Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community

Thu, Jul 6 2017 8:00 PM

8pm: Ben Richter - accordion
9pm: Ives Band
Zachary Hazen, and Mia Bella D'Augelli, violins; Joshua Marshall, tenor saxophone; Andrew Jamieson, Brett Carson and Ben Zucker, keyboards; Aaron Oppenheim, latpop; Tim DeCillis, percussion

Ben Richter is a composer, accordionist, multi-instrumentalist, and founding director of New York’s Ghost Ensemble. His chamber music explores sound-worlds of constant transformation that combine subtly shifting timbres and sliding microtonal fluctuations to create music that critic George Grella has described as “seek[ing] an altered consciousness … the music sounds like something incomprehensibly massive is passing by, slowly.” As a solo accordionist, Ben Richter draws from experimental improvisation, traditional klezmer practices, and contemporary chamber music to create atmospheric music that explores a timeless, mystical space at the intersection of memory and imagination.

Two days after our independence day, we will contemplate the cacophony we experience living in the US. Celebrating US victory seems problematic in light of the growing injustice here. It also seems confusing, with so many conflicting perspectives on what being American even means. Thanks to the internet, we are constantly aware of an incredible number of voices, hoping to help me see our nation from their particular point of view. These voices seem to clash with one another, competing for our attention. Cacophony is even increasing in this moment in history, as prominent political and cultural figures grow ever "louder," without any sign that they are seeking common ground with those with unfamiliar perspectives.

Sometimes, cacophony requires us to drown out the voices of those aiming to dominate, control and manipulate. This way, we can focus on voices that affirm peace and the fullness of who we are. Often, the role of artists and musicians is to allow us to focus on the simple beauty of the world, rather than the unsettling cacophony. But too often, it is actually the most dangerous voices of the most powerful interests that drown out the others. And frequently, drowning voices out silences too many important truths. There has to be another way. Can we create synergy when distinct voices come together? Perhaps we can enjoy the dense textures, unusual sounds, and sometimes even harmony that emergency when we let them sound together.

That's why Andrew Jamieson created the Ives Band which innovates a new approach to familiar melodies. Named for Charles Ives, the band plays multiple melodies simultaneously, usually in contrasting keys and tempi, creating musical collages inspired by Ives, Luciano Berio and John Oswald. This way, we engage all the cacophony we experience living in the US. Melodies come from well-known folk tunes, pop songs, classical music, children's songs, etc.; anything that is familiar or cliche in contemporary American culture, and addresses the many ways of being American, or challenging American power. Melodies remain intentionally recognizable, while the experience of hearing melodies is radically reconstructed. Here's a sample from Christmas 2016:

Cost: $6-15 sliding
Audio samples in which musicians at this event play: