Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community

Wed, Sep 24 2014 8:00 PM

Birgit Ulher & Tim Perkis
Wed Sept 24, 8pm
Turquoise Yantra Grotto
32 Turquoise Way SF

Birgit Ulher (trumpet, radios, speaker, objects) and Tim Perkis(computer, electronics) practice a brand of atmospheric improvisation sometimes referred to as "minimal"... But Birgit objects to this characterization of it:

 I understand that people discuss my music as a form of reductionism or minimalism, but for me it’s also kind of strange because things happen all the time. It is a multiplicity of sounds. 

Perhaps the salient feature is that there is a sense of entering an environment which is held loosely, left to evolve at an organic pace -- or  perhaps a stepping-back from the busywork of 'self-expression' that is the focus of much jazz-inflected improv music. There is the sense that the players may be as interested and surprised by what emerges as anyone else in the room, and that they too are responding to it more than forcing it to be something in particular.  Insect sounds (not literally), the sounds of air and wind (not literally), the movement of water on rocks (not literally). 

Birgit Ulher
Born 1961 in Nuremberg, she studied the visual arts, which still have an important influence on her music. Since moving to Hamburg in 1982 she has been involved in free improvisation and experimental music. Since then she has “established a distinguished grammar of sounds beyond the open trumpet” ( She performs solo, with dancers, working ensembles, and one-time collaborations with musicians from around the world. Current projects include duos with Ute Wassermann, Gino Robair, Christoph Schiller and Stereo Trumpet with Leonel Kaplan and the trio Nordzucker (with Chris Heenan and Michael Maierhof).Performances in Europe, the US, South America, Russia and the Middle East together with UNSK, the Trio PUT (with Ulrich Phillipp and Roger Turner), Nordzucker, Dorothea Schürch, Heddy Boubaker, Martin Klapper, Rhodri Davies, Chris Heenan, Tim Perkis, Robyn Schulkowsky, John Edwards, Damon Smith, Gene Coleman, Sean Meehan, Ernesto Rodrigues, Nate Wooley, Bryan Eubanks and Sven Ake Johansson.
Tim Perkis has been working in the medium of live electronic and computer sound for many years, performing, exhibiting installation works and recording in North America,Europe and Japan. His work has largely been concerned with exploring the emergence of life-like properties in complex systems of interaction.

He has taught at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and the California College of the Arts (CCA); has been composer-in-residence at Mills College in Oakland California, artist-in-residence at Xerox Corporation's Palo Alto Research Center, and designed musical tools and toys at Paul Allen's legendary thinktank, Interval Research. In 2013 he was a resident fellow at the Mediterranean Institute of Advanced Research (IMéRA) of the University of Aix-Marseille in France.

His checkered career as a researcher and engineer has brought him a variety of interesting projects: creating data sonification displays for research physicists and biologists in France; designing museum displays for science and music museums in San Francisco, Toronto and Seattle; creating artificial-intelligence based auction tools for business; working on mobile phone based support systems for the blind; consulting on multimedia art presentation networks for the SF Art Commission and SF Airport; writing software embedded in toys and other consumer products; and creating new tools for sound and video production, research and analysis. He is also producer and director of a feature-length documentary on musicians and sound artists in the San Francisco Bay area called NOISY PEOPLE (2007).


I like to consider human-machine interaction as a new form of social interaction. What's interesting to me about computers is their ability to serve as a framework for embodying systems offering complexity and surprise. Unpredictability is what makes social life so interesting, it is what makes art so interesting, and it's what can make computers, as partners in art making, interesting. I don't use computers to simply carry out ideas I may have: I'd rather work in situations that force me to respond to surprises that are dealt to me by systems whose complexity and unpredictability are so high that their behavior can not be known in advance. All of my computer based art work has been concerned with creating social (or synthetic social) situations, which have enough complexity to behave like real life: in fact, to be real life of some new kind. The system in question in almost all of these pieces consists of human beings and machines in cycles of mutual influence and response.

Cost: $10-15
Audio samples in which musicians at this event play: