February at ISSUE by Peter Gannushkin / downtownmusic.net
One of the hardest-hitting drummers around, Jonathan Kane's percussion has been heard in collaborations including the legendary Swans, Rhys Chatham, and La Monte Young. His most recent endeavor, February, summons elements from this diverse resume into a distinctive take on American roots music. ISSUE is pleased to welcome back February as part of Ten Years Alive on the Infinite Plain, playing in our 22 Boerum Place theater for the first time on a free show including a solo set by Jason Bartell (Fang Island) and the Dan Joseph Ensemble.
Composer Dan Joseph leads the Dan Joseph Ensemble in a performance of his 2009 sextet Tonalization (for the afterlife). The title piece of his recent CD on Mutable, Tonalization (for the afterlife) is dedicated to the memory of the late Suzanne Fiol, founder of ISSUE, where the piece premiered in 2010. The work emphasizes Joseph’s conception of “tone,” a notion he expresses through a continually varying timbral and rhythmic soundscape. The ensemble includes Tom Chiu (violin), Loren Dempster (cello), Marija Ilic (harpsichord), Amelia Lukas (flute), Danny Tunick (percussion) and Dan Joseph on hammer dulcimer.
Ten Years Alive on the Infinite Plain– a two-month festival celebrating ISSUE Project Room's 10th anniversary– revisits seminal past projects and initiates new relationships with over 60 artists working across disciplines of sound, dance, performance, and literature. Presented as a series of 24 evenings of provocative double billings, Ten Years Alive blurs the boundaries between divergent disciplines and practices and celebrating the vibrancy of the Brooklyn experimental arts community.
Jonathan Kane is a Downtown NYC legend: a co-founder of the no-wave behemoth Swans, the rhythmic thunder behind the massed-guitar armies of Rhys Chatham and the rock excursions of La Monte Young - and one of the hardest-hitting drummers on the planet. On his critically acclaimed releases 'February', 'I Looked At The Sun', and 'Jet Ear Party', Kane summons Swans' concussive wallop, Chatham's dense guitar strata, and the perpetual propulsion of 1970s krautrockers NEU, then steers it all head-on into... the blues. Make no mistake about it: Kane is a bluesman, and beneath his music's hip shaking high-decible bombast, he is powering guitar-driven minimalism into the blues, and the blues into guitar-driven harmonic maximalism. Kane has also toured and recorded with a galaxy of modern music luminaries such as Elliott Sharp, Gary Lucas, John Zorn, Dave Soldier, The Kropotkins, Moe Tucker, Jean-Francois Pauvros, Jac Berrocal, Evan Parker, and Transmission.
The Dan Joseph Ensemble was founded by New York-based composer Dan Joseph as a vehicle for his growing body of experimental, post-minimal compositions. With a unique instrumentation anchored by hammer dulcimer and harpsichord, a mix of winds, strings and percussion, the ensemble sound is harmonically rich and deeply resonant, evoking a musical world both ancient and modern. Described as “one part classical minimalism, one part rustic European mountain music. . . and maybe one part sunshine” (Time Out New York), and “hypnotic webs of sound reminiscent of early minimalism and psychedelia” (Newmusicbox.org). Dan Joseph began his career in the early ‘80s as a drummer in the vibrant punk scene of his native Washington, DC and was later active in the experimental tape music underground, producing ambient-industrial works for independent labels in the U.S. and abroad. Moving to California in the early ‘90s, he completed his academic work at CalArts and Mills College, where his principal teachers included Pauline Oliveros, Alvin Curran, Mel Powell and Terry Riley. Since the late 1990s, the hammer dulcimer has been the primary vehicle for his music.
Jason Bartell is a musician and visual artist from Madbury, New Hampshire. He studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he and his classmates formed the band Fang Island, who have been touring the US and Europe since 2008. In his various side projects he explores the nature of pattern and distortion in music, and specifically how these themes can be channeled through the electric guitar. Through thoughtful installation of amplifiers coupled with a uniquely modified double-neck guitar, Bartell builds rhythmic, modular compositions in hopes to learn more about the qualities and limitations of the instrument.
Ten Years Alive on the Infinite Plain is made possible, in part, by “Lead Presenter” support from Robert Bielecki and HBO; “Festival Sponsor” support from Robert Longo, Margo Somma & John Hamilton, and Sixpoint Brewery; with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; and with the support of ISSUE Project Room’s Members.