Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community

Mika Pontecorvo
guitarist, flutist, live electronics, composer, improviser, process architect
Mika Pontecorvo – guitarist, flutist, live electronics, composer, improviser, process architect

Mika began sonic experiments as a teenager with home build instruments, a sitar, and an electric guitar prepared with gum-wrappers and played with a violin bow and an electric razor. Since then his artistic and improvisatory vocabulary has experienced a steady growth in both nuance and expressive/narrative intent.

Mika’s improvisational palette was broadened in the early 70s with experimentations in live electronic treatment of acoustic instruments (soprano saxophone, flute, voice, prepared fender-rhodes piano, and acoustic guitar primarily), this included use of modular synthesizers as signal processing resources and the use of both standard and intentionally damaged loop echo units for live multi-tracked loop performances.

His musical range and conception was expanded still further when he began studying composition and electronic music under Professor Vladimir Ussachevsky. While at University, Mika conducted graduate level electronic music composition labs and seminars. He also co-created and taught a computer music curriculum for the computer science department and did research on algorithmic composition systems concepts (largely inspired by work of Iannis Xenakis, Miles Davis, and Ornette Coleman), while working under Ussachevsky and composer/computer scientist Ercolino Ferretti..

His current work centers around experiments in emergent structures of improvisation based on live interaction between an ensemble of musicians and generative sound architectures and systems he constructs in MAX/MSP and other hardware/software elements .

His current work in the bands Theory Garden and Cartoon Justice and with other collaborators melds free and modal improv with structured song and experimental noise processes, as well as, extra musical elements performing at a number of noise, rock and experimental music venues. The resulting sound often draws on elements from world musics, jazz, dark psychedelic rock and funk and European modern and post-modern experimental traditions. More succinctly put, Mika, et al. specialize in creating a generally kick-ass good bunch of sound.