MSP/Piano+: w Transbay Multimedia Consort for British NY-based avant vocalist | sound artist Viv Corringham’s 2014 NorCal Tour, 08-19 Oct — CCRMA • Luggage Store • Berkeley Arts Festival • Second Act • The Nunnery

Viv Corringham

I’m very excited to be joining British NY-based avant vocalist & sound artist Viv Corringham for her NorCal tour! I had a wonderful time playing with her and percussionist extraordinaire Suki O’Kane last year and I’m really looking forward to playing together again.

This time I’ll join Viv as part of an expanded Transbay multimedia consort of Deep Listening practitioners and neogaku kaiju (with Nancy Beckman, Tom Bickley, Nan Busse, Ron Heglin, Jon Myers, Suki O’Kane, Bill Thibault, and Jennifer Wilsey in various of the shows)

Programs may include various types of improv games based on sonic grammars, deviant sample-melting, mnemo-narrative field recordings, and an intermedia moiré of words, utterance, sound, motion, memory, image & music.

The tour has 5 Bay Area dates. Immediately below is a list of these, followed by info on Viv and our crew, then details of each date adding info about the venues and other acts.

Viv Corringham (R) & Andrea Parkins (L) performing at Douglass Street Music Collective, NYC, 13 Aug 2013

Viv Corringham Bay Area Tour Dates (we’re the final set in all cases)

Wed 08 Oct: CCRMA, Stanford (w Beckman, Bickley, Busse, Lasqo, Myers, Thibault). [jump to other acts & show time-place specifics | read on for VC Consort info]

— Set 1: Tom Duff & his Wire Machine

Thu 09 Oct: Luggage Store Gallery, SF (w Beckman, Bickley, Busse, Lasqo, O’Kane, Thibault, Wilsey) [jump to other acts & show time-place specifics | read on for VC Consort info]

— Ongoing vibratory art installation: David Gurman

— Set 1: Bryan Day, [ruidobello] (Jorge Bachmann), Mason Jones & Michael Gendreau

Fri 10 Oct: Berkeley Arts Festival (w Beckman, Bickley, Heglin, Lasqo, Thibault, Wilsey) [jump to other acts & show time-place specifics | read on for VC Consort info]

— Set Ø: Metropolitan Butoh (都風舞踏) (Molly Barrons, Ronnie Baker, Christina Braun, Martha Matsuda)

— Set 1: Henry Kuntz & Envision Ensemble (Brian Godchaux, John Kuntz, Esten Lindgren, Dan Plonsey)

Sat 18 Oct: FogRaiser @ Second Act, SF (w Beckman, Bickley, Busse, Lasqo, O’Kane, Thibault, Wilsey) [jump to other acts & show time-place specifics | read on for VC Consort info]

— Set 1: Carolyn Fok | Set 2: Matt Dean | Set 3: Jack Hertz & rizorkestra

Sun 19 Oct (afternoon): The Nunnery, SF (w Beckman, Bickley, Busse, Lasqo, Wilsey) [jump to other acts & show time-place specifics | read on for VC Consort info]

— Set 1: Kattt Atchley & Ron Heglin

Details for each show follow below.

Steve Smoliar’s preview of our SF shows at here

(L → R) John Bisset, Viv Corringham, David Leahy, & Alison Blunt perform on the BBC's Jazz on 3 - Sound of Cinema

Viv Corringham has worked internationally since the early 80s, creating music performances, audio installations & soundwalks, using as her tools a gorgeous voice, a wide-open imagination, field recordings, and live electronics.

For a taste, click below to experience her multi-media collaboration with Elio Martusciello:

Viv Corringham's Soniferous Garden, Walker Art Center, MN, Jul 2013 - An aural expedition guide for World Listening Day

She’s interested in exploring people’s special relationship with familiar places and how that links to an interior landscape of personal history, memory and association.

Viv Corringham

Her ongoing project Shadow-Walks has been presented in gallery shows from New York to Istanbul to Hong Kong:

Viv Corringham's Shadow-Walks

“In the Shadow-walks project I go to places and ask local people to take me on walks that are special for them in some way.  I record our conversations as we walk together.  Later I retrace the person’s walk on my own and attempt to “sing the walk” through vocal improvisations. These recordings are edited together to make the final sound piece. I also collect any objects I find on the person’s route.”

For an example of the multi-media convergence of walking, song and remembrance, see her evocative commemoration of collaboration with late British thaumaturge and percussionist Paul Burwell, Together Then Created A Journey That Both Forgot:

Viv’s wonderful recent album of shadow-walks from 3 continents, Walking, will be available at these shows. Viv is a maestra of blending strongly place-evoking field recordings with cozy/haunting vocal lines of uncommon beauty and invention. This album of shadow-walks is the place to hear the amazing results.

Viv Corringham's brilliant new album, Walking

Not limited to roaming physical space, Viv’s travels extend to virtual space, including the notable Avatar Orchestra Metaverse project, meeting regularly with Pauline Oliveros and other happy mutants to play audio-visual instruments in Second Life.

