Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community

Tannery Arts Center
1050 River St. #119
Santa Cruz CA 95060

Indexical is dedicated to experimentation in music. Indexical engages the public in radical and unfamiliar work through performance, publication, documentation, educational initiatives, and discussion. We work with historically, culturally, and institutionally underrepresented artists and build community through long-term collaborative projects.

Upcoming Events:
Friday, September 30 2022 8:30 PM
Ritual Schizophonia - Gesture shapes both sound and meaning, as revealed in this experimental program for solo harp. From the avant-garde reimagining of a Greek myth to a visceral manifestation of grief, these diverse works are connected by their ceremonial treatment of sound. The movements of the hands at the strings and the feet at the pedals become a choreography of sonic obfuscation, an expressive ritual for exploring meaning in an atmosphere that synthesizes the visual and the sonic.

Melissa Achten

Melissa Achten is a Los Angeles based harpist and interdisciplinary artist focused on immersive musical ritual in contemporary and experimental performance.

As a soloist and collaborator, she utilizes the harp as a divining tool for channeling work that is intimate, diaristic, and cathartic. Her performance practice explores the nuances of surrealism, fantasy, psychology, and the occult, allowing her to create an atmosphere that blurs the relationship between bodies, instruments, and sound in order to reveal that which is unseen and inaccessible. The future-oriented gaze of her work organically pushes the boundaries of technique while untangling the harp from parochial conventions.

Melissa is an alumna of McGill University in Montreal, QC (MMus) and Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA (BMus). Upcoming projects include a residency with the Black House Collective and the Bang on a Can summer institute, as well as the release of her first full length album at the end of the year.
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Saturday, October 1 2022 8:30 PM
The Girl Can't Help It: Trans Portrait Films at the Dawn of the Sexual Revolution
Dirty Looks has dug deep into documents of trans history to assemble a program of archival trans portrait films that spool from experimental cinema of the 1970s, activist video, and personal portraiture. Spanning an early decade of production, illuminating (lost?) queer histories and liminal spaces across America, The Girl Can’t Help It screens poignant testimonials and early rhetorics of trans-femme ideation.

Dirty Looks

Dirty Looks Inc is a platform for queer film, video and performance founded in 2011 by Bradford Nordeen. Using film and time-based art to illuminate queer histories and liminal spaces across Los Angeles and New York City, Dirty Looks traces contemporary queer aesthetics through historical works, presenting quintessential GLBTQ film and video, alongside up-and-coming artists and filmmakers. Dirty Looks exhibits a lineage of queer tactics and visual styles for younger artists, casual viewers and seasoned avant-garde filmgoers, alike. A nebulous collective, we have worked closely with Karl McCool, Clara López Menéndez, in addition to over 50 guest curators, through our month-long, city-spanning festival Dirty Looks: On Location.

Over the course of eight years, Dirty Looks has staged screenings at The Museum of Modern Art, The Kitchen, The Hammer, Participant Inc, White Columns, ONE Archives, Artists Space and Judson Memorial Church. DL began regular Los Angeles programming in January 2015, instating a national reach for our programs. This is further bolstered by our Dirty Looks Volume series, which accumulates writing and ephemera that reflects our year-round programming in slim publications issued annually.
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Saturday, October 8 2022 8:30 PM
The Mivos Quartet, “one of America’s most daring and ferocious new-music ensembles” (The Chicago Reader), is devoted to performing works of contemporary composers and presenting diverse new music to international audiences. Since the quartet's beginning in 2008 they have performed and closely collaborated with an ever-expanding group of international composers representing a wide aesthetic range of contemporary composition.

The members of Mivos are violinists Olivia De Prato and Maya Bennardo, violist Victor Lowrie Tafoya, and cellist Tyler J. Borden. Mivos is invested in commissioning, premiering, and growing the repertoire of new music for string quartet, striving for rich collaborations with composers over extended periods of time. Recently, Mivos has collaborated on new works with Jeffrey Mumford (LA Philharmonic/Library of Congress), Michaela Catranis (Fondation Royaumont), Chikako Morishita (rainy days festival), George Lewis (ECLAT Festival Commission), Sam Pluta (Lucerne Festival Commission), Eric Wubbels (CMA Commission), Kate Soper, Scott Wollschleger, Patrick Higgins (Zs), and poet/musician Saul Williams. For this work and the continuation of it, the quartet was the recipient of the 2019 Dwight and Ursula Mamlok Prize for Interpreters of Contemporary Music.

