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


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.


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: 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
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

Sound Artists
Electronic Musicians
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

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

Click here for sounds that inspire me.

Click here for my bio and here for select works.

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

News: Debacle Fest 2014 Happening May 30th and 31st

The lineup and dates for the 2014 Debacle Fest in Seattle have been announced, and this year’s installment is featuring a bevy of wonderful talent from here in Portland. Don’t just take my word for it; here is a cut/paste of the press release I was sent a week or so ago.

Let’s fucking celebrate our community: For Debacle Fest 2014, May 30th and 31st, we’re showcasing what the festival is all about — our amazing family of artists, all our supportive fans turned friends, and some favorite local hangouts.


Opening ceremonies commence Friday May 30th at Capitol Hill boutique gallery Cairo with a small line up of intimate performances and hotdog vendor Quack Dogs on location. Then a big whirlwind of a Saturday, May 31st, descends upon Eastlake and Republican, giving fans a Choose Your Own Adventure-style evening across LoFi Performance Gallery, Black Lodge, and the Victory Lounge. Attendees will be able to choose between concurrent performances on all three stages. To up the party atmosphere, local food truck Napkin Friends will be on site and Victory Lounge will offer food specials to fill bellies while projection artists satisfy the eyes.


The richness on tap here in the PNW flows through our lineup. Longtime Debacle family like Dull Knife, Brain Fruit, Black Hat, Blue Sabbath Black Cheer, and L.A. Lungs bring consistently top-notch performances, while Threads, Slow Drips, and Chris Davis make Fest debuts. Talent from up and down the best coast are on hand as well, with Danny Paul Grody, Secret Pyramid, Golden Retriever, Sutekh Hexen, Common Eider King Eider, and more.


And the party isn’t just stuck in night mode: Saturday afternoon, the wealth of Seattle experimental labels is to be had as we host a Record Label Fair, sharing the limelight with our fellow purveyors of underground sounds. From Noon to Five at the Black Lodge eager music seekers can pick up wares from the likes of Medical Records, Translinguistic Other, Eiderdown, and Hanged Man, to name but a few, with DJs and a live performance.  


Stage schedules and band bio’s forthcoming.


Debacle Fest 2014 Line-Up:


Total Life

Danny Paul Grody

Golden Retriever

Sutekh Hexen

Common Eider, King Eider

Black Hat

Gabriel Mindel Saloman (ex-Yellow Swans)

Spectrum Control (Dewey Mahood of Plankton Wat/Eternal Tapestry)

Gordon Ashworth (ex-Concern, Oscillating Innards)

Secret Pyramid

Dull Knife

Garek Druss (Story of Rats, Dull Knife)


Brain Fruit

Blue Sabbath Black Cheer

Dialing In

LIMITS (Jason Anderson of Draft/Gift Tapes)

King Tears Bat Trip

L.A. Lungs

New Weather

Pink Void

RM Francis


Timm Mason (Mood Organ, Midday Veil)

Ecstatic Cosmic Union


Marcus Price

Chris Davis (Brain Fruit)

Slow Drips


News: Check Out the Schedule for the 2014 March Music Moderne


Whilst checking out my man Ben Kates’ favorite albums of 2013, I followed the thread of links over to the March Music Moderne website last night. And lo and behold, there was the schedule for the 2014 edition of this fine modern music and art event, happening from March 6 – 16th all over our fair city.

Click here to check out the complete lineup but do let me point you to some especially exciting events:

— On March 7th at Cinema 21, there will be a screening of A Clockwork Orange, one of Stanley Kubrick’s most masterful works and featuring the still stirring synthesized soundtrack courtesy of Walter/Wendy Carlos.

— A celebration of Lou Reed’s all noise album Metal Machine Music on March 8th at Three Friends Coffeehouse that “will be revved up by PDX writer Amanda Sledz & danced by 3 Seattle Butoh artists: Joan Laage, Sheri Brown & Alan Sutherland.”

— A celebration of great modern LBGT composers at Holocene on March 9th, including works by Pauline Oliveros, Lou Harrison & Peter Maxwell Davies as performed by Classical Revolution PDX.

— A lecture on March 14th at Lewis & Clark College focusing on the work of Iannis Xenakis.

— The Demoltion Duo will play at Performance Works NW on March 15th “in improvised duos & large ensemble works with special guests; Juniana Lanning (electronics), Dan Duval (guitar), Alyssa Reed-Stuewe, Joe Cunningham (tenor sax) & John Sielaff (bass clarinet)”

News: Beacon Sound Starting Label; Needs Kickstarter Support

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One of the finer record stores here in our fair city Beacon Sound is making the leap that fellow shops Mississippi and Jackpot have done and are starting their own in-house imprint. They’ve already dipped their toes into that world with a trio of cassette/digital releases, but now they’re looking to dive right into getting out its first vinyl release.

