Last week this site ran an article about the hard choices that would have to be made for this coming weekend; and those choices involved a far broader scope than that of adventurous “bleeding edge” options. Nevertheless, this Saturday was distinguished by having the second evening of duets in Pamela Z’s ROOM Series, with Pamela herself joined by cellist Crystal Pascucci, vocalist Ken Ueno, and Tim Perkis with electronic gear. However, none of the alternatives enumerated for that evening could be classified as similarly adventurous.
It turns out, though, that there will be yet another addition to the list of Saturday activities; and this one is definitely a “bleeding edge” option. Tania Chen will return to the Center for New Music (C4NM) to curate the third and final installment in her Vernacular Visions series, the product of a partnership with Justin Clifford Rhody, who maintains a curated collection of found color photo slides. Each of Chen’s concerts has involved live improvisation in response to the projection of a selection of those slides.
The final installment, like the second, will be structured as three sets. Each of the first two sets will involve a quartet of musicians, all of whom will then play together (most likely for the first time) in the final set. (Think of the duets planned for the ROOM Series multiplied by two.) Chen herself will play piano and objects in the first set, joined by Lisa Mezzacappa on bass, Jacob Heule on percussion, and Jeanie-Aprille Tang on electronics. The second set will feature two live electronic music performers known only as Frankie and Will playing with two guitarists, Adam Keith (with electronic enhancement) and Vanessa Harris (alternating on percussion). These two groups should make an interesting mix when all eight players gather for the final set.
This concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 21. C4NM is located at 55 Taylor Street, about half a block north of where Golden Gate Avenue meets Market Street. General admission will be $10 with a $5 rate for C4NM members. Tickets will be available only at the door.
Sunday, on the other hand, is another matter. Three events were listed in last week’s article, all of which are relatively conventional (although in widely differing styles). For those with a taste for the more adventurous, however, it is now necessary to add five more events to the list; and those inclined to run about town may even be able to take in more than one of them. Specifics are as follows:
2 p.m., The Nunnery: Instrument inventor Tom Nunn will be opening up his garage for another two-set afternoon of free improvisation. The first set will be a solo performance by clarinetist John McCowen. His hour will be divided between works for amplified clarinet and drum resonator and new works for solo contrabass clarinet. These are long-form compositions requiring multiphonics and circular breathing, as well as timbre-shifting landscapes provided by electronic gear. For the second set Viv Corringham will return to San Francisco as part of her New Rebetika tour with a program entitled Life Is Clearer Seen Through Smoke. Corringham’s electronically enhanced vocal work will combine with Nancy Beckman on shakuhachi, Tom Bickley on winds (some electronic), Nan Busse on didgeridoo (also dancing), and Joe Lasqo playing piano, synthesizer, objects, and software on his laptop. The Nunnery is located in the Mission at 3016 25th Street. Nunn’s programs are sustained by donations, with a recommend amount of $10.
4:30 p.m., Bird & Beckett Books and Records: Over on the other side of town, bassist and composer Lisa Mezzacappa will bring her avantNOIR project to the concert series hosted by Bird & Beckett. This is basically improvisation inspired by the genre of noir fiction. At this particular session, Mezzacappa will play bass and sampler and will be joined by Aaron Bennett on tenor saxophone, John Finkbeiner on electric guitar, Jordan Glenn on drums, Tim Perkis on electronics, and William Winant both playing vibraphone and managing a Foley pit of sound effects.
For those who have not yet visited the venue, Bird & Beckett is a shop that sells books and records, located at 653 Chenery Street, a short walk from the Glen Park BART and Muni stations. It is one of the few brick-and-mortar establishments left in this city with an impressive selection of both, appealing to customers who take both reading and listening seriously. There is no charge for the jazz gigs hosted there. However, browsing and purchasing are always encouraged by the shop, and donations for the performers are always welcome.
