On the 2022 Outsound New Music Summit

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Karen Stackpole and Krys Bobrowski perform at the Outsound New Music Summit, 2022. All photos: Tim Walters.

IT’S HARD TO SUM UP the wealthy and sundry Bay House new song scene. It may well be time to quote one of the vital many artists deserving wider consideration like digital musicians/voice shamans Alexandra Buschman and Danishta Rivero Castro (and their band, Las Soucias), or percussion wizard Karen Stackpole. I may spotlight the behind-the-scenes organizing paintings of Hire Romus, a composer/improviser and saxophonist who one way or the other reveals the time to run two sequence—the Baggage Retailer New Track Collection (the longest working ingenious song sequence within the Bay), and the SIMM Collection on the Musician’s Union Corridor—his label Edgetone Information, and the Outsound New Track Summit.

Or I may have a good time Tom Nunn, an software builder and improviser who inspired and influenced numerous musicians and embodied the welcoming angle that defines our scene. He invented greater than 100 percussion tools that glance as gorgeous as they sound. He explored microtonality and was once fascinated about vibrating surfaces. He organized ongoing classes, eagerly invited any person over to play, and introduced live shows in his house studio/storage. He attended the presentations of his friends and mentees and approached you with a grin after your gig to reward or ask questions. Nunn gave up the ghost on June 19, and his loss is still felt during the group and past. The day after his passing, I posted a brief tribute on social media and improvisers from in every single place the sector paid their respects with sparkling remark.

Spearheaded and led by means of Romus, the Outsound New Track Summit stocks the spirit that Nunn possessed and extra, providing performances that skate the parameters of put up jazz, electro-acoustic improvisation, software developers forging new sound languages, and out-rock. Since I moved right here within the fall of 1979, I've come to consider this scene as a supportive and inspiring surroundings that resists style barriers, and has created sources like BayImproviser—a listing of avid gamers, venues, labels, and extra—whilst organizations like Jazz within the Community have labored to make sure that extra venues are paying musicians a dwelling salary.

David Leikam of ZBUG, 2022.

This summer season welcomed Outsound’s 19th iteration and taken the Bay’s logo of maverick new song to the soulful Finnish Corridor in Berkeley, presenting 8 teams over 4 nights, two of which boasted maximum-capacity crowds. Opening night time featured Rob Ewing’s Lengthy Tone Sally, a fourteen-piece ensemble of superb trombonists (one bass, 13 tenors) enjoying a composition of the similar identify divided into 4 portions with interludes that includes freely improvising quartets. Within the major sections, the avid gamers sustained a unmarried notice in unison, straying for brief sequences to discover timbre, muted sounds, vibrato, or durations that created shimmering vibrations bobbing up from the higher partials (overtones). I'm reluctant to assign a story to open works, or to song normally, however I couldn’t lend a hand however bring to mind Ewing’s basis pitches because the deteriorating pillars of institutional buildings. (See the loss of life of Turbines School and the San Francisco Artwork Institute for 2 of the newest infrastructural screw ups to rock the Bay House artwork scene.)

That very same night, the ROVA Saxophone Quartet, a bunch that I've been following for greater than 40 years, performed their difficult rankings with virtuosic consideration to the subtleties in their sound language. The gang options Bruce Ackley (soprano saxophone), Steve Adams (alto), Larry Ochs (tenor) and Jon Raskin (baritone), and its contributors were energetic in pushing the limits in their composition programs because the band shaped in 1978. High quality of consideration is the entirety, and the 5 works—together with a unfastened improvisation to set issues in movement, a learn about in gestural sounds—presented an encyclopedia of improvising methods and intuitive transitions. The depth in their listening set each and every new segment in movement, sans cues.

