Spectral Trio

Dave Rempis, Alto Saxophone
 / Darren Johnston, Trumpet
 / Larry Ochs, Tenor and Sopranino Saxophones

“Horn-only ensembles tend to fall into two categories: either they take a figure-and-ground approach, with one or more players acting as a de facto rhythm section, or they turn into free- for-all blowouts. This trio’s music is like improvised carpentry, making elegant constructions out of each horn’s complete range of sounds, both customary and unexpected.” — Bill Meyer, Chicago Reader

Forming in 2015, this all-horns free-improvising trio came together when Rempis journeyed to the West Coast to discover some things about his compatriots on the Bay Area improvising scene. From the first few notes, their initial meeting flowed comfortably, yet in totally unexpected ways, with all three making logical structural decisions that gave their improvisations the feel of through-composed pieces. Not satisfied with simply existing in the moment, these three combine sensibilities to look many moves ahead, setting each other up time and again to capitalize on structural possibilities that give rare and meaningful form to an otherwise very spontaneous music. (Listen here.) They stop in Seattle on a tour to celebrate their new album, Neutral Nation (Aerophonic Record)s.

Dave Rempis began his musical studies at the age of 8, inspired by a family friend who played clarinet in local Greek bands, and by Zoot, of the Muppets Band, to pick up saxophone. During high school he performed in his town, district, and all-state bands and wind ensembles, as well as in a jazz combo at a local music school. During his tenure with The Vandermark Five, Rempis also began to develop the many Chicago-based groups for which he is currently known. These include The Rempis Percussion Quartet, The Engines, The Rempis/Rosaly Duo, The Outskirts, Ballister, The Rempis/Daisy Duo, Bishop/Rempis/Kessler/Zerang, and Wheelhouse. Past working groups include Triage, and the Dave Rempis Quartet. Many of these groups have been documented on the Okkadisk, 482 Music, Not Two, MultiKulti, Solitaire, and Utech record labels. Rempis also performs and tours with Ken Vandermark’s Territory Band and Resonance Project, and The Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten Quintet. Past collaborations have included performances with Paul Lytton, Axel Dörner, Peter Brötzmann, Hamid Drake, Steve Swell, John Tchicai, Roscoe Mitchell, Fred Anderson, Kevin Drumm, Paal Nilssen-Love, Nels Cline, Tony Buck, and Joe McPhee. Rempis has been named three times in the annual Downbeat Critics’s Poll as a rising star in both the alto and baritone saxophone categories.

Since settling in San Francisco in 1997, Canada-born trumpeter/composer/songwriter Darren Johnston has collaborated and recorded with an extremely diverse cross-section of artists, from straight-ahead jazz luminaries such as bassist/composer Marcus Shelby, to experimental icons like ROVA, Fred Frith and Myra Melford, rising star in the singer/songwriter world like Meklit Hadero, or traditional Balkan brass band giants Brass Menazeri. As a bandleader he has made his mark with the award winning The Nice Guy Trio, The Darren Johnston Quintet, the category defying Broken Shadows, and more. Johnston was featured as one of Downbeat Magazine’s “25 Trumpeters for the Future,” and has been listed multiple times in the critic’s polls. His debut quintet recording, “The Edge of the Forest” received four stars by four very different critics in the Downbeat “Critics Polls,” and was given an honorable mention by the Village Voice for the top 10 CDs of the year. Johnston has a BA from the Cincinnati Conservatory of music, and an MFA in composition from Mills College. Johnston currently teaches privately, at the Community Music Center in San Francisco’s Mission district, the Oakland School for the Arts, and as adjunct faculty at the University of California, Berkeley.