7:30 p.m., Musicians Union Hall: Sunday will also see the next concert in the Static Illusion Methodical Madness (SIMM) Music Series organized by Outsound Presents. This will follow the usual two-set format. The first set will feature a quartet with tenor saxophonists Joshua Marshall and Joshua Allen playing with a rhythm section of Scott Walton on bass and Spirit on drums. The second set will present the Harbinger combo led by drummer and composer Tim DeCillis. The other members are Cory Wright, alternating between tenor saxophone and clarinet, Theo Padouvas on trumpet, Alex Cohen on guitar, and Safa Shokrai on bass. This is DeCillis’ first venture as a leader since his move to Oakland in 2014. The Musicians Union Hall is located at 116 Ninth Street at the corner of Mission Street. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $10 and $15.
7:33 p.m., Center for New Music: At almost the same time Kyle Bruckmann will be curating the next sfSoundSalonSeries event at C4NM. This will be a dual CD release party featuring music from the new recordings by sfSoundGroup and Splinter Reeds. Bruckmann plays in both of these groups and describes them as “Two of the Bay Area’s scrappiest contemporary music ensembles.” Admission for this event will be slightly higher than usual: $20 for general admission and $15 for C4NM members. However, the price of admission includes copies of both of the new CDs. Once again, tickets will be available only at the door.
8 p.m., Amnesia: Finally, the Amnesia bar in the Mission will host an evening of outré rock presented by Seaweed Sway. The three sets will feature the improvisational Grex trio of Karl Evangelista, Rei Scampavia, and Robert Lopez, the experimental ETTF indie duo of Sarah E. Palmer and Noah Phillips, and the touring electro group Lillie Lemon. Amnesia is located at 853 Valencia Street. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $7 and $10.
Furthermore, this week’s activities involve far more than the weekend. There will be two other concerts of note taking place at C4NM. Both of these will have the usual admission prices of $15 for general admission and $10 for members; and tickets will only be available at the door. Specifics are as follows:
- Wednesday, November 18, 8 p.m.: Danny Clay will be curating a concert by Judy Dunaway entitled Balloon Music. Dunaway performs both avant-garde compositions and free improvisations on amplified latex balloons. She works with a variety of shapes and sizes, each with it’s own special qualities. Over the past 20 years she has established herself as a “virtuoso of the balloon.”
- Friday, November 20, 8 p.m.: This will be a concert of new music for solo harpsichord entitled Angels and Watermarks: Flight into the Unknown. The harpsichordist in Faythe Vollrath. Her program will include compositions by Howard Hersh, Sunny Knable, and Nissim Schaul, all of which recently received their world premieres.
In addition, Outsound Presents will give its weekly concert in the Luggage Store Creative Music series on Thursday. Joshua Allen will also be performing here, as well as in the SIMM Series. However, his Luggage Store gig will be a solo improvisation. The second set will feature the Tom Weeks Group, led by Weeks who alternates between saxophone and guitar.
This concert will begin at 8 p.m. on Thursday, November 19. The Luggage Store Gallery is located at 1007 Market Street. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $6 and $15.
If all of that were not enough, this is also the week of the monthly showcase of experimental music at Second Act. This week’s Experimental Music Show will follow the familiar four-set programming. Those sets will be as follows (drawing upon the colorful language from the Second Act Web page as seems appropriate):
- Collin McKelvey: McKelvey has performed as Orbless and Slaughtering Dolphins. In his words, “his conspicuously calm presence is gravitational, massive yet invisible, hung in space by a momentum as ancient as the planets.” He goal is the enable a listener to “hear sound with a grounded clarity that fosters deep wonder, even dread.”
- Arachnid Arcade: This is the duo of Charlotte Aurevoir and Arlo Heart, which describes itself as “a minimal circus of ritualistic errors, manifested primarily via two humans, electronics, and a million tiny lights.”
- L1p_Ch3www3r: This is a project of Micah Danemayer, who has a penchant for unpronounceable names. He is also the impresario of the Tranc3 Mut4t1(0)n5 sound series. This latest effort involves “the world’s heaviest noise and industrial music scenes.”
- Forbidden Colors: This will be a solo electronic performance by Enriquez Hernandez.
This performance will begin at 7:45 p.m. on Wednesday, November 18; and these events generally run for about two hours. Second Act is located at 1727 Haight Street. It combines its performing area with a marketplace, all under the roof of what used to be a movie house. Admission will be $5, payable at the door. Only those aged 21 or older will be admitted.