Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Live on UBRadio Salon, 12/22/10

I'll be improvising live with the marvelous John Hanes on Wednesday, December 22nd from 4 to 6 p.m. Pacific Time, on UB Radio Salon.  Do tune in!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Long Night's Moon wraps up the series for 2010

For the Long Night's Moon on Thursday, December 16th, Outsound presents Droneshift, the longest set of the year for the Full Moon series, focusing on sustained notes.

Droneshift is a collaborative concert of improvised drone music. Between 15 and 25 musicians will gather to contribute to a
continuous 2 hour drone, each adding their acoustic or electronic
instruments here and there, and weaving their sounds together to create gradually shifting tapestries of music.

The performance will most likely meander from completely acoustic music to electric ambiance to post-industrial noise with many points in between.

Personnel thus far:

Tom Bickley - wind controller
CJ Borosque - trumpet
Bob Boster - processed voice
Amar Chaudhary - iThings
Matt Davignon - wine glasses/synth
Adam Fong - bass
Phillip Greenlief - sax/clarinet
Ron Heglin - trombone/trumpet
Jeff Hobbs - bass, clarinet or violin
Travis Johns - electronics
Andrew Joron - theremin
Aurora Josephson - voice
Sebastian Krawczuk - bass
David Leikam - Moog rogue synthesizer
Cheryl Leonard - viola
Marianne McDonald - didgeridoo
Melissa Margolis - accordion
Bob Marsh - voice
John McCallum - electronics
Chad McKinney - supercollider/guitar
Kate McLoughlin - bassoon
Joe McMahon - didgeridoo
Kristin Miltner - laptop
Ferrara Brain Pan - sopranino saxophone
Rent Romus - sax/tapes
Ellery Royston - harp w/effects
Mark Soden - trumpet
Moe! Staiano - guitar
Errol Stewart - guitar
Lena Strayhorn - tsaaj plaim / wind wand
Zachary Watkins - electronics
Rachel Wood-Rome - french horn
Michael Zelner - analog monophonic synthesizer, iPod Touch

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

KUSF interview on December 16th

I'll be visiting the Bryan Chandler program on KUSF from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, Thursday, December 16th, to tell listeners all about the December 18th Trinity Chapel concert.

This is an opportunity for folks who are out of the San Francisco area, or who otherwise can't make it to the show, to hear recorded excerpts of a couple of the pieces that will be performed.  And if you can, and will, come to the show it will get you in the mood.  Tune in to 90.3 FM in San Francisco, or listen on the web at !

Friday, November 19, 2010

Just a month from now

It's feeling very real indeed. Rehearsals are scheduled, and I'm putting together program notes! Here, by the way, is the program itself as it stands now.

-The Flip Quartet for four improvisers (2006)
performed by Karl Evangelista, Jason Hoopes, Thomas Scandura and Bill Wolter

-Duo No. 1 (premiere, 2008)
performed by Gino Robair, cymbal
and Krystyna Bobrowski, sliding speaker instrument

-Penelope (premiere, 2010)
commissioned and performed by Amy Likar, piccolo


-Three of Swords for a solo improviser (2009)
performed by Sarah Elena Palmer

- Alcyone, a new work for the winter solstice (2010)
Laura Malouf-Renning, mezzo-soprano
Phillip Greenlief, Bb clarinet
Cory Wright, bass clarinet
Lisa Mezzacappa, contrabass
Suki O'Kane, percussion

-Genesis for twelve improvisers (2006-2010)
performed by Polly Moller (conductor)
Suki O'Kane, percussion (Universal Time)
Karen Stackpole, gongs
Marianne Tomita MacDonald, harp
Nancy Beckman, shakuhachi
Jayn Petingill, alto saxophone
Adria Otte, violin
Emily Packard, violin
Cheryl Leonard, viola
Ann Dentel, cello
Lisa Mezzacappa, contrabass
and Matt Davignon, drum machine (New Universe).

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mourning Moon concert this Thursday in San Francisco


FIGHTS MONSTERS will ritually bring in the Mourning Moon through the extensive exploration of drones, room harmonics and standing waves to bring about a meditation on loss—all by candlelight.

The contemporary people of LAWSON are the descendants of an ancient civilization. For many generations the ancient Lawsonites lived at sea in ships, traveling and exploring the seemingly endless reaches of the ocean. While it has been forgotten exactly why the Lawsonites suddenly left the ocean, many believe a large storm decimated the majority of the population, and the few remaining people chose to leave the ocean forever. The descendants of these people have never seen the ocean.

In honor of the Mourning Moon, the Lawson ensemble will continue its tradition of performing the ancient songs of the fallen Lawsonite ancestors.


Ryan Gregory Tallman (b. 1977) is an electro-acoustic composer, noise artist, sound experimentalist, multi-instrumentalist and improviser. Tallman’s primary compositional focus is the manipulation and exploitation of the inherent resonant frequencies of acoustic spaces—rendering his work site specific and experiential. As a graduate from the Master of Fine Arts in Electronic Music and Recording Arts program at Mills College, Tallman studied under Fred Frith, Pauline Oliveros, Maggie Payne, Roscoe Mitchell, and Zeena Parkins.

FIGHTS MONSTERS,the SloMo-PoMo, Atmospheric Noise-Metal project of composer Ryan Gregory Tallman*, was brought to life in East Oakland, CA in the Autumn of 2008. FIGHTS MONSTERS has released albums on Planetarium Records and Subspine Records, and has another full-length album in progress.

Saxophonist Jacob Zimmerman recently completed his Masters Degree in Composition at Mills College in Oakland, where he had the privilege to study privately with Roscoe Mitchell and James Fei. In May of 2008 he graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Jazz Saxophone Performance. There he studied primarily with Anthony Coleman, Jerry Bergonzi, and Joe Morris. Demonstrating a firm knowledge of the history of the alto saxophone in jazz, classical, and improvised music, Jacob is a highly active performer working in a wide range of diverse musical contexts.

