Laptop/Piano/Synth/Objects+: w Viv Corringham’s “Life Is Clearer Seen Through Smoke” tour — Electronic, radicalized New Rebetika (Ρεμπέτικα Νέα) w British NY-based avant vocalist | sound artist Viv Corringham’s Multimedia Consort, 22-25 Nov — Nunnery (SF) — Studio Grand (OAK) — Center for New Music (SF) — Meridian Composers in Performance Series @ Canessa Gallery (SF)

Viv Corringham

I’ve had a total blast playing in Viv Corringham’s last two West Coast tours, and I’m looking forward with great excitement to round 3 with her upcoming Life Is Clearer Seen Through Smoke Tour.

The program is multimedia, electrified, radicalized New Rebetika (Ρεμπέτικα Νέα). Often called the Greek Blues, rebetika’s best known songs date from the first half of the 20th century, and come from an urban subculture on the fringes of society, despised and persecuted: Greek refugees (or, as now called, “migrants”) forced out of Asia Minor who had poured into the cities in the 1920s. Their songs talk of exile, poverty, drugs, love and jail.

The genre originally arose in the early 19th-century in İstanbul (Constantinople), İzmir (Smyrna) and Thessaloniki, the crossroads of Greek, Turkish, Sephardic, Black Sea, and Armenian cultures & musics, and is rich with influences — now including Stockhausen, Xenakis (Ξενάκης), and the Myōan-ji (明暗寺) school of Zen shakuhachi..

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

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

Immediately below is a list of the dates, followed by info on Viv and her crew, and then by time and place details of each date, adding info about the venues and other acts.

Viv Corringham’s “Life Is Clearer Seen Through Smoke” Tour

4 Bay Area Dates


The Nunnery (3016 25th St., San Francisco, between Florida and Alabama Streets, map)

Sun 22 Nov Set 2: 3pm (N.B. matinée)

Set 1: John McCowen – new adventures in extreme technique for the clarinet, contrabass clarinet, and drum resonator: 2pm

(no film projection on this date)


Oakland Freedom Jazz Society @ Studio Grand (3234 Grand Ave, Oakland, map)

Mon 23 Nov     Set 2: 10:30pm

+ Set 1: neem (gabby fluke-mogul & k. kipperman) – queer improv duo focusing on issues of identity, bodies, gender, sexuality, feminism, eroticism, & more: 9:30pm


Double Divas of avant vocal art, Pamela Z + Viv Corringham @ Center For New Music (55 Taylor Street, San Francisco, map)

Tue 24 Nov Set 2: 9pm

Set 1: Pamela Z – multimedia mistress of loops, wearable controllers, video, the far reaches of tessitura, and gorgeous, rich tone: 8pm


Meridian Composers in Performance Series @ Canessa Gallery (708 Montgomery St., 2nd Fl., San Francisco, map)

Wed 25 Nov     Set 2: 8:30pm

Set 1: CCMRA composers Romain Michon & Eoin Callery present selections ranging from Klingon Opera on mutant mandolins to psychedelic folk computer music, with invented and traditional instruments & gobs of processing: 7:30pm

Rembetronika (Ρεμπέτρονικα), by Viv Corringham, Mike Cooper, and friends

Rembetronika (Ρεμπέτρονικα), by Viv Corringham, Mike Cooper, and friends

An idea of the unexpected and unconventional possibilities of this repertoire can be got from Viv’s New Rebetika album with UK avant lap-steel guitarist and electronic musician Mike Cooper, called Rembetronika (downloadable and streamable: here)

Now Viv and crew will take it a bit farther

Viv Corringham Multimedia Consort

Viv Corringham: voice+

Nancy Beckman: shakuhachi

Tom Bickley: contra-bass recorder & EWI wind synth

Nan Busse: dance & didgeridoo

Anna Geyer: film & light abstractions

Joe Lasqo: laptop, synth/piano, objects, field recordings

Here’s some info on our crew, then details of each date and artists in other sets.

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

◉ Viv Corringham (voice+)

Viv 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.

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

Nancy Beckman

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)

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 and Tom each counting for 1½ tigers), 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.

Anna Geyer

Anna Geyer

◉ Anna Geyer (film and light abstractions)

Camera-less, non-representational work has been the emphasis of her recent efforts, although she frequently describes her work as, “experimental with a narrative bent”. Her stunning multi-projector physical film abstractions have often been featured in duos with electronic musician David Molina.

Phosphenes-Galaxy by Anna Geyer and Aaron F. Ross, 2010 (Film manipulation, After Effects)

Phosphenes-Galaxy by Anna Geyer and Aaron F. Ross, 2010 (Film manipulation, After Effects)

“Unlike traditional two projector (change-over) screenings, my projector lamps and lenses are not matched. Each projector lamp has a different brightness on purpose… Here I load a reel of abstract, hand painted cameraless work. It can move at variable speeds forward or reverse, or even remain still… At times I employ a fourth projector. I do so in order to allow a frame to get stuck in the gate and burn.”

