Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Improv

Aaron Bennett has revived his improvising, mid-sized ensemble, the Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra, as I’d mentioned previously.

The group is set to perform this Thursday, Sept. 13 at Meridian Gallery (535 Powell St., San Francisco).

When you check out the group’s 2002 album on Bandcamp, you’ll hear what’s clearly an improvising ensemble, but one that operates within an overall structure. I’ve been curious about how the EMTPO operates, and about the fact that Bennett has revived the concept several years after its most recent performance.

So I e-mailed Aaron a few questions, which he’s graciously answered. The exchange is below. All italics are added by me, to emphasize the parts that are that cool.

Q: Does the group improvise on their own, or are they working from a framework you provide? What kind of framework?

AB:  “The group uses a framework I devised and provide to the musicians. It is a framework where in each section, the musician is given one of four types of instruction. Which are as follows: 1. A specific rhythmic phrase (leaving the musician to come up with the pitch material), 2. specific pitches (leaving the musician to improvise the rhythmic element), 3. a symbol indicating to freely improvise, and 4. traditional notation.

“Each section (or measure) typically has most of the musicians improvising one aspect of the music (rhythm or melody), while a smaller group is freely improvising. The musicians who are not freely improvising are repeating a set of musical phrases.

“This enables me have an improvising ensemble where I can encourage a form of continuity within the piece and at the same time utilize the improvisation skills of the musician (and I have been lucky enough to have a great set of improvisers in the ensemble). For example, I may have the same rhythmic phrase passed between sets of musicians in different parts of the composition, as each musician is improvising at least one element of the material, in this case, the melody, there is both continuity and change each time the phrase is heard in the piece.

“Also, it was my intention to have the music have an element of stasis within a section along with a few elements of action. The idea was to mimic the “physical world” in a way.

“When you stand at a street corner observing the landscape you are in, or any lively landscape, there are a number of interesting elements which stay put and therefore fall to the background of your consciousness, and a number which draw in your attention and are in the forefront of your mind or focus. In these compositions, the freely improvising musician is the latter and the others are the former. But the interesting part, is that in either of these scenarios, my music, or the “physical world”, it is often the landscape, the parts that you are not actively focused on, which define the entire feeling and experience of the event and certainly effect in a big way what the active element is and means. And so I wanted to create an improvised music gave the listener a trip through a variety of these landscapes, like walking through city streets and observing what is going on around you.”

Q: What made you decide to bring the idea back? What’s changed about the concept since 2000?

AB: “What first made me decide to bring it back was a gig at CNMAT, where I was given carte blanche to do what I wished, and I thought that would be a perfect setting for having a group do these types of compositions. I ended up with an instrumentation that was roughly half brass/woodwinds and half strings. I really enjoyed the mix of timbres that brought out. Nothing has changed about the concept beyond that.

“From that show an opportunity to play at the Berkeley Arts Festival materialized, and then a few others. Also Joe Lasqo, a fantastic pianist and composer living in San Francisco, who is now in the group, has been very encouraging and inspiring. And lastly, (and this is also what kept me pursuing shows for the group back in 2000), is the amazing group of musicians I keep getting lucky enough to have play in the ensemble.”

Q: Any other shows planned?

AB: “We currently have no other shows planned. But hoping to have some more soon!”

(Thanks to Aaron Bennett for his time. The EMPTO show is part of Next Now, the Meridian Gallery series highlighting improvised music. Also on the bill for Thursday are Mika Pontecorvo’s Cartoon Justice (new emergent composition from live sonic architecture) and Key West (free jazz for sax, drums, and alternative instruments).)

Pail Bug

Pail BugPail Bug (Generate, 2011)

For the record, I did give this a listen before going to New York and meeting Jeff Arnal in person. But I hadn’t taken the time to write it up yet.

Pail Bug, an improvising quartet, is another collaboration between drummer Arnal and pianist Dietrich Eichmann. The first was in 2004, a Leo Records CD called The Temperature Dropped Again. That was followed by a vinyl 12″ record called Live in Hamburg, recorded in 2004 and released in 2007 as a 12″ LP on the Broken Research label.

The cover of Live in Hamburg shows what appears to be some kind of big structure being built, and that influenced my listening. It’s always unfair to ascribe a visual image to a type of music, because so much depends on what’s on your mind in the first place. It’s arbitrary, like having a dream about something you did just the other day. Still — I listened to the spacious, sometimes raucous piano and drums, and I came up with images of grand architecture, of towering structures in progress.