Beyond expanding the string quartet repertoire, Mivos is committed to working with guest artists exploring multi-media projects and performing improvised music. Mivos has worked closely with artists such as Cécile McLorin Salvant (Ogresse), Ambrose Akinmusire (Origami Harvest), Ned Rothenberg, Timucin Sahin, Nate Wooley, and most recently guitarist, composer, and 2019 MacArthur Fellow, Mary Halvorson.

Mivos has performed to critical acclaim on prestigious series such as Noon to Midnight (USA), Lucerne Festival (CH), Jazz at Lincoln Center (USA), the New York Phil Biennial (USA), Wien Modern (AT), the Darmstadt Internationalen Ferienkurse für Neue Musik (DE), rainy days festival (LU), Asphalt Festival (DE), HellHOT! New Music Festival (Hong Kong), Shanghai New Music Week (CN), Música de Agora na Bahia (Brazil), Aldeburgh Music (UK), and Lo Spririto della musica di Venezia (IT).

In addition to their performance season, Mivos is committed to the education of young composers and string players, and is regularly the quartet in residence at the Creative Musicians Retreat at the Walden School (USA) and the Valencia International Performance Academy and Festival (ES). The quartet has conducted workshops at Columbia University, Harvard University, Boston University, UC Berkeley, US San Diego, Duke University, Royal Northern College of Music (UK), Shanghai Conservatory (China), University Malaya (Malaysia), Yong Siew Toh Conservatory (Singapore), the Hong Kong Art Center, and MIAM University in Istanbul (Turkey) among others. Along with their work at educational institutions, Mivos grants the Mivos/Kanter String Quartet Composition Prize, a yearly award to support the work of emerging and mid-career composers residing in the USA, and the I-Creation prize, a competition for composers of Chinese descent worldwide.
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Friday, October 14 2022 8:30 PM
METHODS BODY (Portland, OR, USA) is a performance duo that creates original sound art and music using custom tunings systems, polyrhythms, and the cadences of language. Longtime collaborators Luke Wyland (keys, electronics) and John Niekrasz (drums, percussion) use bespoke live-sampling technologies to create compositions that inhabit waves of subliminal melody and deep, uncanny grooves.

Methods Body builds on the non-traditional tunings of Terry Riley, the experimental energy of Éliane Radigue and Silver Apples, and the refracted electronics of Aphex Twin to create a sonic language completely their own. Together, Wyland and Niekrasz have been pushing the bounds of rhythm and melody for more than a dozen years. Their duos, AU and Why I Must Be Careful, were lauded as groundbreaking and breathtaking. Both Niekrasz and Wyland are idiosyncratic innovators on their instruments and use performance as an arena for legitimate connection and energetic exchange. They're currently working on the follow-up to their critically acclaimed self-titled debut record (New Amsterdam Records/Beacon Sound 2020), forthcoming in 2023.


Classical violinist gone rogue, Samantha Bounkeua (RogueViolin) is a queer performer, composer, & music producer with a focus on violin-driven compositions and collaborating with and amplifying the work of queer, femme and non-binary artists. A graduate from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, she's performed internationally as a guest artist with the Southern Arizona Symphony, New Mexico Symphony, Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, Britten-Pears New Music Festival, Festival de Opera San Luis, the Rogue Theatre and more. She is a recipient of multiple grants from the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona and has been commissioned to write music for the Binational Encuentro (an event about the female migratory experience from Mexico), ChamberLab, LuftBassoon, Hawkins Dance Company and more. Her solo album “Etudes” is a collection of acoustic-electric songs about navigating a competitive and emotionally fraught academic journey and seeks ways in which we might find catharsis and overcome narratives of our younger selves. In 2021, Samantha’s film score for “Sun | Sun” with digital artist Cyane Tornatzky was the Director's Choice selection for the Supernova Regeneration Feature Program and an official selection in the Kerala Short Film Festival.
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Saturday, October 15 2022 8:30 PM
evicshen's sound practice is concerned with the spatiality/physicality of sound and its relationship to the human body. Her music features analog modular synthesizers, vinyl/resin records, and self-built electronics. Eschewing conventions in harmony and rhythm in favor of extreme textures and gestural tones, Shen uses what she calls "chaotic sound" to oppose signal and information, eluding traditionally embedded meaning.

