Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Now hear this!

Behold and enjoy full details about Vanity, by Grosse Abfahrt (my beau Tom Djll's ensemble...full disclosure).

Monday, November 30, 2009

Long Night's Moon concert this Thursday in SF

The last Full Moon concert of the year will be the Long Night's Moon, on December 3. It features John Hanes and the 60 x 60 2009 International Mix. Come to the Luggage Store Gallery at 1007 Market Street near 6th Street, on Thursday December 3rd at 8 PM. Admission is $6-$10 sliding scale, but no one's turned away for lack of funds.


8:00 PM: John Hanes, also known as Organ of Qwerty, has been making music in the Bay Area for 30 years. He is currently playing in a number of ensembles, including Myles Boisen's Past Present Future, Phillip Greenlief's Citta Di Vitti, MariƩ Abe's O,Pomelo, and an un-named laptop duo with Rova's Steve Adams. John's piece for the Long Night's Moon concert will be an attempt to celebrate the promise of light inherent in the darkest night and the rhythm of the turning of the year.


9:00 PM: The 2009 60x60 International Mix is a recording containing 60 works from 60 different composers. Each composition is 60 seconds (or less) in duration sequenced together to create a one-hour performance. Highlighting the work of a great many up-and-coming composers, 60x60 testifies to the vibrancy of contemporary composition by presenting the diverse array of styles, aesthetics and techniques being used today.

Debuting in New York City November 2003, 60x60 started as an electroacoustic "tape" concert with its 60 short electronic works synchronized with an analog clock to mark the passage of each minute. Since then 60x60 has received thousands of audio submissions from more than 30 countries around the world, produced radio shows, collaborated with multimedia (including dance, video, sculpture, and photography) and released several audio albums on CD.

The 2009 International Mix features one-minute (or less) recorded works by 60 composers from all over the world, played continuously with a projected clock as accompaniment.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A couple of new video clips

These are new to me, anyway! Dancers are interpreting my one-minute pieces in two different presentations of the 60 x 60 Dance project, both at Galapagos in New York City.

Here's "Kissing a Woman", danced to on April 7, 2009:

And here's "Cold Blood", danced to on September 8, 2008.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Siberian Crane Whistle

Siberian Crane Whistle
Originally uploaded by Dill Pixels

I can't help but post this, because it is so very cool. It is by my uber-talented beau, Tom Djll.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Mourning Moon concert this Thursday in SF

The Mourning Moon will be waning on Thursday night, November 5th, when the Mourning Moon concert takes place at the Luggage Store Gallery. You're invited to contemplate death and rebirth with Andrew Raffo Dewar (Alabama), his friends, and his music...featuring the composer on soprano saxophone plus Kyle Bruckmann, Gino Robair, and John Shiurba.

The Luggage Store Gallery is upstairs at 1007 Market Street at 6th Street, San Francisco. The show starts at 8 pm and admission is $6.00 - $10.00 sliding scale, with no one turned away for lack of funds. The series is sponsored by Outsound Presents.


8 PM: Piece for For Four Instruments (2002), dedicated to Earle Brown


9 PM: new work for quartet


Andrew Raffo Dewar (b.1975 Rosario, Argentina) is a composer, improviser, and woodwind instrumentalist. Since 1995 he has been active in the music communities of Minneapolis, New Orleans, the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City, and performing his work internationally. He has studied with saxophonist/composers Steve Lacy, Anthony Braxton and Phillip Greenlief, composer Alvin Lucier, trumpeter/composer Bill Dixon, and has also had a long involvement with experimental and traditional Indonesian music. Dewar has been noted as "having the rare ability to translate his knowledge into something beautiful" (Foxy Digitalis). The 2008 debut recording of his music on Porter Records was described as "absorbing" (Dusted Magazine),"enshrouding" and "evoking something unnatural and plugged-in" (Bagatellen), as well as "musical rainfall" and "absolutely essential listening" (Aquarius Records). According to Paper Cuts zine, "Dewar’s music is not a watered down copy or even a respectful imitation of other musical forms; it’s his own thing."

In addition to leading his own ensembles and performing in collaborative groups with known and unknown musicians from around the world, Dewar performs with and appears on several recordings by the Anthony Braxton 12+1tet and the Bill Dixon Orchestra. Dewar is Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts in New College at the University of Alabama.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Reconnaissance Fly this Sunday night in SF

This Sunday night, November 1st, at 7:30 p.m., Reconnaissance Fly will take the stage opening for Noertker's Moxie at the Musicians' Union Hall, 116 9th Street at Mission Street in San Francisco. It's the CD release party for Noertker's Moxie and we're playing the opening set.

Who or what is Reconnaissance Fly? It's a band of composers in the midst of co-creating a long-form work. Our first project, Flower Futures, will be a multi-movement “spong cycle” based entirely on spoetry – the deliciously powerful results of robot efforts to evade your spam filter. Some movements are written out, some are improv frameworks, and all celebrate the poetic gifts of the Internet.

Here are the bios of the band members:

Polly Moller (Scorpio) is a composer, performer, improviser, performance artist, curator, and writer based in Oakland, California. Her current passions are found text, extended techniques and improvisation on flute and bass flute, found and/or toy instruments, and composition drawing upon spirituality, ritual movements, and the occult. Polly is currently working on a solo piccolo piece commissioned by Amy Likar of the Oakland East Bay Symphony, and preparing for the Feb. 25, 2010 premiere of her piece Genesis for 12 improvisers.

Amar Chaudhary (Pisces) is a longtime composer and performer specializing in contemporary and electronic music, as well as a developer of advanced software for sound synthesis and music composition. Amar had his music performed internationally and has received several honors for his musical work. He remains actively involved in local electronic and experimental music in the San Francisco Bay Area, and performs regularly, both as a solo artist and in groups, including the ensemble Reconnaissance Fly. His recent music involves experimentation with new sounds and sound-synthesis/processing techniques and new modes of musically expressive performance, free improvisation, combination of disparate elements and styles, and incorporating folk and toy instruments into electro-acoustic music. In addition to his musical work, Amar maintains a deep interest in modern and contemporary art in several media as a creator, consumer and supporter.