The newly formed Lawson Ensemble performs original music inspired by the rich cultural heritage of the Lawsonite people. Comprised of an exceptional cast of local improvising musicians, the project is focused on the navigation of a unique pitch network system recently developed by Zimmerman in his solo work. Current members include Drew Ceccato, Cory Wright, Matt Nelson (saxes), Matt Ingalls (clarinets), Theo Padouvas (trumpet), Rob Ewing (trombone), Michael Coleman, Dan VanHassel (keyboards), and Dan Good (electronics and trumpet). In performance the Lawson Ensemble collectively improvises varying textures of complex, slowly shifting counterpoint. Through the use of pre-composed material, improvisation, and a specific vocabulary of conducting cues the performers actively engage in the discovery of new formations of melody and phrasing, with an emphasis on shapes and contours. Notable influences for the project include Karlheinz Stockhausen’s opera music, Bill Frisell, Sun Ra, Anthony Braxton, and the improvisations of Lee Konitz and the “Tristano School.”

Monday, October 18, 2010


Yes!  The Kickstarter appeal for the December 18th performers has made it to $1,000 raised!

But don't let that stop you from making a pledge to benefit these great musicians.  The more money we raise for them, the more money can be split among them -- and December 18th will cease to be just another underground gig.

Blood Moon concert this Thursday in SF

How dark can it get and the moon still be full?  Find out this Thursday, October 21 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.

8PM: Forms of Things Unknown
9PM: Big City Orchestra

Forms of Things Unknown will attempt to measure the pulse of the Blood Moon using a meter-long cylinder of grenadilla wood paired off with a triangular spruce resonant chamber, piped through a Lexicon MX200 fitted with a handblown telescoping pocket compass of pure fucking titanium.

Big City Orchestra makes sound on the moon: Melody mainly pressure wave moving through a series of conditions. Thus, we often hear at the sky. As the transfer of so-called "Kaleidoscope." After back and forth nature of the lie, if you go back. This means that it is in our vibration of the eardrum ear. Thus, you will not sound when the vacuum of space, but you can hear the air or cooling, or semen. How it all, especially at a distance, or as audio, high-frequency or low frequency current evaporation depends on the media publishing projects or clothing.

Forms of Things Unknown was launched as a solo studio project in 2002 and continues to serve as the primary creative vehicle for the music of Ferrara Brain Pan. Utilizing various woodwinds as primary sound sources, these and other acoustic instruments are interfaced with signal processors, electronics and sampled sounds to fabricate drone-oriented soundscapes of a dark ambient designation, occasionally veering into neofolk, jazz dirge or art-rock territory. While live performances are infrequent, audience members have sometimes reported odd somatic hallucinations, feeling as though interdimensional portals were spontaneously erupting throughout the abdominal cavity, with tiny glass helicopters entering and exiting these dilating orifices.

Big City Orchestra: Back in 1979 in crappy little towns south of LA such as Torrance and Hawthorne a cassette-trading, noise-embracing, non-musician-friendly band was formed and the darned thing still exists today under the same name.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Kickstarter appeal for artist fees

Time to seek funding for the 22 performers I told you about last week!  Please check out the appeal and back them as generously as you are able.

Monday, September 27, 2010

All performers are now confirmed for December 18th!

Yes, it's an exciting moment in the journey towards this concert.  There are 23 musicians in all, and here is the program as it stands now:

-The Flip Quartet for four improvisers (2006)
Karl Evangelista
Jason Hoopes
Thomas Scandura
Bill Wolter

-Duo No. 1 (premiere, 2009)
Gino Robair, percussion etc.
Krystyna Bobrowski, inventions

-Penelope (premiere, 2010)
commissioned and performed by Amy Likar, piccolo


-Three of Swords for a solo improviser (2009)
performed by Sarah Elena Palmer

- Alcyone, a new work for the winter solstice
Laura Malouf-Renning, mezzo-soprano
Phillip Greenlief, Bb clarinet
Cory Wright, bass clarinet
Lisa Mezzacappa, contrabass
Suki O'Kane, percussion

-Genesis for twelve improvisers (2006-2010)
performed by Polly Moller (conductor)
Suki O'Kane, percussion (Universal Time)
Karen Stackpole, gongs
Marianne Tomita MacDonald, harp
Nancy Beckman, shakuhachi
Jayn Petingill, alto saxophone
Adria Otte, violin
Thea Farhadian, violin
Cheryl Leonard, viola
Ann Dentel, cello
Lisa Mezzacappa, contrabass
and Matt Davignon, drum machine (New Universe)

For more information and whens and wheres, please visit Trinity Chamber Concerts.

Friday, September 24, 2010

At the Harvest Moon show

Polly Moller
Originally uploaded by michaelz1

My welcoming remarks were very brief, since this show came with its own Master of Ceremonies in Bernard Meisler from Sensitive Skin magazine. But Michael Zelner was there to photograph it nonetheless. :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Harvest Moon concert this Thursday in SF

Kids begin school in the autumn because, when most of us subsisted through agriculture in the Northern Hemisphere, kids were needed to help gather in the harvest.  Once they were done with that, they could go to school.  September is therefore steeped in harvest and learning lore.

Dan Plonsey, Steve Horowitz, and Bernard Meisner have all of that in mind, plus the special knowledge that September 23rd is the birthday of the late great John Coltrane. Their Harvest Moon concert at the Luggage Store Gallery (1007 Market Street, near 6th Street, San Francisco) will serve up all they have harvested and learned from him as musicians.

Here are the particulars:

Music by:
Dan Plonsey
Steve Horowitz
Vinny Golia
Plus other special guests TBA

Readings by:
Craig Clevenger - novelist
Nicole Henares – poet
D. Scott Miller – afro-surrealist

Master of ceremonies: Bernard Meisler (publisher, Sensitive Skin Magazine)

Admission is $6.00 - $10.00 sliding scale, with no one turned away for lack of funds.


