News: Creative Music Guild Announces New Artistic Director

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After nearly a decade of hard work, Ben Kates has decided to step down as Artistic Director of Creative Music Guild, the organization that has been responsible for expanding minds and the musical culture of our fair city for the past 25 years.

It’s sad news but not terribly shocking as he surely deserves a break. Under his guiding hand, CMG has increased the number of events they’ve curated from around eight to around 30. His support for the local scene is without peer and his willingness to bring high caliber artists from around the globe to Portland has done wonders for putting this town on the worldwide cultural map.

I wouldn’t be worried about anyone that they would place in his chair considering the level of support he’s received over the years, but I’m especially glad to hear that Mike Gamble is going to be taking over. Besides being a fantastic musician, he also has his fingers on the pulse of the national and international experimental music scenes. And considering his deep Rolodex of artists that he has had a chance to collaborate with on his own, like Nels Cline and Todd Sickafoose, this can only mean great things for the future of the CMG.

News: Reak – Trance Music & Possession In West Java

One of my favorite musicians alive today is Arrington de Dionyso. He’s one of those figures that embodies the best elements of the creative mind: curiosity, a willingness to learn, a willingness to make mistakes, and a spirit of forward momentum. That’s just one small reason why I’m excited to catch the screening of Reak: Trance Music & Possession In West Java at Fifth Avenue Cinema on Thursday May 5th. The film follows his journey to Indonesia where he played with Group Reak Sanca Birawa. The trailer looks absolutely astounding and I’m very interested to ask him about this experience of making this film and this music during the post-screening Q&A.

News: Arts Collective Environmental Impact Statement Is Accepting Project Proposals

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The inspiring, politically-motivated multimedia arts group Environmental Impact Statement sent an email around yesterday to let people know that, as part of a new project concerning the potential logging of a timber site near Mt. Hood, they are accepting project proposals from artists. I’m really excited to see what comes out of this, and encourage any interested parties to , but for now, here’s what the EIS had to say:

The collective Environmental Impact Statement invites artists in all disciplines & locations to submit project proposals for work that could not happen if the Polallie Cooper Timber Sale on Mt. Hood is logged. All proposals will be submitted as part of the public record for this sale in response to the Forest Service’s analysis of the potential impacts from commercial logging on public land. 

All disciplines are encouraged to apply. Project proposals need not be limited by funding or even possibility. Proposals will be collected in a forthcoming publication; one proposal will be awarded a modest honorarium. 

The nearly 3,000 acres of forests in the Polallie Cooper Timber Sale that would be lost contain unlogged forest, and the many miles of new logging roads will cause untold impacts for decades to come. More information about the proposed logging project is provided online by the watchdogs for Mt. Hood National Forest, Bark.

PLEASE SUBMIT PROPOSALS THROUGH THIS SIMPLE WEBFORM.

The Forest Service is required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to undergo a thorough evaluation of the environmental impacts from a logging project such as Polallie Cooper, inform the public of these potential impacts, and collect comments on whether the public agrees that the harm is worth the benefit. In their assessment, the Forest Service uses a metric called Visual Quality Objectives set out in their management plan to anticipate impacts on the way the forest looks after the logging. We are submitting these projects as standing ideas that would not be possible should the logging take place in this forest. These creative projects will be included with the many other environmental concerns that the people will submit during the public comment period.

Ideas cannot be destroyed, but forests can be.

News: deepwhitesound Announces Winter 2015 Releases

deepwhitesound has, for over a decade now, been a go to source for fascinating experimental music from around the world. The Portland-based label curates a wide selection of sounds and then offers up them up for free download through their lovely website.

Towards the end of last month, deepwhitesound sent around an e-mail announcing their Winter 2015 slate of releases, and it is a fine bunch that deserves your attention.

Among them is a new recording from Memory Metal, the local duo made up of Cody Brandt and Shane McDonell that places contact mics on pieces of metal and records the noises they make when beaten, scraped and otherwise abused. Their 24 minute piece 2 is a small challenge to your eardrums but one that will reveal some delicious overtones and strange rhythms that can be surprisingly comforting.

I’m also very fond of the work of Glaswegian sound artist Louise Harris, which is part of this new bundle. Her work primarily uses visuals timed to react to the scratchy, droning sounds that she cooks up, but as an aural-only experience, the noisy delights are still quite thrilling.

 

News: Creative Music Guild Launches Fundraiser for 2015 Improvisation Summit

If you were at Mississippi Studios last night, basking in the sound of William Parker, Hamid Drake, and Peter Brotzmann tying themselves together into knots and restructuring every idea you may have about jazz music, you have the Creative Music Guild to thank.

Those tireless volunteers have been doing some incredible work, curating their regular Outset Series concerts and using their meager budget to bring in artists from out of the area to dazzle and intellectually stimulate fans of avant garde music. This year, alone, that has meant incredible performances by Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, Joelle Leandre, John Haughm, Sister Mamie Foreskin, MSHR, and so many more. And did I mention the people working these shows are all volunteer?

All this is to say that the CMG need your help to continue their work, in particular their upcoming Improvisation Summit of Portland, going down at Disjecta on June 4th, 5th, and 6th. The lineup they have in place for this is, as you might imagine, a jaw-dropper: AACM member Roscoe Mitchell, Gordon Ashworth, CATFISH, Brumes, Arrington de Dionyso, Secret Drum Band, and so many more. If your ear is even slightly bent towards experimental sounds, this is a weekend you do not want to miss.

[Oh, and I’m going to be hosting a panel on one of the days, subject TBD. And no, I’m not being compensated for my time. All for the love of the game, fam.]