Bill Wolter (Sagittarius)is a guitarist, composer, and sound engineer working in the SF Bay Area. His music hovers around experimental rock, jazz, noise, new music, and all areas in between. A restless collaborator who constantly seeks the most diverse and challenging musical experiences, Bill performs and collaborates frequently with a wide range of musicians, artists, and dancers. Recently Bill has been working on musical game design for Guitar Hero videogames, as well as composing music for modern dance, and playing with a jazz organ trio organ-ma-tron. Bill has worked with the Bay Area jazz/rock/prog bands Slydini and Inner Ear Brigade, and has collaborated with other performance ensembles such as sfSound, Moe!kestra and Double Vision. Recently, Bill received the Wurlitzer Foundation composition residency in Taos, New Mexico.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Blood Moon concert this Thursday night in SF

My Full Moon Concert Series which I'm curating for Outsound Presents and the Luggage Store Gallery moves on to the Blood Moon concert this Thursday night.

At 8 pm we have the duo of James Kaiser and A.C. Way. At 9pm we have Past-Present-Future, featuring Myles Boisen, John Hanes and Lisa Mezzacappa.

The Blood Moon concert will happen at the Luggage Store Gallery, upstairs at 1007 Market Street at 6th Street, San Francisco. Admission is $6.00 - $10.00 sliding scale, with no one turned away for lack of funds.


8 PM: Tonight’s first Blood Moon performance will be a live reworking of a piece first performed by Way and Kaiser five years ago, which at the time involved minimal electronics, voice, metals and much atmosphere. This piece will project the mental and emotional state of two artists who share a heavily water and moon influenced birth sign. Inspired by and recorded originally on a blood moon, now performed live on another years later, this marks the completion of a cycle.


9 PM: Past-Present-Future will premiere a Blood Moon Suite composed for the occasion.


Andy C. Way is an Oakland based sound artist who has been working in "experimental music" for the last decade. He works primarily with processed sound, in an attempt to reduce his music to the most instinctual and emotional level. His focus tends to his many goups (Maleficia, French Radio, NF Orchest, Carrion, Cannis Lupus, Rostro Negro, Riqis ect..) but solo performances under the moniker A.C.Way do occur.

James Kaiser is a Berkeley transplanted sound artist active since moving here in 1997, with works preceding that time from both Kansas City and New Orleans. Solo works are usually presented under the moniker 'petit mal', and collaborations with like minded cohorts (A.C.Way, Angela Hsu, Bruce Anderson, 'Thomas Carnacki', the 'Zenflesh Collective') are many. Typical instrumentation involves contact mics, a bowed bicycle wheel, shortwave and tape loops.

Myles Boisen is a guitarist, composer, improvisor, and record producer/engineer, best known around the Bay Area for his twin-necked twanging in The Splatter Trio, as well as musical exploits with The Club Foot Orchestra. Over the past two decades Myles has performed or recorded with John Zorn, Tom Waits, Fred Frith, Rova Saxophone Quartet, John Tchicai, Nina Hagen, Eugene Chadbourne, Vinny Golia, Myra Melford, Glenn Spearman, Ralph Carney, and his own "Guitarspeak" and "Past-Present-Future" ensembles. In collaboration with guitarists Fred Frith, Henry Kaiser, Elliott Sharp, Robert Fripp and others, he has developed a potent musical language that combines a wealth of traditional and contemporary styles, focusing particularly on prepared guitar technique, sparse blues soundscapes and improvisation.

Monday, September 21, 2009

May 16, 2007 Flip Quartet

The second performance of the Flip was on Wednesday, May 16, 2007 at 21 Grand in Oakland. Organ of Qwerty opened with an ambient sound and video set. The Flip performers were John Hanes, Suki O'Kane, Moe! Staiano and Karen Stackpole.

A wonderful quadrophonic sound system amplified and recorded that performance. It was set up by KFJC's Austin Space with assistance from my late partner Paul Decker.

Here is where you can listen to the whole thing as it happened.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Oakland Flip Quartet, July 17, 2009

Here's an excerpt from the July 17th performance of the Flip Quartet at BookZoo, Oakland, video'd by series curator DJ Cypod.

The players are Amar Chaudhary, Travis Johns, Suki O'Kane and Moe! Staiano. The littlest audience member is 9-month-old Mingus Paul Moreira, the son of emeritus band member John Moreira. The little guy was awesome. He was very enthusiastic about the performance and really wanted to take on the Fire Quarter himself.

Monday, September 07, 2009


Sequenza21 is a contemporary music blog I contribute to. Here's an archive of what I've posted so far. In coming days there will be two more "Let's Ask" interviews, with Donald Swearingen and Gino Robair, in honor of SFEMF kicking off next week.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Cool, I'm on an award-winning album!

Along with 119 other people. Click here and scroll down to the results for "Experimental Album Winners". Fun!

The 2004/2005 Vox Novus double album covered two years' worth of 60 x 60 international mixes. Here are all the award-winning composers:

60x60 (2005 / CD): Lydia Ayers, Kenneth Babb, Christopher Bailey, Greg Bartholomew, J.C. Batzner, Eve Beglarian, Steven Betts, Benjamin Bierman, John G. Bilotta, Paul Burnell, Julian Cartwright, David Claman, Paul Clouvel, Douglas Cohen, Andrew Cormier, Lucio Cuellar, Aaron Drake, Ivan Elezovic, Travis Ellrott, David Gunn, Mike Hallenbeck, David Hamill, David Handford, Justin Freeman, Marihiko Hara, Erdem Helvacioglu, Dorothy Hindman, Lynn Job, Gary Knudson, Myroslava Lashkevych, John Link, Stan Link, Tom Lopez, Don Malone, Mike McFerron, Leslie Melcher, Polly Moller, Rodney Oakes, Cezary Ostrowski, Ronald Parks, Alexis Perepelcia, Samuel Pluta, Kevin Ponto, Malcom Rector, Mark Rose, Heike Schmidt, Alex Shapiro, Martin Simon, Adam Sovkoplas, Kenneth Steen, Jonathan Stone, Dirk Johan Stromberg, Peter Swanzy, Peter Swendsen, Mike Swinchoski, Piotr Szewczyk, Norman Teale, Robert Scott Thompson, Rene Veron, Mike Vernusky, and Straiph Wilson