evicshen (Victoria Shen) is a sound artist, experimental music performer, and instrument-maker based in San Francisco. Her personal identity; her body; is the space her work utilizes to restructure sonic meaning. In her live performances, she proposes an exploration between meaning and non-meaning through the physical activation of noise tropes. Her probing into these melodic voids interrogate the ways we perceive value within aural experiences. The appendage-like instruments and objects she makes, exemplify Shen’s ability to embody through sound her interest in the tension created by opposition: control and chaos, the unique and the mass produced, the practical and the absurd.

Shen’s multimedia practice extends beyond musical composition and performance to include installation and non-traditional methods of distribution. Her DIY approach to deconstructing the concepts of “materiality, value and mass production” both integrate and re-contextualize the formats of the readymade and assemblage techniques. For example, the album art for her debut LP, Hair Birth, utilizes copper to transform the cover into a loudspeaker through which the record can be played. In 2021, Shen produced a series of cut-up records in cast resin embedded with found materials, functioning not only as playable music media but as unique art objects. For recent performances, she pioneered the use of Needle Nails, acrylic nails with embedded turntable styluses, which allow her to play up to 5 tracks of a record at once. Needle Nails, Levitating speaker, and her Noise Combs are some of the objects created by her as part of an extensive repertoire of innovations in the design of sound augmentation. These sculptural elements invite the viewer to unpack one’s relationship with the material possibilities for creating sound.

Shen has performed solo across North America, Japan, Mexico, and Europe as Evicshen and as half of the duo TRIM in North America and the UK. Some notable venues in which she has performed include Boston City Hall, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, ISSUE Project Room NY, DOMMUNE Tokyo, and Petreon Sculpture Park Cyprus. Shen has also been an artist in residence at Elektronmusikstudion EMS Stockholm SE, WORM Rotterdam NL, Kurimanzutto New York US, the Sound Laboratory of The Royal Danish Academy Copenhagen DK, and AUDIUM San Francisco.
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Saturday, November 5 2022 8:30 PM
Booker Stardrum is a composer, percussionist, producer, and educator. His compositions are sculptural, carved from the dense layering of instruments and manipulated samples, a pantonal harmonic sense, and an intuitive approach to rhythm.

Stardrum has released three solo records (‘Crater in 2021,’‘Temporary etc.’ in 2018 and ‘Dance And’ in 2015). ‘Temporary etc’ is a highly personal amalgamation of electro-acoustics, minimalism, ambient, jazz, and contemporary experimental electronic music that The Wire said “further solidifies Stardrum’s position as one of America’s most intriguing composers.” ‘Crater’ expanded on the techniques of his previous effort with “jaw-unhinging splatterdrum masterworks that seem to explode from Stardrum's tactile performance (BoomKat).” Throughout the last decade, Stardrum has collaborated, toured, and recorded with Horse Lords, Lee Ranaldo, Carl Stone, Wendy Eisenberg, Weyes Blood, Lisel, Cloud Becomes Your Hand, Landlady, and the Young Jean Lee Theater Company, in addition to countless experimental and improvisational collaborations. He has toured in the US, Europe, Asia, and South America and has performed at such festivals as Big Ears (US), Rewire (NL), Le Guess Who (NL), Moers (DE), Meltdown (U.K.), Brighton (U.K), Festival Bo:m (ROK), Hopscotch (US) and Ecstatic Music (US). His discography includes solo and collaborative releases on independent labels such as NNA Tapes, Northern Spy Records, Mexican Summer, Saddle Creek, Luminelle, Prom Night Records and Home Tapes.
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Saturday, November 12 2022 8:30 PM
Debuting at Indexical, HALO FOR WORLD SYSTEM extends DROUGHT SPA's interest in global logistics systems and analyses of value, art, and capital. For this performance, cruse has created a paratext of reference materials sourced from her corpus of critical theory, poetry, and prose written over the past five years. Books referenced therein are then scanned by cruse and Lo, and used as primary inputs for a cybernetic assemblage of language, imagery, and sound. Playing their bar codes and textual material as digital instruments, DROUGHT SPA examines the book as both aesthetic object and commodity.

DROUGHT SPA is the interdisciplinary experiment of artists alex cruse and Kevin CK Lo, who live and work on Chochenyo Ohlone land.

Since 2015 cruse and Lo have used generative visuals, stochastic synthesis, sensing-technologies, video, text, and movement to explore questions regarding statecraft and the built environment; the political economy of machinic/nonhuman sensing; and the weaponization of time-based media, among other topics.

DROUGHT SPA has performed and presented at Cloaca Projects, Brown University, San Francisco State University Poetry Center, UC Berkeley's CNMAT, Gray Area (San Francisco), CounterPulse (San Francisco), SOMArts (San Francisco), B4BEL4B Gallery (Oakland), Aeromoto (Mexico City), Audio Foundation (Auckland), the International Symposium of Electronic Art (Vancouver), and elsewhere.

Madison McCartha

Madison McCartha is a poet, critic, and multimedia artist whose writing appears in Black Warrior Review, BOMB, Denver Quarterly, jubilat, The Spectacle, and elsewhere. Their work has been exhibited through the Lower Manhattan Cultural Center, the Poetic Research Bureau, and digitally through Small Press Traffic; was shortlisted for the 2019-2021 CAAPPCreative Writing Fellowship, and has received support from The Millay Colony, Blue Mountain Center, and Winter Tangerine.

McCartha holds an MFA from the University of Notre Dame, where they received the Samuel and Mary Anne Hazo Award in Creative Writing. As a PhD student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, their current research deploys a Critical Race Studies lens to examine the histories of the Artist's Book as a political and material site where Visual Cultures and Avant-Garde literary practices meet.

McCartha's debut book of poetry and visual art, FREAKOPHONE WORLD, was published by Inside the Castle in 2021. Their second book, THE CRYPTODRONE SEQUENCE, is forthcoming from Black Ocean.
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Tuesday, November 29 2022 8:30 PM
Martin Kanja (aka Lord Spike Heart) and Sam Karugu emerge from Nairobi’s flourishing underground metal scene as former members of the bands Lust of a Dying Breed and Seeds of Datura. Together in 2019 they formed Duma (Darkness in kikuyu) with Sam abandoning bass for production and guitars and Lord Spike Heart providing extreme vocals to the project. Their unique sound fuses the frenetic euphoria, unrelenting physicality and rebellious attitude of hardcore punk and trash metal with bone-crunching breakcore and raw, nihilist industrial noise through a claustrophobic vortex of visceral screams. Duma are a sinister force facing pain and difficult emotions head on is the place from which Kanja writes. A sonic aggression of feral intensity with disregard for styles, the duo promises to impact the hungry East African metal scene moving it into totally new, boundary-challenging experimental territories.

Devi Mambouka, known as Masma Dream World, is a multi-disciplinary artist and sound therapist. Known for her otherworldly and haunting exploration of the shadow side, Mambouka’s music is heavily influenced by her multiethnic heritage, sacred lineage and personal evolution to overcome trauma, abuse and addiction. Born in Gabon, Africa to a Gabonese ambassador and Singaporean mother, Mambouka immigrated to the United States at age 12, grew up in the Bronx and became one of the youngest influential voices in the NYC nightlife scene. She promoted parties and DJ-ed in legendary NYC venues like Son Cubano, Lit Lounge, and Lotus. She curated music for the 2012 Alicia Keys’ Black Ball Redux.

Only Now is the vision of Kush Arora, based in Berkeley, CA. His sound is an unremitting emission of razor cut rhythms, primitive channelings, and ritualistic electronics. There is wild abandon in his approach; from seething tribalism to cold fronts of ambience that highlight Arora’s ability to juggle disparate sonics. His galvanizing of traditional percussion, physical modeling synthesis, and industrial field recordings is present across his propulsive live shows and constant output. Active in the Bay Area since the late 90’s, Kush produces in scenes ranging from noise to global club sounds and dancehall.
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