As a member of Rova Saxophone Quartet since 1977, Larry Ochs has made more than two-dozen CDs and 40 tours to Europe and Japan. He has recorded dozens of CDs with his other touring bands including Larry Ochs Sax & Drumming Core with Scott Amendola, Don Robinson, Satoko Fujii, and Natsuki Tamura, and Kihnoua with vocalist/performance artist Dohee Lee, Scott Amendola and special guests. He is performing in and composing for more “collective” bands such as: East-West Collective – with Didier Petit, Sylvain Kassap, Miya Masaoka, Xu Fengxia; Ochs-Robinson Duo with drummer Don Robinson; Jones Jones – with Mark Dresser and Vladimir Tarasov; Maybe Monday – with Miya Masaoka and Fred Frith; Shelton-Ochs Quartet with Aram Shelton, Kjell Nordeson and Mark Dresser; and Trio Dave Rempis-Darren Johnston-Larry Ochs. He has performed with Kronos Quartet, John Zorn, Steve Lacy, Anthony Braxton, Nels Cline, John Lindberg, Scott Amendola, Andrew Cyrille, Butch Morris, Marilyn Crispell, Henry Kaiser, Wadada Leo Smith, Peggy Lee and many others.

Presented by Nonsequitur.

SMO: Musica Electronica

Seattle Modern Orchestra presents a full concert of electronic music, including three works from three different generations and three stages of technologic development. SMO has commissioned Seattle-based Polish composer and research scientist at University of Washington DxARTS Ewa Trębacz to write Ligeia (2016), a piece for ensemble and surround sound in its World Premiere. Trębacz utilizes the latest technologies in sound processing and spatialization in an immersive approach to music with a lyrical narrative. To place this new work in context, this concert will present Differences (1959) by celebrated Italian composer Luciano Berio for small ensemble and tape. The tape plays a filtered, transposed, expanded recording of the acoustic part, creating a polyphonic relationship with the live ensemble. Finally, we will feature Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho’s Lichtbogen (1986) for ensemble and live electronics designed at the French institute IRCAM.

Music starts at 8 PM. Pre-concert conversation with co-artistic director Jérémy Jolley and composer Ewa Trębacz at 7:30 PM.

Keith Eisenbrey, solo piano

Stillness, Concentrate – considerations of solo piano music by J. K. Randall and Keith Eisenbrey, performed by Keith Eisenbrey.

Music to be considered:

“…..such words as it were vain to close…..” (1977) ­ J. K. Randall (1929­-2014)

This astonishing piece entered my life in 1980 or so as the companion in score of Ben Boretz’s (“… my chart shines high where the blue milks upset …”). Although I have performed Ben’s piece many times, “such words” has always terrified me. Written entirely in pitch­-class and rhythmic unison, its transparence to every micro­gram of relative weight and to every twitch of metrical precision is so extreme that it wasn’t until a few years ago that I could bring myself to dive in. It is one of a handful of works whose influence I feel in everything I have done in music since. I look forward to sharing it with you.

J (2014), Another (2015), and “Welcome to my planet. I come in peace.” (2012)  Keith Eisenbrey

J was written in memory of J. K. Randall, Another to celebrate the 80th birthday of Ben Boretz.

Welcome to my planet. I come in peace. is for me to speak to you.

“Was not writing poetry a secret transaction, a voice answering a voice? So that all this chatter and praise and blame and meeting people who admired one and meeting people who did not admire one was as ill suited as could be to the thing itself ­ a voice answering a voice.” ­Virginia Woolf, from “Orlando”.

Kaley Lane Eaton: ANIMAL

Seattle composer and vocalist Kaley Lane Eaton presents ANIMAL, the psychedelic, post-minimalist kaleidoscope of her recent work, dancing the tension lines between the body, the mind, the instrument, and the computer. From fixed-media tape pieces exploding into the physical world through choreography and video projection, to a fully acoustic, quasi-improvised piano trio outlining the structure of a mandala, to an electroacoustic monodrama duet between Eaton’s soprano voice and heartbeat, the program addresses both our ancient instincts and our modern conundrums.

Kaley Lane Eaton is an award-winning composer and vocalist currently based in Seattle, WA. Her work has been performed across the US and internationally, in venues ranging from Hong Kong concert halls, to the streets of Skid Row in Los Angeles. With a background as a multi-genre vocalist and instrumentalist, Eaton’s work is concerned with the physical generation of music and how context – both internal and external mental and physical – can influence real-time musical choices. Eaton is currently a DMA candidate in composition at the University of Washington, studying with Richard Karpen.


Zero-G: Tempered Steel, Driftwood Orchestra, Empty Boat

7:30 – Tempered Steel features Ffej, Frank Junk, and Dennis Rea playing amplified, electronically processed thumb pianos. The trio’s seamless improvisations conjure everything from phantom harpsichords and subaquatic percussion to as yet uninvented stringed instruments and vintage musique concrète. Recommended to partisans of Harry Partch and John Cage’s prepared piano music. “…a strange strain of otherworldly exotica, a metallic-insect symphony of disturbing beauty” – Dave Segal, The Stranger

8:15 p.m. – The point is not to create music, or to showcase instrument playing skills; more so it is a way to give a voice to the trees – all that they have survived to grow and exist and everything that has happened to a piece of wood before it became an object in Driftwood Orchestra. As one listens to the players struggle to find solutions to creating sound in a live improvised setting, imagine that the message could be simply: we all live and thrive together or we all suffer and die together. Driftwood Orchestra is not concerned with perfection or standards of artistic success, but in creating a way to communicate with the forest with the intent to somehow, someday apologize.

9 p.m. – Empty Boat is a quintet formed by drummer Don Berman and featuring Jim Knodle (trumpet), Dick Valentine (saxes, flutes), and for this performance, guitarists Simon Henneman and Rik Wright. Empty Boat presents original compositions by group members as well as pieces containing influences from contemporary jazz, world musics, new chamber music, and a healthy dose of improvisation. Owing to the variety of compositional concepts coming from each of these highly idiosyncratic players, an Empty Boat performance takes the listener to many different places, with sonic surprises and depth coming from the members’ years of relentless dedication to their art.

Presented by Zero-G Concerts.

Strategy + Timm Mason + Randy Jones

Further Records presents their second show at Chapel with a focus on radio transmissions. Dispatch, shortwave and am/fm radio channels will be manipulated, sampled and processed, using reel to reel tape, and user designed hardware into probability derived static ambience.

Timm Mason
Randy Jones

Chorosynthesis Singers: Empowering Silenced Voices

Empowering Silenced Voices
Chorosynthesis Singers
Wendy Moy and Jeremiah Selvey, Co-Artistic Directors

Chorosynthesis Singers presents Empowering Silenced Voices, a concert of new choral works on the theme of social justice. Believing that music has the ability to bring together communities, this concert will highlight voices that have been silenced throughout history by exploring topics such as child abuse, terrorism, war, non-heteronormative love, natural disaster, women’s rights, and civil disobedience.

The concert will present innovative choral works, featuring regional, U.S., and world premieres. One of the world premieres will be Eric Pazdziora‘s Canticles For the Holy Innocents, a three-movement work for mixed voices dedicated to the memory of Lydia Schatz—and by extension, to the thousands of children who die each year as a result of violence and abuse. These liturgical texts, taken from early Latin hymns and prayers, commemorate the martyrdom of these children. The concert will also feature Steven Serpa’s three-movement work, Like a Darling, based on the poetic triptych by Naomi Shihab Nye, a Palestinian-American poet. The text of the second movement of this work was written by Nye as a response to a bombing in Lebanon in the 1990s; Serpa was deeply moved by this text, and composed the music as his own personal response to the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013. It is against the backdrop of the recent terrorist activity in Beirut and Paris that the remainder of the triptych was composed for Chorosynthesis Singers.

Other works on the program include Keane Southard’s Do You Hear How Many You Are? (2010), Andrew Rodriguez’ In Midnight Sleep (2014), Karen Thomas’ Over the City (1995), Kala Pierson’s Blue Phoenix (2009), José Luis Gómez Aleixandre’s Lux Aeterna (2011), Lansing McLoskey’s Zealot Canticle (2011), Thomas Schuttenhelm’s A Clear Midnight (2015), Rebekah Driscoll’s Out of Her Place (2010), and Alexander Campkin’s Unleash the Beauty (2014).

Kyle Hanson + Mik Quantius

Composer and accordionist Kyle Hanson (aka The Murkies) innovated the extended technique described as ‘alternating transverse oscillation of the bellows’ by which he obtains a shimmering sound and immersive effects. His music ranges from live ambient performance to psychedelic pop with many stops in between.

Kyle Hanson led Seattle’s Black Cat Orchestra for years with partner Lori Goldston; other collaborators include Amy Johnson, Britta Johnston, Curtis Taylor, Eve Cohen, Bob Jenkins.

Part of this evening will feature Mik Quantius.

The German vocal artist Mik Quantius can, after being continuously abducted by aliens, only produce sounds from outer space. Originally Mik Quantius was involved in the metal scene of Koln, but in recent years he joined several avant-garde projects. For instance: he is a member of the legendary German Krautrockband EMBRYO and he took part in ‘Way of the Cross’, an improvisational project of Dave Nuss of the NO NECK BLUES BAND, with musicians like Kuupuu, The Skaters, Stellar Om Source and Kemialliset Yvsatat. Mik Quantius has an enormous vocal range and his diction is occasionally comparable to CAPTAIN BEEFHEART, but a little weirder. Reoccuring are the absurd sounds that fly out of his throat, often touching the treshold of pain. He is a scat maestro, who rather uses his body as an instrument than to sing. The thrilling sounds you will hear during performances of Mik Quantius will remain in your memory for a long time.

Manna Presence

Multidisciplinary artist Serge Gubelman and his group Manna Presence offer prepared improvisations and wide spectrum soundscapes on acoustic and electronic instruments and spoken word.

Drew Cady is a sound designer and foley artist for ArenaNet. He also does recording, mixing and mastering engineering for music, film and virtual reality. At ArenaNet he works mainly on the foley library, voice processing, creatures and ambient sounds for Guild Wars 2. Drew has a driving need to push sound design and technology forward. He enjoys finding new ways of manipulating sounds and creating tools for a better product. Drew has lectured at the Berkeley College of Music, DigiPen, Experience America and Seattle Game Audio Group.

Focused on the intersection of music and technology where art meets science, Mark Fauver has applied his technical abilities to music composition and music production. He owns Subatomic Audiolab, where he creates soundscapes for other’s music as well as providing recording services. He also is a multi-instrumentalist (flute, windsynth, keys), combining acoustic musicianship with electronics and programming. Some of his solo work can be found here. His latest project is Atlanteans, with Rafe Pearlman and David Revelli.

Serge Gubelman loves acoustical instruments and how the Machine (electronics) becomes a driveable microscope to sounding. He has a background that includes hanging with the Baka Pygmies in Cameroon, making music for theater and dance, performing for children in hospitals, and working in film and video. Serge recently released a 3-CD set of music that supports his project Ark Of Sound.

Terrance Stearns has played just about every instrument known to man with every kind of ensemble possible in the Seattle area. Most notably with Spirit House (imaginary world folk band) and Superkali ( Afrobeat, funk and blue note jazz inspired). He currently plays in an Americana duo, Magic Thread. His solo ambient work can be found here.

Lori Goldston & friends

Seattle cellist Lori Goldston presents an evening with stalwart improvising collaborators — Susie Kozawa (voice, found objects, etc.), Dan Sasaki (percussion), Dave Abramson (percussion) — and visiting dignitary Mik Quantius from Cologne, Germany, who sings with Embryo, Frankenstein’s Ballet, and Mikrokosmos.