Outsound Festival: One Weekend Left to Contribute

Source: Outsound; click to go thereIf you want to donate to the Outsound New Music Summit, you might want to do it before Sunday night.

I assume they’d take your contribution no matter what the date. But Sunday night is the deadline to contribute via Indiegogo and, for $100 or more, get a ticket to the dinner held each year for organizers and donors. Held at Berkeley Arts Festival, the dinner will include a set of music by percussionist William Winant and another set by Thea Farhadian (violin) and Amy X. Neuburg (vocals, loops, maybe electronics).

No, I don’t know what’s on the menu. But I do know it’s all for a good cause, a locally produced festival for creative music. Rent Romus has kept the fire burning going on 13 years now.

The Outsound Summit runs July 29 through August 2 at San Francisco’s Community Music Center.

Here’s the lineup:

July 27- August 2, 2014, Co-Presented with KFJC 89.7FM
Community Music Center, 544 Capp Street San Francisco, CA
Advance Tickets:  Brown Paper Tickets
The Bay Area’s New Sound Festival Features Underground and 
Experimental Jazz, Electronics, Noise Art, Spoken Word, Poetry, 
Workshops, and Hands-onInteractive “Touch the Gear” Expo.

Sunday July 27th 1:00 PM
Pianist, composer, and educator Thollem McDonas will lead a
collaboration/improvisation workshop for musicians and non-
musicians alike. 

Monday, July 28th 8:00 PM
Thollem McDonas and participants from the Sunday improvisation 
workshop will perform a set of structured and free improvi-
sation.  This event is free to the public.

Wednesday, July 30th 
Q&A Sessions 7:30 pm, Performance 8:15 pm
PoetryFreqs, a night of spoken word and poetry with electro-
acoustic music.
* Pitta of the Mind (Maw Shein Win – poetry and Amanda 
Chaudhary – electronics)
* Original jazz beat poet Ruth Weiss with electronic pioneer 
Doug Lynner – Buchla Synth,  Hal Davis -  hollow log
* Watkins/Trammel/McZeal (Zachary James Watkins - 
electronics,  Marshall Trammell – drums  with award winning 
poet Amber McZeal)

Thursday, July 31st 
Q&A Sessions 7:30 pm, Performance 8:15 pm 
Guitars, a night showcasing seven talented and provocative 
guitarists Henry Kaiser; Amy Reed & Ross Hammond; Noah 
Phillips & John Finkbeiner; Sandy Ewen & Jakob Pek

Friday, August 1st 
Q&A Sessions 7:30 pm, Performance 8:15 pm
Constructions will bring two extremes together
* Teddy Rankin-Parker/Daniel Pearce Duo,
premiering new works by renowned composer Renee Baker 
* The Deconstruction Orchestra, a mass ensemble of 25 leading 
Bay Area improvising musicians led by tenor saxophonist and 
composer Joshua Allen, who will perform the debut of The 
Structure of Sound and Space, an original deconstructivist-
inspired suite of cell structure game compositions, melding 
together post-modern, free jazz and non-idiomatic improvisa-
tion. Saxophones: Aaron Bennett-as, Sam Flores-ts, John 
Ingle-bs, Matt Ingalls-as/c, Josh Marshall-ts, Dan Plonsey-bs, 
Dave Slusser-ts, Rory Snyder-as, Rent Romus-as, Cory Wright-bs 
Brass: Peter Bonos-trpt, Collete McCaslin-coronet, Matt 
Gaspar-Flugel, Ron Heglin-tuba, Jeff Hobbs-trpt, George 
Moore-trpt, Matt Streich-trombone Rhythm: Henry Kaiser-guitar, 
John Finkbeiner-guitar Timothy Orr-drums, William Winant-drums, 
Lisa Mezzacappa-bass, Matt Montgomery-bass

Saturday, August 2nd 1:00pm
Transformational Voice, an afternoon vocal workshop with 
bodywork/energywork master Jill Burton.
Register at the door or Pre-Register @ Brownpaper Tickets

Saturday, August 2 
Q&A Sessions 7:30 pm, Performance 8:15 pm
Improvisations, featuring three different
groups of improvisers exploring the language of the unknown.
* Obstreperous Doves (Karl Evangelista – guitar, Bill Noertker - 
bass, Nava Dunkelman - percussion, Christina Stanley - violin, 
and Jordan Glenn - drums)
* The Emergency String (X)tet (violins: Mia Bella D'Augelli, 
Jeff  Hobbs, Christina Stanley; lap steel guitar: David 
Michalak; cello: Doug Carroll; bass koto: Kanoko Nishi-Smith; 
and cello/director: Bob Marsh); who will premiere a new work 
in celebration of Bob Marsh’s 70th birthday
* Jill Burton Trio (Jill Burton - voice, Tim Perkis - 
electronics, and Doug Carroll - cello) debuting their 
first-time collaboration

… and here’s what I wrote about last year’s Summit:

Sounds in the Wake

Frank Gratkowski, Chris Brown, William Winant — Wake (Red Toucan, 2008)

source: red toucanIt’s interesting how an improv session can develop a personality. Amid all the abstract motion, an overarching voice can poke through, sometimes really obvious (e.g., SUPER FREAKIN’ LOUD!), sometimes more subtle.

Personality-wise, Wake opens in a playful mode but gets more serious afterwards, even during a noisy free-for-all moment on the closing “Archipelago.”

The personality contrast works well, because that first track, “Slide,” is 25 minutes long and quite engaging. After that, there’s a more serious business of sound exploration to be had. “Ambitus” slows to an introspective crawl — although, come to think of it, the boingy sounds of William Winant‘s tuned timpani add an amusing touch. The middle of that 12-minute track features a stretch akin to modern classical music, though, which is probably why I filed this one in the more “serious” bin. It’s still fun, just more studious.

Wake might be an appropriate title, because the three musicians — on sax/clarinet, percussion, and piano — get augmented by Chris Brown using electronics to loop and play back segments of the music, creating new material from the wake of what’s just gone by. (He’s also the one playing piano, often simultaneously with the electronics.) A couple of good moments come on “Archipelago,” when he hammers a high piano chord many times, then brings it back as high-pitched crickets, then as mid-toned industrial gears.

Yes, other people do that (David Torn on Prezens, just to name one) but the mixture of sounds on here is particularly pleasing, just the way all three color their playing to make the electronics feel at home.

The third track, “Scrabble,” is a 10-minute exploration dominated by those electronics, like an otherworldly metallic jungle. Playing along with that theme, Frank Gratkowski sticks to buzzing, flapping sounds on his sax (or possibly clarinet), to the point where the whole thing sounds like it’s been electronically processed. It’s a well managed meshing of instruments.

“Parallax” continues the trio’s serious side with monotoned blares from Gratkowski, little foghorns that croon under hyper, nervous piano from Brown. Come to think of it, Gratkowski is being a bit of a smart-aleck there, playfully messing with his bandmates. Later, Gratkowski gets into a low-key, quizzical mode, and the piano turns more melodic, another touch of new-classical influence.

All three of these players are standouts in improvised music, of course, and they’re able to play with subtlety and wit. But the occasional noisy blowout is good for the pipes, right? “Parallax” peaks with a frenzy of high tones from all three (Winant contributing in the form of metallic clatter), and “Archipelago,” as mentioned above, peaks with the most explosive moments on the album before simmering down to a quiet conclusion, tranquil but with a touch of menace courtesy of a shimmering, metallic curtain of electronics sounds.

Wake comes from a session recorded live at Mills College in 2007. Brown and Winant (who plays a lot of vibraphone here, along with timpani and other percussion) are locals with ties to the college, while Gratkowski (sax, clarinet, bass clarinet) is a frequent Bay Area visitor. The brief liner notes have Gratkowski hopefully promising more from this trio, and I hope they’re able to come through on that.

Mission Creek: Creative Music, Represent!

source: facebookLineups for the Mission Creek Music Festival are out, and in addition to the usual rock/pop bands, they include some good representatives of improvised or jazzy music. Pinning down exact dates for exact shows is a challenge, though.

Mission Creek’s Facebook Page has a lot of the details, and you can see a few of the fliers up close. But the information there is listed in droplets; this page at Sonic Living provides a partial bird’s-eye view of the schedule, although they’ve subtracted some listings in the last 48 hours.

At any rate, there’s good music to be had:

* I know Inca Ore by reputation only, but it’s a good reputation. She’ll be headlining at the Argus Lounge on Tuesday, July 21.

* The show at the Argus Lounge lists William Winant, Weasel Walter, and Moe! Staiano, three terrific improvising percussionists. It appears they’ll be playing as a trio, which should be awesome. I’ve seen listings for this show on July 22, 23, or 24, so it’s anybody’s guess when this actually happens. (The flier above says July 22.)

* Aaron Novik’s Thorny Brocky is on a bill with some folky acts (Ramon & Jessica, for one). It was listed somewhere as a Friday, July 24 show.

source: facebook event listing, click to see(UPDATE 7/11/09:  Per Ursula’s note below, this show is at the Socha Cafe, where Mission and Valencia intersect (!) in San Francisco.  Details on this Facebook page, which is where I stole the nifty flier at left. Thanks Ursula!)

Aaron Novik is a clarinetist who plays in a wide scope of bands, many of them his own. He’s done Klezmer-tinged jazz (Gubbish), free jazz (Telepathy), modern fusion/improv (Kipple), metal (Simulacra, Edmund Welles) … and Thorny Brocky, which takes compositions from multiple Novik bands and puts them in a context that includes accordion (Dina Maccabee, who’s half of Ramon & Jessica) and violin (Marié Abe). Reverent Sisters and Poor Sweet Creatures were also on the bill that I saw.