seems to be best known as a cellist who combines vocals with her playing. I have to admit, I’ve had only one chance to hear her, and that was in an improvising duo with Erick Glick Rieman (below). She’s worked with Carla Kihlstedt on the Necessary Monsters project, and Kihlstedt has worked with her, on Wong’s upcoming album on Tzadik.  She’s at theresawong.org.

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