Dan Plonsey was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He studied composition with Martin Bresnick and David Lewin at Yale, with Roscoe Mitchell at the Creative Music Studio, and with Anthony Braxton at Mills College. Since 1978, he has written several hundred works, mostly for his own ensembles, but recent commissions have come from The Jewish Music Festival (Berkeley), Real Time Opera (New Hampshire), the Bang on a Can People's Commissioning Fund (New York), Theatre of Yugen (San Francisco), the Museum of Children's Art (Oakland), Milkbar International Film Festival (Oakland), the Berkeley Symphony Children's Concert Series, and New Music Works (Santa Cruz). Plonsey was awarded several "Meet the Composer" grants, and an American Composers Forum "Subito" grant for the work with Theatre Yugen. Plonsey was one of just seven musicians nationwide to win a United States Artist Broad Fellowship in 2009. Much of Plonsey's music has been documented on more than 20 CDs. As a saxophonist, clarinetist, and oboist, he has recorded the music many others, including Anthony Braxton, Eugene Chadbourne, and Tom Waits. Plonsey is profiled in Tim Perkis's documentary film, Noisy People.

Steve Horowitz is a creator of odd but highly accessible sounds and a diverse and prolific musician. He has released 15 albums of original music ranging from classical to funk and back again. He penned the score to the indi-film sensation Super Size Me as well as other high profile TV and Video Game projects. Mr. Horowitz is a bass player and the founder of The Code International. Steve studied composition at the California Institute of the Arts with Morton Subotnik, Mel Powell, Steven Mosko, and Mike Fink, and has received performance underwriting and commissions from numerous organizations. For more information on Steve Horowitz, visit

Friday, September 10, 2010


I ran into Peter Kaars last night and he informed me that he'd uploaded photos from the 2010 Outsound Summit.  Here's one of me during the Reconnaissance Fly set. I think this is when I say "Damned swindling young crook upset our whole lives!"

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Me and Amar performing at the Skronkathon

Amar Chaudhary and Polly Moller 1
Originally uploaded by michaelz1

While you're looking, admire the portion of the amazing proscenium arch you can see to the right of me. It's made entirely out of backlit 35 mm slides. It was a wonderful backdrop for the performances. Thanks to Michael Zelner for the photo!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Amar and Polly have a duo gig at the Skronkathon

Yes we do.  At 6:25 pm this Saturday, August 28th, we will take our place in the all-day experimental music fest.  We kind of had to, because last year, we found out that Amar's review of LAST year's Skronkathon had been, well, spamogrified:

This will be the text we'll be working with.  It should be quite a thing.  Hope to see you there!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Corn Moon concert this Thursday in SF

Waving fields of corn, prairie heat evaporating into the night, and the element of fire all inform the Corn Moon performances at the Luggage Store Gallery this Thursday, August 26th at 8:00 PM.

8 PM: Dina Emerson, voice
9 PM: Myles Boisen, guitar


8 PM:  To honor the Corn Moon Dina Emerson will be focussing on the element of fire, conceptually and sonically, metaphorically and literally. Dina has composed a short song cycle with both verbal and non-verbal sections.  The set will close with a song of celebration to illustrate the ripening of the elements to achieve fruition.

9 PM:  Myles Boisen was born in Omaha Nebraska, the land of corn. In the spirit of the Corn Moon and seasonal harvesting, his solo guitar performance gathers together diverse influences from the heartland; blues, country, improvisational hymns, the sounds of silk and husk.


Dina Emerson is a vocalist known for her chameleon-esque ability to sing in a multitude of styles as well as her ability to use her voice as an instrumental or sound effects source. She has worked steadily in New Music circles since 1989 when she joined the Meredith Monk Vocal Ensemble in NYC, with whom she toured, performed & recorded for over a decade. Dina Lived in NYC from 1988-2000 and worked with such artists as Tan Dun, Ken Butler, David Soldier, John Kelly & Company and many others. Dina lived in the SF Bay Area from 2002 to 2007 and during that time performed and improvised with many wonderful musicians, notably Jonathan Segel with whom she had a duo called Chaos Butterfly. She also taught voice at Mills College and managed a cheese shop in the SF Ferry building. Dina currently resides in Las Vegas, NV where she sings 10 shows a week for Cirque du Soleil's "Mystere," a job she first had in 2001 and has been performing again continuously since 2007. Dina thanks Polly Moller for the opportunity to stay in touch with the SF Bay Area music scene, which she misses mightily....

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 with John Zorn, Rova Saxophone Quartet, John Tchicai, Nina Hagen, Eugene Chadbourne, Vinny Golia, Myra Melford, Glenn Spearman, Ralph Carney, Eddie Marshall, and his own "Guitarspeak" 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 and improvisation. Myles' discography numbers over 30 compact disc recordings, including his "Guitarspeak" disc, ten CD's with The Splatter Trio, and musical work for MTV, film director David Lynch, and CBS, as well as dozens of production and mastering credits on recordings by other artists from 1979 to the present.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tunes for the listening

The Reconnaissance Fly MySpace profile has been updated with our three favorite spongs from the Outsound Summit, complete with Moe!'s drumming.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Amar's gig report

As the official blogger of Reconnaissance Fly (and many other contexts and endeavors), Amar goes to gigs ready to review and take pictures as well as play in the band.  Here's his official report on our Luna's Cafe show a week ago.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Now hear this!

Of all the albums Matt Davignon has recommended to me, this is my favorite:  14 Footballers in Milk Chocolate, by MIDIsport.  In my mind it's the soundtrack for the ecstatic dancing of Octopus Paul. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Review of Reconnaissance Fly & Genesis

Joe McMahon wrote this review of Friday night's show as a guest blogger on CatSynth.

Blessing Moon concert this Thursday in San Francisco

The upcoming Full Moon concert at the Luggage Store Gallery is a musical offering.

8 PM: Krystyna Bobrowski will start the set with a Gliss Glass solo; then she and Gino Robair will play as an improv duo with Gino on percussion and Sliding Speaker Instrument, and Krys on Gliss Glass, kelp horn and Sliding Speaker Instrument.

