Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Live Birdsaw pics

I put these up at Birdsaw's Facebook page this week, figured I'd post 'em here, too before cleaning up my desktop.
These shots were taken at Fais Do Do in East Los Angeles in 1999 by my old friend Mona Goss. At the time, Mona was pursuing an acting career in Hollywood. She came to the show and graciously sent me these photos some years later. Thanks, Mona!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Cosmists-Luggage Store Gallery, SF CA; 12/22/16

It's really hard to believe that Cosmists have been playing for five years! Where in the hell does the time go? Last night's gig at the Luggage Store Gallery proved to be a quiet triumph for us: we overcame the absence of CJ, who was not able to attend.
This development had me worried, but I was able to get my pal Kersti Abrams to fill in. This kept Cosmists a quartet, with Thomas Harrison Jr. making his debut with us on bass.
After a really fine set from Jack Hertz, full of spaced out electronic meditations and glitches, we began our four movement set with a conducted improvisation called Layer Cake. I guess it was an attempt by me to use conducting methods, mostly influenced by reading about Butch Morris some years back. Just simple gestures, cuing in the other group members as I sat on the floor. Kinda Hippie, I guess. Still, it was fun and fulfilling to try. We also played a couple of purely improvised pieces and one piece from my graphic score Saturations With Jumps. That one is still developing. It never sounds quite like I have been hearing it in my head, but I guess that if one wants exact precision, one should write out scores with standard musical notation. As for the improvisations, one of them featured a really tight ending after some cool East Asian, almost Gagaku feels. Real good.
Back to the triumphal feeling: some people that I don't know showed up and stuck around. Just a few, but that's enough. I realize that Cosmists don't play music that is accessible, so, really, if anyone sticks around to listen, it counts big time. Thanks to whomever those people are. Glad that you're out there, and very grateful that you stuck around.
All told, a fun evening that ended with everyone happy and aesthetically, if not monetarily, fulfilled. Cosmists continue to do it for the pure joy of sound.
As usual, thanks to Outsound, Luggage Store Gallery, and those that showed up, especially Andrew, Thomas, Kersti, and Jack.

Below: Cosmists instruments
Above: I really like this photo of Thomas's feet and pedals!
Below: Mark Conducts (photo courtesy of Jack Hertz, thanks Jack!)

Friday, December 16, 2016

New Ear Spray digital track!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Cosmists play next Thursday!

Cosmists will play at Luggage Store Gallery in San Francisco next Thursday! This iteration of Cosmists will feature bassist Thomas Harrison Jr., CJ Borosque, Andrew Joron, and me. Also on the bill will be my friend Jack Hertz.
Details here:

Thu. 12/22
Luggage Store Gallery
1007 Market St. @6th St.
SF 94103
8 PM Sharp
$-no one turned away for lack of funds

Hope to see some pals there!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Brandon Evans Trio live footage!

Footage courtesy of Outsound Presents. Thanks, Outsound!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

New Barney Cauldron digital release!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Surplus 1980-Starry Plough, Berkeley CA; 12/4/16

Last night's show at that Starry Plough, likely just as any other event in the SF Bay Area, occurred under the clouds brought forth from the tragic fire in Fruitvale not 24 hours previous. Driving in to Berkeley from El Cerrito, I wondered if anyone would even feel like playing. Thinking about the deaths of a score of young people, at times during the drive I felt ambiguous about it.
After emotionally charged sets from Karry Walker and Vegan Butcher, Moe! prefaced Surplus 1980's set with a brief admonishment to those in attendance. To paraphrase: "...cherish your lives and each other..." Hell yeah.Though not stated, the set had a feeling, at least to me, of dedication to those who did not survive the Ghost Ship warehouse fire. RIP.
As for our set, presumably the last one with bassist Steve Lew, it seemed as though we really rose to the occasion. The energy felt very much on, strong and confident. I'd say it was our best set since last year's barn burner in Seattle, during which our ante was upped by a ferocious set from Nightingales previous to ours. I can't recall any clams, except for one during an unexpected, encore-type version of Ed Saad. We hadn't rehearsed that one since well earlier this year, so I ain't trippin' on that at all.
I can't be more pleased with Surplus 1980's sound at the Plough: seriously bonkers!
I really want to thank Steve for being such a fine musical compatriot over the last year and a half. It's been a great experience being in a rhythm section with him. His bass playing is funky and juicy and totally in the pocket. What a fucking pleasure.
In essence, a evening of highs, despite the very obvious lows that so many in the Bay must be feeling this weekend.
I guess we'll see what 2017 has in store for Surplus 1980. I'll be looking forward to it.