Zonzo Spyker (Viv Corringham) performing in Avatar Orchestra Metaverse

Viv’s training and awards include an MA in Sonic Art with Distinction from Middlesex University & a BA in Theatre Design from Nottingham Trent University. She’s a certified teacher of Deep Listening, having studied with Pauline Oliveros. Viv is a 2012 and 2006 McKnight Composer Fellow; other grants and awards have come from Jerome Meet the Composer, the English & Irish Arts Councils, Jazz Services, Millennium Funding, London Arts Board, Chisenhale Awards, and others.

Joe Lasqo @ Meridian Gallery, 11 Jan 2012 (Photo:,

It is my honor and pleasure to join Viv and her multimedia consort in these performances. The following performers will join the consort on different dates:

Nancy Beckman

◉ Nancy Beckman (shakuhachi)

Nancy Beckman creates performance pieces, plays and teaches the shakuhachi, and performs with the Cornelius Cardew Choir. Her education includes an undergraduate degree in East Asian Studies from Wesleyan University, a master’s in Interarts from SFSU and ordination to teach shakuhachi from Myōan-ji (明暗寺, the famous “Temple of Light & Darkness” of shakuhachi history) in Kyoto.

The Gate of Light & Darkness at Myōan-ji (明暗寺門)

Tom Bickley and friend

Tom Bickley and friend

◉ Tom Bickley (Paetzold contrabass recorder | EWI wind synth | objects)

Tom Bickley (bio / site) composes electro-acoustic music, plays and teaches recorder, performs with Three Trapped Tigers (with recorder player David Barnett), co-founded and directs the Cornelius Cardew Choir, is a curator emeritus of the Meridian Gallery music series, and is on the Library Faculty (music, philosophy and political science) at CSU East Bay. His education includes degrees in music, theology, and library and information science and the Certificate in Deep Listening.

Nan Busse

◉ Nan Busse (dance | didgeridoo)

Nan Busse has been creating dance-based art works since receiving her MFA from UC-Irvine. Collaborating with choreographer Christopher Beck she made pieces performed at Centerspace (Project Artaud) & New College; and with her partner, poet Tobey Kaplan, participated in the Link inter-disciplinary performance series.

Since about 1999 she’s been unable to stop dancing – thanks to Yvonne Caldwell, Evelyn Thomas, Roger Dillahunty, Georgia Ortega, John Tanner, and the great Cassie Terman, and has toured in Việt Nam and the US with Nguyễn Dance Company.

Originally trained as a musician (piano), Nan’s increasing engagement with the didgeridoo, as both an instrument and dance partner, has led to some wonderful collaborations where she executes her part at all points on the spectrum between sound and movement.

Ron Heglin (photo - Joel Deuter)

◉ Ron Heglin (trombone | tuba | voice)

Ron Heglin is a low-brassist and vocalist working with extended technique on the trombone and with spoken and sung imaginary languages. His voicing has been influenced by his study of North Indian vocal music. He works both compositionally and in an improvisational mode. He has been a member of the Bay Area music context for over 25 years and has performed internationally.

Joe Lasqo & Morgana perform w Jim Ryan's Green Alembic in the sfSoundSalonSeries at Center for New Music, San Francisco, 15 Apr 2014 (Photo by Carly Hoopes)

◉ Joe Lasqo (laptop | piano | objects)

Laptopist/pianist Joe Lasqo studied classical music in India; computer music at MIT, Columbia, Berkeley/CNMAT; has been a long-time avant jazz musician; & has lived, played & listened in many East Asian and European countries (now in SF).

Special interests include applying AI techniques from expert systems, natural language processing, and computational linguistics to music; and the intersection of traditional Asian musics with modernism.

Joe is a regular member of Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra, Donald Robinson’s IBIM LAB, and Jim Ryan’s Green Alembic, as well as his own Renga-kai (連歌会) Ensemble, and looks forward to upcoming releases with Thomas Dimuzio, Beth Custer, and Biggi Vinkeloe.

Jon Myers

Jon Myers

◉ Jon Myers (percussion)

Jon Myers is a composer & percussionist from Boston, MA interested in fractal and cyclic forms. He plays in various traditional and contemporary contexts from jazz and Javanese gamelan to new music chamber and percussion ensembles in addition to performing with radio-feedback instruments and computer programs of his own devising.  He is currently studying composition at Mills College in Oakland, CA. His composition Mobile was premiered in Oct 2013 at the Berkeley CNMAT.

Suki O'Kane

Suki O'Kane

◉ Suki O’Kane (percussion)

Suki O’Kane is a classically trained mallet percussionist, a composer and an instigator working with artists from a wide array of of music, movement & public art genres. One of the founding members of the lo-fi sampling ensemble The Noodles (w Michael Zelner), Suki plays percussion with Moe! Staiano’s Moe!kestra!, Dan Plonsey’s Daniel Popsicle, Big City Orchestra and is an ensemble member of Thingamajigs, performing new works by Edward Schocker, Dylan Bolles and Zachary James Watkins.