About the instruments:

Gliss Glass is an original instrument consisting of a series of custom glass vessels of various sizes, interconnected by a hydraulic system of tubes and valves. Though much larger than a wineglass, the instrument is played in much the same way, by running a wet finger or hand around the rim. The glass vessels are lightly amplified to pick up subtle squeaks, sloshes and scrapes.

The musician controls the water level and flow through the instrument by manipulating the valves and vessel heights. As water drains or fills a glass vessel, the frequency rises or falls respectively. By making use of the simple principle of hydraulic equilibrium, the instrument creates naturally slow, shifting glissandos.

The Sliding Speaker Instrument consists of a loudspeaker tied to a string inside a five-foot long acrylic tube. The loudspeaker acts as a movable stop for the tube, in effect changing the tube’s length and resonance. As the musician slides the speaker up and down the tube, she/he slides through the harmonics of whatever sound is coming through the speaker. One gets the sense of fishing for overtones while playing the instrument.

Kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana) is a large, hollow, naturally conical-shaped seaweed found along the Northern California coast. After shaping and drying for several weeks, the kelp may be cut and played in a similar fashion to a brass instrument such as a bugle, trumpet, French horn or trombone. Since 1989, Bobrowski has made a habit of gathering kelp on trips to the coast and has amassed a collection of kelp horns, each having its own unique sound.

9 PM: Phillip Greenlief

The blessing moon is one that delivers gifts of abundance to the community. For this performance, renegade saxophonist Phillip Greenlief is presenting works that come of inspiration - the greatest gift of all, and one that can not be codified or mass produced.

Greenlief's newest solo saxophone release, lines combined, was inspired by the drawings of Eva Hesse and the combined works of Robert Rauschenberg. These works explore the extremes of the saxophone's sound potential and create both austere minimalism and over-dubbed texture landscapes. This is music inspired by art, and originally conceived as works to be performed in an art gallery (as sound installation). The saxophonist will respect the blessing moon by offering new forms of inspiration to the community.

The Luggage Store Gallery is located at 1007 Market Street near 6th Street in San Francisco. Admission is $6.00 - $10.00 sliding scale, with no one turned away for lack of funds.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The second performance of Genesis

Cornelius Cardew Choir 5
Originally uploaded by michaelz1

The Cornelius Cardew Choir is creating me, the New Universe, in their lab.

Before the Friday night show

Pre-Concert Q&A 5
Originally uploaded by michaelz1

Another Q & A on Friday night with my Reconnaissance Fly bandmates, Tim and Amar, plus Amy X Neuburg and Cardew Choir Artistic Director Tom Bickley.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Q and A

Angela Villa took this photo of Thollem McDonas and me taking part in the Q & A session on Wednesday night at the Outsound Summit.  Rent Romus, the Executive Director of Outsound Presents, is the one interviewing us and standing in the way of the projector.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Outsound New Music Summit, this Friday

It's imminent -- the day after tomorrow, in fact.  Reconnaissance Fly's last rehearsal is tomorrow night.  We have decided on our Flower Futures set list, and here it is:

1. Small Chinese Gong
2. One Should Never
3. Neat As Wax
4. Emir Scamp Budge
5. Seemed to be Divided in Twain
6. Electric Rock Like a Cat
7. Sanse is Credenza
8. Oh! Goldfinch cage
9. An Empty Rectangle

Those of you who already know Flower Futures has ten movements, and who've noticed just 9 movements in the set list, you're right.  We are leaving out one of the longer ones so as to fit the length of our set.

The Cornelius Cardew Choir is having its final rehearsals for the Summit gig also.  I'll be joining them to portray the New Universe in my piece Genesis for twelve improvisers.  Amar is also going to be in the Cardew Choir, but as Universal Time.  All this came about separately, and landed together on one date: Friday, July 23rd.  For full details, click here.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Our special guest

Here's the marvelous Moe! Staiano, Reconnaissance Fly's special guest percussionist for the Outsound Summit.  In this photo he is all set up and ready for our performance live in the KFJC Pit yesterday afternoon.  It has been a blast working with somebody so creative and accomplished.  It is certainly a far cry from my drum-machine days.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Anniversary number 13

There was the Door to which I found no Key
There was the Veil through which I might not see
Some little talk a while of Me and Thee
there was - and then no more of Thee and Me.

- Omar Khayyam

Monday, July 05, 2010

Genesis, to be performed again

I just found out, and I'm excited to report, that the Cornelius Cardew Choir will be the next ensemble to perform my piece Genesis, for twelve improvisers.  Artistic Director Tom Bickley has selected it to be a part of the choir's set at the upcoming Outsound Summit, coincidentally (and unrelatedly) on the same night as my performance with Reconnaissance Fly.  Tom will be the conductor and carrier of wind chimes, and I've been assigned the role of the New Universe, portrayed so effectively by Matt Davignon at the premiere performance.  Here are the particulars:

Reconnaissance Fly, the Cornelius Cardew Choir, and Amy X Neuburg
July 23rd, 2010
The Outsound New Music Summit
Community Music Center
San Francisco, CA

Monday, June 21, 2010

Strong Moon 2010 this Thursday in SF

This Thursday, June 24th, we celebrate power within, the power of sound.  It's the Strong Moon concert in the Full Moon concert series, offered by Outsound Presents at the Luggage Store Gallery, 1007 Market Street near 6th Street, San Francisco.  Admission is $6.00 - $10.00 sliding scale, with no one turned away for lack of funds. 

The Strong Moon will be portrayed by Grosse Abfahrt #8:

Tom Djll, instigator, trumpets, electronics
Matt Ingalls, clarinets, violin
Tim Perkis, electronics
Gino Robair, energized surfaces & voltage made audible
John Shiurba, electric guitar
Frank Gratkowski, reeds
Lisa Mezzacappa, contrabass
Kjell Nordeson, percussion
Phillip Greenlief, reeds


Grosse Abfahrt is always a Big Departure from something, be it your home country or mother tongue or your ears' comfy couch. GA#8, "Der Heftige Mond," is a near-identical reassembly of GA#6, "Luftschifffeiertagserinnerungsfotoalbum." So it might be that the fierce moon gives rise to a confrontation with its airship holiday memorial photo album from 14.5 months previous. We won't be checking fingerprints.