Below: Steve and Moe! setting up

Above: cool 1980's Tama drums, belonging to Suki O'Kane, used as a back line. Thanks, Suki!
Below: Moe! and Mark ham it up. Photo by Molly Blue. Thanks, Molly!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Ornithos Loom-VAMP Music Art; Oakland CA, 12/2/16

Sort of a last minute gig last night for this new group, featuring Joe Noble, Andrew Joron, and me. Fernando from VAMP hit me with a message and asked if I could pull something together for December's First Friday event in Oakland. Ornithos Loom has been jamming sporadically, for the past six months or so, and I figured it would be a good opportunity to try to play in public.
After a really great set from guitarist Tristan Norton, we set out and played a roughly thirty minute one, comprised of one longer piece and one shorter. The former had some really fired up soprano and alto riffing from Joe. I got a short solo in, which Andrew described as "...sounding composed..." Right on! I added a small, metallic wrench, given to me by Moe! Staiano with a "see if you can use this" type of suggestion. Got some cool sounds from it during that solo. At least, that's how it felt to me, anyway. The latter piece was somewhat marred by a talkative person: Joe was attempting to play very quietly on his flute, but the talking person's voice ran roughshod over his sound. Ah well, you can't really control that type of thing, unless you're Charles Mingus or Keith Jarrett I guess.
All told, it was a fun, mellow night, and a good start for Ornithos Loom. Hopefully we'll be playing out more in the future. Please check out our first Bandcamp release, linked at the bottom of this post!

Below: Tristan Norton lays down the vibes

Above: Joe and Andrew peruse the vinyl at VAMP; my kit (wrench not included)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Upcoming shows!

Happy to announce two shows this week!

First up, Ornithos Loom, a new trio featuring Andrew Joron, Joe Noble, and myself, will be making our public debut at VAMP in Oakland on Friday night.

Fri., 12/2
Oakland Freedom Jazz Society Presents
Tristan Norton
Ornithos Loom
VAMP Oakland
331 19th St.
Oakland 94612
Free (tips encouraged)
Part of Oakland First Friday

Next, Surplus 1980 will be making our final appearance of 2016, along with it being bassist Steve Lew's last show with the band.

Sat., 12/3
The Starry Plough
Kerry Walker
Vegan Butcher
Surplus 1980
3101 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley 94705
9 PM-close

Hope to see some pals at either of these, and, as always, looking forward to 'em! 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

New Ear Spray digital release!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Vinny Golia Large Ensemble SF Bay Area Edition video

Video of full show. A couple of shots of me.
What an intense experience.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Ear Spray Bandcamp page is up!

I will be uploading selected shows/jams from Ear Spray intermittently, going forward.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Recent shows: a breakdown

Two shows by two bands over two days. Here's the breakdown:

Surplus 1980-First Church of  The Buzzard, Oakland CA 11/11/16
First off, what a great space! Shows have been happening at this spot in West Oakland for some time, but it was the first time I've been. Very cool, with paper mache sculptures of William S. Burroughs holding shotguns, strange films projected upon the walls, great art all over the place. Just ruling!
After really hot sets by PG 13 and Gentleman Surfer, both bands featuring incredible drummers Thomas Scandura and Jon Bafus, respectively, Surplus 1980 had our work cut out for us. Very tough acts to follow. Thanks to an exemplary sound mix from our pal Nelly, a GREAT engineer, we managed to throw down what seemed to me to be our best set of the year. I finally got through Failure of Commitment mistake-free (!!!!), Morale Is High was tight, our cover of Ornette's Theme From a Symphony felt all kinds of funky loose, just.....YES. Playing Bafus's hand made, beautiful kit was a joy, too. I can really only think of a few, very minor clams, and other than that the set was good to great. What a fun damn night!

Below: a glowing skull at First Church of The Buzzard, and beautiful drums (with cowbell!)

Below: Live Surplus 1980 footage!

Ear Spray-Noise Bridge Hackerspace, San Francisco CA 11/12/16
After getting what seemed like no sleep at all, I managed to drag my tired ass over to SF via BART. The Mission was lovely: sunny, warm, with the smell of fresh produce wafting off of the outdoor bins of small stores and roasting coffee permeating the air. I got to Noise Bridge with just minutes to spare before Ear Spray's opening set for a Godwaffle Noise Pancakes show. Carlos and Ann had, thankfully, already set up, so I was able to quickly get my small amount of gear in place and ready. Our set centered around Ann's vocals and Carlos's samples. Many of these samples came from short snippets that Ann and I had sent to him. He then loaded them into his sampling keyboard and had them ready for playback. It was fun to add to those voices with my raw circuit bent Casio and a singing bowl with contact mic, along with banging metal folding chairs with metal rods for that early z'ev feel. Thanks, z'ev. A fun, short set on a sunny day. Woot!