She works in partnership with House of Zoka, a live recording project that has documented over 13 years of creative new music in the Bay Area, & since 2003 has been curating performances of live music and film, such as The Illuminated Corridor, a nomadic public art project that creates streetscapes of live experimental music and performative projection and Music by the Eyeful, the indoor performance series exploring the work of intermedia artists.

The 4 heads of Bill Thibault depicted as video Brahmā (ब्रह्मा)

◉ Bill Thibault (video)

Bill Thibault received a Ph.D. in Information & Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology (thesis: “Application of Binary Space Partitioning Trees to Geometric Modeling and Ray-Tracing”) As a Ph.D. candidate he worked at Bell Labs (now Lucent Technologies) in Murray Hill, NJ. Upon graduation, he took his current position on the faculty of the Dept. of Math & Computer Science at California State University, East Bay.

Somewhere along the way he also turned to the Multispectral Side and became the notorious VJLove, master of the doors of visual perception, and co-conspirator in many raids on reality, with partners in crime like Kattt Atchley, Kenneth Atchley, John Bischoff, Chris Brown, Barbara Golden, Scot Gresham-Lancaster, Tim Perkis, and WIGBAND.

Jennifer Wilsey

◉ Jennifer Wilsey (percussion)

Improviser/composer/educator Jennifer Wilsey currently performs with improvising ensembles The Bloom Trio (with W. Allaudin Mathieu and George Marsh), Timeless Pulse (with Pauline Oliveros, Thomas Buckner, George Marsh, and David Wessel), and Gestaltish (Gretchen Jude, Rachel Condry, Jacob Pek).

She received her BA in Music from UC Santa Cruz and MFA in Improvisation from Mills College, and is a Deep Listening Certificate holder. As an educator, Jennifer teaches percussion, percussion pedagogy, and directs the Percussion and Improvisation Ensemble at Sonoma State University. At Mills College she teaches Advanced Musicianship while serving as the Musicianship Program Coordinator. She also maintains a private studio, offering creative music lessons in Santa Rosa and Oakland, California.


Wed 08 Oct, 9pm: CCRMA, Stanford.

We’re keenly looking forward to play at the South Bay’s floating city of computer music, whose brilliant composers and music technologists are always on the leading edge of projects such as telematic performance, reproducing the hyper-prolonged delay of the Hagia Sophia to perform Byzantine music designed for a space a half-planet away, mustering massive laptop-orchestras, gamifying music, 3D-printing mutated daxophonic attachments, and sonifying tomatoes.

CCRMA is housed in The Knoll, 660 Lomita Dr., Stanford, CA 94305 (map, transport, directions)

Viv Corringham

Set 2, 9pm: Viv Corringham with Nancy Beckman, Tom Bickley, Nan Busse, Joe Lasqo, Jon Myers, and Bill Thibault (jump to Viv Corringham tour info)

Tom Duff burning the midnight photons

— Set 1: Tom Duff & his Wire Machine: Lucier, Golomb, Gray (8pm)

In a rare appearance, Bay Area master Tom Duff will install and perform/operate his Wire Machine, which takes Alvin Lucier’s seminal composition/installation Music on a Long Thin Wire and runs with it.

Alvin Lucier behind the horseshoe magnet used to induce vibrations to the wire (photo: Lon Holmberg, design: Patrick Vitacco, from LP Cover of Alvin Lucier's Music on a Long Thin Wire, Lovely Music)

Alvin Lucier behind the horseshoe magnet used to induce vibrations to the wire (photo: Lon Holmberg, design: Patrick Vitacco, from LP Cover of Alvin Lucier's Music on a Long Thin Wire, Lovely Music)

Almost 40 years ago, new music explorer Alvin Lucier designed and assembled an embodied musical process from a long wire, clamps, tables, speakers, an amp, an oscillator, microphones, and a powerful magnet.

Tom Duff performs on the Wired Machine @ Battery Townsley, Marin Headlands, as part of the Soundwave (5) festival, 05 Aug 2012

Impresario, master of digital graphics & electronic sound art, and creator of Duff’s Device, Tom Duff has re-imagined, re-realized, and radicalized this original scenario on various occasions, e.g. the notorious 5-day performance on sfSoundRadio in 2011 and the site-specific realization for the Soundwave (5) festival at Battery Townsley in the Marin Headlands in 2012.

Tom will use his expanded version of Lucier’s kit to perform his piece Lucier, Golomb, Gray, exploring the effects of useful information encoding schemes on a vibrating electromechanical system and its listeners. (Those who are familiar with these encoding schemes will enjoy the dry wit of the score).

