The trio of Michael Snow, Alan Licht and Aki Onda achieves the all-too-rare alchemy of strong separate identities and shared aesthetics into a holistic unit. Snow, who began his career as a pianist, performs on the CAT synthesizer and piano, with Licht on guitar and Onda on cassette recorders and electronics. Originally formed in 2005, they have since performed in New York, Toronto, London, Barcelona, and Madrid, and released the album "Five A's, Two C's, One D, One E, Two H's, Three I's, One K, Three L's, One M, Three N's, Two O's, One S, One T, One W" in 2008 (Victo).
Starting as a professional jazz pianist in the 50s, Canadian Michael Snow has since achieved fame as a visual artist, creating the iconic "Walking Woman" image in the 60s as well as the genre-defining structural film Wavelength. He has continued to pursue music as a free improvisor, after arguably mid-wifing the form in the sessions for the soundtrack to his 1964 film New York Eye and Ear Control with Albert Ayler and others. Snow has performed with Evan Parker, Roswell Rudd, Derek Bailey and Tony Conrad as well as being a founding member of the CCMC (Snow, Paul Dutton and John Oswald) and playing frequent solo concerts. His photography, videos, films, paintings, and sculpture continue to be exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide.
A New York based nomadic musician, composer and visual artist Aki Onda has released a string of exquisite solo albums featuring contributions from musicians as diverse as Blixa Bargeld and Linda Sharrock. These include Cassette Memories series and the highly acclaimed albums Ancient & Modern, Bon Voyage! and South of The Border on which Onda composes with multiple cassette recorders and electronics, using sounds he has field-recorded himself as a diary. Onda has collaborated with artists such as Ken Jacobs, Paul Clipson, Loren Connors, MV Carbon, Noël Akchoté, Jean-François Pauvros, Jac Berrocal, Lionel Marchett and Akio Suzuki. Onda was a 2012 Artist-In-Residence at ISSUE Project Room.
Alan Licht has appeared on over 75 recordings that range from minimalist composition to indie rock to free improvisation. He is currently guitarist in Lee Ranaldo and the Dust and one-third of "talk rock" band Title TK with Cory Archangel and Howie Chen. He is also the author of Sound Art: Beyond Music, Between Categories (Rizzoli, 2007) and the editor of Will Oldham on Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (Faber & Faber/W.W. Norton, 2012). A long-time fan of Michael Snow, he interviewed him in the late 90s and subsequently performed with him at festivals in Canada and Chicago. Around the same time, he began playing duos with Aki Onda (an album, Everydays, was released by Family Vineyard in 2008) and was reminded of Snow's filmmaking when he heard Onda's 2003 album Bon Voyage!.
Image: Artwork by Michael Snow and original photo by Kotaro Okada.