Lose your mind in this new track from Cosey Fanni Tutti (Throbbing Gristle, Chris & Cosey)

Boing Boing friend Cosey Fanni Tutti of pioneering experimental/electronic/art groups Throbbing Gristle, Chris & Cosey, and Coum Transmissions will release a new solo album, Tutti, in February. This is her first solo record since Time To Tell in 1982. Above is the title track, a pulsing (throbbing?) soundscape of electronic rhythm, noise, and Cosey's glorious trumpet. Cosey composed these new tracks as the soundtrack to her autobiographical slideshow Harmonic COUMaction, part of last year's COUM Transmissions retrospective in Hull, England.

"Working on the COUM Transmissions exhibition also coincided with writing my autobiography - collating archive material and re-engaging with my past," Cosey told The Quietus. "My work is a continuum, the past feeding the present and vice versa. The album is an interpretation of my past and present, of my understanding the shifting perceptions of how they inform one another. One form creating another through a metamorphic process."

A gentle reminder about a not-so-gentle book: Cosey's 2017 memoir "Art Sex Music," is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of avant-garde music, performance art, underground culture, radical living, and female empowerment.

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Sights and sounds of Haitian vodou

Between 1947 and 1954, avant-garde dancer and experimental filmmaker Maya Deren visited Haiti and immersed herself in vodou. Supported with a Guggenheim Fellowship grant, Deren intended to study and film the trance dancing of vodou ceremony. Ultimately, Deren became an active participant in the rituals. She documented her experiences in the 1953 book Divine Horsemen: The Voodoo (Living) Gods of Haiti and the footage that resulted in the entrancing 1981 film above, completed two decades after Deren's death by her third husband and his wife. Now, the Psychic Sounds Research & Recordings label has remastered and reissued Deren's audio recordings from Haiti on vinyl. Audio sampler below. From the label:

Maya Deren journeyed to Haiti to make a film of ritual dances, instead, she came to be accepted as a Voudoun initiate, whose devotees commune with the cosmic powers through invocation, offerings, song and dance of the Voudoun pantheon of deities, or Loa, whom are witnessed as being living gods and goddesses, actually taking possession of their devotees. Deren describes the relationship between magic, science and religion bringing a uniquely lyrical voice to her narrative. This paints a multi-textured, infinitely complex portrait of a spiritual tradition with roots stretching back to the very dawn of humanity. Joseph Campbell calls Divine Horsemen 'the most illuminating introduction that has yet been rendered to the whole marvel of the Haitian mysteries as 'facts of the mind.'' Included in this album are some of the first recordings ever made during religious ceremonies near Croix de Missions and Petionville featuring selections that serve as a soundtrack to the film she shot documenting Voodoo ceremonies and festivals conveying the incantatory power of the ritual drumming and singing.

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Listen to this song about a Colombian mythical monster that inflates people into balloons

Matt Werth of record label RVNG Intl. asks: "Do you agree that a spoken word track about a mythical being sucking out the insides of someone and turning them into a skin balloon" is appropriate for Boing Boing?

Yes, Matt. Yes it is.

Please enjoy "Edge" by Colombian experimental musician Lucrecia Dalt from her forthcoming LP Anticlines.

Video by Charlotte Collin & Jonathan Martin. Read the rest

Enchanting mix of experimental, minimalist, and ambient cassette music

Brandon Hocura of the excellent Seance Centre record label mined his (and his friends') rare and vintage cassette archive to create this sublime guest mix for the Noise In My Head show on NTS Radio. Listen below, preferably with headphones. Turn on, tune in.