With or without such arcane knowledge, you won’t know what hit you, but your chakras will be thoroughly cleansed (losslessly, and without spurious outputs). Listen if you dare…

Tom Duff

Tom’s early musical life involved studying electronic music under Sam Dolin and Ann Southam at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto in the 1960s.

Nowadays he composes, sings in the Cardew Choir, and plays banjo, ukelele, electronics, and home-built instruments.

Tom Duff gave life to the title role in Gino Robair's opera, "I, Norton"

Tom is notorious for many things, not the least of which are his many performances in the title role as Emperor Norton in Gino Robair’s opera I, Norton

…and Bay Area lovers of new music are heavily indebted to him for 15 years+ of superb new music concert series in the East Bay, including his ongoing Tom’s Place (calendar) house concert series, his role in organizing the annual San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, and his irregular (some would say, quite irregular…) Transbay Skronkathons.

Outside of sorting out the new music force field of the Bay Area, Tom finds time to also be a super graphics programming badass at Pixar (and before, Lucasfilm), where his adventures have led to multiple patents and a couple of Academy Awards.

Glenda, the Plan 9 Bunny, is the evil creation of Renée French for the purposes of total and utter world domination as part of the Plan 9 from Bell Labs

Prior to terrorizing the West Coast, Tom bent technology space at Bell Labs where he did graphics, networking, and authored the “rc” shell for v10 (the last “Research UNIX”), before being assimilated into the dark ops of the Bell Labs Plan 9 project, where he wrote the Mothra browser, Plan 9′s counterpart to Netscape’s Mozilla.

To those astonished by Tom’s ability to juggle being a thought-leader in both musical and technology fields, he might reply with a characteristic aphorism: “It’s not that kind of zero”.


Outsound: A New Sonic Collective for the 21st Century

Thu 09 Oct, 9pm: Outsound Presents’ Luggage Store Gallery Series, 1007 Market St. @ 6th Street, San Francisco (map)

Luggage Store Gallery - Doorway to the beyond...

Outsound Presents fantastic series @ the Luggage Store Gallery has been a home away from home for avant-garde sound artists both local and international for many years, as well as offering the unique chance to dialog with the superb art exhibitions curated there by Laurie Lazer & Darryl Smith.

A reflected conflict zone from Reflector, by David Gurman

We’re especially looking forward to a multimedia conversation with the current installation, Reflector, by co-founder of MAPPR, TED Fellow, and data artist David Gurman, internationally recognized for using real time data and citizen reportage from conflict zones to drive kinetic art installations. His “real-time memorials” bring events we usually only hear about directly into the same space as our bodies.

Here the 4½ foot inner circle of each installation unit is a sightly concave bowl half-filled with water. A pad on the outer circle allows the viewer to select from various political or eco conflict zones and transmit the real time seismic signals from that conflict zone to the concave bowl, causing ripples and sometimes even the water jumping up (it turns out that artillery fire in Syria is well detected by seismic sensors).

Viv Corringham

— Set 2, 9pm: Viv Corringham with Nancy Beckman, Tom Bickley, Nan Busse, Joe Lasqo, Suki O’Kane, Bill Thibault, and Jennifer Wilsey (jump to Viv Corringham tour info)

CERN particle-boffin running to Luggage Store meeting….

— Set 1Bryan Day + Michael Gendreau + Mason Jones + [ruidobello] (Jorge Bachmann):  (8pm)

Particle-boffins are urgently meeting at CERN to determine the quantum implications of the unification of these four sonic forces. The dark energy that powers the universe’s expansion may be found to center on the coordinates of the Luggage Store when they simultaneously converge.

Bryan Day performs in the Active Music Series @ The Uptown, Oakland, 11 Jun 2013 (photo - John Scharpen)

Bryan Day is a improviser, instrument inventor, illustrator & installation artist based in Richmond, CA. His work involves combining elements of the natural and man-made world using field recordings, custom audio generation software and homemade instruments. Bryan’s work explores the parallels between the patterns and systems in nature to those in contemporary society.

Bryan Day

Bryan has toured throughout the US, Europe, Japan, Korea, Argentina & Mexico, performing both solo as Sistrum and Eloine, and in the Shelf Life and Seeded Plain ensembles, as well as with innumerable collaborators.

Bryan Day's kit reflects his sound universe (photo - John Scharpen)

Bryan Day's kit reflects his sound universe (photo - John Scharpen)

Since 1997 he has been running the new music label Public Eyesore and its sister label Eh?. Through Public Eyesore and Eh?, Bryan has produced and released over 200 albums of improvised and experimental music by artists from all over the globe, in addition to co-curating the music series at Meridian Gallery in San Francisco.

Michael Gendreau

Michael Gendreau has composed and performed solo, as well as in several group configurations, since 1979. His former group Crawling With Tarts (1983 – 1998) used ideas revolving around elementalism and pre-language states. Michael has elaborated on these ideas while adding concepts based on his studies in physics, philosophies attending to temporal and environmental persistence, applications of parataxis, and experiments with small motors and turntable mechanisms. His performances have involved sounds from one-off transcription discs cast by others in the middle of the last century, and those cut in his studio using a decrepit lathe.

