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katiskelton on 03/15/2012 at 01:00AM

String Theories: IPR & The String Orchestra of Brooklyn

This Saturday, March 17, St. Ann's Church will host the second installation of String Theories, the joint partnership between ISSUE Project Room and the String Orchestra of Brooklyn that provides artists with an opportunity to premiere new experimental works for orchestra. This year's commission features works composed by Anthony Coleman, C. Spencer Yeh, MV Carbon, and Eric Wubbels, which is awesome, because for most of these artists this is their first opportunity to compose works on such a large scale (check out this interview with Spencer regarding the transition from solo and improvisational work to composing for an orchestra). I'm super excited to see what these guys come up with--what does Burning Star Core sound like with 10 VIOLINS? Will all the musicians be equipped with circuit-bent TV instruments? These and more mysteries will be illuminated on Saturday night. 

Until then, listen to this live recording of Katherine Young's composition from last year's program, titled Inhabitation of Time. Young is a bassoonist and composer who received an emerging artist commission from ISSUE last year, and this piece sounds like what it would be like to try to walk in a straight line on the quantum level--variables constantly shifting and rearranging, time stretching and compressing. What kinds of physical laws will this year's String Theories defy? We don't yet know. Get your tickets here.

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mwalker on 08/06/2010 at 09:00AM

Important Records in the Courtyard

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As a farewell to this long hot summer, ISSUE Project Room is hosting a massive 8-hour concert in the courtyard of the Old American Can Factory, showcasing some of the inimitable Important Records labels' finest artists. The show will be capped off by the MASTER MUSICIANS OF BUKKAKE, who will materialize out of a murky cloud of smoke to make their first-ever appearance on the East Coast.

The list of luminaries extends into the ether: the return of noise/improv supertrio THE NEW MONUMENTS (C. Spencer Yeh, Graveyards percussionist Ben Hall, & Borbetomagus founder Don Dietrich), experimental Dutch lutist JOZEF VAN WISSEM, former ISSUE Artist-in-Residence DUANE PITRE,  krautrock minimalists CAVE, Japanese electronic artist KOUHEI MATSUNAGA, ultra-minimal single-harmony-performing CHORD, a collaboration between HELENA ESPVALL (of Espers) and FURSAXA (acid folk crooner Tara Burke), alt-folk duo ARBOREA, and therapeutic healer DIANE CLUCK.

To whet your appetites for the marathon, I've culled together an Important Records sampler mix from the FMA's vast wealth of riches. Mark your calendars.

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longrally on 01/07/2010 at 08:41AM

C. Spencer Yeh/Chris Corsano/Nate Wooley Live on WFMU

DSC_0383 I confess it's taken me longer to get this post together than it should have.  I definitely have the holidays to blame, some family obligations, the usual work, the usual play.  But honestly the main reason is that I have been thinking about what to write, and how best to articulate why I am such a huge fan of these three musicians individually, and then why getting them to play as a group on my show was such an enormous coup.  And I think I figured it out.

C. Spencer Yeh (violin/voice) is probably best known as the founder of Burning Star Core, a noise band with a surprising elasticity in terms of sound, timbre, texture, form.  He has played with probably every major "noise" artist you can think of and in weirder situations with people like JandekChris Corsano (drums/percussion) has been moonlighting with Bjork of late, and has a longstanding free jazz duo with Paul Flaherty that peels paint.  Again, he's collaborated with an enormous range of stylists and kingpins, from free jazz masters to heavy noise blasters, from pop stars to beardos.  Nate Wooley (amplified trumpet) is a specialist-in-all-styles type player who digs Charlie Shavers and grew up playing in big bands, has spent time doing lowercase music, traditional-sounding free jazz, post-bop, electroacoustic improv and extreme/harsh noise.  The three are primetime improvisors, it's the defining element that links all three.  But what appeals to me about each of them is that they don't really "fit" anywhere.  Noise, free jazz, post rock, bebop, punk, scuzz.  If you are to play with them, you are to accommodate them, to get with the sound and discard the baggage, to open it up wide and be humble and just cruise. 

They put in two long pieces. The first was a culmination of a handful of live performances of Nate Wooley's Seven Storey Mountain, a version of which was released on Important Records (with David Grubbs and Paul Lytton).  The second is unadulturated free improvisation.  Please enjoy.  Many thanks to Mike Sin for engineering.


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