60x60 (2004 / CD):Riad Abdel-Gawd, Aaron Acosta, Liana Alexandra, John Allemeier, Jethro Bagust, Christian Banasik, Dennis Bathory-Kitsz, Sandeep Bhagwati, Jason Bolte, Benjamin Boone, Justin Breame, George Brunner, Benedikt Brydern, Elvio Cipollone, Ray Cole, Noah Creshevsky, Moritz Eggert, Karlheinz Essl, Carlo Forlivesi, Larry Gaab, David Gamper, Ryan Garber, Douglas Geers, Peter Gilbert, Robert Gluck, Daniel Goode, Ramon Gorgoitia, Pat Hanchet, Jason Heald, James Hegarty, Mark Henry, Killick, Bernand Hughes, David Jaggard, Solange Kershaw, Igor Korneitchouk, Charles Mason, David McIntre, James McWilliam, David Mooney, Serban Nichifor, Julia Norton, Richard O'Donnell, Maggi Payne, Mark Petering, Giuseppe Rapisarda, Steven Ricks, Robert Sazdov, John Schappert, Jacky Schreiber, Paul Steenhuisen, Allen Strange, Thomas Sutter, Vladimir Tosic, Eldad Tsabary, Joseph Vogel, Robert Voisey, Meri von KleinSmid, Chris Ward, and Katrina Wreede.

And here is where you can get it. Individual tracks, too!

Harvest Moon concert this Thursday in SF

We just had Lammas, so it makes sense that the Harvest Moon is the next Full Moon on the calendar. RTD3, the trio of Ron Heglin, Tom Nunn, and Doug Carroll, are up first followed by the Potluck Percussion Harvest with Gino Robair. If you're coming to the show, don't forget to bring a harvest of items for Gino to improvise with.

The Harvest Moon show will happen at the Luggage Store Gallery, 1007 Market Street at 6th Street, San Francisco. Admission is $6.00 - $10.00 sliding scale, with no one turned away for lack of funds.


8 PM: RTD3's Harvest Moon team consensus reads, "We're all essentially dogs and when the moon comes out we howl! The Harvest Moon is the full resonance of the summer with all the timbre of the earth and that which has grown and a marking of a kind of maturity of growth. Sonically this plays out from our experience of this moon. The full moon is also a trickster emotionally. Dancing spirits from the past frolic in the moonlight. Dead, yet, alive, they are always to be and never were."

9PM: This evening's solo performance features Gino's Potluck Percussion, where he plays only the objects presented to him by the audience. The evening is dedicated to Neil Young.


RTD3 features Ron Heglin, voice and trombone; Tom Nunn, elctroacoustic percussion; and Doug Carroll, cello. This SF Bay Area trio is dedicated to free improvisation. Drawing upon influences in classical and jazz domains, their sound is unique and imaginative. Their sonic landscapes propel the listener into a world of sound that is enigmatic, fanciful and chimeric.

Gino Robair has performed and recorded with Tom Waits, Anthony Braxton, John Zorn, Nina Hagen, Terry Riley, Lou Harrison, John Butcher, Derek Bailey, Peter Kowald, Otomo Yoshihide, and the ROVA Saxophone Quartet. He is one of the "25 innovative percussionists" included in the book Percussion Profiles (SoundWorld, 2001), as well as a founding member of the Splatter Trio and Pink Mountain. His opera, I, Norton, based on the life of Norton I, Emperor of the United States, has been performed throughout North America and Europe.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Here's what I'm doing next...

I'm excited to be a part of 5x5, which is John Shiurba's mutating band that always has 5 people interpreting 5 of his compositions. The five of us are:

Kyle Bruckmann, oboe
Matt Ingalls, clarinets
Polly Moller, flute
Gino Robair, percussion
John Shiurba, guitar

The show happens on Wednesday night, September 2nd, at 8:00 pm at the Climate Theatre, 285 9th St (at Folsom), SF. Get in for $7.00 - $15.00 sliding scale.

We go on at 9:00 p.m. after Lisa Mezzacappa's Bait & Switch, consisting of:

Aaron Bennett, saxophones
John Finkbeiner, guitar
Lisa Mezzacappa, bass
Vijay Anderson, drums

So this is one of your options on Wednesday night.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Monday, August 03, 2009

Corn Moon concert this Thursday in SF

My Full Moon Concert Series which I'm curating for Outsound Presents and the Luggage Store Gallery moves on to the Corn Moon concert this Thursday night.

At 8 pm we have Grex, the duo of Karl Evangelista and Margaret Scampavia. At 9pm we have the tenor saxophone duo of Phillip Greenlief and David Boyce.

The Corn Moon concert will happen at the Luggage Store Gallery, 1007 Market Street at 6th Street, San Francisco. Admission is $6.00 - $10.00 sliding scale, with no one turned away for lack of funds.


Grex's program explores generative natural processes through the lens of morbidity and fractured consciousness, utilizing cyclicalism and repetition to infuse this perspective with shades of redemption and rebirth.

For the Corn Moon, Phillip Greenlief and David Boyce will explore the identity of corn in Native American Mythology and everyday life, which is traditionally associated with abundance. For centuries Natives have harvested corn and used it in practical and imaginative ways. Along with the buffalo, Corn Mother is the deity of harvest, and suggests images of plenty in all its manifestations. For this performance, the duo with use this notion of "we have all we need" as expressed in musical terms.


Grex (greks) n. 1. a multicellular aggregate of the groups Acrasiomycota or Dictyosteliida, formed for the purposes of travel and food collection. 2. a Bay Area creative music partnership composed of Karl A.D. Evangelista (guitar, vox, misc.) and Margaret Rei Scampavia (piano/keys, accordion, flute, saxophone, vox, misc.). Grex (the band) was formed in and around the Mills College music axis, early morning breakfast conversations, and intense dissections of South African music, emphasizing genre bending, cross-idiomatic conceits and melding elements of mostly everything (Evangelista has a background in free jazz and Scampavia is a biologist) into something stark and eldritch. Remarks HurdAudio, "The striking thing about this music was its stubborn refusal to eschew any element in favor of another -- offered with a headlong creative urge that made the unexpected turns and sequences into a joyful expression."