More recently, Michael has sought to extend these later studies, and to use buildings as speakers. He records the infrasonic vibrations of the performance space and in the concert, and he uses the structure’s resonances as an additional instrument in his site-specific compositions. These practices are based in part on his current work as an acoustician, working primarily on low-vibration and noise design for buildings.

Mason Jones

VP of Engineering at Womply & co-founder of FinderLabs, Mason Jones has worked at startups around San Francisco such RPX, SingleFeed, BlackArrow, DHAP, Nickelodeon Online, etc. for over 20 years, building products and leading engineering teams.

In his other life, he’s a musician, primarily a guitarist. Mason started the band SubArachnoid Space, and his current project is Numinous Eye. As well as releasing many solo/collaborative albums, Mason founded the Charnel Music label in the early 90s and put out records by bands like Crash Worship, Pain Teens, Gravitar, Fushitsusha (不失者), and Mainliner. Mason has written extensively about Japan’s independent music scene and for Dusted magazine.

Jorge Bachmann (aka Ruidobello)

Sculptor, electronics master, photographer, and engineer [ruidobello] (Jorge Bachmann) is a multi-disciplinary, mixed-media and sound artist. Since the early 80s, Jorge has been exploring the strange, unique and microcosmic sounds of everyday life, collecting field recordings. The sound atmospheres created are meant for deep listening and are composed in symbiosis with the sculptural installations.

He creates equally sensual and detailed oriented photo-based work; and his art explores social and sensual constructs and experiences.

Starting his career in Bogotá, Colombia and then active for a long period in Lausanne, Switzerland, Jorge eventually relocated to the Bay Area and has become a technical and artistic mainstay of MEDIATE’s Soundwave Series as well as the Engineer Scotty of the Starship SFEMF, somehow finding time to regularly give solo electronic concerts like his recent brilliant one at The Lab.


Fri 10 Oct, 9:15pm: Berkeley Arts Festival (2133 University Avenue, Berkeley, CA – map)

Another opportunity to play at the East Bay’s indispensable focal point for new music, Berkeley Arts Festival, is always welcome!

— Set 2, 9:15pm: Viv Corringham with Nancy Beckman, Tom Bickley, Ron Heglin, Joe Lasqo, Bill Thibault, and Jennifer Wilsey (jump to Viv Corringham tour info)

Martha Matsuda performing (image - Doug Slater / Doug Slater Photography)

— Set Ø: Metropolitan Butoh (都風舞踏) (Molly Barrons, Ronnie Baker, Christina Braun, Martha Matsuda) (8pm)

Following our Aug experiment in using the large bay windows as go-go cages for avant-dance, we repeat the dance opener format w Metropolitan Butoh (都風舞踏), a group of veteran Bay Area butoh performers of the Tamano School who’ve collaborated since 2004.

Butoh came to the United States with the arrival in Berkeley in 1978 of Kōichi & Hiroko Tamano (玉野黄市 & 玉野弘子). Kōichi was the protégé of butoh’s co-founder, Tatsumi Hijikata (土方巽), and the Tamanos have maintained Hijikata’s legacy in California via their butoh company, Harupin-Ha (ハルピン派, “The Harbin Faction”).

Kōichi Tamano (玉野黄市) of Harupin-Ha (ハルピン派)

Hijikata used a type of layered imagery, much like poetry, that he called Fu (譜, a word that can also mean music notation). Metropolitan Butoh, whose members have studied and worked w Harupin-Ha, use this method to generate imagery, creating the movement for their performances.

Mission Fu (ミッション譜) is the title of our ongoing exploration of images from the urban landscape, in the Mission District, Oakland, Detroit and other cities where have lived. We comment on the breakdown of human contact as society gets increasingly pulled into machines, the perversion of greed and the effects of homelessness, addiction and poverty. We generate work that speaks to social justice issues in a non-narrative way; it is imagery born from the streets we walk. For the Berkeley Arts Festival, we will engage with the local landscape to create time-based art; a Berkeley Fu (バークレー譜).”

Molly Barrons

Molly Barrons is from Detroit. She received her B.A. in Dance from Sarah Lawrence College. She created Metropolitan Butoh as a vehicle for training, performance and community, and for many years co-produced the San Francisco Butoh Festival with Brechin Flournoy.

Ronnie Baker performing

Ronnie Baker, a student of Kōichi and Hiroko Tamano (玉野黄市 & 玉野弘子), has been training and dancing Butoh since 2000. He has been involved in the performing arts, since the early 1990’s. He has performed in the US and Japan.

Ronnie Baker performing

In addition to butoh, his background experiences include static trapeze, Spanish web, hand-balancing, some contortion with a circus community in Atlanta, and capoeira, Currently, he trains and dances ballet with Monique Goldwater Ballet.

