Geist & the Sacred Ensemble + Ricksplund + Vanessa Skantze

An evening of dark improvised experimental music and spoken word just before the Veil begins to Thin for all Hallows Eve.

Vanessa Skantze is a Butoh artist, yoga practitioner, and writer who has performed and taught in the US and Europe for over twenty years. For this evening’s performance she will have a focus on her Spoken Word works. Skantze is a co-founder of Teatro de la Psychomachia, a DIY space which has hosted national and international performing artists and musicians for more than a decade. She also co-directed Butoh ensemble Danse Perdue. She has toured with Tatsuya Nakatani, Lydia Lunch, and shared the stage with Jarboe, and has choreographed to the music of Kris Force (Amber Asylum). Locally, she creates frequent collaborations with Noisepoetnobody and To End It All.

Ricksplund is an improvising duo from Salt Lake City consisting of Steven Ricks (trombone, electronics) and Christian Asplund (viola, piano/keyboards, electronics). The most recent manifestations of their duo work involve one improvising on a particular acoustic instrument (trombone or viola, respectively), while the other improvises adding effects, samples, and loops created from the live instrument’s sound. In some cases prerecorded/composed audio elements are incorporated. In other cases, both set the acoustic instruments aside and improvise together using our respective electronic setups. Steven Ricks creates work that is bold, innovative, ambitious, and diverse, and that often includes strong narrative and theatrical influences. He is a professor of music theory and composition in the BYU School of Music. Christian Asplund is a Canadian-American composer-performer based in Utah where he teaches at Brigham Young University.  His interests have included the intersections of text/music, improvisation/composition, and modular textures/forms. 

Among the Pacific Northwest’s hidden societies, Geist & the Sacred Ensemble forges a doom-inflected folk ritualism; dirges tinged with Eastern psychedelia and meandering meditative trances. For the last several years, the group has shown the regional underground a clear vision for their sound and lyrics, creating a shamanistic space for the listener, placing them into a trance, then building up the excitement. The overarching theme of their lyrical work is that of an idealist, a yearning for an end to the modern human condition, for destruction of the constructs and constraints of oppression. Their tunes exist as an ever-changing pilgrimage, transforming their abstract drifts into apocalyptic folk hymns or private confessionals. Geist & the Sacred Ensemble has shared the stage with acts as diverse as Oranssi Pazuzui, Insect Ark, Soriah, Six Organs Of Admittance, Pedestrian Deposit, Yonatan Gat, Father Murphy, and Jackie-O-Motherfucker. Their live shows are hypnotic and emotionally charged, often taking place at unique locations like a metal forge and foundry, forests and meadows, old schools, churches and more. Tonight at the Chapel they will be leaning into their DIG IN SESSIONS improvised experimental drone style.

Earshot: Christian Pincock’s Scrambler

The inspired trombonist Christian Pincock spins jazz, classical music, folk music, and sound effects through a conducted improv sign language called Soundpainting. His ensemble of fine Seattle improvisers helps him to create distinctive works which have included reinterpretations of The Nutcracker Suite and ’80s pop love songs. His relatable collages are imbued with unexpected juxtapositions. Joining Christian Pincock are: Brian Bermudez (saxophone, clarinet, flute), Neil Welch (saxophone), Jeremy Shaskus (saxophone), Evan Woodle (drums), Steve Meyer, Peter Tracy (cello), Jenny Ziefel (saxophone, clarinet), Steve Treseler (saxophone), Greg Campbell (drums), Peter Nelson-King (trumpet, piano), Rocky Martin (drums), Carol Levin (harp), and Haley Freedlund (trombone).

(photo: Mark Chavez)

Presented by Nonsequitur in cooperation with Earshot Jazz Festival.

*Earshot Jazz COVID-19 Policy: Earshot recommends that all ticket holders be vaccinated. Masks are strongly encouraged indoors unless actively eating or drinking. Policy subject to change. Full policy here.

NonSeq: Striking Music

Seattle’s Striking Music is a hybrid percussion ensemble focused on blending lights and sounds into an immersive counterpoint, featuring percussionists Storm Benjamin, Rebekah Ko, and James Doyle, alongside sound designer Benjamin Marx and lighting designer Kevin Blanquies.