Since his emergence on the west coast in the late 1970s, Evander Music founder Phillip Greenlief has achieved international critical acclaim for his recordings and performances with musicians and composers in the post-jazz continuum as well as new music innovators and virtuosic improvisers. His ever-evolving relationship with the saxophone unfolds with an expansive sound vocabulary, a deep regard for melody and form and a rollicking humor and wit that is not dissimilar to the Native American Coyote tales. In addition to a busy performing and recording schedule, he currently teaches at Oakland School for the Arts, East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, and is Director of Music at San Francisco Waldorf High School.

David Boyce spent his formative years in NYC soaking up the city's vast multi-cultural offerings. After being bitten by the jazz bug in elementary school he began his studies of the saxophone. Music quickly became the focus of his non academic endeavors. He graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations, taught school in the Bronx and moved out to San Francisco just in time for the Loma Prieta earthquake. Living in the Bay area inspired him to pursue music as a full time obsession. He co-founded the avant jazz group Broun Fellinis (18 years running) and became an active free lance musician involved in many musical pursuits that include Jazz, Post rock, HipHop, Afrobeat , Improv and Electronic Music. His music has taken him to Europe, Japan and Canada as well as around the US. Currently, he performs with Broun Fellinis, Katdelic, Sila and The Afro Funk Experience, Black Quarterback, The Supplicants, and Black Edgar's Musik Box.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Marking today

It would be Paul's and my 12th anniversary today.

I can remember hunting high and low for a 2 of Cups keychain to give him for an anniversary present. I never did find one, however long ago that was.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Blessing Moon concert this Thursday in SF

My Full Moon Concert Series which I'm curating for Outsound Presents and the Luggage Store Gallery moves on to the Blessing Moon concert this Thursday night.

At 8 pm we have Free Rein, focused on "earth music for space people". It's a new all-improv trio melding reeds/flutes, Danelectro 6 string bass, percussion, voice, cymbal, keyboard, and Theremin.

Brian Lucas from Free Rein says, "The surface area of the Moon is equal to that of Africa. The Moon is a spherical continent hanging in the sky. The Moon is the missing content of the Earth. Through the medium of gravity waves, the rocks of the Moon sing to the rocks of the Earth. Free Rein will spontaneously collaborate with the Moon in this endeavor, sculpting a sound that reflects back to Earth, playing tones that wax and wane through vibration, harmonic bodies phase shifting."

At 9 pm we'll have Valka, a battle of strings. Cellist Agnes Szelag & violinist Marielle Jakobsons say they'll unleash graphic scores and mood swings. With Noah Phillips on guitar, the trio's Blessing Moon rituals are inspired by ripe dreams and the balance between dark and light.

The Blessing Moon concert will happen at the Luggage Store Gallery, 1007 Market Street at 6th Street, San Francisco. Admission is $6.00 - $10.00 sliding scale, with no one turned away for lack of funds.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Now hear this!

I have known about Kitka for a long time. I am acquainted with Shira Cion, one of their members who's also their Executive Director, and I run into her frequently at non-profit gatherings. But up till recently I hadn't actually heard their music.

My new beau, Jeff, got to hear them this Summer Solstice at the Garden of Memory concert. I was playing in another ensemble at the same event so I wasn't able to go hear them. Jeff was blown away and bought me their new album Sanctuary as a present.

I have been listening to it regularly. It's vital, visceral, Goddessy choral music.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Eighteen months

Eighteen months, the technical name for a year and a half, doesn't seem like such a long time when written down.

But it is a lot longer than a year. The pace of change picks up. The past becomes smaller in the rear view mirror. The future gets closer, incomprehensible though it still is.

Persistence pays off in strange and awkward and wonderful ways. New experiences keep happening. Things that are wonderful are muted. Things no longer mean what they used to mean. Every momentous event grows a tail of "if only" or "what if".

Stumbling across shared online calendars like I did today is also awkward and throws things into stillness.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

60 x 60 2009

I'm excited to announce that my spoetry piece, "Abdominal Cyclist Ultra", has been selected for the 2009 60 x 60 project. Full details can be found at

Keep eyes and ears open (and subscribe to their mailing list) to find out about upcoming 60 x 60 performances in your home town!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Listen up! and down! and sideways!

This Sunday night, June 21st, at 11:00 p.m. Pacific, tune into KPFA and you can hear me talk about everything I'm up to on Dean Suzuki's Discreet Music show.

Dean was one of my profs at SF State countless eons ago. No, I don't want to count these countless eons. :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Flip Quartet personnel confirmed

So, the two gangs of four are set for the upcoming Flip Quartet performances:

- Saturday, June 27th at Hypnagogia: Karl Evangelista, Jason Hoopes, Thomas Scandura, and Bill Wolter

- Friday, July 17th at Book Zoo: Amar Chaudhary, Travis Johns, Suki O'Kane, and Moe! Staiano

With two such different lineups, and two such different venues, we'll get two very different interpretations. I can't wait!

Monday, June 08, 2009

A tale of two Flip Quartets

Something very cool: my Flip Quartet will be performed twice in coming months.

First, on June 23rd, in the Hypnagogia event at the Climate Theater in San Francisco. The four performers will be Karl Evangelista, Jason Hoopes, Thomas Scandura, and Bill Wolter.

Second, on July 17th, at Book Zoo in Oakland. Performers are still being recruited, but we've got three out of four, so the lineup will be announcible soon.

Clyde Niesen will be our stalwart sound engineer for both Flip Quartets, making sure all those elemental sounds get heard.

Monday, May 11, 2009

This Sunday night at the Royce Gallery


room: PIPES

Sunday May 17, 2009, 8pm

Jane Rigler (flutes, electronics, and interactive video)
Polly Moller (flutes and voice)
with Pamela Z (voice & electronics)

2901 Mariposa Street (between Harrison & Alabama), San Francisco.
Admission is $10
Tickets available at the door or through PayPal

Friday, May 08, 2009

Another place to read stuff I've written

I'm excited to announce I'm now a Contributing Editor at Sequenza21, the contemporary music blog. I'll be reporting on new music goings-on in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Flower Moon concert Thursday night in SF

My Full Moon Concert Series which I'm curating for Outsound Presents and the Luggage Store Gallery moves on to the Flower Moon concert this Thursday night. Last month's Wind Moon was my favorite so far. Running out of chairs is really, really cool.