The group Pail Bug adds two bassists — John Hughes and Astrid Weins, contributing lots of aggressive arco and extended technique to the sounds of the piano and drums. It’s a busier, buzzier construction site, with the basses babbling and tapping, sometimes filling the percussive role while Arnal scrapes sticks against cymbals to form long tones. Eichmann dabbles in prepared piano as well.

“Second Pail” grabs you from the start, pushing directly into a gallop. It’s an engaging and busy opening, and after about four minutes, it decelerates, with buzzing, metallic bass bowing giving the image of a large beast careening to a halt. The quiet segment that follows still has a sense of motion; you’re still moving at a trot. A fast trio emerges later, with Arnal and one bass flying off the handle while another bass chugs along, its bowing providing the rhythm section.

I really like the sound of pizzicato bass, and that’s what opens “Third Pail,” accompanied by some kind of industrial-steam sound — I assume it’s coming from Arnal, but I can’t tell, and that ambiguity is a constant theme of Pail Bug’s. The second bass adds some metallic scraping of the strings to complete the bustling, compact trio. Eichmann enters in a flurry, with an angular sort of boogie-woogie prancing, dire and bright, prompting Arnal into a more conventional drum-kit attack. All told, it’s a dynamic 12 minutes.

There are five tracks, and you’ve probably figured out the naming scheme by now.  “First Pail” opens the album with a quiet aesthetic, with small sounds creeping into the frame, starting as isolated chords or squeaks and building slowly into stirrings. The piece eventually builds into a howl built of bass strings and screeching, scraped cymbals.

“Fifth Pail” gives us a good dose of unabashed clatter, including plenty of Arnal’s drum kit. “Fourth Pail” is along the same lines, with (if this makes any sense) a more tempered sound yet a more anarchic feel — except for one moment where the band suddenly hits a dead stop.  It  might have been cued visually, but on disc, it’s an interesting little surprise.

Language As an Open Box

Raskin and Harryman appear Weds., July 18, at the Outsound New Music Summit, and they’ve got a KFJC appearance Sunday night, July 15. Details below.

Jon Raskin and Carla HarrymanOpen Box (Tzadik, 2012)

For Open Box, Jon Raskin wrote music to frame the poems of Carla Harryman. It sounds artsy and serious, but the album starts with a sucker punch: the searing metal of electric guitars.

That track, “Fish Speech,” isn’t typical of the rest of the album, but it serves to upend your expectations, setting you up for a variety of music and moods.

You’d expect Raskin, the “R” in the ROVA Saxophone Quartet, to back Harryman’s abstract word collages with equally abstract music, maybe something improvised or driven by a graphical score. And you’d be right — but he applies other ideas as well, putting to work different combinations of Bay Area and former Bay Area musicians in a total project that took three years to complete.

“Fish Speech” dangles sharp-edged guitar and bass over bleak verbal images of the nothingness before time. The words alternate between power and whimsy. (“There were no stories or bones … no lizards, pelicans, or fish.”) But the music sticks to the “power” side, conjuring an empty, chthonic universe — a “nothingness” that’s writhing and explosive, like the near-infinite heat in the microseconds following the Big Bang.

That piece gets an extra edge early on, when the vocals shift from Aurora Josephson’s silkiness to a harsher voice that I’m guessing is Roham Sheikhani. His accented, staggering voice arrives stern and biting: “Silence was neither dominant nor peaceful nor silent. There was no sound or smell.”

But the album spends longer stretches on improvised music — a suitable backing to the work of Carla Harryman, a teacher at Eastern Michigan University and Bard College whose work is categorized with avant-garde language poetry.

Harryman’s work is indirect, as you’d expect. We’ve all been exposed to that kind of poetry, but in listening to Open Box, I tried to pay particular attention to the words. Sometimes, I tried immersing myself in the language, the specific syntax; other times, I could let the words flow through my ears, like a kind of music, a language not intended for directly semantic interpretation.