Grosse Abfahrt ("Big Departure") is the ongoing project of Tom Djll, showcasing the art of improvised music by a large group (8-9 players). The group uses a core quintet of Djll, Robair, Perkis, Shiurba and ingalls, and adds out-of-town guests. Grosse Abfahrt's restrained, thoughtful sound has yielded international acclaim and three albums on Creative Sources and EMANEM.

This is a rare chance to experience huge, carefully cultivated sound constructions that delight and surprise the senses.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Tag Team Trio Shift

Polly Moller
Originally uploaded by michaelz1

This is me in last night's Trio Shift, featuring a cast of many -- but only allowed to play three at a time. It was the first night of the annual SperryFest in memory of composer, improviser, husband, father, and so much more, Matthew Sperry.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Flower Moon 2010 this Thursday in SF

It is happening...AGAIN.

At 8:00 p.m. on May 27th, at the Luggage Store Gallery, 1007 Market Street at 6th, San Francisco!  $6.00 - $10.00 sliding scale!  No one turned away for lack of funds!  New music in bloom!

8PM: particle board
9PM: Angela Hsu and Jim Kaiser


8 PM: May 27, 2010 will be the debut performance of the San Francisco-based trio particle board, featuring Jacob Felix Heule (percussion), Kristian Aspelin (guitar), and Tony Dryer (double bass). While the group is still in its infancy, it is this newness that truly embodies the spirit of the Flower Moon slogan "New music in bloom." Listeners can expect to hear improvised music played with a hushed propulsion as the group patiently explores the broad variety of sounds they generate on their acoustic instruments.

9 PM: For the Flower Moon of May, the Kaiser / Hsu Duo perform for the first time in 2010. This rebirth will include new field recordings of sounds from springtime mixed into the fertile ground of improvised bowing by both sonic gardeners. Musique Concrete elements from tapes and live mics will be left as sound seeds and others manipulated into roaring thunderstorms of noise. All shall combine to flourish into a delicate audio bloom.


Jacob Felix Heule
Jacob Felix Heule is a drummer and electronic musician whose music directly expresses sonic texture and timbre through the discipline of free improvisation. Spanning extremes of physicality and intensity, stasis and restraint, his music follows from the traditions of electro-acoustic improv and noise.

In 2004 he founded the acoustic grind duo, Ettrick, with both members playing both drums and saxophones in a style often described as a hybrid of free jazz and black metal.

Heule has worked extensively with double bassist Tony Dryer since 2006, exploring heavy electronics as Basshaters since 2008. Their textural acoustic improv trio with clarinetist Jacob Lindsay released its debut album, Idea of West, on Creative Sources in 2008. Heule and Dryer also have a trio CD with saxophonist Jack Wright, and have performed live with diverse musicians such as Michel Doneda, C Spencer Yeh, Gino Robair, and Damon Smith.

Kristian Aspelin
Guitarist Kristian Aspelin has been an active member of the San Francisco Bay Area music community for over 20 years. While playing in rock bands in his youth, he was first drawn to the power and possibilities of improvisation through the 30-second guitar solos that he improvised as part of this genre's songs. After hearing John Coltrane in his teens, he realized that there were other avenues of musical expression via improvisation and so began to seriously examine jazz, playing in numerous small groups and large ensembles as well as studying jazz harmony, theory, and composition. Still wanting for more opportunities of extended improvisation and group interaction, he eventually discovered and found his calling in the worlds of free jazz and non-idiomatic free improvisation.

Using an unadorned, pure sound as his template, Kristian's goal is to rigorously explore and extract from his instrument the melodies, rhythms, harmonies, and/or textures needed to express or complement a given moment in the context of improvisation.

Kristian has studied with a number of leading improvisers in various genres, including Joe Morris, Steve Lantner, Gerald Cleaver, Larry Ochs, Bill Bell, Morris Acevedo, Liberty Ellman, David Fiuczynski, Bennett Friedman, and John Schott. He has performed and/or recorded with artists such as Damon Smith, Tony Buck, the Oakland Active Orchestra, Kyle Bruckmann, Joe Morris, Scott Looney, Weasel Walter, Jerome Bryerton, Paul Hartsaw, Marco Eneidi, Ralph Carney, Henry Kaiser, Moe! Staiano, and Phillip Greenlief.

Tony Dryer
Tony Dryer has played bass guitar and toured extensively with rock groups including the Flying Luttenbachers, the Cold War, and Usurp Synapse. In recent years he has focused his attention on the double bass, and has completed a solo tour of the US supporting Ettrick. His trio with Jacob Felix Heule and Jacob Lindsay has a CD on Creative Sources. In addition, he is a member of Basshaters with Jacob Felix Heule, a duo using double bass, drum set, and electronics to integrate acoustic free improv and electronic noise. Striving to match the fluidity of their textural acoustic music, electronics expand the timbral and dynamic options to new extremes. The duo seeks directness and intensity in execution; subtleties emerge from the bold statement of simple ideas.

Angela Hsu
Angela Hsu's violin playing, featured in recordings and performances with Arturo Sandoval, Quartet San Francisco, Dean Santomieri, Sean Smith, Moe!Kestra!, the Shotgun Players, and in the SF premiere of Radiohead player Jonny Greenwood's "Popcorn Superhet Receiver" continues to challenge traditional norms of the instrument. As a musician, her interests lie in orchestral and chamber playing, as well as improvisation, experimental noise and folk/rock, as evidenced in her recent playing with
both Bob Marsh's Emergency String (X)tet and the string quartet that accompanied Josh Ritter at Noise Pop 2009.

James Kaiser
Jim Kaiser's tape manipulation and bowed metals feature in numerous duo and trio improv settings as well as larger group ensembles throughout the SF Bay area. Shortwave radio, field recordings and layered drones are typical components of his solo works, presented under the Petit Mal moniker, which are likened to the works of Taj mahal Travelers, Organum and Tony Conrad. Recorded material appears on the Zenflesh, Troniks, and Sick Muse labels among others, as well as several limited releases with the groups French Radio, Le Morte de la Mer, and NF Orchest with Hsu.