The duo of Theresa Wong and Kanoko Nishi goes on at 8 pm , and Vorticella plays at 9 pm. The gallery is located at 1007 Market Street at Sixth Street, San Francisco and admission is $6.00 - $10.00 sliding scale.


1. Wong & Nishi will perform improvisations on koto and cello/voice.


2. Flowers are of many colors and forms, some are conspicuous, some are barely noticeable, but all simultaneously represent both the potential for new life and the fragility of existence. By working with sonic textures that range from the extravagant to the subtle, Vorticella illustrates the vibrancy of rebirth and the ever changing nature of the environment and our relationship to it.


Theresa Wong is a cellist and vocalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her current work weaves together the areas of improvisation, composition, song forms, video, performance art and large scale performance pieces. After studying design, she became interested in an art form which would unite the visual arts with sound and performance. Her work has been included in the Unlimited 21 Festival in Wels, Austria, Fondation Cartier in Paris, the Other Minds Brink series in San Francisco, the Radio France broadcast, "A L'improviste", the Seattle Improvised Music Festival and at The Stone in New York City. She has collaborated and performed with such artists as Fred Frith, Joelle Leandre, Gianni Gebbia, Luciano Chessa, ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Ellen Fullman, Carla Kihlstedt and Joan Jeanrenaud. Theresa completed an MFA in performance at Mills College and is currently a resident artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts.

Kanoko Nishi is an improvising performer, currently residing in Oakland, CA. She has received a BA in Classical Piano Performance from Mills College, and beside working as a pianist for performances of new and contemporary compositions for piano, she has also collaborated and performed with various musicians, dancers, poets and visual artists, improvising on her second instrument, koto (Japanese 13-string zither).

Vorticella are inverted bell-shaped ciliates. Each of these single-celled organisms has a separate, anchored stalk. Some are grouped as colonies, but because each Vorticella has its own individual stalk it can detach from the cluster at any time. We are a complex sound generating entity bearing a strong resemblance to the Vorticella.

Krystyna Bobrowski is a sound artist, composer and musician. In addition to French horn she plays acoustic and electronic instruments of her own design. Her collection of original instruments includes bull kelp horns, prepared amplified rocking chairs, leaf speakers, Gliss Glass and the Sliding Speaker Instrument.

Erin Espeland has been an improvisational cellist for over 20 years. She uses unconventional techniques to generate interesting sounds from this instrument. She has played in ensembles throughout northern California, with performances ranging from John Cage festivals to parades.

Brenda Hutchinson, composer and sound artist, has been making sounds and singing into one end of a 9 1/2 foot Long Tube for the past 18 years. She has developed a more bionic, electronically enhanced version of the Long Tube that she uses for both solo performance and to improvise with other musicians.

Karen Stackpole is a drummer/percussionist who specializes in gongs and metals in particular. She has a penchant for subtle sounds and experimental music, playing both solo and in collaboration with others. Over the years she has managed to amass a wide collection of traditional and exotic percussion instruments as well as an arsenal of found objects that she uses to create some truly unique soundscapes.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Now hear this...

Bloom Project: Sudden Aurora

The standard disclaimer applies: Thollem McDonas and Rent Romus are my friends, so this won't be the most objective review ever. But I can vouch personally for their eye-opening technical proficiency and solid inspiration.

Something I particularly like about the CD is the brevity of its tracks. To me it's a sign of thoughtful musicianship when ideas can be stated confidently in a short amount of time.

Since I was present at the October 2008 live performance that forms a lot of Sudden Aurora, I wish it were a DVD so listeners could also see what a sweaty, turbo-charged experience that concert was. I feel that way about a lot of CDs released by Bay Area new music people -- the live dimension just can't be beat.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Wind Moon concert Thursday night in SF

My Full Moon Concert Series which I'm curating for Outsound Presents and the Luggage Store Gallery continues this Thursday night with the Wind Moon. At 8 pm we have Three Trapped Tigers, the recorder duo of Tom Bickley and David Barnett. Then there's Dynosoar featuring Tom Djll, Ron Heglin, and Karen Stackpole. Finally we get treated to Edmund Welles: the bass clarinet quartet performing their classic, Opium & Absinthe. The gallery is located at 1007 Market Street at Sixth Street, San Francisco and admission is $6.00 - $10.00 sliding scale.


1. Three Trapped Tigers approach the Wind Moon using a new setting by Tom Bickley of haiku titled Wind Moon: haiku spoken in Japanese provides sonic material for the recorder parts. Along with this new work will be pieces by Italian 14th c. composer Francesco Landini and 20th/21st c. Japanese composer Ryohei Hirose.

2. Dynosoar: Welding together circles inside circles of brass and bronze, drawing deep for breath then ringing outward in concentric vastness. Vibrating air-energy drills inside and sparks dynamos of synaptic complexity. Can’t be heard in a vacuum.

3. Edmund Welles: Opium & Absinthe
I. Divination
II. Lucid Impression
III. Inertia
IV. Plasmosis
Vaguely inspired by a theta state, dream, half conscious and in between worlds kind of feeling, historically achieved through potent substances, but possibly achieved as well through sonic means and intention.


Tom Bickley and David Barnett formed the recorder duo Three Trapped Tigers to perform 14th century music with 21st century sensibilities and vice versa. They have performed on the Trinity Chamber Concerts, the Berkeley Festival Fringe, and for the San Francisco Early Music Society. They use instrument appropriate to the repertory: cylindrical medieval recorders, wide-bore renaissance-style recorders, and ones of modern design.