On Saturday night time, software builder and sound artist Krys Bobrowski and percussionist Karen Stackpole introduced a adventure via cloud plenty of vibrating glass and metals. Bobrowski carried out on kelphorn—a wind software fabricated from dried sea kelp—and her latest invention, Gliss Glass, a suite of 3 glass beakers fastened on stands, each and every attached to a tube geared up with a valve. Elevating and reducing the beakers or adjusting the valves permits other quantities of water to go into the boxes. Bobrowski then glides her arms alongside the rim or moves the perimeters with rubber mallets or her fingers, reaching percussive sounds that create glissandos (pitches that slowly upward push or fall) relative to the fluctuating water ranges. Stackpole performed in tandem on a number of gongs from her intensive assortment with fingers, mallets, picket sticks, steel rods, and rubber balls, growing impressions of the steel being tickled, caressed, or erupting like lava. When avid gamers have their degree of sensitivity and will ship deeply nuanced conversation, the target audience’s sense of time, no longer measured by means of pulse or a beat, spreads out like units of waves.

Alexandra Buschman at Outsound New Music Summit, 2022.

The second one set featured composer Ven Voisey’s Scaffold, which he carried out with Danishta Rivero Castro, Alexandra Buschman, and David Lim—all on are living electronics and voice. When writing for improvisers, how a lot regulate must a composer impose? The piece’s sections—this system states Scaffold has 4, I counted six—introduced a silence ahead of each and every cue sounded (muffled voices via megaphones, a drone, a pulsating pitch), urging the avid gamers to thicken the sound layers, leading to crescendos that returned to silence ahead of beginning once more. The results of the sound language parameters set by means of Voisey was once that those outstanding improvisers had been overly limited. The part of marvel, a precious asset in improvisation, was once stunted by means of the composition’s repetitive construction.

Sunday night time introduced us ZBUG, an improvising ensemble led by means of David Leikam that includes saxophonist Patrick Cress, trumpeter Doug Ellington, and drummer Timothy Orr, accompanied by means of Christina Braun, a dancer from the Butoh custom who has chops and a thoughts of her personal. She skirted the limits of the avid gamers, dancing into their midst with humor and agility because the avid gamers started by means of marking their territory and roles till the halfway level when issues accomplished coherence, actual waft, and energetic interaction. The risk to listen to each a seasoned workforce like ROVA and ZBUG, a bunch that deliberately shifts staff in each and every efficiency, gave this listener the sense of an arc that starts with a primary assembly and displays the rewards ensembles reach with 40 years of laborious paintings and willpower. It’s additionally indicative of Romus’s goal to supply listeners with the whole breadth of the improvised song enjoy.

Moira Scar at the Outsound New Music Summit, 2022.

Sunday night time additionally introduced a tribute to Nunn, who have been scheduled to accomplish with collaborator David Michalak in Nunn’s T.D. Scatchit and Corporate, a bunch that mechanically invited revolving collaborators. The eponymous scatch-boxes are a sequence of tools made by means of Nunn of discovered pieces fastened on cardboard packing containers with touch mics hooked up. Michalak improvised on among the tools with Ackley on soprano saxophone, Aurora Josephson making a song, and Stackpole on percussion—all longtime pals and collaborators of Nunn’s. I’m satisfied now we have his tools, his recordings, and his e-book, Knowledge of the Impulse (1998), which illustrates how improvisation works. With its thorough cataloging of practices, historic backgrounds, and references, it does what Nunn all the time did: let other folks into and make allowance them to higher perceive this song of the instant. Nonetheless, I want we’d been given a tribute that extra absolutely celebrated the person.

At the ultimate night, Tri-Cornered Tent Display—Philip Everette in the back of a desk teeming with Moog packing containers and units, Ray Schaeffer on electrical basses, and Anthony Flores on drums—slayed us with unruly electronics accompanied by means of beefy beats. Their sound peeled the paint and took no prisoners. Moira Scar’s set was once a Darkish Wave picnic in hell accompanied by means of circus soundtracks imagined by means of Bela Lugosi. Lulu Gamma Ray (trombone, synthesizer, voice), Roxy Monoxide (saxophone, guitar, voice), and Bil Bowman (drums) evoked early Stooges-era punk that dissolved into commercial noise and out of the wreckage got here throbbing synth sounds that might make Siouxsie’s banshees blush. The post-rock group served it up simply the best way I find it irresistible, and my face harm from smiling as I left the construction.

The Outsound Track Summit was once held from July 29–August 1 in Berkeley, California. Recordings of the performances can also be streamed on Youtube