If you have some extra cash to spare, I encourage you to throw some dough to this cause. Their goal is modest (thanks to the help of the RACC and the other fundraisers they’ve thrown through the year), so this should take little time for them to reach it. As long as you can help out, of course. Click right here to offer your support.

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News: Third Angle Announces 2015-16 Season

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I was lucky enough to spend part of last night in the company of the Third Angle ensemble and one of my favorite writers, Alex Ross of The New Yorker, as the former presented a showcase of 20th and 21st century composers from the West Coast (incl. Lou Harrison, Henry Cowell, and John Luther Adams) with narration and comments from the latter. It was a majestic and challenging and inspiring evening that reaffirmed what amazing work this small organization is doing to keep the spirits of both the chamber recital and contemporary classical music alive.

They also used the evening as an opportunity to announce the next season of Third Angle performances, which you can find here on their website. As expected, it is an impressive series that includes a celebration of Steve Reich’s 80th birthday with the help of the gents from So Percussion (pictured above) that includes the Portland premiere of the composer’s Sextet, an evening dedicated to the Radio Happenings conversations that took place between John Cage and Morton Feldman between 1966 and 1967, and lots of music by contemporary composers like Evan Kuhlmann, Michael van der Aa, and Jay Derderian. It’s such a thrilling selection of performances, so much so that for the first time, I’m trying to see if i can work a full-season subscription into my already tight budget. Maybe I’ll see you there?

News: The Canary Series – Call For Scores/Proposals

UPDATE: In response to this post, Nora has extended the deadline to February 10th! 

I had the pleasure of meeting Nora Ryan at this past Sunday’s Experimental Portland Presents… show and talked a bit with her about her recent relocation to our fair city, and her work as a vocalist. She’s an incredible singer; versatile, thoughtful, and so wonderful to have vibrating through your skull on these cold winter days.

One of the things that Ryan is most excited about is collaborating with other musicians and artists, which is why she is accepting proposals for new works that she can perform and (I’m guessing) record at some point. She calls it “The Canary Series,” and she will be singing the material that she chooses during the monthly Muse:forward series that happens at The Waypost.

If you’re interested in proposing something to her – sadly the call for proposals ends at the end of this month – get in touch very soon. More information copy/pasted from her website below.

Miniatures: 1-3 minutes
for solo female voice
or
female voice+… most anything

1 piece/month to be given a workshop performance at Portland’s experimental open micMuse:forward.

Number of pieces and months: to be determined.

Invited to submit

Composers
Composer/Performers
Sound Artists
Electronic Musicians
Choreographers
Singer/Songwriters
Performance Artists
Creators of All Types and Stripes

Open to Portland Area locals.

Though not required, music can feature collaborative co-creation, improvisation, voice integrated with movement, and extended techniques.

Music featuring the mid-range of the vocal instrument D4-C5 will be met favorably. Full vocal range includes G3-E5 with improvisatory sounds available D3-Fsharp3 and F5-Bflat5.

Voice+ pieces can treat the voice as a soloist/featured instrument, as part of an ensemble (vocal ensemble, chamber ensemble, or chamber band configurations are all fair game), or as a background/textural instrument.

If writing for Voice+ the creator must have access to the additional performing forces required. For example, if submitting a piece for Voice + Accordion, the composer must either be the accordion player or have a friend/colleague cued up to be the accordion player. Basically, write for the forces you have access to. Write for your resources.

Traditional notation, graphical scores, text scores, aleatory elements, or musical arrangements are all open territory. No score? No worries. Proposals, in lieu of scores, that outline and contextualize your idea are perhaps even more applicable to this call. Just introduce yourself and your idea and your process. Give me a sense of what it would be like to come up with some music with you, or what you would want out of my instrument for your vision.

Weird is good, accessible is good too. Conceptual pop tunes, minimalism, folk influence, noise, drone, or ancient music renditions are especially beloved. But most anything else that you can think of is welcomed, really.

Getting in a room with some source materials, some players, and a map of some sort to riff on is what I love to do.

Click here to Submit
Feel free to be informal and creative…

What you will need to submit:

1.  link(s) to the PDF of your score and/or proposal via a file sharing service

2.  link(s) to examples of your existing work and/or portfolio

3.  link(s) to examples of the work of any additional performers for whom the piece is scored

(optional)
4.  link(s) to any score-specific supporting materials you’d like to submit (audio, video, written doc, graphics, personal message, midi recordings, etc.)

You can submit more than one score / proposal.

The Canary Series is a self directed, low-key, mini residency devised and curated by me, Nora Ryan. Big thanks goes to Christopher Corbell of Muse:forward for hosting the series.

To hear/see examples of my work go to about.me/nora.e.ryan.

Click here for sounds that inspire me.

Click here for my bio and here for select works.

And feel free to contact me direct: thecanaryseries@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you. Questions welcomed

Podcast: New Podcasts From Creative Music Guild and Apneic Void

While you patiently await the arrival of a new Experimental Portland Radio podcast, allow us to direct your attention to a couple of new podcasts from some of our local heroes.

Creative Music Guild has started up PDX Eye & Ear Control, a new podcast to help promote their ongoing concert series. The first episode, where they talk music with the gents behind The Crenshaw (who are playing tonight at Turn Turn Turn as part of CMG’s Outset Series) can be accessed by clicking here.

Daniel Schultz finally put into motion a new website for his label Apneic Void, and with it comes a podcast or as he calls it, a Voidcast, where he will be talking about creativity with various musicians, friends, and colleagues. The first edition went live today and features a coffee shop conversation with Netherfriends and Chipper Jones.

And the new edition of EXPDX Radio is set to go out into the world tomorrow. Prepare yourself accordingly.