Active Music Festival

– – – February 20, 21, 22 – 2014 – – –

Oakland, California

– – –

The Active Music Festival (AMF) is a three night festival of Creative Music in downtown Oakland on February 20th, 21st and 22nd, 2014 featuring the Oakland Active Orchestra, OrkestRova, Moe! Staiano and Ensemble, Ben Tinker’s “As the Clock Struck Twelve” with Pink Gaze and the Heroic Quartet, Live Cinema with Lisa Mezzacappa & Konrad Steiner, Black Spirituals, Tastyville, Horaflora, Key West, and Beauty School.

The AMF is dedicated to highlighting the work of artists that embrace experimentalism, are informed by traditions, and use their talent to conceptualize and practice Creative Music. The artists that fall under this spectrum take risks with their art, are not limited to genres, and have an inherent desire to create music that is uncompromising. There is almost always a strong component of improvisation; interweaving elements of noise, minimalism, rock, jazz, drone, chamber music, and other abstractions. Creative music is best supported by creative listeners who are still searching for new sounds that reflect the ongoing evolution of our culture.

Over the course of three nights, the AMF will showcase musicians without a ‘home’ and music between traditional genres. The emerging genre of creative music is unlike other genres with concrete musical elements that contribute to the identity of the genre. In contrast, it is many times the conceptual approach to music that links artists together. It is the lack of formal boundaries that helps define the genre. As an emerging art forms, there are limited performance opportunities for this type of music. Creative musicians are many times estranged to the concert hall and jazz club and are looking for non-traditional musicians to build non-traditional bills. We see the festival functioning to support these performers, composers and audience members.

The AMF will be held at the Uptown and at Duende, two venues at the heart of Oakland’s arts and entertainment district. The Uptown has hosted the monthly Active Music Series since 2008; Duende has quickly become a home for the type of music seen regularly at the Active Music Series. The AMF is produced and organized by Aram Shelton, Jacob Felix Heule, and Crystal Pascucci. The Active Music Festival is made possible through the Musical Grant Program, which is administered by the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, and supported by the Heller Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation and San Francisco Grants for the Arts. The Active Music Festival is also supported by the Zellerbach Family Community Arts Program and fiscally sponsored by ROVA Arts.

About the AMF Performers:

The Oakland Active Orchestra is a performer/composer collective exploring the nexus of improvised music, avant jazz, and minimalism. Formed in 2009, they continue the rich tradition of large ensembles that have existed over the past 30 years in the Bay Area creative music scene.  The Oakland Active Orchestra focuses on new and original works composed by members of the ensemble to explore a myriad of innovative and traditional techniques in composition and incorporate improvisation to highlight the individual voices of the performers. With Aaron Bennett: alto & tenor saxophones
Aram Shelton: clarinet, soprano & alto saxophones; 
Cory Wright: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet
; Theo Padouvas: trumpet; 
Darren Johnston: trumpet; 
Rob Ewing: trombone
;  Crystal Pascucci: cello; 
Safa Shokrai: bass
; Mark Clifford: vibraphone; Jordan Glenn, percussion; 
Robert Lopez, percussion.

Featuring Pink Gaze & the Heroic Quartet, Benjamin Tinker will present “As The Clock Struck Twelve”, a guided improvised orchestra performing a live score to accompany a (digital transfer) of a super 8 movie that Tinker made in 1978 (at age 9). The movie in question, As The Clock Struck Twelve, is a sprawling Horror melodrama inspired by television broadcasts of Hammer style horror movies and Hollywood’s Golden Age of B movies. Pink Gaze: Tara Sreekrishnan – electronics and keys, Sharmi Basu – electronics & vox, & Tinker – electronics.  The Heroic Quartet – Ryan Page – guitar & electronics, Dan Steffey – percussion & electronics, Nick Wang guitar & electronics, & Tinker – electronics. Along with a “Benshi” reading aloud the title cards on mic  Benjamin Ethan Tinker (New York, 1969) is a multidisciplinary artist and electronic musician who has lived in San Francisco since 1996. He chooses to work primarily with analog synthesizers with which he composes electroacoustic music, and performs regularly with the improv ensemble White Pee, and his own project That Hideous Strength. In addition, he curates and writes about experimental music. He has a BFA in Sculpture from SUNY Purchase and a MFA in Electronic Music from Mills College, between those degrees was a decade of commercial audio engineering.

Tastyville is world class entertainment, Planet Earth’s premiere jazz/dance/comedy/noise/experimental/improv/rock band. With offices in Las Vegas, Dubai and Hong Kong, Tastyville is the elephant’s wooden leg you never knew you needed. Available for bar mitzvahs, birthdays, weddings and bake sale entertainment, with Tastyville you never know what you didn’t think you knew that you would be getting. With Cansafis Foote, Charlie St. Clair, Rene Carranza, Aaron Handler, Mike J, Lisa Klenzweig, Alexis Mastromichalis.