The two-part title track is built of fragmented and purposefully incongruous phrases, like the framework of a framework, delivered in plain-fact style by Raskin and Harryman. Ideas appear in long expositions such as: “The psyche of the poet exceeds the poem without the poem disappearing into an exterior world in which the poem cannot survive / The poem is therefore a representation of an edge performed in other worlds, not this / Once /”

It’s during the closing minutes of Part 2 that Raskin and Harryman diverge, reaching completely separate parts simultaneously. Even with their voices reading calmly, the tension wells up quickly as their non-thematic lines shove one another out of the way. I found my ears hearing one, then the other, as if the words were two colors of ribbon spiraling in front of me. It’s a good effect, creating a coda without having to superficially punch up the music.

The music follows a similar path, free improvisation in small motions, like construction activity going on in the background: sparse, rattly sounds from percussion, guitar, and electronics, and the occasional sweetness of Raskin’s sax or, in Part 2, the crinkle of Liz Allbee’s trumpet.

I find myself being drawn back to “A Sun and Five Decompositions,” which somehow feels like more of a narrative flow, maybe because of the balletic and criss-crossing among the three speakers (Josephson, Sheikhani, and Harryman) and the music’s interplay with the words. Blips of sax, guitar, and percussion build and release tension in time with the moods of the intertwined spoken parts — three speakers calling-and-responding, sometimes repeating one another’s phrases or meeting in unison briefly. You get the sense of the voices having been orchestrated, a foreground scored to sit with the musical improvising.

It’s serious, and yet … there’s a passage where “Don’t be silly!” appears right after someone says “potato head.” Josephson does a particularly good job changing voices throughout the piece, ranging from poetic seriousness to flighty dingbat.

But I’d started off talking about variety: “JS Active Meme” closes the album with blistering guitars, a psychedelic sunburst. “Song for Asa” is an actual song, crooned by Aurora Josephson against long tones of sax, then it turns into a quietly bubbling improvisation, with small, popping vocalizations and crackling electronics sounds. The singing, coming up in the middle of the album is an odd sensation after an half our or so of spoken word.

Raskin and Harryman, will be participating in the “Sonic Poetry” night of the annual Outsound New Music Summit, on Weds., July 18 in San Francisco. Their set will include Gino Robair on piano.

And Harryman and Raskin will also be on KFJC-FM on Sunday, July 15, sometime between 8:00 p.m and 10:00 p.m., to discuss their collaboration.  Details on Facebook.

Friendly Faces in New York

Seeing Cecil Taylor was great fun on my New York trip in May, but I was also glad to finally meet Jeff Arnal.

He’s a formerly Brooklyn-based drummer who relocated to Philadelphia sometime in the last couple of weeks to start a new job. I’d gotten acquainted with him through KZSU, which has been on the correspondance list for his Generate Records label. He’s put out some good stuff, and I’ve been glad to play it.

Arnal also played in an improvising quartet called Transit, which has two albums on Clean Feed. Good stuff.

So, I finally got to see him in person and chat for a bit. We talked a little about college radio, and about his pending move to Philadelphia (he’s working with a Pew Center program there). It was good. There are a few people whose names and music became familiar, in a good way, during my KZSU jazz-director tenure, and it’s nice to have finally met a couple of them, even if only briefly.

The occasion was a show at IBeam in Brooklyn. Arnal and longtime piano partner Gordon Beeferman played in a trio improv setting with Evan Rapport on sax, and trumpeter Nate Wooley took up the second set with his quintet, playing new tunes.

Arnal and Beeferman have played together for more than a decade, I think, and it shows. Their set with Rapport consisted of a few long improvisations, with Arnal and Beeferman showing great intuition for pushing the flow of the music, more than once picking a stopping point or transition point simultaneously. Beeferman’s piano playing was a joy to watch, with his spidery fingers applying  an invisibly light touch to produce runs and chords. Rapport put up some good, aggressive sax, often favoring long wails and squeals.

As for Arnal, his drumming is wonderful when it’s aggressive and loud, but what really caught my ear in this particular session were the quieter moments, the airy breaks showing off moments of delicacy and a sensitivity to the way sounds can communicate.

The Nate Wooley Quintet followed, furthering the bebop tradition with adventurous composing and some terrific soloing. Matt Moran on vibraphone was an unmissable voice in the band, but the whole ensemble was great, from solos to group passages. The new songs seemed to be inspired mostly from Wooley’s time in California, and they were all pleasant jazz tunes with some off-kilter touches in the writing. This stuff wouldn’t be out of place in a jazz club, although the music’s departures from tradition and free-soloing tendencies might distract some audiences. After my trip, I went and bought their first album , (Put Your) Hands Together, on eMusic and I’ll be in line to get the second, I’m sure.