In off-moments while not combusticating imagistic realities, Anna teaches film at CCSF.

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 (keyboards | laptop | objects)

Pianist / laptopist Joe Lasqo studied classical music in India; computer/electronic music at MIT, Columbia, Berkeley/CNMAT; has been a long-time performing modern & avant jazz musician; & has lived, played and listened in several Asian and European countries (now in San Francisco). He’s keen on the application of artificial intelligence techniques to improvisation and the meeting of traditional Asian musics with the 21st century. His recent album, Turquoise Sessions, is available on Edgetone Records; with new releases planned in 2015.

Joe had a weekly residency for 3½ years+ in the afternoon piano series at Viracocha, and has appeared recently with Bruce Ackley and Steve Adams of ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra, Phillip Greenlief’s Orchesperry, his own Renga-kai (連歌会), Mukaiji-kai (霧海箎会), and Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) ensembles, synthesist Thomas Dimuzio, clarinetist/vocalist Beth Custer, pianist Thollem McDonas, percussionist Suki O’Kane, sound artists Joe Snape (UK) & Lucie Vítková (Czech Rep.), technodivas / electronic musicians Pamela Z & Viv Corringham (NYC/London) and many others.

au quotidien, a new album with German-Swedish saxist/flautist Biggi Vinkeloe, master drummer Donald Robinson, and cello madman Teddy Rankin-Parker is in production for release in early 2016.

The Nunnery

The Nunnery

Sun 22 Nov @ The Nunnery, (3016 25th St., San Francisco, CA 94110, between Florida and Alabama Streets, map), Set 2: 3pm (N.B. matinée)

….For info on Viv Corringham’sLife Is Clearer Seen Through Smoke” Tour in Set 2, jump to beginning of post

John McCowen performs his piece BONE(THIN)

John McCowen performs his piece BONE(THIN)

Set 1: John McCowen, 2pm

John McCowen’s musical path is rooted in the DIY culture of American hardcore music. John was a vocalist in hardcore music until he heard the music of Albert Ayler. At that point, he began channeling his energy through the saxophone, and was further influenced by the music of Eric Dolphy and John Coltrane.

After a few years as a touring musician and independent study, he entered academia at Southern Illinois U. and studied clarinet with Eric P. Mandat, who opened his eyes to microtonality and extended techniques. John remains a member of the Chicago musical community while now living in Oakland, and plays in Wei Zhongle (衛仲樂/卫仲乐), Vibrating Skull Trio, and John McCowen Clarinet Quartet.

John is currently studying with Roscoe Mitchell and others at Mills College, and has been astonishing a steadily increasing circle of Bay Area listeners by seemingly discovering entire new unexplored continents of extended clarinet technique.

Those who have heard his brilliant solo shows at the Luggage Store Gallery and elsewhere already know the virtuosic, pioneering, and thoroughly original sound universe he’s created — the rest of you will be dumbfounded at the new sonic horizons he opens up.

Oakland Freedom Jazz !

Oakland Freedom Jazz !

Mon 23 Nov @ Studio Grand (3234 Grand Ave, Oakland, map), Set 2: 10:30pm

….For info on Viv Corringham’sLife Is Clearer Seen Through Smoke” Tour in Set 2, jump to beginning of post

NEEM (L → R gabby fluke-mogul & k. kipperman)

neem (L → R gabby fluke-mogul & k. kipperman)

Set 1neem (gabby fluke-mogul & k. kipperman): 9:30pm

neem is a queer improv duo focusing on issues of identity, bodies, gender, sexuality, feminism, eroticism, & more.

Their dynamic and irreverent appropriation of string sounds, the classical tradition, and even strip-tease, is evidenced in their avant hits like Schoenberg Was A Bottom  [a 13-tone piece]Beethoven Was Queer, and many others.

Anything could happen, and the result is guaranteed to be fresh and unlike anything you’ve heard before.

gabby fluke-mogul performs No Sound Is Innocent at TEDx, Hampshire College, Nov 2012

gabby fluke-mogul performs No Sound Is Innocent at TEDx, Hampshire College, Nov 2012

gabby fluke-mogul is a performing, teaching, composing & collaborating-improviser based out of the bay area. ((gabby has existed as a violin-body//body in south florida, western massachusetts, & the wider new england area.))

gabby performs in & with a variety of projects, installations, bodies, & instrument-bodies in addition to facilitating community-based workshops, & teaching (toddlers-adults) in public, private, & non-profit learning spaces.  their compositions//text-scores take up intimate issues of the politic & poetic of improvising bodies.