David Barnett was a very bad boy while a student in the New York City public school system. His punishment was to play the recorder for the principal once a week. While this did not necessarily solve his behavior problems, he did find that he enjoyed the recorder. About the same time he took up the clarinet and has been playing music on both instruments ever since in one form or another. A long time Bay area resident, he now lives in southern California. He has recently been a visiting artist at the California Institute for the Arts. He currently performs on recorder and chalumeau with the Los Angeles based ensemble, Jealous Nightingale. In a past life, he was the music director for the notorious San Francisco arts group, the Noh Oratorio Society. He has recorded for the Earthbeat, Pacific Artist and Centaur labels

Tom Bickley is a recorder player/composer/improviser/teacher in Berkeley, CA. He grew up in Houston, studied in Washington, DC (recorder with Scott Reiss, musicology with Ruth Steiner, and listening/composition with Pauline Oliveros) and came to California as a composer in residence at Mills College. He teaches recorder privately and at the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training, and is on the library faculty as music librarian at Cal State University East Bay. He curates the Meridian Music: Composers in Performance series. He plays with shakuhachi player Nancy Beckman as Gusty Winds May Exist, with recorder player David Barnett as Three Trapped Tigers and directs the Cornelius Cardew Choir. His work is available on CD on Quarterstick and Metatron Press.

Karen Stackpole performs and records with metals/gongs duo Euphonics, Dean Santomieri, Ron Thompson, Myles Boisen, Moe Staiano, and John Schott’s Ensemble Diglossia as well as collaborating on various other projects. Gongs and resonance are the calling. Small distinct sounds (a la insect music) and use of silence and space rank high also. She is the drummer for Cactus Motel and has played with Malcolm Mooney and The Tenth Planet, Moxie, Bolshoi Rodeo, and Rare Thing. She is the percussionist for the improvising quartet, Vorticella. Her percussive efforts include work with the Onsite Dance Company and the San Francisco Shin Taido group. Karen also operates Stray Dog Recording Services and works as a freelance writer for DRUM! and Electronic Musician magazines.

Ron Heglin is a Trombonist and Vocalist working with extended technique on the Trombone and with spoken and sung imaginary languages as a Vocalist. His vocal music has been influenced by his study of North Indian vocal music. He works both compositionally and in an improvisational mode and is a member of the Bay Area music context as well as performing internationally. He is a founding member of the groups MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS, ROTODOTI, and BRASSIOSAURUS, and has performed with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Leo Smith, Henry Brant, Logos Duo, Tim Perkis, John Bischoff, Tom Djll, and Toyoji Tomita.

Tom Djll studied music at Berklee School of Music, the Colorado College, the Creative Music Studio, and Mills College with Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell, Karl Berger, Lester Bowie, Leo Smith, George Lewis, Pauline Oliveros, and many others. He is the recipient of an MFA from Mills College in Electronic Music (1995) as well as a Deeploma from the Deep Listening Organization (1991), and was awarded the Paul Merrit Henry Prize for Composition while at Mills. Current projects include the orchestra-media satire project, Mockracy, and the international improvising ensemble Grosse Abfahrt. A player in the SF Bay improvised/etc. scene since 1985, Tom’s words about music have appeared in The Wire, Signal To Noise, Musicworks, One Final Note, Open Space and the SF Transbay Calendar.

Edmund Welles: the bass clarinet quartet has the distinction of being the world's only original, composing band of four bass clarinetists -- they invent and perform heavy chamber music. The bass clarinet has a 5-octave range and a huge span of tonal, melodic, and rhythmic capabilities. Drawing virtuosic precision from the classical realm; innovation and texture from jazz; and power, rhythm and overall perspective from rock and metal, the quartet's sound is characterized by a thickness of tone, a density of texture, absolute rhythmic precision, and the extreme use of dynamic contrasts: a dense, pulsing sound capable of expressing and reflecting the full range of human emotions. Since 1996, Cornelius Boots has led and composed for Edmund Welles, which received a Chamber Music America Grant in 2004 for the creation of Agrippa's 3 Books, a multi-movement work inspired by occult philosophy and heavy metal music. This piece is featured on their debut album of the same title [mixed and mastered by Grammy-award winning sound alchemist Oz Fritz]. The album made the Top Ten Albums of 2005, and the New York premiere of the piece made the Top Ten Performances of 2005 in All About Jazz NYC. The title track of their second album, Tooth & Claw, placed 2nd out of thousands of entries in the "Instrumental" category of the 2006 International Songwriting Competition. In 2007, The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco commissioned the group to compose and perform 2012: A Requiem for Baktun 12 [the 13th and Final Cycle]. Most recently, in 2008, the quartet was a featured ensemble at the International Clarinet Convention in Kansas City in addition to sharing a bill with the innovative "rock against rock" power-ensemble Sleepytime Gorilla Museum at several California venues. As their influence grows, Edmund Welles continues to be sought out for cutting edge music festivals and series including Three Drops of Blood (Installments II and IX), Switchboard Music Festival, and Hornucopia. There have also been several acolyte bass clarinet quartets (such as Acid Bass in New York) crop up around the globe over the last 3 years, playing both Edmund Welles arrangements and innovative pieces of their own. Engendering enthusiasm and expanding the musical horizons of both clarinetists and the general non-clarinet-playing public is at the core of the ensemble's existence.

Oakland reed renegade Cornelius Boots is a progressive rock composer, bass clarinet performance specialist, wu wei woodwind instructor and Zen flute adept. In 1996 he founded Edmund Welles, the world's only bass clarinet quartet, for which he has composed and arranged over 60 pieces including recent pieces commissioned by Chamber Music America and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Flip Quartet on Amaranth Radio

Click here and hit the play arrow to hear Amaranth Radio from Seattle. JC Combs will treat you to the sounds of many living composers. The May 16, 2007 live recording of my Flip Quartet, featuring John Hanes, Suki O'Kane, Karen Stackpole and Moe! Staiano, is a part of it.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Gig report from Amar

Click here to read Amar's perspective on our Ivy Room trio performance. I thought it went well too.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Upcoming solo performance in SF (May 17)

Just now confirmed is my solo set on an upcoming night of Pamela Z's Royce Gallery series, ROOM. I attended an installment of this series some months back and it was MOBBED, so you MIGHT wanna order tickets ahead of time. There is a ticket-buying link on the page.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Chaudhary/Moller/Zbyszynski Monday night, 11:00 p.m.

If you find yourself wide awake at 11:00 p.m. on Monday, March 16th, you can come to the Ivy Room in darkest Albany to hear a trio set featuring me, my bandmate Amar Chaudhary, and Michael Zbyszynski. I've never played with Michael before, and I have no idea what he's going to do. High-risk improv behavior!