Both in NF Orchest and as a duo, Hsu and Kaiser have recorded and
performed together throughout the SF Bay area for the past five years, sharing bills with Blixa Bargeld, Con-Dom, John Wiese, Phroq, Bruce Anderson,, Barn Owl, and Heavy Winged among others. Their combination of bowed metal, strings and magnetic tape provides a layered soundscape of varied tonality to accompany usually invisible films.
Cost : $6-10

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Second Annual Monday a little more than a Month Before

That's the name Outsound Presents has come up with for its annual fundraising dinner to benefit the New Music Summit.

This year's soiree will be on Monday June 7, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at a private location in San Francisco, California.  Dinner will be provided by Massimo’s Organic Gourmet of San Francisco, and there will be desserts from DeLessio's, tea, coffee, beer and a case of 2002 Napa Valley Merlot from the Harbor Winery's last reserve.

There will be a set of music by drummer Jacob Felix Heule, bassist Tony Dryer, and Ron Heglin on tuba. 

Do you wanna attend?  Then we need you to RSVP with your tax deductible donation by June 4, 2010.  There's more detailed info here.  If you can't attend, please consider making a tax deductible donation.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Something I am staring at today

Public garden in Canongate
Originally uploaded by pollymoller

A beautiful memory of my 2004 Scotland trip -- the public garden in Canongate, Edinburgh.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Reconnaissance Fly in SF, Saturday May 22nd

Amar, Tim, and I will be performing at the Watermelon Sugar party #841, this Saturday night at 8:30.  It's officially known as a "noise series" curated by Nice Ass Records and hosted by KUSF's Bryan Chandler in his home in Potrero Hill.

Here's our set list, which will be the same one that we played at the In the Flow festival:
Small Chinese Gong
One Should Never
The Animal Trade in Canada
Ode to Steengo
Emir Scamp Budge
Seemed to Be Divided in Twain
An Empty Rectangle

We will be sharing the bill with Sarah Elena Palmer and the Shortwave Surfers.  You can find us at 238 Missouri Street near 18th Street in San Francisco, and you should BYOB.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Reconnaissance Fly at Sacramento's In The Flow Festival, May 15th

Lisa Mezzacappa, bassist superheroine, is the fast-moving character on the In The Flow Sacramento poster over there to the right.  There will be two stages at Beatnik Studios, with music all day Saturday and Sunday.

Reconnaissance Fly goes on at 1:30 pm Saturday afternoon in the Gallery.  Probably the most exciting thing about that is, we're playing right before the duo of Nels Cline and Yuka Honda.

This is the first of three gigs coming up for Reconnaissance Fly.  On May 22nd, we'll be performing at the latest Watermelon Sugar party in San Francisco.  Then after a long rehearsing break we will play on July 23rd at the 2010 Outsound Summit, also in San Francisco at the Community Music Center.  We'll be sharing the bill with the Cornelius Cardew Choir and Amy X Neuberg.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Wind Moon 2010 this Thursday in SF

On Thursday at the Luggage Store Gallery (1007 Market Street, San Francisco), it's all about the wind, and its moonlit travels through tubes.

8:00 PM: Ghost in the House

The band will present the Wind Moon Suite, an elemental arrangement featuring: On the Weight of the Wind, Beehive Memory, Knife In The Fog, Vilia's Whisper, and others.

9:00 PM: Sabbaticus Rex

Wind and sound are both the movement of air, and it is air, one aspect of the Invisible, that connects all things. The movement and presence of air and the invisible; the shaping of matter and events by the cycles of the moon: these are realities that we can benefit from paying more attention to. In sonically portraying the Wind Moon, we will be reminding ourselves of the core perspective of the group: The instruments themselves are treated with reverence and are given as much if not more command over the path that the music takes. Inasmuch as metal particles or stalks of bamboo *want* to become instruments, at the point at which we discover them, the gongs and shakuhachi themselves are approached in a highly collaborative manner, i.e. letting sounds emerge from them, guiding rather than forcing, generally unifying with the instrument as much as possible. This requires a complex skill set that intertwines the rational, problem-solving and skill-acquiring mind with the realm of uncertainty, chaos, and intuition. There is an animistic, primordial perspective at play here; the idea of letting the instruments play what they want to play: guiding sounds from sound sources, building directly upon the intentions of the instrument maker, builder or designer, thus creating a kind of intentional feedback loop of a creative process combining imagination and utility.


Ghost in the House is:

David Michalak- Lap Steel, Buffalo Drum
Karen Stackpole - Gongs, Percussion
Tom Nunn - Inventions
Kyle Bruckman - Oboe, English Horn
Special guest appearance by Cornelius Boots - Bass Clarinet

The music of Ghost in the House is a soundtrack for the subconscious. It could suggest a murder mystery, a visitation in a dream or a cataclysmic storm.

Conceived by filmmaker & musician David Michalak, Ghost in the House explores the ethereal and elemental soundscapes where music suggests an image. Stackpole's small distinct sounds and swelling gongs resonate with Nunn's sculptural inventions creating other worldly scenarios with texture and direction from Bruckmann's ominous horns and Michalak's haunting lap steel.

Sabbaticus Rex is:

Karen Stackpole--overtone gongs
Cornelius Boots--shakuhachi, taimu-shakuhachi, throat-singing
Mark Deutsch--Bazantar

Sabbaticus Rex is an ensemble rooted in the supremacy of sound over music, the triumph of tone over time and thought. This process uses haunting and beautiful acoustic instruments and methods: overtone gongs, shakuhachi (bamboo Zen flutes), Taimu (bass) shakuhachi, throat-singing, and the Bazantar (an upright bass with sympathetic strings). This is sound, but not music. It is primordial easy-listening for dinosaurs: slowly shifting elemental dialogues between fat flutes and big gongs.