The photo below is a random shot of the neighborhood around iBeam, right around sunset. I think it captures the quiet of the area.

Emily Hay at Blue Whale

Polarity Taskmasters will be playing Saturday, May 12, in Sacramento as part of the In the Flow Festival.

Emily Hay, Brad Dutz, and Motoko Honda, plus Wayne PeetPolarity Taskmasters (self-released, 2011)

The L.A. quartet Polarity Taskmasters is made up of some downright friendly folks, but together, they spin spidery, eerie pieces spurred on by Emily Hay‘s flute playing. Forget the mellow, heartwarming kind of flute; Hay puts the instrument to dark uses, from shrill chirps to unsettling low-register improvising.

Early in March, I saw the group down in Los Angeles at Blue Whale. Hay played with the verve and theatricality she showed with rock-in-opposition bands Motor Totemist Guild and U Totem in the ’90s, gracing many pieces with spooky wordless singing or improvised monologuing. The two sets combined compositions from the other three group members — maybe to balance the five Hay compositions that are on the Polarity Taskmasters album — and a few improvisations called out from the stage.

Brad Dutz (percussion) and Wayne Peet (keyboards) are longtime players on the L.A. scene, as is Hay, so the show had a casual vibe — serious musicians trying out some new material for a test-drive in front of friends. Motoko Honda on piano and electronics added  some of the most polished sounds, including fluid classical elements or a stern, forceful take on jazz ideas. Peet stayed on organ most of the time, building deep psychedelic trenchbeds for the music to build upon.

The show traveled through some dark territories, with one composition calling for Hay to improvise as bleak a narrative as possible (I don’t remember the details, but appropriate amounts of death, destruction, and pestilence got dealt out. This was right around the time I started snacking on the BBQ sliders at the bar — the drinks at Blue Whale are exorbitant, but the food is set at normal appetizer-markup prices — so it was an interesting bit of dinner theater.) Honda’s piano added fluid classical elements or sometimes a stern and forceful take on jazz, and she wired up the Blue Whale piano for some electronic sounds as well.

The music did have its warmer elements. Peet, playing mostly organ and electronic samples, alternated between abstract strangeness and more groove-inviting sounds. Dutz likes to inject a sense of humor into his music in general; one composition of his, played early in the first set, was built around circus/carnival melodies and presented a more jovial side of the band.

The album — credited to Hay, Dutz, and Honda, with Peet as a guest — gives you a good idea what the show was like. The group spins heavy, involved improvisations, sometimes built off of Hay’s compositions, that highlight some of the flute’s darker and more adventurous qualities and also show off Hay’s vocals. Her trained voice can croon and wail hauntingly, or poke and jab sharply.

Concentrating on Dutz and Honda can present a less stern side of the music, particularly with Honda’s classically influenced piano sound. But it’s still many steps removed from traditional jazz. “Entrenched” opens with what sounds like prepared piano, or heavily treated digital piano, and opens from there into Dutz’s army of percussion, from quiet metallic bowls up to a gamelan-like clatter. Hay closes the track with a melodic nonsense patter, holding to the rhythm.

I really like the improvisation “68th Paragraph,” where all four players really get cooking quickly. It’s a fast-floating sound until Honda’s piano gets more percussive, driving some swirling free-jazz flute and some fast metallic percussion. “March of the Id,” one of Hay’s compositions, is built around percussive sounds, too, with piano insistently pecking next to staccato flute. The piece later opens up for some of Hay’s most frenzied improv vocalizing.

The group does make it up to the Bay Area once or twice a year, and they’re worth watching for. As noted up top, they’re coming to Sacramento next month.

Moe!kestra and Surplus 1980

Moe! Staiano has back-to-back shows of note happening in just a couple of days.

Source: Moe on FacebookTuesday March 13: Moe!kestra comes to The Uptown in Oakland, performing “Piece No. 9: When Terrie Had Six.” The title refers to Terrie Ex of the Dutch band The Ex, whose songs served as inspiration for the piece. Expect a mass of 30 or so musicians following instructions written out by Moe. He’s a very physical conductor, so the piece will probably be visually as well as musically dynamic.

On Facebook, Moe is hinting that this will be the last Moe!kestra ever. That turned out to be untrue when he said it in 2009, but given the logistics of putting together a project like this and the difficulty of finding a venue that’s both capable and willing, you might want to assume (or at least pretend) he’s right this time.