It's the Experimental Hootenanny, located at 858 San Pablo Ave, Albany, California. The show starts at 9 pm, and we go on at 11 pm. There's no cover and comfortable relaxed lounge surroundings.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Storm Moon concert Thursday night in SF

My Full Moon Concert Series which I'm curating for Outsound Presents and the Luggage Store Gallery continues this Thursday night with the Storm Moon. At 8 pm (ish) we have Ronnie Cramer, visiting from Denver, and at 9 pm (ish) Lumper/Splitter. The gallery is located at 1007 Market Street at Sixth Street, San Francisco and admission is $6.00 - $10.00 sliding scale.

Denver, Colorado artist/musician/filmmaker Ronnie Cramer has been active in the arts community for over thirty years. His paintings have been exhibited in galleries and other venues across the country, his music has achieved airplay on over 100 radio stations nationwide and his award-winning films have been screened at festivals around the world. He has also been featured as a guest lecturer on art and media at numerous museums and universities.

Lumper/Splitter is the mind-meld of two obsessive soundhounds -- Joe Rut and Lucio Menegon -- who alternately describe each other as "being from another planet" or "separated at birth." You decide: Are you a lumper or a splitter?

Lumper/Splitter create sonic tapestries using every tool at their guitar-centric disposal -- effects manipulation, looping, amplified objects, found sound, and even some honest guitar playing. Improvising compositions based on their environment, every performance is different. Their excursions sometimes sound like Martians invading New Jersey but are often soothing and occasionally neurotic.


Ronnie will premiere his 20-30 minute film, "Storm Moon", and perform its accompanying score. The constantly shifting images and music are designed to represent the calendar as we sweep winter aside and prepare for a fresh start in the spring.


Lumper/Splitter will attempt to answer the musical question, "What the fuck is a storm moon?", possibly in the key of G.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Quickening Moon concert Thursday night in SF

My Full Moon Concert Series which I'm curating for Outsound Presents and the Luggage Store Gallery continues this Thursday night with the Quickening Moon. At 8 pm (ish) we have Theory Garden, and at 9 pm (ish) the VoxMaids. The gallery is located at 1007 Market Street at Sixth Street, San Francisco and admission is $6.00 - $10.00 sliding scale.

Theory Garden has been in various forms of gestation since 2005, led by Mika Pontecorvo with a varying cast of players exploring a range of improvised music from dark psychedelic rock to free improvisation to abstract electro-acoustic music. For the Quickening Moon performance Theory Garden will incorporate guitar, cello, flute, percussion, sax, trumpet, bass, and vocals and live signal processing via laptop computers.

VoxMaids is made up of JoJo Razor and Cynthia Weyuker, two veteran story-telling vocalists who use various instruments and loop boxes to create garden theater. The story of the VoxMaids is considered neo-folk story music, played out in moments of insanity and beauty. Lately they have begun the arduous task of combining music, performance, film, improv and ritual together to create a fertile ground for the source, or what they like to call Searching for the Voice of the Third. With the precision measurements of alchemists, Cynthia and JoJo aim to create a soundscaped foundation on which the Voice of the Third may not only be heard but seen. With this combination it insures that no two performances are alike and instead breathes life into the moment, not only for the performers but for the audience.


1. Theory Garden - Kuu (Moon)

Kuu, like other pieces conceived and performed by Theory Garden, is built on an evolving set of dynamic sonic processes architected by Mika Pontecorvo. This process architecture serves as both a ambient soundscape for the individual players improvisations and as a means of modulating the players' work.

For the purposes of this performance the primordial rhythmic relationship between the moon and the life forces it influences will be derived by looking at stages of gestational development at the time of the Quickening Moon and using that relationship to modulate the performance timbral and rhythmic structure. This will be accomplished by using the birthday and month of both the performers and audience to drive the generative processes of the electronics.


2. VoxMaids - The Quickening Moon

The Quickening Moon finds the VoxMaids asleep in the dark under the illuminated dark sky. Video projections change throughout the performance ritual, from darkness to twilight. Soundscapes provide a place for: the breath, the calling voice, for improv and ritual.

Song 1 ~ Winter
The Earth Ritual Weaving (bones)
video projections: darkness, texture, mercury
soundscapes: earth, roots, dormancy
performance ritual: physical weaving

Song 2 ~ Electricity
The Water Ritual Phoning (blood)
video projections: darkness, velvet,
soundscapes: earth, roots, dormancy, drums
performance ritual: movement

Song 3 ~ MerryGoRound
The Air Ritual (lungs)
video projections: darkness, movement, patterns
soundscapes: breath, wind, bells, chimes, didgeridoo, accordion
performance ritual: the breath

Song 4 ~ The Beast
The Fire Ritual (heart)
video projections: twilight, engines, pounding, noise
soundscapes: energy, guitar, saw, rake
performance ritual: vocalization

Song 5 ~ Haunted Opera
The Awakening of the Will

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Paul would have been 50 today.

If only he were here to celebrate his big day. I would have thrown him a big party at my mom's house with lots of friends and family. And if he were feeling better, he might actually have enjoyed it, in an "aw shucks" kind of way. It's all wrong.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Album I'm on finally about to come out!

Quite awhile back I recorded some flute and bass flute parts and overdubs on the marvelous Scott Pinkmountain's epic, The Full Sun. I've heard just recently that the album is coming out on February 10th! Check out a review of it and be warned that I play on the track "Unforgiven" (along with 30 or more of my closest musical friends).

Monday, January 19, 2009

"Remove Before Flight" reviewed in Flute Talk

From the January 2009 issue of Flute Talk magazine:

"Remove Before Flight by Polly Moller is a two-movement quartet for two C flutes, alto, and bass that includes several extended techniques. In the first movement, "The Breeze", flutes 2-4 to play with residual and regular tone while the first flute plays whisper tones and multiphonics. The fast, driving second movement, "Takeoff", includes timbral trills in all voices and multiphonics in all but the alto parts. While the printed notes are not difficult, the extended techniques might require extra time to master the desired effects. It is an excellent piece for introducing those non-traditional sounds. ($12.00, 7:30, ALRY) D.B.S."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Now hear this!