Christina Braun

Christina Braun

Lifelong dancer Christina Braun’s choreography with collaborating composers has been presented regularly since 2002.  At SF Butoh LAB and with BUTOH San Francisco, she has produced Butoh Dance symposia, performances, workshops, and festivals.

Martha Matsuda performing (photo - Patrick Darme)

Martha Matsuda fell in love with butoh in 1994, the first time she was exposed to its magic. Martha is grateful for having been able to train with some of the finest butoh masters in the world and has performed in several ensembles — Metropolitan Butoh, SF Butoh Lab, and with Kōichi and Hiroko Tamano-san’s Harupin-Ha Butoh Dance Company.  She has performed at many indoor and outdoor Bay Area venues, in Mexico, and New York City.

Henry Kuntz in leopard mask

— Set 1: Henry Kuntz & Envision Ensemble (Brian Godchaux, John Kuntz, Esten Lindgren, Dan Plonsey) (8:20pm)

A second rare appearance by a daring pioneer of joyously unbounded, infinitely free jazz. Response was so enthusiastic for Henry’s 27 Aug show with the new Envision Ensemble, we had to bring them back fast!

Henry Kuntz has blazed many trails in realizing the intersection of world musics (esp. from Latin America and Indonesia), in a ritualistic & shamanistic quest for joy and sonic freedom located in a “festival time” outside of clock time. Henry’s also a pioneer of multi-tracking as a method of generating “asynchronously synchronistic” improvisations beyond the boundaries of time and intention.

Opeye Quintet, forerunner of Envision Ensemble (L → R- Esten Lindgren, Brian Godchaux, Ben Lindgren, John Kuntz, Henry Kuntz)

Opeye Quintet, forerunner of Envision Ensemble (L → R- Esten Lindgren, Brian Godchaux, Ben Lindgren, John Kuntz, Henry Kuntz)

The Envision Ensemble (an outgrowth of the earlier OPEYE Orchestra and OPEYE Quintet) moves toward an advanced improv archetype, one in which multiple independent events may occur while the musicians simultaneously create an experiential musical whole.


— Henry Kuntz: sax, violins, gamelan, percussion, ringleader

— Brian Godchaux: violin, viola, mandolin

— John Kuntz: ukulele, guitar, mandolin, percussion

— Esten Lindgren: contrabass, pocket trumpet

— The mathematically impossible Dan Plonsey: reeds

Henry Kuntz (photo by John Kuntz)

Henry Kuntz has been intimately involved in free jazz and free improvisation for more than 40 years.

From 1973 to 1979, he was editor/publisher of the internationally-acclaimed newsletter-review BELLS. He first recorded on tenor sax in 1977 on Henry Kaiser’s Ice Death. He’s played musette and various flutes since 1981, miniature violins since 1983, gamelan and xylophones since 1988, and the Moroccan rhaita (غيطة‎) since 1999. On Humming Bird Records, he’s released various recordings of solo, group, and multi-tracked free improvisations.

A dalang of he wayang kulit shadow play

In addition to his instrumental work, special mention must be made of Henry’s masterful adaptation of the vocal techniques and the otherworldly utterance vocabulary of the dalangs (shamanistic master puppeteers) of the Indonesian wayang kulit shadow-theatre, and other forms of wayang.

Humming Bird’s Earth Series presents indigenous music recorded by Henry in Mexico, Guatemala, Bolivia, and Bali (Indonesia). These musics, along with Native American and other world musics — Henry has made additional music and dance explorations to Ecuador, Nepal, Thailand, Morocco, and Java and Sumatra (Indonesia) — have very much affected his overall musical and cultural concept.

The result is an ecstatic and transcultural music of infinite freedom.

One of Opeye's golden hits, The Sun Divination Session

In 1986 – drawing on aspects of music, dance, performance, and ritual – Henry formed the “avant-shamanic trance jazz” group OPEYE, which has manifested in various incarnations. He’s also performed with Moe! Staiano’s MOE!kestra and has collaborated on various projects with edgy drone master Robert Horton.

Jazz writer John Litweiler, in his book The Freedom Principle, singles out Henry as an independent multi-instrumentalist extending free-form musical concepts and practices begun by musicians of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Music (AACM) in Chicago in the 1960s and by the many free-wheeling English and European improvisors who burst on the scene in the 1970s.

(L → R) Suki O’Kane, Ron Heglin, Dan Plonsey, Michael Zelner, and Henry Kuntz perform in an incarnation of Opeye Orhcestra, with a painting of Ben Lindgren's in the background (photo by Eleanor Lindgren)

Henry writes that his “aesthetic is steeped in the traditions of jazz, but players draw on their total life experience to incorporate cultural elements of various traditions, potentially including extra-musical elements such as the use of masks, costumes, painting, and textiles… the music is founded upon a new world creative aesthetic: one’s own experiences and background are central, but the fetters of provincial cultures are thrown off — we have all become heir to every tradition: Shared Humanity in all its richness and diversity — and the future is likewise embraced”.

Envision New Music, the latest album from the updated Envision Ensemble, featuring glorious transglobalized free improv (and never has a pineapple ring been more effectively deployed…)

In this respect, OPEYE and its successor, Envision Ensemble, have moved to expand the ways players relate to each other musically in the improv. Henry explains: “We’d like each player to remain as much as possible autonomous while at the same time being indispensable to the creation of the whole music.”

The shamanic implications of free improv have likewise been directly acknowledged and drawn upon. Henry points out, “The inherently creative and explorative aspect of free improv suggests an underlying shamanic dimension, one in which through the manipulation of sounds and symbols, aspects of cultural ‘healing’ may be facilitated and take place through music.”

Selections of his music are available for free download at his website, Sax & Stories.

Dan Plonsey performs at Temescal Arts Center

Born in Cleveland, Dan Plonsey has lived in the Bay Area since 1984.  Dan is a composer and improvisor, primarily playing the various saxophones.

Among the musical influences he considers most important are: seeing the Sun Ra Arkestra as often as possible from 1978 onwards; studying with Roscoe Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, Karl Berger and others at the Creative Music Studios; studying composition with Martin Bresnick; hearing LPs of Bay Area musicians (including Henry Kuntz) in the late 70′s which led to moving here; reconnecting with Braxton at Mills College; playing with many of the Bay Area’s great musicians as creative music spreads from venue to venue.

Dan co-founded The Manufacturing of Humidifiers; founded Daniel Popsicle to play his own compositions (including the epic series, Music of El Cerrito); and co-founded and MC’d the legendary Beanbender’s Creative Music Series (1995-99; the first band to play was OPEYE). For an extensive list of recordings of Dan’s compositions, see:

For me, as someone integrating Indian music with a modernist toolkit, it’s especially fascinating that Dan credits his study of how Bollywood films interweave vocal line and instrumental commentary, so differently to Western music, with making his music effervesce with bent lines, unexpected breaks, and weird fun.

Brian Godchaux

Violinist on the Cats Under the Stars album by the Jerry Garcia Band, and brother of Keith Godchaux, keyboard player for the Grateful Dead, Brian Godchaux has pursued mastery of traditional American and Celtic music, receiving the Rising Star award from the West Coast Cajun & Zydeco Music Association. For 17+ years, he’s played violin with Dan Hicks in his bands, The Acoustic Warriors & the Hot Licks, and occasionally plays in a bluegrass band with David Nelson of New Riders of the Purple Sage and Sandy Rothman, as well as playing some Bach when he gets the opportunity.

In between Hot Licks tours, Brian recorded a CD with the Heart of Gold Band. He was a principle songwriter and vocalist, as well as lead player on acoustic and electric violin and mandolin.

Then there is the weird-ass avant-shamanistic jazz with Henry…. was it the brown blotter….?


FogRaiser 2014

Sat 18 Oct, 9pm: FogRaiser @ the Second Act, 1727 Haight St., San Francisco CA 94117 (map)

A night of diverse live electronic and electro-acoustic music featuring four different performances that have been commissioned to present their interpretation of Fog Music. This is a special event to raise funds for the San Francisco Fog Music Festival 2015 that will be staged by Aural Films Records on 28-31 Jan 2015 at the new Second Act, which has risen like a phoenix from the ashes of the old Red Vic movie house.

Shakuhachi master Kyochiku Zenji (虚竹禅師) received the piece Mukaiji (霧海箎, "Fog, Ocean, Flute") in a dream

Among other music, we’ll be presenting an extended transmutation of the ancient shakuhachi piece Mukaiji (霧海, “Fog, Ocean, Flute”) which was received by shakuhachi master Kyochiku Zenji (虚竹禅師), on a boat in a dream. As our sonic boat drifts through the fog we’ll hear islands of solos and other pieces emerge from this flowing matrix.

Viv Corringham

— Set 4, 9pm: Viv Corringham with Nancy Beckman, Tom Bickley, Nan Busse, Joe Lasqo, Suki O’Kane, Bill Thibault, and Jennifer Wilsey (jump to Viv Corringham tour info)

Carolyn Fok

— Set 1: Carolyn Fok (7:30pm)

Carolyn Fok has been an award-winning visual & pioneering female electronic musician since 1981, known for her epic approach to music & the painstaking process she takes to develop material. She’s also recently been collaborating, engineering, and mastering studio works for her solo projects and groups.

Although her naturalist—surrealist paintings & illustrations have shown in New York, San Francisco & Hong Kong, & her music has been featured in Electronic Musician and Keyboard, she’s best known for single-handedly creating her own genre of artwork, a form she calls musaics, in which she creates masterly, moving electronic sound designs, original art, and introspective writings.