gabby has worked with Pauline Oliveros, Fred Frith, Zeena Parkins, Roscoe Mitchell, Kala Ramnath (கலா ராம்நாத்), & Kara Davis at Mills College in the MFA program for improvisation performance, collaborating with Nava Dunkelman, kelley kipperman (as neem), Adam Hirsch & John McCowen (as room 47), Christina Carter, & Aurora Josephson, & throughout the years with Chelsea Dunn (as patchwrk), Jordan Kneckt & Ryan Mihaly (as knekt), Baron Collins-Hill, & Lucy Hollier at Hampshire College in amherst, ma where gabby received a B.A. in improvisation, education, & childhood studies.

k. kipperman

k. kipperman

k. kipperman is a queer and vegan multi-media artist, who has spent time living, breathing, & collaborating in the Western Massachusetts & Greater New England areas, Berlin, & most recently the Bay Area.

Inspired by something, everything, & sometimes even nothing, k is always thinking about what it means to be connected to & critical of one’s own body, identity, & privilege within music, sound, noise, silence, composition, art, communities, & everything else in the entire world (also outer space).

Tue 24 Nov: Double Divas of avant vocal art – Pamela Z + Viv Corringham @ Center For New Music (55 Taylor Street, San Francisco, map), Set 2: 9pm

….For info on Viv Corringham’s “Life Is Clearer Seen Through Smoke” Tour in Set 2, jump to beginning of post

Pamela Z (photo by Marion Gray, mariongray @ mac . com)

Set 1: Pamela Z – multimedia mistress of loops, controllers, images, the far reaches of tessitura, and gorgeous, rich tone: 8pm

Pamela Z is a San Francisco-based composer/performer and media artist who works primarily with voice, live electronic processing, sampling technology, and video.

A pioneer of live digital looping techniques, she processes her voice in real time to create dense, complex sonic layers. Her solo works combine experimental extended vocal techniques, operatic bel canto, found objects, text, and sampled concrète sounds. She uses Max/MSP and Isadora software along with custom MIDI controllers that allow her to manipulate sound and image with physical gestures. In addition to her performance work, she has a growing body of inter-media gallery works including multi-channel sound and video installations.

Pamela Z in Baggage Allowance (photo Valerie Oliveiro valerie oliveiro @ gmail . com)

Pamela has toured extensively throughout the US, Europe, and Japan – performing in international festivals including Bang on a Can at Lincoln Center (New York); la Biennale di Venezia (Italy); the Interlink Festival (Japan); Other Minds (San Francisco); and Pina Bausch Tanztheater’s 25 Jahre Fest (Wuppertal, Germany).  She has composed, recorded and performed original scores for choreographers and for film/video artists, and has done vocal work for other composers (including Charles Amirkhanian, Vijay Iyer, and Henry Brant). Her large-scale, multi-media performance works, Parts of Speech, Gaijin (外人), Voci, and Baggage Allowance have been presented at the Kitchen in New York, Theater Artaud & ODC Theater in San Francisco, the Museum of Contemporary Art Theatre in Chicago, as well as in Washington D.C. & Budapest. Her one-act opera Wunderkabinet inspired by the Museum of Jurassic Technology (co-composed with Matthew Brubeck) premiered at The LAB in San Francisco, and was presented at REDCAT in Los Angeles and Open Ears Festival in Canada. She’s shown media works in exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York); Erzbischöfliches Diözesanmuseum (Köln); the Tang Museum (Saratoga Springs NY); the Dakar Biennale (Sénégal); Krannert Art Museum (IL), and the Kitchen (NY).

Pamela Z @ Ars Electronica 2008 Linz, Austria (photo by rubra, courtesy, Ars Electronica)

Pamela has had chamber commissions from Kronos Quartet, Bang On A Can Allstars, ETHEL, California E.A.R. Unit, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Empyrean Ensemble, and St. Luke’s Chamber Orchestra.  As well as curating and producing the ROOM Series, she’s collaborated with a wide range of artists including Miya Masaoka (正岡みや), Joan Jeanrenaud, Brenda Way (ODC Dance), Jeanne Finley + John Muse, Shinichi Iova-Koga (シンイチ・イオヴァ・コガ), Christina McPhee, Leigh Evans, and Jo Kreiter.  Pamela has participated in several New Music Theatre (now renamed Zakros Interarts) events, including the famous original Fort Mason John Cage festivals, and has performed with The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. Her interactive web-based work Baggage Allowance was officially launched in summer of 2011 at where it remains permanently available.