Through spontaneous, sustained sound structuring, these sources combine to form a resonant, expansive and raw environment. Creating music with a majority emphasis on slow-evolving sound and texture, there is no narrative, socio-political, or otherwise extra-musical plot or agenda involved with this non-music. That being said, it does derive form and perspective from elements such as breath, overtone/harmonic resonance, imagination, and simplicity within chaos.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Reconnaissance Fly's next gig...

...will be here, on May 15th.  It will be the debut of our new quartet lineup -- me, Amar, Tim, and guitarist Noah Phillips.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

YouTube clips of the Genesis premiere, 2/25/10

Thanks to Amar, whose stationary video camera got pointed at the action and turned on.

Part 1

Part 2

Monday, April 05, 2010

In duo with Moe! Staiano this Thursday in SF

So, I am artistically immersed in found text, especially spoetry.

There's a new "form" of spoetry going around lately, which I'm sure represents the latest innovation that will get the spammer's message past email filters.  It builds on a spoetry form from last year -- words randomly arranged in groups of two or four -- and now features not just random words, but words divided in random places.  The result is words divided into smaller unrelated sound units.

I've collected four of these spoems and I'll be performing them for the first time this Thursday, April 8th at the Luggage Store Gallery.  Joining me will be mad genius percussionist and found objects artist Moe! Staiano.  He's played in my Flip Quartet a couple of times, but we have never improvised together before, and I feel like he's the guy to help me squeeze maximum Dadaist meaning out of the new spoetry form.

Please join us at 8:00 p.m.  The gallery is located at 1007 Market Street near 6th Street.  Admission is $6 - $10 sliding scale, with no one turned away for lack of funds.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Storm Moon 2010 at the Luggage Store Gallery, SF

Another month, another moon, another Full Moon show at the Luggage Store Gallery, 1007 Market Street, San Francisco.  The Storm Moon is all about electric guitars.  Guitars gather and release the storm!

Here's the program:

8:00 PM - Joshua Churchill + Paul Clipson, solo guitar/electronics & Super 8 film

Joshua Churchill and Paul Clipson create collisions of sound, light, and image spanning the spectrums of light(ness) and dark(ness), ethereal and austere, using electronic and acoustic musical instrumentation and Super 8 film, respectively. The element of chance plays a major role in their continually evolving collaboration explores as each artist simultaneously presents densely layered and textured abstract collages within their respective media without premeditations.

9:00 PM - Peter Kolovos (Los Angeles), solo guitar

(I heard Peter Kolovos at the 2009 Outsound New Music Summit.  It was like being thrown against the wall and throttled.  I really wanted to hear him again, to make sure it wasn't a dream, so I invited him back.  Do bring earplugs, or take some of the free ones we give out at the door.)

Peter Kolovos’ performance will coincide with and channel the peak of the Storm Moon's energies.


Joshua Churchill
is a San Francisco-based cross-disciplinary who works with sound in the context of immersive site-specific art installations and a number of solo and collaborative experimental music and noise performances including solo noise project T/R and doom/drone/noise trio Riqis.

Paul Clipson is a San Francisco-based filmmaker who often collaborates with sound artists and musicians on live performances, films and installations. His Super 8mm films are shot and largely edited "in-camera", in an improvised manner that brings to light subconscious preoccupations in the hope of allowing for un-thought, unexpected visual elements to reveal themselves.

Peter Kolovos has forged one of the most distinctive sound languages to emerge out of today's avante/out sound underground. Using and electric guitar he creates music that is constantly shifting and fiercely physical. Think volume, texture and immediacy rather than melody, structure or repetition. Swirling vortexes of sound. Every performance and recording is different and never repeated - each is innevitably tied to the unique qualities of every moment and circumstance.

Kolovos has performed throughout the U.S. and has released recordings under his own name as well as his group Open City. His solo LP 'New Bodies' was released in 2009 to strong reviews and received mention in writer's best of the year lists in the Wire and the Village Voice. He lives and records in Los Angeles.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Excerpt from last month's premiere

Clyde was there to record the Genesis premiere at the Luggage Store Gallery on Feb. 25th.  Now you can listen to (and download for free!) a 4:35 excerpt from that performance.  Click here!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Deep conducting

Thanks so much to Tom for coming to the Genesis premiere with his ears and his camera. 

The orchestra was marvelous, Matt played great solos, and we had a full house for the performance.  Everything a composer could want!

Guest DJing today on KUSF

So I will be on KUSF this afternoon, from 3:00 to 4:00 PM Pacific.

You can tune me in at 90.3 FM if you're in San Francisco or nearby there, or you can go to and listen to their live audio stream.

I'm finishing up the playlist now, so I can't list tracks for you, but I do know the following artists will be in the mix:

Rose Chronicles
Wild Strawberries
Bel Canto
Joy Division
Virgin Prunes
The Cure
Guerrilla Hi-Fi
Jon Raskin Quartet
Ronnie Cramer
Lida Husik

... and a bunch more; tune in and find out who!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Quickening Moon 2010 this Thursday in SF

It's only a matter of time before a curator curates him or herself onto his or her own series -- it's a tradition among my people.  So, coming up on Thursday, Feb. 25th, there will be a premiere of my new piece, Genesis, for twelve improvisers, plus an opening set by my bandmate Amar Chaudhary, featuring (in some way yet to be revealed) his wonder-cat Luna. Our theme is "new music springing to life".

Genesis is a musical experiment in which the M-theory of the 11-dimensional universe combines with the inward and outward spiral of the Western magical tradition.   The performers are:

Polly Moller – conductor, wind chimes
Suki O'Kane - percussion (Universal Time)
Karen Stackpole – gongs (Space)
Marianne MacDonald – harp (Space)
Sangita Moskow – tamboura (Space)
Nancy Beckman - shakuhachi
Jayn Petingill - alto saxophone
Marielle Jakobsons - violin
Cheryl Leonard - viola
Agnes Szelag - cello
Lisa Mezzacappa - bass
Matt Davignon – drum machine (New Universe)

I'm the conductor this time around, and instead of standing on the podium keeping a beat, I'll be walking an inward and outward spiral around the rest of the performers, cuing them as I go. The 11-member ensemble sonically portrays the process of bringing a new universe into being -- and then the new universe gets going by playing a solo. The 11 parent dimensions join in the music one by one, and fade away leaving the new universe to perform his "solo of life".