Noise In My Head W/ Brandon Hocura (Seance Centre)

Tracklist:

Claire Thomas & Susan Vezey - Bright Waves Pablo's Eye - Blind And Quiet Mo Boma - Jijimuge Two (Rebounders / Nanga Ningi) Robert Haigh - Andante (For Strings, Piano, Percussion) Sebastian Gandera - Chienne De Viel The Field Mice - Let's Kiss And Make Up Richard Truhlar - Portrait Of An Interview Hearn Gadbois - Gaht Mayh Moh8joh3 Woykihn John Celono - Instrument Flying Bruce Russell - Indigo Pool Joanne Forman - Codex Antonio Zepeda - Cuando Los Dioses Juegan A La Pelota Roberto Mazza - Artigli Arguti Peter Griggs - Fragments John Di Stefano - Nuage Philip Sanderson & Michael Denton - Maps (Love In A Cold Climate) Short Term Memory - Words Houari Benchenet - Katrouli El Mhaine Jack Charles - Traverse John J Lafia - Life Is Short Short Term Memory - Hysteria John Di Stefano - Culture Schlock Smith & Erickson - Blue Skies Tony Wells - End Collage Pauline Oliveros - Earth Ellen Zweig & Gregory Jones - Sensitive Bones

Previously: "Keyboard Fantasies: exquisite New Age music you've never heard" Read the rest

San Francisco: Kronos Quartet's Kronos Festival April 26-28

Kronos Quartet, my favorite avant-garde classical group, is holding its Kronos Festival 2018 at San Francisco's SF JAZZ Center next week, April 26-28. I've attended multiple Kronos Festivals and they are always wonderful performances, each one an enchanting introduction to global (and local) sounds that are wonderfully unfamiliar to me yet open my ears and mind to new artists and perspectives. This year, the festival features artist-in-residence David Coulter and guests San Francisco Girls Chorus, Vân-Ánh Võ, Zakir Hussain, Mahsa Vahdat, Trio Da Kali, Jolie Holland, and avant-folk duo CocoRosie!

Special note: The Saturday matinee concert, "Around the World with Kronos," is meant for families with children ages 3 and up!

Here's the full schedule: Kronos Festival 2018

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Electronic music pioneer Suzanne Ciani explains synthesizers on kids TV show (1980)

On this 1980 episode of 3-2-1 Contact -- the excellent PBS kids TV show about science -- legendary experimental electronic musician Suzanne Ciani explains the basics of synthesizer technology. If you aren't hip to Ciani's music that spans avant-garde, classical, cinematic, and new age genres, I highly recommend you check out the fine anthologies and reissues of her work from the good people at Finders Keepers Records. Below, her stunning track "Paris 1971" from the compilation "Lixiviation 1968-1985." And you can check out Ciani live at this May's Moogfest in Durham, North Carolina.

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Support this Kronos Quartet documentary!

For more than 40 years, my favorite avant-garde classical group Kronos Quartet has pushed the boundaries of contemporary music across genres and cultures. Now, filmmaker Sam Green is raising funds to complete the first live documentary about Kronos in collaboration with the artists themselves. It's titled "A Thousand Thoughts." I can't wait to watch, and hear, this amazing story. From the Kickstarter page:

A Thousand Thoughts will be a documentary portrait of the Kronos Quartet – following their long career as well as their collaborations with musical icons like Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, Terry Riley, Steve Reich and many others. But rather than being some lame Behind-the-Music type doc, A Thousand Thoughts will use the story of the Kronos Quartet to create a larger work about the mysterious ways in which music moves us, about time passing, loss and beauty, and about utopia.

I feel very strongly that all of this is especially important right now. Music can play a special role during difficult times, and the Kronos Quartet has been using their music to try to change the world for longer than many of us have been around.

The campaign ends tomorrow night: "A Thousand Thoughts," the Kronos Quartet documentary

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San Francisco: ODC's stunning new season of contemporary dance

Tonight (Thursday, 3/23), San Francisco's magnificent contemporary dance company ODC launches their 2017 season that includes two world-premiere dances, live music, and reprises of Brenda Way's Walk Back the Cat and Kate Weare's Giant. Every year, ODC astounds me with creativity, freshness, and compelling narratives told through sublime motion.

Tickets available here.

More: "ODC show examines what we hold on to, through dance" (SFGATE)

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Fantastic avant-garde and counterculture posters for sale

The intrepid counterculture archivists/publishers of Boo-Hooray have posted their "Top 100 Posters" for sale. What a stunning collection of avant-garde art and design. It makes me yearn for the downtown scenes of the prior century. Read the rest

Steve Reich-ian iPhone ringtone composition

Seth Kranzler created "Steve Reich is calling," a delightful composition for two iPhones that celebrates (and parodies) legendary minimalist composer Reich's early phase music. This form of composition employs two or more identical phrases of music played at slightly different tempos so that they shift in and out of phase. Reich's most famous phase music compositions are "Clapping Music" (1972), "Piano Phase" (1967), and the fantastic tape music pieces "Come Out" (1966) and "It's Gonna Rain" (1965). Listen to the latter two below.

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Kronos Quartet's Kronos Festival 2017 this weekend in San Francisco

My favorite avant-garde classical group Kronos Quartet are holding Kronos Festival 2017: Here and Now this weekend at the SF JAZZ Center! There's a wide variety of musical experiences all weekend long including a family concert on Saturday. The performances feature a stellar array of composers and special guests, including minimalist pioneer Terry Riley, legendary producer/songwriter Van Dyke Parks reading Lawrence Ferlinghetti's poetry, Indian violinist Kala Ramnath, Persian singer Mahsa Vahdat, and Vietnamese instrumentalist Vân-Ánh Võ. Iranian composer Sahba Aminikia is this year's artist-in-residence. Open your mind and your ears to some surprising and beautiful new sounds. Buy tickets here. Below, a Spotify playlist to give you a sense of what you'll hear at the Festival:

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Pauline Oliveros, pioneering avant-garde composer, RIP

Pauline Oliveros, the avant-garde composer and accordionist who developed the influential experimental musical theories of "deep listening" and "sonic awareness," has died. She was 84 years old. Oliveros was a collaborator of minimalist and electronic music pioneers Terry Riley and Morton Subtonick and beloved director of the San Francisco Tape Music Center in the 1960s after its move to Mills College.

“In hearing, the ears take in all the sound waves and particles and deliver them to the audio cortex where the listening takes place," Oliveros once said. "We cannot turn off our ears–the ears are always taking in sound information–but we can turn off our listening. I feel that listening is the basis of creativity and culture. How you’re listening, is how you develop a culture and how a community of people listens, is what creates their culture.”

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90-year-old fills in $90,000 crossword art, now claims copyright

Last month, a 90-year-old woman visiting an art museum in Nuremberg, Germany was drawn to a 1977 crossword puzzle on display called "Reading-work-piece." Next to the artwork, created by avant-garde artist Arthur Köpcke, was a sign that said, "Insert Words." The visitor took the sign seriously and began filling out the puzzle with a ball point pen.

Police rushed to the scene and questioned the senior citizen, whose name has been released as Hannelore K. She said the museum should have warned visitors not to fill in the puzzle, and the police let her go.

But now the woman is threatening to sue the museum for cleaning up her additions to the art piece. She claims that she now holds the copyright to the "collaborative" artwork, since she enhanced it, but the museum destroyed her creative work by restoring the piece to its original state.

...her lawyer has produced a seven-page rebuttal to the accusation of damaging property.

He says that far from harming the work in question, his client has increased its value by bringing the relatively-unknown Köpcke to the attention of a wider public. Moreover, her "invigorating re-working" of the exhibit further increased its worth.

Indeed, Frau K.'s lawyer claimed that her additions meant that she now held the copyright of the combined artwork—and that, in theory, the private collector might sue the museum for destroying that new collaboration by restoring it to its original state.

The art is said to be valued at around $90,000.

Read the full story at Ars Technica. Read the rest

Tony Conrad, drone and minimalist music pioneer, RIP

Avant-garde composer Tony Conrad, whose experimental music in the 1960s inspired the likes of the Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, and My Bloody Valentine, died today at 76.

"Tony Conrad- one of my first partners in noise.- an indelible mark made, that will forever be paid forward," tweeted Conrad's early collaborator John Cale who went on to form the Velvet Underground.