Carolyn’s sense of music and sound began with recording stories on a tape recorder at age 9. Inspired by an early drum machine built by her father and his multi-track recorder, she developed a self-taught approach to instruments with electronics and by the early 80’s, evolved a signature style under the name, CYRNAI, now Carolyn Fok. “I like building a fine line between experimentation and perfection,” she says.

“She may be the modern Wendy Carlos, but going much further than Tron and Bach at a single step.

‘But the music!’ Well, technically, it’s of the caliber of Brian Eno, Kitaro and earlier Tangerine Dream …seemingly written for a voice which seldom shows.”

— Essential Albums, review of: The Listener

Other albums include: Magic Realism, Transfiguration (Cyrnai), Charred Blossoms. Carolyn’s music is available at:

Matt Dean

— Set 2: Matt Dean (8:00pm)

Matt Dean has been a musician, composer and sound designer for almost 40 years. He works in a variety of styles and media, including electronic music, film scores, and game audio design for Sony Playstation. A list of works can be found here.  He’s formally trained at Longy School of Music and Antioch College, with private studies in guitar, piano, flute, and african drumming.

Currently he collaborates with a variety of musicians, artist and designers under the moniker Aos Crowley, Chromasonic, and his own name amongst others. Current projects include a new album with William Spivey (Facebook site: here).

Jack Hertz performs at Noisebridge, San Francisco

— Set 3: Jack Hertzrizorkestra (8:30pm)

“Inspired by the mystery of life. I manipulate sound to create intangible techno-organic impressions between music and noise.”

Starting from expriments more than 30 years ago with analog tape and a Casio VL-Tone, Jack Hertz has created an extensive ambient and meta-ambient sound universe, with particular emphasis on Frequency Modulation, and has implemented an elaborate and unique customized software platform for FM synthesis.

rizorkestra @ Davies Symphony Hall, SF

rizorkestra @ Davies Symphony Hall, SF

rizorkestra is based in Los Angeles and “currently roaming the California coast and deserts performing music, collecting musical instruments, photographing and filming the Pacific Ocean and the sun in the sky and planning cheap, sensible meals.”

A jazz/modal/blues master, riz has played with Dan HicksLavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers, and Jack Hertz, among many others.

riz studied at Claremont Colleges, with symphonic pieces commissioned under grant by Pitzer College, and was one of the composers for the film Sex Tax, inspired by the story of the 1999 IRS takeover of the Mustang Ranch Brothel in Nevada — a film for which he brought in “two truck loads of instruments” (and…?). “Instruments find me,” he laughs. “I’m the Saint Francis of stray musical instruments”

His instrumentation accordingly varies with the tides and moon, and can range from one-man-band kits, vibraphone, piano, or FX, to stringed instruments such as guitar, slide guitar, ‘ud (عود‎), and pipa (琵琶).

Jack Hertz will play electronics and riz will play synthesizer and guitar.


The Nunnery

The Nunnery

Sun 19 Oct, 3pm (N.B. matinée): @ the Nunnery, (3016 25th St., San Francisco, CA 94110, between Florida and Alabama Streets, map)

The Nunnery is the secret lair and new-instrument research lab of sound-inventor Tom Nunn, who’s begun hosting a series of concerts there which often involve invented / homebrew instruments and extended improvisational techniques.

Part of the Invented Instrument orchestra @ The Nunnery

The performance space is surrounded by Tom’s latest creations. Twice a month he opens his atelier to the public for performances on a Sunday afternoon and a Monday evening, and we look forward to a matinée performance there in Set 2, 3pm, Sun 19 Oct: Viv Corringham with Nancy Beckman, Tom Bickley, Nan Busse, Joe Lasqo, and Jennifer Wilsey (jump to Viv Corringham tour info)

Kattt Atchley and Ron Heglin @ 2010 Skronkathon (photo by Michael Zelner)

— Set 1: Kattt Atchley & Ron Heglin (2pm)

Kattt Atchley creates a blended sound using her voice, amplification and electronics.

Kattt Atchley

Since the late 90’s, she’s been in a voice duo with Ron Heglin — their signature sound is a mix of melody, harmony, perfectly and closely tuned pitches, and “this other element that always happens”. Since 2010, she has been in the pop band The Atchleys with her husband Kenneth Atchley, and more recently Bill Thibault — Kattt sings; Kenneth programs, plays electronics, sings, writes poetry; and Bill programs, projects his video graphics — their signature sound mixes singing, poetry, electronic tones, beats, video.

Ron Heglin (photo by Tom Djll / Djll Pixels)

Ron Heglin is a low-brassist and vocalist working with extended technique on the trombone and with spoken and sung imaginary languages. His voicing has been influenced by his study of North Indian vocal music. He works both compositionally and in an improvisational mode. He has been a member of the Bay Area music context for over 25 years and has performed internationally.


Join us for these beautiful shows with one of New York & London’s most unique improvising voices and a glittering cast of Bay Area co-conspirators…


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