It will all happen as always at the Luggage Store Gallery, 1007 Market Street at 6th Street, San Francisco. The opening set is at 8:00 PM. Admission is $6.00 - $10.00 sliding scale, with no one turned away for lack of funds.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

June 21, 2009

Here's a clip from the Garden of Memory performance I was in last year.  I am in a quartet premiering the Divination Section of Gino Robair's opera "I, Norton".  You can hear me playing bass flute multiphonics off-camera.  I'm interpreting the objects which Emperor Norton (Tom Duff) placed on his desk according to the directions in the Divination Book.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Reconnaissance Fly on KUSF

Here's the first photo of the current Reconnaissance Fly lineup, after our KUSF performance.  We're grateful to our host Bryan Chandler for the photo and the opportunity to play.  We overcame the trial of the rebellious blue cord, and we look forward to playing even better tomorrow night at Studio 1510.  Click here to visit the archive of the show.  I recommend our final song, "An Empty Rectangle".

Besides a radio gig day... is the birthday of someone who marked my life indelibly.
If he were here, he would be 51.
But he's not.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Reconnaissance Fly & Matt Davignon in Oakland, 2/5

Amar, Tim, and I have six movements from Flower Futures all ready to share with you. We are all spoetry, all the time.

First, we'll be on the radio, performing live on KUSF starting at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, February 4th.

Then we'll be performing live at Studio 1510 the night of Friday, February 5th at 9ish PM.  Studio 1510 can be found at 1510 8th Street, in Oakland, California.  It's conveniently near West Oakland BART.

Here's our set list:

- Small Chinese Gong
- One Should Never
- The Animal Trade in Canada
- Ode to Steengo
- Emir Scamp Budge
- Seemed to Be Divided in Twain
- An Empty Rectangle

Our friend Matt Davignon will join us at 8ish PM for an opening set of extended drum machine soundscapes in support of his new album, Living Things.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cold Moon 2010 - this Thursday night in SF

Houston, we have a problem. Heavy sonic waves out of San Francisco are gravitating towards the pull of the full cold January moon. Icy lunar reflections beam with dark, stark, arcing sprites and luminescent waves, if only sound were to exist in a vacuum. Experience the lunar radiations and transmissions of Thomas Dimuzio and Scott Arford as seen only by the ear, and inspired by the full Cold Moon.

8 PM: Scott Arford
9 PM: Thomas Dimuzio
at the Luggage Store Gallery
1007 Market Street near 6th Street
San Francisco, CA


Thomas Dimuzio is one of unsung artistic figures whose influence and abilities have substantially outstripped his visibility. Composer, multi-instrumentalist, sound designer, experimental electronic musician, and mastering engineer, Dimuzio has been busy doing his thing(s) since the late 1980s with critically acclaimed releases issued by the legendary house of audio misanthropy, RRRecords and former Henry Cow drummer (and current Dimuzio collaborator) Chris Cutler’s well-regarded ReR Megacorp label. Equally fluent in a nearly every contemporary post-techno style, Dimuzio’s work clearly demonstrates an insider’s knowledge of older experimental musical forms such as musique concréte and electroacoustic, as well as contemporary ambient-industrial and noise. Thomas Dimuzio has performed and recorded as a solo artist and collaboratively with Chris Cutler, Fred Frith, David Lee Myers, Dan Burke, Due Process, 5uu's, Matmos, Wobbly, Dimmer, Negativland, ISIS, and many others.

Scott Arford has been an active figure in the San Francisco Bay Area underground noise and international media arts scenes since 1994. He has produced numerous works for sound and video including multichannel sound and video installations, live performances, CD and DVD projects. He was awarded an Honorable Mention in the 2005 Prix Ars Electronica. Arford's performances and videos have been featured in numerous venues including the Eyebeam Center For Art and Technology, New York; Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, New Zealand; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Dissonanze 7 in Rome, Italy; LUFF Festival in Lausanne, Switzerland; Observatori Festival in Valencia, Spain; the Sounding Festivals in Guangzhou, China and Taipei, Taiwan; the LEM festival in Barcelona, Spain; Liquid Architecture in Melbourne, Australia; the Festival de Video/Arte/Electronica in Lima, Peru; Sonic Light in Amsterdam; and the Center for Contemporary Arts in Kitakyushu, Japan. Arford received a Bachelor of Architecture from the College of Architecture and Design at Kansas State University in 1991. He has taught courses in sound and media art at the California College of Arts in Oakland, CA. He is currently a Designer at EHDD Architecture. In 1995 Arford founded 7hz, a warehouse/performance space. From 1995 to 2002, 7hz was San Francisco's leading venue for noise and experimental music.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Where to get your Matt Davignon CD

You know you want one!
His brand new album is out:  Living Things.
So far my favorite tracks are "Saguaro", beautifully evocative of the desert; and "Mold", which is just fun.

If you would rather download it, you can get it from Emusic, iTunes or Amazon.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Monday, January 04, 2010

Saltoned Fish

Saltoned Fish
Originally uploaded by Dill Pixels

Photographed by Tom on a Salton Sea "beach", made up of luminous white salt deposits and the moldering bones of thousands of fish, washed up in layers as the Sea became too salty for them. It is a surreal, eerie experience to walk on the spongy, powdery, crunchy surface. Environmental disaster up close.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Two years

The events of this day in history, 2008, are beyond my comprehension still.

Having chosen life, I have no other choice but to keep going forward, into the present and future which have become relevant, bit by bit, a step at a time. Healing flows from my care for myself, and from the gods, my beloved, and my friends, family, caregivers, and colleagues.

I pray that all sentient beings may have happiness and its causes. I pray that all sentient beings may be free from suffering and its causes.

The second half of my life is going on now, and insists that I pay attention and show up for it each morning.