Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community

Fri, Dec 9 2016 8:00 PM

Original Medicine:
Mark Deutsch & Martha Matsuda: Bazantar and Butoh
Harmonic Series Gamelan plays “Acoustic Realignments” Etude
+ Sound Seen: an exhibition of bay area graphic scores

Fri Dec 9, 8pm
Turquoise Yantra Grotto
32 Turquoise Way, SF

The Bazantar, created for Mark Deutsch, is an other-worldly reimagining of the five-string acoustic bass. It is fitted with an additional twenty-nine sympathetic strings and four drone strings. The instrument possesses a melodic range of over five octaves, and its sympathetic range spans four octaves. Mark uses this range to create an interplay between melodic, sympathetic, and drone strings and produces a more resonant sound than a conventional upright bass, with richer natural harmonics.

Mark Deutsch can best be described as a 21st century Renaissance man. A professional musician since the age of twelve, he is a visionary artist with a background in non-linear mathematics, sacred systems and cosmology. As a classically trained bassist and sitar player he gained extensive experience in orchestral and world music ensembles, jazz combos, and solo sitar performance. While studying sitar and North Indian classical music with the legendary Ustad Imrat Khan, Mark began delving deeper into the universal fundamentals of music and their underlying frequency structures which also saw him embark on his quest to develop an instrument that could reproduce his findings. This work culminated in 1999 with Mark being awarded the US patent for his ground breaking new instrument the Bazantar - a five-string acoustic bass fitted with an additional twenty-nine sympathetic strings and four drone strings. The result is a remarkable instrument that weaves a mesmerizing soundscape of resonance, and evokes all the power of Western classical music with the depth and nuance of Eastern traditions.

Martha Matsuda discovered her life’s work in Butoh in the early 1990’s. She continues to be drawn to the dark, grotesque, underbelly of its creator Tatsumi Hijikata, while at the same time to the spiritual ephemera of co-founder Kazuo Ohno. Ankoku Butoh (The Dance of Utter Darkness) was born out of the desolation following WWII, mingling Japanese sensibilities and German Expressionism flavored with a spice of Flamenco. Its evolving fusion of disparate cultural elements and vast array of ironic images continues to inspire Martha’s artistry. Among many brilliant international performers, Martha considers her primary teachers to be Koichi and Hiroko Tamano, 1960’s Butoh pioneers from Japan who have lived in Berkeley for over 30 years. Yumiko Yoshioka, born in Japan, currently living in former East Germany in a squatted castle with other amazing artists, continues to be her mentor. And Diego Piñon from a small town in Michoacan Mexico, who integrates shamanism into his work, has been an important influence.

Martha has performed in the Bay Area with Harupin-ha, Metropolitan Butoh, SF Butoh Lab, at Bare Bones Butoh and at numerous outdoor venues. She has also performed in NY City and in Mexico. Martha initiated Jomon Butoh in early 2007 while collaborating with Mark Deutsch, a brilliant multi-instrumentalist who unravels hauntingly beautiful compositions on his invention, the Bazantar. Mark’s musical approach interweaves remarkably with Butoh’s aesthetics.


The (Schumann-Theta) Harmonic Series Gamelan
Performed by Pet the Tiger Instrument Inventors Collective.
Conceived and Collaboratively Directed by David Samas

David Samas- Vocals, Corrugated Whiling Tubes, Conduction
Peter Whitehead- Overtone Flutes, Voice
Stephen Parris- Harmonic Compass

The Schumann-Theta Harmonic Series Gamelan is a collection of instruments by inventors on the California Scene, tuned to the 8th octave of the Schumann Cavity Resonance (62.4 Hertz/ B1+19). Inspired by the work of Bill Colvig and Lou Harison, and in honor of their Centenaries, I am composing and inviting compositions for this collection of musicians and their creations.

The Harmonic series is the original tuning. It is fundamental to the physics of sound and can be observed widely in nature (which is not true of any other tuning). It is untempered, meaning there are no commas, and does not use octave equivalency. In this way it is pure, natural sound.

Pet the Tiger is an SF Bay Area inventors collective led by David Samas that plays in a wide variety of idioms exploring new timbral dimensions through extended techniques, new instruments and microtonality. Our music features specialized acoustic and physical phenomena like beating, interference, resultants, harmonic and inharmonic overtones and summation tones.

David Samas is a composer, curator, conceptual artist, instrument inventor, and social sculptor. A native San Franciscan from a mixed immigrant roots, David got his a BFA from the SF Art Institute in “new genres” (conceptual art) in 2000 and studied poetics at the New College of California. He Performed with the SF Boys Chorus, SF Opera and SF Symphony (receiving a GRAMMY, 1994). His paintings hang in the Di Rosa collection and showed at the Diego Rivera and Canessa Galleries. He has performed at the Exploritorium, Grace Cathedral, YBCA, Cal Shakes, CCRMA, and Center for New Music where he also curates the Window Gallery for Invented Instruments. He is artistic director of the Turquoise Yantra Grotto, a house concert series for free improv and ethno-modernism. He gives back to his communities by teaching inventing workshops through Thingamajigs (Oakland), where he is director of community outreach.

Stephen Parris is a composer and performer whose work has followed his interests in improvisation, and Javanese and American gamelan traditions. His work as a guitarist and improviser can be heard through various ensembles from the Monktail Creative Music Concern. As a gamelan musician, he has performed and recorded as a member of Gamelan Pacifica, and performed with Sari Raras, Mynah Gamelan, and Gamelan Sekar Jaya. He is currently the director and founder of Gamelan Encinal.

Peter Whitehead is a composer, songwriter and instrument builder. While traveling in S.E. Asia in 1989 he realized he could combine sculpture, performance and music by constructing and playing original instruments. Having experimented with playing ‘found’ objects before this, it was at this time that he began to construct his first instruments. Many of his creations are derived from folk instruments or are based on images of ancient instruments that no longer exist, although the materials used to construct them are modern or industrial.

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, 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