If you're not hip to Conrad, start with his 1973 collaboration with Krautrock band Faust, "Outside the Dream Syndicate," a minimalist masterpiece that has just been reissued. Then lose yourself in Early Minimalism, Vol. 1, a compilation that includes the sublime "Four Violins" (1964). (Listen to excerpts of both below.) From NME:

Conrad was a member of the Theatre of Eternal Music, later known as The Dream Syndicate, an avant-garde 1960s drone music group whose lineup included The Velvet Underground's John Cale. Conrad also played with Cale in the short-lived 1960s band The Primitives, which was fronted by Lou Reed.

Cale and Reed would go on to form The Velvet Underground, naming the band after a book they found in Conrad's department.

Conrad's 1966 film The Flicker is frequently hailed as a landmark in structural filmmaking and his work has been displayed in leading international museums including the Louvre in Paris and New York's Whitney Museum of American Art.

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San Francisco: Premiere of beautiful new contemporary dance from ODC

On Thursday (3/17), the pioneering artists from San Francisco's contemporary dance company ODC will launch their 2016 season with a stunning array of world premiere pieces at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts! See video teasers above and below. Tickets available here. I've seen many ODC performances over the years and the commonality between them is that they are all sublime. This Thursday is the first ever performance of ODC founder/artist director Brenda Way's "Walk Back the Cat," featuring an original score commissioned and performed by Paul Dresher, with visuals by RJ Muna and Ian Winters.

"'Walk Back the Cat,' a metaphor for retracing the complex backstory of an event, explores the skeleton of the creative process," Way says. "How does context affect meaning in dance? Developing from pure movement ideas into a dramatic scenario, the work is conceived as a kind of choreographic puzzle, which ultimately comes together in a scenario inspired by Thomas Hart Benton’s muscular and vital murals of American City Life in the 1930s."

The other pieces in the 2016 season include:

* KT Nelson’s new work, "Going Solo," for the exceptional Private Freeman

* Reprise of Nelson’s explosive 2015 hit, "Dead Reckoning"

* Kimi Okada’s "humorous I look vacantly at the Pacific…though regret"

* An unprecedented co-commission from NY choreographer Kate Weare who brings her fiery movement to the ODC dancers with the world premiere of "Giant"

ODC/Dance Downtown (March 17-27)

"Dead Reckoning":

"I look vacantly at the Pacific... though regret":

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Clint Mansell's "Requiem For A Dream" soundtrack, featuring Kronos Quartet, coming to vinyl!

Record Store Day is coming up April 16, 2016 and I'm very excited to acquire the stunning soundtrack to the film Requiem For A Dream (2000) featuring the music of Clint Mansell with our friends the Kronos Quartet! The double 180-gram vinyl includes two never-before-released bonus tracks, a digital download card, and is limited to 5,000 copies. Above, the stunning track "Lux Aeterna."

If you have the opportunity to see Kronos live, don't miss out. Their performances are always sublime. They perform tomorrow (March 11) in San Francisco, March 18-19 in Cincinnati as part of the New Music Now Festival hosted by Bryce Dessner (The National), and then April 1 at New York City's Radio City Music Hall in a musical celebration of (gasp!) David Bowie! Oh, how I wish I could be there.

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Kronos Quartet's Explorer Series this weekend in San Francisco!

My favorite avant-garde classical group Kronos Quartet are holding their Kronos Festival 2016 this weekend at the SF JAZZ Center! I attended the Kronos Festival 2015 and it was easily one of my favorite performances of last year. This year's program weaves experimental and contemporary classical music with a stunning array of international musical traditions from West Africa, Vietnam, Ukraine, Finland, and Afghanistan. Open your ears, eyes, and mind.

While based in San Francisco, Kronos Quartet spends much of the year traveling and performing around the world. This festival brings some of that home to San Francisco. Virtuoso pipa player Wu Man will be the festival’s artist-in-residence.

The festival showcases Kronos in collaboration with guest performers David Coulter (born in the UK), Fodé Lassana Diabaté (Mali), Ritva Koistinen(Finland), Mariana Sadovska (born in Ukraine), and Vân-Ánh Võ (born in Vietnam). The San Francisco Girls Chorus and musicians from Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts also join Kronos onstage to perform new works, and the festival culminates in a daytime family concert celebrating the Lunar New Year.

Kronos Festival 2016: Explorer Series

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