December 17th


Bowerbird Presents GATE
@ The Rotunda
4014 Walnut Street
8pm; FREE
Sawing, sputtering, gurgling and wailing, Architeuthis Walks on Land is every bit the displaced and terrifying cephalopod that the name suggests. The viola and bassoon are two instruments rarely associated with free improvisation and noise; yet violist Amy Cimini and bassoonist Katherine Young rip it up with particular aplomb, weaving disjunct lines, constructing chaotic sound masses, and raising towering monoliths. Crafting their improvised materials into tight structures, they capture the compositional, timbral and expressive breadth of this uncommon coupling: from divergently soloistic to profoundly intertwined playing, from a slowly unfolding intimacy to a jagged and kinetic style. Cimini and Young have been performing together as Architeuthis Walks on Land since 2003. The duo developed their early style within Chicago’s rich experimental music community, and are now based in Brooklyn. 

Avant turntablist, Maria Chavez and experimental composer/ audio engineer, Daniel Neumann discovered a shared interest in the theory and practice of the present moment and related contemporary art. Both are using their professional, technical skills (audio engineering/ turntablism) in an atypical manner to create new and challenging live pieces. Starting with regular recording sessions using Chavez’s turntable work and Neumann’s mobile recording facilities, the two started collaborating. In one rare scenario, Neumann recorded Chavez’s solo performance at Merce Cunningham’s studio by placing microphones inside of John Cage’s piano. In #01, Neumann will work with room microphones, computer, and prepared piano board recordings while Chavez improvises with her turntable. The two will combine their practices to create a site sensitive piece for the Rotunda in Philadelphia, PA.

Philadelphia-based improvisers Jesse Kudler and Ian M. Fraser have worked together in various groupings, including a trio with Tim Albro and the quintet Benito Cereno, but they have been intensely focusing on their duo project for the past year.  Combining Fraser's digital laptop programming and Kudler's analog, instrumental, and mechanical devices, their duo creates busy, detailed pieces that are informed by contemporary computer music aesthetics, electro-acoustic improvisation, noise, contemporary composed music, field recordings, and silence. 

Composer and bassoonist Katherine Young creates acoustic and electro-acoustic music that uses curious timbres, expressive noises, and kinetic structures to explore suspended time, genre fiction, the communication of ensemble energies, and the tension between the familiar and the strange. Katherine's debut bassoon record, Further Secret Origins, was released in 2009 by Porter Records, garnishing praise in The Wire ("Bassoon colossus") and Downbeat ("seriously bold leaps for the bassoon"). She leads the band Pretty Monsters and has toured and recorded with Anthony Braxton, as well as members of Faust and Einsturzende Neubauten. She is a founding member of chamber collective Till by Turning, performs regularly in the improvising duo Architeuthis Walks on Land, and is a core member of the chamber-pop quartet the Fancy.


Born in Peru, avant-turntablist Maria Chavez currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. Chavez's work is focused on short solo electro-acoustic sound pieces using a collection of new and broken needles that she calls “pencils of sound” and a selection of records, which provide the palette. Many of her live sound installations have focused on the paradox of time and the present moment, with many influences stemming from improvisation in contemporary art. Her work has been recognized by the Jerome Foundation, which awarded her the Emerging Artist Grant by New York’s Roulette Intermedium in 2008. In 2009, she became a recipient of the Van Lier Fellowship which is generously offered to young sound artists by The Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund of the New York Community Trust. She has traveled extensively, sharing the stage with Pauline Oliveros, Thurston Moore, Alan Licht, Phil Niblock, and Otomo Yoshihide to name just a few. She has performed in venues including the Contemporary Arts Museum in Bordeaux, France; the Akademies der Kunste in both Vienna and Berlin; and Sonoteca in Lima, Peru. She was an artist in residence in 2008 with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and the DIA:Beacon Museum and recently performed for Christian Marclay and the Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC as part of Christian Marclay: FESTIVAL.

The most interesting gestures in contemporary art for me are the ones that originate in a sadness about the fact that one still has to make art. That there still are circumstances that make a concept of art necessary. Art as divided from the rest of our activities. Art as commodity. Yet for now to make art stays important. For my practice these thoughts call for a skepticism towards demonstrations of power and rather suggest the development of a poetry of the fragile - impermanence as temporal fragility.

Ian M. Fraser is a computer musician working in free improvisation, algorithmic based composition, stochastic processes and other real-time uses of classic synthesis techniques. His current projects include a computer music duo with Reed Evan Rosenberg, a trio with Jesse Kudler and Tim Albro, as well as his own solo material. He is the other co-founder of the Philadelphia Sound Forum.


Jesse Kudler, born 1979, creates concrete music on the computer, composes low-tech multi-channel sound works, and improvises on cheap consumer devices: a no-name electric guitar, hand-held cassette recorders, radios and transmitters, various small junk, and pedals/electronics. Kudler attended public school until Wesleyan University, where he studied music with Ron Kuivila, Alvin Lucier, and a little bit with Anthony Braxton, among others.  He eventually became active as an organizer and performer in improvised, experimental, and electronic music, forming a regular duo with fellow student Jonathan Zorn and leading the large electronic improvising ensemble Phil Collins.  Kudler has also worked as a recording engineer for various projects. In his various travels, Kudler has performed with many improvisers.  Here are some you may have heard of with whom he is broadly simpatico: Matt Bauder, Kyle Bruckmann, Chris Cogburn, James Coleman, Tim Feeney, Brent Gutzeit, Bonnie Jones, Jason Kahn, Mazen Kerbaj, Toshimaru Nakamura, Pauline Oliveros, Bhob Rainey, Vic Rawlings, Christine Sehnaoui, Mike Shiflet, Jason Soliday, Howard Stelzer, Christian Weber, Matt Weston, Jack Wright, Jason Zeh, and many others.   He has toured the United States several times.  He performed as part of the 2010 No Idea Festival, 2008 Dartmouth Festival of New Musics, and the 2007 Phoneme Festival.  Jesse Kudler lives in Philadelphia.  Current and "recent" projects include: a duo with Ian Fraser; solo performance; HZL, an environmental electronics duo with Tim Albro; duos with Chris Cogburn, Christian Weber, and Chandan Narayan; Benito Cereno (with Dustin Hurt, Chandan Narayan, Tim Albro, and Ian Fraser); Tweeter, a treble-intensive noise trio with Alex Nagle and Eli Litwin; and various ad hoc groupings.  Kudler is the co-founder and co-Director (with Ian Fraser) of the Philadelphia Sound Forum.

The Rotunda
4014 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

The Rotunda is a West Philadelphia community-gathering place that is fueled by the belief that art is a catalyst for social change and that the arts can lead to the formation of meaningful partnerships between the University of Pennsylvania and surrounding neighborhoods. Over 300 events are offered every year, including live music, film, spoken word, theater, art, dance, education, youth programs, arts incubation, and various experimental genres. As an alcohol-free, smoke-free venue, The Rotunda provides a critical social alternative for all ages. At its core, The Rotunda is a shared space fostering learning, enrichment, and community support while empowering the public to present, produce, and promote their work.


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