Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community

Fri, Oct 28 2016 8:00 PM

Tender Buttons rewinds classic electronic musics in a swarm of devices and languages, composed in the moment via a shared esthetic of severe improvisational methods. Friendly spirits Fluxus, WDR, Cage, On-U and Kling Klang are never far away.

Tender Buttons: Deconstructed/Reconstructed
Piano Solos and Ensemble Improvisation

Gino Robair – modular electronics
Tania Chen – piano, electronics, toys
Tom Djll – modular and circuit-bent electronics

Fri Oct 28, 8pm
Turquoise Yantra Grotto
32 Turquoise Way, SF

“Hope in gates, hope in spoons, hope in doors, hope in tables, no hope in daintiness and determination.” — Gertrude Stein, from Tender Buttons


Tania Chen is a pianist, experimental musician, free improviser and sound artist, working with pianos, keyboards, found objects, toys and lo-fi electronics. She has performed the music of John Cage, Earle Brown, Schoenberg, Webern, and Chris Newman. She is equally known for free improvisation, collaborating with musicians including Roger Turner, Lol Coxhill, Alan Tomlinson, Terry Day, Wadada Leo Smith, Jon Raskin, Bruce Ackley, and Henry Kaiser, while last year Tania toured John Cage’s Indeterminacy with Steve Beresford and Stewart Lee.

Gino Robair has created music for dance, theater, radio, television, silent film, and gamelan orchestra, and his works have been performed throughout North America, Europe, and Japan. He has recorded with Tom Waits, Anthony Braxton, John Butcher, Terry Riley, and Lou Harrison, and he is one of the "25 innovative percussionists" included in the book Percussion Profiles.

Tom Djll is a composer, improviser, and occasional writer on music, educated at the Colorado College, the Creative Music Studio and the Mills College Center for Contemporary Music. He has worked with Pauline Oliveros, “Blue” Gene Tyranny, James Tenney, Rova Saxophone Quartet, Fred Frith, Vladimir Tarasov, and Frank Gratkowski. Djll’s Grosse Abfahrt project is documented on recordings from the EMANEM and Creative Sources labels.

Now in our 6th season, the Turquoise Yantra Grotto is a house concert series for avant improvisers and invented instrumentalists with a focus on ethno-modernism and extended techniques. We hold a monthly event which is part concert and part social club, part concert and part art opening, near Twin Peaks in San Francisco. The Turquoise Yantra Grotto is home to many unique invented instruments including the Zen Industrial Gamelan (or grand metalliphone), the Gamelan Piano, and several sonic paintings, as well as instruments by Bart Hopkin, Tom Nunn, David Samas, Dan Gottwald, Peter Whitehead, Bryan Day, Larnie Fox, Susan Rawcliffe and many others. The 4 pianos in the house are each uniquely tuned for a variety of repertoire showcased in our solo piano series.

Cost: 10-15
Audio samples in which musicians at this event play:
Videos featuring musicians playing at this event
Gino Robair and John Butcher, 2008
Tender Buttons at Second Act, SF, 2016; live video processing by Bill Thibault