Their original music draws equally from minimalist percussion traditions and DIY mentalities, with handmade instruments and bespoke lighting sculptures. Through painstaking revision, the music and light design are developed concurrently, where one is always in service to the other. Classically trained and endlessly curious, their work is equal parts theater and concert experience.

Curated by Leanna Keith for Nonsequitur’s NonSeq series.

Benoît Pioulard, Hotel Neon, Viul, Natasha El-Sergany

Benoît Pioulard, Hotel Neon, Viul and Natasha El-Sergany present a night of atmospheric music featuring guitar, voice, and electronic instrumentation.

Benoît Pioulard is the primary audiovisual project of Brooklyn-based (ex-Seattle) Thomas Meluch. With six LPs on the renowned kranky imprint, as well as a catalog of works for Universal (UK), Morr Music (DE) and others, he has constructed a unique aesthetic steeped in the textures of analog decay and pop song structure using chiefly guitar, piano and tape processing. He has also built an extensive archive of Polaroid photographs (many of which grace his album covers), the first official collection of which is the hardcover book “Sylva”, released in 2019. For live performances Meluch constructs towering loops, seamlessly weaving in gentle guitar-and-voice songs for hypnotic, unbroken sets typically backdropped by film work from like-minded visual artists.

Hotel Neon is the Philadelphia-based trio of Michael Tasselmyer, Andrew Tasselmyer, and Steven Kemner. Together they create music to get lost in: cavernous, reverberating guitars and synthesizers, matched with visual projections in an immersive audio/visual experience. Since forming in early 2013, the group has released nine full-length studio albums and several EPs. Hotel Neon has toured and collaborated with the likes of Benoit Pîoulard, The Sight Below, Simon Scott, and Marcus Fischer, filling everything from living rooms to cathedrals with their densely layered walls of sound.

Viul is a Brooklyn-based composer and ambient musician. His latest release is Konec (A Strangely Isolated Place, 2022), a collaboration with Benoît Pioulard written and recorded in the earliest days of the pandemic and imbued with the concurrent dread, stillness and strange beauty of an abruptly-halted world. Viul’s previous releases include Bright Decline (Disques d’Honoré, 2019) and Outside the Dream World (Past Inside the Present, 2019). 

Natasha El-Sergany, singer-songwriter for the kosmiche-driven band somesurprises, returns to her bedroom roots for a solo ambient guitar and voice project finding beauty in repetition, droning swells, and melodies evocative of the calm waters of quiet conversation that belie the ocean of feeling underneath.

Tom Swafford & Friends

Born and raised in Seattle, Tom Swafford left home in 1991 and lived in Seattle again from 2002-2007. During that time, Tom formed many connections in Seattle’s vibrant creative music and arts community.  He began working with Butoh artist Vanessa Skantze in the group Death Posture. In their duo work over the years, they developed a unique and powerful language connecting sound and physical gesture. He played with Jesse Canterbury in the double violin/double clarinet quartet Cipher (with Tari Nelson-Zagar and Greg Sinibalidi), and in the Tone Action Orchestra (as well as various ad hoc groups) with Jim Knodle and Greg Campbell. His experience during those Seattle years was essential to his development as a player. 

He moved to NYC in 2007 and in 2021 he relocated to Providence, RI. His new album, Rough Spaces, was recorded in Boston in the spring of 2021 and beautifully mastered by Mell Dettmer. With this album, he feels he has finally arrived at a distinct solo voice and he is excited to share it! He’ll be joined by Vanessa, Jesse, Jim, Greg, and percussionist Eveline Müller.

Max Kutner & Friends

An evening of musical improvisation informed by experience and exchange across the sonic voices of five unique performers. 

Max Kutner is a guitarist/composer originally from Las Vegas, NV and currently based in Brooklyn, NY.

Aniela Perry is a cellist/bassist who has worked with artists across a diverse spectrum of styles including Amanda Palmer, Jherek Bishoff and Vinny Golia.

Saxophonist Neil Welch is a Seattle-based acoustic and electronic artist who is one of the co-founders of the long-running improvisation concert series Racer Sessions as well as the duo Bad Luck with Chris Icasiano.

Simon Henneman is a guitarist, improviser and instrument-builder who is a member of several notable Seattle-based bands including Contraband Countryband and Diminished Men.

Bill Horist is a multi-instrumentalist, noted improvisor and composer that has performed his work across the US, Mexico, Europe, Japan and Central America.

These five artists will perform in novel solo, duo, trio and full quintet contexts across two sets. They have never all been in the same room before.

Earshot/Nonseq: Vitamin D & Drum Orbit = SOLD OUT!

Sorry, this show is sold out.

Drum Orbit is a new experimental quintet led by turntable artist and producer Vitamin D, featuring Kassa Overall on drums, Darrius Willrich on keys, Evan Flory-Barnes on bass, and Gerson Zaragoza on guitar. Our mission is to expose music lovers to new ways of looking at music while acknowledging ancestral traditions and rhythms.

When you think of musical instruments you might think of string instruments, like violins or guitars. Some people think of wind instruments, such as flutes and horns, while others appreciate pianos and drums. Before a guitar was an instrument it started as a string. We know that a string alone is hardly a musical instrument, but when you add tension and amplification you create musical tones. With human ingenuity and applied musical sensibility, a string can become the most beautiful sound you have ever heard.

Drum Orbit takes this theory and applies it to turntables. By itself, a turntable is a means to play pre-recorded music. We, Drum Orbit, view turntables as an apparatus for generating tone, melody, and rhythm as well as an improvisational tool of expression.

We invite you to experience this new and experimental approach to musical improvisation.

Curated by Carlos Snaider as part of Nonsequitur’s NonSeq series, presented in cooperation with Earshot Jazz Festival.

Ben McAllister: Solo + Big Audience Composition Experiment

Ben McAllister (Guitar Cult, Degenerate Art Ensemble, Medicine Hat, Tuktu) brings his unique musical language to two sets: a solo set involving projected notation and homebrewed software slicing-and-dicing, then an hour of audience collaboration which will result in 3 (or more) new compositions, education and, potentially, enlightenment. Bring your voice or another unamplified pitch-making apparatus.

“This night is about exploring a line between planning and spontaneous. In lockdown, I really got into music notation in a way I hadn’t before, and so many questions arose. Why do I write and read music? Does it serve anyone besides me? If I die tomorrow, will the notation hint at the sounds I have in my head? This kind of thing.

The solo half of the set won’t be 100% improv or 100% planned, but somewhere in between. You’ll see some visuals that may help you see where my heads is at while I play. In the second half, we’ll switch gears as I guide you through a little bit of my thinking in notating and organizing sound, then we will use a few of these guides to make some music as a group.”

Michelle Huang & Erin Wight: Transformations

The Seattle-based viola and piano duo presents an intriguing program exploring the idea of transformation through the works of Armenian-American composer Mary Kouyoumdjian, Brazilian-American composer Clarice Assad, British-American composer Rebecca Clarke, and Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. These composers’ works approach the concept of transformation from different angles. Some troubling and challenging, some joyful and transcendent, some wandering and searching and at last finding comfort.

Violist Erin Wight is an active chamber musician and avid performer of new music. Giving performances the New York Times describes as “surehanded,” “engrossing” and “rich,” she has appeared as a contemporary music soloist on four continents. Deeply committed to community engagement, Erin has been a Teaching Artist for the New York Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. As a Curriculum Specialist for The Juilliard School’s Global K-12 Programs, Erin develops music curriculum and supports its use in schools across Southeast Asia. When not performing in stadiums, orchestra pits, or cozy venues across Seattle, Erin also enjoys exploring American Roots music and expanding her fiddling chops by jamming with friends.

Taiwan-born pianist Michelle Huang has a rewarding career as a dynamic soloist and chamber musician. Described as a pianist with much sensibility and nuance, she is equally at home performing music ranging from the esteemed masters to the novel voices. A devoted educator, Michelle held teaching positions at Edward Waters College and Virginia Commonwealth University. Currently, she maintains a vibrant teaching studio in Seattle.

James Falzone & Omar Willey

James Falzone presents a solo performance on clarinets, piano, penny whistles, shruti box, and bells, in celebration of his new release, So Far Still, which was recorded by Steve Peters at the Chapel as part of the Wayward in Limbo series. Joining James will be spoken word artist Omar Willey. 

So Far Still marks Falzone’s 15th release on his Allos Documents label and the 2nd documentation of his solo performances, which he has toured throughout the US, Canada, and Europe. The 10 improvisations making up So Far Still reflect concepts of limbo, suspension, stillness, and restlessness, all familiar emotions during the pandemic lockdowns. 

(photo: Shaya Lyon)