As is the way of our mixed up world, they need some help from their supporters and customers to make it happen. To that end, they’ve enacted a Kickstarter campaign to help them get out their first release: a collaboration between former Yellow Swans member Gabriel Saloman, and multi-instrumentalist Peter Broderick.

And that ain’t all: the store is going to be having a celebration of this new venture in, of all places, my old stomping ground in Seaview, Washington. Held at the Sou’Wester Lodge on October 25th and 26th, the event will feature sets by Messrs. Saloman and Broderick, as well as performances by Grouper, Rauelsson, and Apartment Fox.

Today in Experimental Portland – Wednesday, August 7

Dreamboat + WL + Concern @ Holocene, 9pm

Here’s what I wrote about this bill for today’s Willamette Week: Dreamboat, the collaboration between Golden Retriever’s Matt Carlson and Jonathan Sielaff and guitarist Ilyas Ahmed, made its debut at the Old Church during last year’s MusicfestNW, and it was the perfect environment to fully absorb the gorgeous interplay between Carlson’s modular synth, Sielaff’s processed bass clarinet and Ahmed’s hushed vocals and guitar melodies. Combined, the elements create the kind of deep body-mind high familiar to both weed fanatics and distance runners. Opening act Concern adds to the heady quality of the night with long, expressive, droning, loop-based compositions built from acoustic instruments.  

Dead Channel + Ordeal @ Valentines, 9pm

Dead Channel is a new collaboration between musician Cody Brandt and vocalist Jack Gilbert, which just released a cassette on the venerable Night People label. Their music has some weird Goth leanings to it, but keeps from sinking into that genre’s self-important mire by maintaining an audible sense of humor that reminds me at least of early Ween material.

Creative Music Guild‘s Outset Series presents: Lisa Schonberg + LKN @ Revival Drum Shop, 8pm

The CMG’s regular series of events, held in the delightful and tempting Revival Drum Shop on N. Prescott, tonight invites two of the city’s finest percussionists to perform (I’m guessing) solo sets. Schonberg is perhaps the more better known of the two having worked with the much beloved post-punk trio Explode Into Colors and for her all percussion ensemble the Secret Drum Band, but LKN (or Lauren K. Newman) has some equally impressive credits to her name having backed up sci-fi rockers SubArachnoid Space, as well as Castanets.

Today in Experimental Portland – Tuesday, August 6

Guenter Schlienz + Black Hat + Goodwill Smith + Pulse Emitter @ Valentines, 9pm

Guenter Schlienz spent the better part of his younger years playing guitar in psychedelic rock bands before making the switch to modular synthesizers of his own construction in 2003. The move was the perfect one as his recent efforts (which has come in huge waves; he’s released three short-run cassettes already this year) has a delicate beauty to it that more immature artists would eschew in the place of clamor and noise. He’s joined on this bill by fellow synth explorers Pulse Emitter and Goodwill Smith.




Today in Experimental Portland – Sunday, August 4

Blue Cranes + AgesandAges @ Rontoms, 8pm

As much as I love the idea of the Rontoms Sunday Sessions – two bands playing for free in the cozy confines of this E Portland bar – I rarely go these days as the music selection tends to be another pat on the back to the rather staid indie pop scene here in Portland. Yes, there have been plenty of exceptions to that rule and surely more to come, but I stand by my assessment. Anyway, tonight’s event has me pretty thrilled as it brings jazz quintet Blue Cranes out for an evening. They’ve been plenty busy since the release of their recent album Swim, playing PDX Jazz, St. Johns Bizarre, the Cathedral Park Jazz Festival, and plenty of local shows. But their muscular avant bop sounds should go incredibly well in the outdoor space where many of these events take place.



Today in Experimental Portland – Saturday, August 3

Control Voltage One-Year Anniversary Show: Montgomery Word + Tough Fuzz + Floral + Studenets @ Control Voltage, 7pm

Without question the coolest music shop in Portland, Control Voltage is a playground for electronic music enthusiasts of all stripes. Where else in town can you make  hellish noises with a Theremin or a MiniMoog, buy a few transistors, and walk out so inspired you might rush home and make your next DIY Silver Apples of the Moon? They’ve been open for a full year, and are ready to celebrate. Joining them will be a quartet of local future beat artists who will provide the perfect backdrop for a party atmosphere.


Canoofle + Brian Kenny Fresno + Mr. Plow @ Hawthorne Theatre Lounge, 9pm

It’s always a treat when Canoofle resurfaces for a performance. Their concept is simple: they take song title suggestions from the audience and improvise songs on the spot with those ideas in mind. They tend to lean towards more standard song structures, but everything comes blazing out with a welcome, playful spirit.