Pamela Z performing a study for Baggage Allowance @ Roulette, NYC (photo by Kimberly Young)

Special mention must be made of Pamela’s recent masterwork, Carbon Song Cycle,  with video collaborator Christina McPhee and master musicians Dana Jessen, Charith Premawardhana (චරිත ප්රේමවර්ධන), Theresa Wong (天欣), and Suki O’Kane. Inspired by ongoing changes and upheavals in the earth’s ecosystem, and by the carbon cycle — the process through which carbon is exchanged between all terrestrial life forms and domains — it’s scored for a chamber ensemble of voice & electronics, viola, cello, bassoon, and percussion, plus immersive, multi-screen video projections.

To compose the music, Pamela wove together melodic motifs inspired by scientific data about the carbon cycle and texts referencing environmental balance and imbalance, playing on the idea of the natural exchange of elements by passing sonic material between the players, as well as exploring audio elements related to the imagery shot at petroleum fields, natural gas locations, and geothermal sites around back-country California, along with carbon-inspired drawings and images of processes involving intense heat and chemical transformations.

Carbon Song Cycle premiered at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive and has toured to Roulette in NYC. If you want to experience something of this alarming and beautiful piece yourself, a video of the BAM/PFA performance can be found above.

Pamela Z's Memory Trace

Pamela Z's Memory Trace

Another recent tour de force is Pamela’s multimedia work under development, Memory Trace, segments of which have been shown to brilliant effect in the Meridian Gallery and ROOM series. Spanning both highly advanced multimedia controllerismo and the interactions of a family as its senior member remembers / reconstructs the past, this ambitious and yet very intimate piece addresses the failures and success of both humans and technology to retain and reactivate past realities.

Canessa Gallery

Canessa Gallery (photo: Chris Carlsson)

Wed 25 Nov: Meridian Composers in Performance Series @ Canessa Gallery (708 Montgomery St., 2nd Fl., San Francisco, map)

….For info on Viv Corringham’s “Life Is Clearer Seen Through Smoke” tour in Set 2, jump to beginning of post.

Set 1: CCMRA composers Romain Michon & Eoin Callery present selections ranging from Klingon Opera on mutant mandolins to psychedelic folk computer music, with invented and traditional instruments & gobs of processing: 7:30pm


Romain Michon strums the Blade-Axe whilst singing a Klingon aria

Romain Michon strums the Blade-Axe whilst singing a Klingon aria

Romain Michon is a PhD candidate at Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. His research focuses on physical modeling of musical instruments, new lutherie, digital fabrication, FAUST and the use of mobile platforms as musical instruments. As a musician, Romain plays saxophone and piano as well as his own invented instruments, is also a tenor opera singer, and above all, he loves to rock on his mutant child, the BladeAxe and others of his invented musical instruments like the Férraillophone, Noise Toaster, or Chanforgnophone while singing what will be known in the future as Klingon Opera. His music has been performed in Europe, America and Asia.

Romain Michon's Blade Axe

Romain Michon's Blade Axe

Romain holds graduate degrees in musicology and computer science from Université Jean Monnet Saint-Étienne (France) and NUIM (Ireland) where he studied under Laurent Pottier, Yann Orlarey and Victor Lazzarini. He also graduated from Conservatoire Jules-Massenet de Saint-Étienne & Conservatoire de Lyon in saxophone performance, singing, choir conducting and electroacoustic music studies.

Bruits pour chanforgnophone (2013) for tenor and chanforgnophone

When not shocking the world with his Chanforgnophone, Romain does consulting work as a software, DSP and mechanical engineer for GRAME (France) on the FAUST project, IRCAM (France), CIEREC (France), Renault (USA/France), MoForte (USA), and others.

Eoin Callery with photosensitive invented instrument

Eoin Callery with photosensitive invented instrument

Eoin Callery is an Irish artist who among other things creates electro-acoustic chamber music, installations, and builds instruments using found materials. He holds a BMUS from University College Cork, MA from Wesleyan University, and is currently a Doctoral student at Stanford University.

Above: Eoin’s music + video project with Lulu DeBoer and Mayak Sanganeria, Drunk As Bad Dubbing.

In addition to concert pieces, Eoin’s written and collaborated in sound and music for theater, radio and performs on various instruments – often traditional Irish percussion instruments like the bodhrán or his own inventions, put through a looking glass of processing to build a strange psychedelic folk computer music. His pieces have been recently performed by Ensemble Dal Niente, the JACK Quartet, and Séverine Ballon, among others.

He is also CCRMA’s resident impresario, who has built a cracking series of computer music and electro-acoustic concerts that make full use of their world-class facilities.


Experience the deeply felt rebetika music – forged in the forced Greek migrations of a century ago, refined in the multicultural speakeasies of the Post-Ottoman diaspora, made new with the vocal brilliance of Viv Corringham and the avant imaginations of her Multimedia Consort, and paired with a luminous collection of remarkable Bay Area musicians in these varied shows – join us in Viv Corringham’s Life Is Clearer Seen Through Smoke tour…

……Καλώς ήρθατε !


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