Horaflora is the main recording and performance moniker of Raub Roy. Horaflora’s works (live and recorded both) deal with explorations of articulated space, psychoacoustics, and pushing the limits of depth and detail in perception. Based in Oakland, CA, Roy studied sound art and studio technique with Daniel Warner and Christoph Cox at Hampshire College,and continues to study specialized aspects of his practice such as experiments in microsound, field recording, and new modes of listening.

Rova Sax presents: OrkestRova with Bruce Ackley, soprano sax; Steve Adams, alto sax; Larry Ochs, tenor sax; Jon Raskin, baritone sax; Christina Stanley, violin; Elzbieta Polak, violin; Tara Flandreau, viola; Crystal Pascucci – cello; John Shiurba, electric guitar; Jason Hoopes, bass; Jordan Glenn, drums. Pioneers of creative improvised music in the Bay Area, ROVA explores the synthesis of composition and collective improvisation, creating exciting, genre-bending music that challenges and inspires. Rova is one of the longest-standing groups in the music movement that has its roots in post-bop, free jazz, avant-rock, and 20th century new music, and draws inspiration from the visual arts and from the traditional and popular music styles of Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States.

SPECTER: Live cinema with Lisa Mezzacappa (music) & Konrad Steiner (film): a new work that combines acoustic and electronic sounds with found and newly-shot footage.  Steiner’s “active video” work involves sampling of mainstream media, Internet archival material and self-shot video. As a visual improviser his work blends with the ensemble of musicians and poets that he works with in live settings, moving between light show and narrative, document and fantasy. Visually the work involves optical real-time blending of several layers of cinematic imagery creating a fusion of images, dreamlike and sometimes nightmarish.  Mezzacappa’s compositions for improvisers span lush soundscapes, interlocking layers of rhythms and soaring melodies embedded in delicate textures. She will conduct a newly-formed chamber ensemble comprised of Kanoko Nishi-Smith, koto; John Finkbeiner, electric guitar; Lisa Mezzacappa, contrabass; Scott Walton, contrabass; Karen Stackpole, gongs; Robert Lopez, vibraphone & percussion.

Beauty School: Extreme extended technique on electric bass, trumpet, and drums intermarries with nasty homemade electronics and circuit-bent keyboards to create an orgy of skronk and ugliness. Music CAN be avoided. Get up with it! B.S. re-defines the boundaries of a kind of beauty that has as yet no name.  With Matt Chandler, bass guitar; Tom Djll, electronics+trumpet; Jacob Felix Heule, percussion+electronics.

Key West is a collective of improvisers who have been exploring the idioms of free jazz and noise since 2000.  Guest collaborators and changes in groupings are frequent.  A special lineup for the AMF, with Brian Pedersen, saxes; Rent Romus, saxes;  Joshua Marshall, saxes;  Randylee Sutherland, baritone horn; Dave Dupuis, Upright bass; Mark Blatnik, cello; Sung Kim-Ogiku; Timothy Orr, drums.

Moe! Staiano and Ensemble will have a small ensemble of instrumentation of two clarinets, keyboards, pitched percussion, guitar, and violin/viola, with bass and drums, along wit a sheet of some 24 set simple musical notations. The various cues of each notation bar, pitch, solo, tempos, will actually be decided on the audience, and will have an audience participation throughout the whole performance, but with Staiano giving the cues to the ensemble. Cast in the ensemble will be: Chris Broderick and Aaron Novak: clarinets; Evelyn Davis and Dominique Leone: keyboards; Nava Dunkelman and Suki O’Kane: pitched percussion; Karl Alfonso Evangelista and John Shuirba: guitars; Christina Stanley: violin; Sig Halstrom: viola; Vicky Grossi: electric bass; and Jordan Glenn: drums.

Black Spirituals is a collaboration between two soloists who have found a new platform for the intersection of tone-generating electronic technology and the heart-thumping technology of acoustic percussion. This duet features a new tradition in conversant, duo vernacular dynamics that sparked a revolution in our conceptions of space, stage, ritual, performance, geography, praxis, brotherhood, relationships, rockin’ out, and more. Multi-Aesthetic percussionist Marshall Trammell’s STTRCRFT platform articulates his commitment to the study of the worlds’ percussive arts in his multi-limbed Improvisation system. Utilizing super bananas electronic and guitar sounds, live processing, and heavy-heavy percussion Mr Watkins “weaves…undulating dronescape(s), of deep sonic swells and muted electronic buzz, utilizing analog synths, guitars, drums and percussion, cassette, Casio, bass, and of course electricity(!)”

Bischoff, Brown & Perkis:  Longtime collaborators and masters of live electronic music and improvisation, John Bischoff, Chris Brown and Tim Perkis are co-founders of the legendary computer network band The Hub, and have also worked together in other influential groups over the years (Brown/Perkis: Fuzzybunny, Natto Quartet; Bischoff/Perkis: League of Automatic Music Composers).  Over four decades their work has established and advanced a distinctive west coast school of computer-based performance and composition that is always live and full of surprises (even to themselves). This concert will be a rare opportunity to hear them in trio.