Opening will be the free-jazz quartet of Mark Clifford (vibraphone), Anton Hatwich (bass), Aram Shelton (clarinets), and Jacob Wick (trumpet).

Wednesday March 14: I love it when the Hemlock Tavern (San Francisco) opens its backroom stage to jazz/improv acts. This is going to be a great show:

  • Surplus 1980, at the Starry Plough in BerkeleySurplus 1980 — Moe’s avant-rock band, pictured at right. Read about them here; listen to them here.
  • ReCardiacs Fly — The Cardiacs cover band that I keep writing about (with Moe on drums). More here.
  • PG13 — The (apparently rather loud) trio of Thomas Scandura (drums), John Shiurba (guitar), and Phillip Greenlief (sax). They’ve played together quite a bit, and while I’ve never heard them, I’ll point out that Scandura and Shiurba were in the last version of The Molecules. So, they’ve got loudness-and-craziness cred.

Day of Noise Has Begun

KZSU’s Day of Noise is now on the air.

It’s just past midnight on the west coast, and Brian B. James and crew (one of whom is pictured above) have taken over the studio, kicking off 24 hours of live, on-air performances of noise, electronics, and improv. Also interviews, band introductions, and the like — but the core idea is that we’ll be switching from one noise act to the next all day long.

The link above has the full schedule, and further links to hear and watch the whole spectacle. Note that “watch” means a stationary laptop streaming to Ustream; it’s not hi-def and you’ll have to stream the audio separately.

See previous blog entry for more info. I would have loved to have been there for this first act (the setup for which might extend out the hallway and out the front door, based on what I was told earlier)… but I need my beauty sleep to report to the station for duty tomorrow morning. I’ll be doing behind-the-scenes helping, then interviewing Frank Rothkamm at 12:00 noon.

UPDATE: KZSU’s Facebook page has a much cooler photo.

Day of Noise Returns at KZSU

UPDATE 1/11: The Day of Noise is running for 24 hours starting midnight (so, all of Feb. 12). I listed a different time here for a while, taken off some promo material, but I’m pretty sure that was incorrect. I’m told that we’ve filled the schedule, so — thanks to the musicians coming by to play!

The Day of Noise is back!

This is a KZSU tradition, a 24-hour block of experimental music: improv, drone, ambient, electronics. The more abstract the better.

For years, it was put on by KZSU DJ Doom (more formally, The Voice of Doom). He would line up a cast of local musicians — David Slusser was a multiple-time participant — to come into the studio and perform live. He’d also spin CDs between acts. And during those long late-night gaps, he’d perform himself on The Machinery of Doom, a room full of percussion and noisemakers.

The designated Day of Noise is Sunday, Feb. 12, midnight to midnight. The event is supposed to focus on live performance, so if you’re a musician in the Bay Area, feel free to contact us for more information (you can find my email address on the “About” page of this blog).

As you might imagine, we’re especially short on musicians to play the nighttime and early morning slots — anything from about 10:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. — so, double pretty-please contact us if you think you can accommodate a time like that.

I’ll post more as I find out more (I’m helping with the organization but haven’t been around for all the planning). For now, you can find out more at:

Skatchbox Redux

T.D. SkatchitSkatch Migration (Edgetone, 2010)

As on T.D. Skatchit & Co., an earlier album, Skatch Migration combines two skatchbox with a variety of guests, trying out different sound combinations.

It’s still sometimes incongruous, as on the first album. But skatchboxes — homemade instruments played by scraping combs, sticks, or files against various textured surfaces — make for fun headphone listening, and some of the instrumental pairings are quite innovative. If you enjoy the curled, quirky sounds of abstract electronics/noise, you’ll find a lot to like. Sounds range from determined and fast-paced scratching to slower, calmer sounds — one resembling a marble being rolled around a wooden box, for instance.

But this territory got covered pretty well with the first album. The skatchbox has such a distinctive sound, and the lack of any sustain give its varied noises an overall dryness that doesn’t ever let up. While it’s got the infinite possibilities of any instrument, I have to admit I found myself wondering whether another whole album of skatching was really called for.

I did like the album. In its defense, it reflects a good number of strategies for mixing other instruments with the skatchbox.