My friend Gary Mattingly introduced me to Niyaz on the way to last year's Yule ritual. He played me their album, Nine Heavens. I downloaded everything of theirs I could find the next day, and I think I've played the first track, "Beni Beni", ten times today. They are an international band based in Los Angeles. I have a new singing idol in their frontbeing, the marvelous Azam Ali.

We are reborn as Reconnaissance Fly

Reconnaissance Fly was a toy from my childhood. I say "was" only because nobody seems to know where he ended up. He may still be.

My brother Will and I used to play with him. He was a replica fly about as big as my hand, made of black rubber with clear plastic wings. He did a lot of flying around and reporting on other toys and different parts of the house so that led my dad to call him Reconnaissance Fly. His name is now the new name for the band formerly known as Polly Moller & Co.

The current band lineup has been together for going on 2 years now and it's by far my favorite. We will be taking off in some new directions this year in performance, touring, and recording. Since we are a band of composers, we are going to explore that, and expand to include all the instrumental talents of our members -- Amar's piano playing, Bill's homemade instruments, and anything else that suits our new work. I might even pick up the guitar again and see what might be coaxed out. As a lyricist I'm immersed in the mysteries of spoetry. There is a long-form multi-movement composition in our future, which will be performed live and recorded as a studio album.

The band name "Polly Moller & Co.", bestowed by my friend Matt Davignon in 2004, seemed appropriate at the time, a generic name for a band with a fluid lineup. But in year 2 of the post-Paul era, it's outlived its usefulness. Everything is different now. It's a new name in a new world.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Cold Moon concert on Thursday in SF

I'm curating a monthly series for Outsound Presents and the Luggage Store Gallery. The shows will take place on the Thursday nights closest to each full moon in 2009. Different styles of experimental music will sonically represent the traditional lore and energy of each full moon, and the series kicks off on Thursday with the Cold Moon concert.

The composers and performers of Cold Blue Music, a label in Los Angeles, are traveling up to San Francisco to share their music for the Cold Moon. Here's the program:

The Absence . . . . . Chas Smith
Chas Smith, "extended steel guitar," with the small ensemble of Rick Cox, Marty Walker, Michael Jon Fink, and Read Miller

Objects in the River (of Time) . . . . . Miichael Jon Fink

Adorned with Lightning . . . . . Miichael Jon Fink

Cox and Walker, woodwinds; Fink, electric guitar; Smith, pedal steel guitar; Miller, percussion

Waiting for Anything . . . . . Rick Cox (text by Read Miller)

Cox, prepared electric guitar; Miller, voice; Smith, pedal steel guitar; Walker, clarinet; Fink: electric bass guitar

Last Things . . . . . Jim Fox

Walker, bass clarinet; Cox, electric guitar and samples; Smith, pedal steel guitar; Fink, electric guitar

All works are San Francisco premieres.

The Luggage Store Gallery is located at 1007 Market Street near Sixth Street in San Francisco. The show is from 8-10 pm and admission is $6 - $10 sliding scale.

Bios of composers/performers

Chas Smith is a Los Angeles-based composer, performer, and instrument designer and builder who, in the spirit of Harry Partch, creates much of his music for his own exotic instruments. His compositions, which always display his dualistic fascination with the scientific and the sensual, might owe their split personalities to the diverse collection of composers he studied with in the 1970s: Morton Subotnick, Mel Powell, James Tenney, and Harold Budd.

Michael Jon Fink’s instrumental and electronic music has been presented at numerous concerts and festivals throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. He has composed concertos for soprano saxophone, bass clarinet, violin, and cello, as well as incidental music for two plays by Wajdi Mouawad: "Forets" (2006) and "Seuls" (2008). As a composer/improviser with experimental and new music groups, he has toured here and abroad and recorded with The Negative Band, Musica Veneris Nocturnus, Stillife, Ghost Duo, Gods of Rain and Pickaxe. In recent years, he has increasingly focused on performing in solo and small group situations, exploring new sounds and forms on the electric guitar.

Rick Cox is a composer and skilled multi-instrumentalist whom guitarist/composer Ry Cooder called "the hidden master of the crepuscular and the diaphanous." Cox was an early explorer/developer of "prepared electric guitar" techniques His concert pieces, which often employ himself (electric guitar, woodwinds, and/or electronics) in the company of other instrumentalists, have been performed throughout the U.S. The British music publication The Wire wrote pf Cox's often lush and beautiful soundscapes for electric guitar and other instruments: "his enveloping harmonies are less innocent than they first appear. Prettiness with a tough core."

Read Miller is a poet, percussionist/drummer, and composer. After spending many years in the Los Angeles area, where he performed as a drummer in a number of jazz-based ensembles and a number of avant-pop groups, including the Dwindle Family Orchestra, the Improvisors’ Orchestra, Colin Gorman, Snakepit, the Red Poppies, Stillife, and many others, he moved to rural Virginia in the late 1990s. His poems have been published in various poetry periodicals. His musical and text-sound compositions have been recorded on the Advance and Cold Blue labels.

Marty Walker is a clarinetist who specializes in the performance of new music. (He has premiered nearly 100 works written especially for him.) Walker has toured and recorded with various new-music ensembles, including the California E.A.R. Unit, the Robin Cox Ensemble, Some Over History, eXindigo, Viklarbo, and Ghost Duo. As a soloist, he has presented live radio concerts on NPR, Pacifica, and other radio venues and has performed at numerous new music festivals, including New Music America, the International Festival of New Music, and New Music International, and various new music venues, including Real Art Ways, FaultLines, the Monday Evening Concerts, Knitting Factory, Podewil, and Wires.

Jim Fox’s music has been commissioned and performed by ensembles and soloists throughout the U.S. and presented at the Monday Evening Concerts, New Music America, Real Art Ways, Wires, the SCREAM Festival, the Ventura Chamber Music Festival, the CalArts Contemporary Music Festival, Podewil (Berlin), the Schindler House/SASSAS, REDCAT, the Ear Inn, L.A.C.E., and many similar venues. He has also scored feature films. His website is

Thursday, January 01, 2009

One year

There is nothing I can say to the public internets that hasn't already been said.

Please remember Paul.