Some of the acoustic “musical” instruments, for example, take the foreground, at least for my ears. The skatchbox chatter became a crisp alien backdrop, supporting the lead improviser. That’s especially the case with Scott Looney’s sad piano piece, or Bruce Ackley’s not-so-traditional saxophone melody.

Other players worked at fitting in. On “Flammable Skatch,” Kyle Bruckmann, who’s good at making the oboe sound non-oboe-like, plays airy screeches that almost could have come from skatchboxes. One of Doug Carroll’s cello tracks goes for a slashing, reverb-laden sound that reflects the kinetic skatchbox mentality.

As on the first album, we get to hear that abstract electronics can be a natural skatchbox partner, through contributions by Gino Robair and especially Tim Perkis. And while the first album had Karen Stackpole’s gongs, this one has Jacob Felix Heule scraping a cymbal for a similarly deep, doomy ringing — a really interesting setting for the skatchboxes.

Vocalists appear on five of the 15 tracks. Bob Marsh’s deep voice makes a nice cartoony babble on “What Did It?”, a fun track. But Aurora Josephson — the only guest duplicated between the two albums — steals the show, first with “Tip of My Tongue,” which is full of wordplay written by Michalak, and with “Indecision Revision,” a collection of “Mm-hm” and “Huh-uh” sounds.

Tom Nunn and Dave Michalak do seem to have added to the skatchbox vocabulary. I’m out of town as I write this, without T.D. Skatchit & Co. handy for direct comparison, but Nunn and Michalak seem to be working with amplified skatchboxes more frequently on this album and they may have added some new elements that produce nearly vocal sounds, similar to the puppy-dog sounds I’d heard from a bowed instrument called the daxophone. (Each skatchbox is uniquely hand-made, so each instrument can be vastly different.)

Previous skatchbox posts:

Dec. 3 Shows

Every now and then, a few promising Bay Area shows conflict on the calendar. That’s OK; it’s the sign of a scene vibrant enough to have that much happening. The downside is that with the lack of venues and local support, some deserving shows will fall through the cracks — but, in a glass-half-full way, it’s nice to know there’s this much going on.

You can always check for yourself at bayimproviser.com or transbaycalendar.org.

Anyway — Saturday, Dec. 3, is one of those intersection nights. The calendars list five shows, all of them worthwhile. I’d like to call out three:

Nightshade at Trinity Chapel (2320 Dana Street Berkeley), 8:00 p.m.
….. As I’ve noted before, this is San Francisco bassist and composer Lisa Mezzacappa’s chamber ensemble, mixing vibes, electric guitar, woodwinds, and computer electronics (and Mezzacappa’s acoustic bass, of course). Their debut CD, Cosmic Rift, on Leo Records, combines Mezzacappa’s compositions with covers from Frank Zappa and Olivier Messaien.
        * Nightshade’s Web page.
        * Recent blog post about Nightshade.

Phillip Greenlief, and Jon Raskin/Kanoko Nishi at 784 65th St., Oakland (2 blocks from Ashby BART), 8:00 p.m.
….. I’m presuming this is a house concert. I don’t know anything about the venue. This is their second show, and they’re hoping to keep a series of shows running for a while. Greenlief will open with solo saxophone, then Jon Raskin (of the ROVA Saxophone Quartet) and Kanoko Nishi on koto will perform as a duo. Expect squeaky abstract goodness (although Greenlief might decide to bring his jazz bag, too).
        * Greenlief-related: About his duo CD with Joelle Leandre.
        * Raskin/Nishi duets available on Nishi’s MySpace page.

Grex at Meridian Gallery (535 Powell Street, San Francisco), 8:00 p.m.
….. The pop/chamber duo of Karl Evangelista (guitar, vox) and Margaret Rei Scampavia, (keys, winds, vox) will perform with with guests Jordan Glenn (drums) and Karen Stackpole (percussion, gongs).  Grex will be doing songs from the recent album, Second Marriage, and previewing “the second part of its Filipino-American trilogy–a fantastical exploration of the band’s World War II-era ancestry, tentatively titled ‘Mushroom.'” Expect artsy pop, sometimes with somber overtones, juxtaposed with noisy freak-outs.
        * Grex’s Web site.
        * Previous blog entries: The Grex Factor / Fred Frith’s Manifesto.

If you’re not familiar with these venues — Trinity and Meridian are listed on my highly unpublicized Venues page.

This busy night is followed by a couple of weeks of great local shows. I’m hoping to find time to put those in another post.