Below: great Grux art and simple gear

Below: live Ear Spray clip from Godwaffle's Youtube page. Thanks, Grux!!!!!

Now I sit here, exhausted, and prepare for my art opening this evening. Busy days to end the year! I guess that I kinda asked for it all, and am most definitely NOT complaining. Thanks to all of the musicians that I know.

Ear Spray tomorrow in SF!

Ear Spray will play at Noisebridge Hacker Space tomorrow, as part of Godwaffle Noise Pancakes!

Godwaffle Noise Pancakes
Noisebridge Hacker Space
2169 Mission St.
SF CA 94110
Xome, R.K. Faulhaber, Tonal Grace, Amphibious Gestures, Ear Spray
12 PM Sharp

Noisy syrup for your ears!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Surplus 1980 plays this Friday night in Oakland!

Surplus 1980 is happy to be sharing a stage with Gentleman Surfer again!

Surplus 1980/Gentleman Surfer/PG 13
Friday, 11/11/16
First Church of  The Buzzard
2601 Adeline St.
Oakland CA 94607
8:30 PM

Maybe I'll see some pals there! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Hare & Arrow/Lingua Incognita Session #2, Make-Out Room, SF CA; 11/7//16

It seems to me that I have a kind of binary relationship with the Monday Makeout sessions at Make-Out Room: I'll have a really satisfying gig there, and then a terrifying one. Thankfully, last night's session fell into the former category. Everything fell nicely into place, from getting a really choice parking spot right along 22nd St., to the set up/sound check and on into the actual playing of music. Things just went well. Such a relief.
After listening to a sweet, pastoral set from Entartete Ensemble, Hare & Arrow took the stage: Sung Kim on self-designed stringed instruments, Timothy Orr on traps, and me on traps as well. I felt as though it was thirty minutes of musical bliss as we pursued Sung's concept of making a musical tapestry, trying to get our respective instruments to speak with each other simultaneously. The drum interaction seemed tight and focused; I know that playing with Tim made me extra conscious of paying attention and really being there.  It was also a blast to play along with Sung's self-designed string instruments. It felt like a cool set to me; at times, it seemed like we were moving pure energy around.  Bonus points for getting a really nice compliment from a total stranger. That's a win, for sure.

Below: Drums and strings, Timothy Orr getting situated

Above: Dapper Kim, post set!
Below: Lingua Incognita crib notes for drummers

The second iteration of Lingua Incognita got off to a pretty good start. The group had a relaxed, kind of jungle-ey feel for a while before dipping into a more Funk mode in tribute to post-1960 Miles Davis. At times, the group may have gotten a bit muddled and off kilter, but that stands to reason with a large, relatively unrehearsed ensemble. Despite that, the feel was groovy and good; my favorite individual moment had me slamming what I felt was a pretty sharp back beat to lead the band out of a quieter passage, mid-set. Also cool was an extended, spiritual vamp upon the main riff for Coltrane's A Love Supreme; things got pretty wiggy there! All in all, a fun, albeit a few times unfocused, set. Not that that gave me any of the abject terror that I've felt, playing at Make-Out Room before.
Many thanks to all of the musicians that played, and to Karl Evangelista for continuing to book the Monday Makeout events.

Friday, November 4, 2016

I will play two sets at Make-Out Room in SF on Monday!

I will play in two different groups this Monday, 11/7, at Make-Out Room in San Francisco: Hare and Arrow and Lingua Incognita Sesssion #2. The former will feature Sung Kim, Timothy Orr and myself in improvisation mode. The latter will feature several players doing some of Mika Pontecorvo's Miles Davis/Ornette Coleman-inspired ideas.

Mon., 11/7
The Monday Makeout
Make-Out Room
Wayne Grimm's Entartete Ensemble/Hare and Arrow/Lingua Incognita Session #2
3225 22nd St.
SF CA 94110
Free-donations encouraged

Really looking forward to this one! 

Monday, October 31, 2016

New ebolabuddha digital release!

Live at KFJC!

Below: strange shot of ebolabuddha playing in San Jose!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

PureFinder-Studio Grand, Oakland CA; 10/24/16

It seems always more incongruous that an artsy space could survive within the ever-tonier Grand Lake District of Oakland, and yet Studio Grand continues to stand its ground therein, hosting weekly Experimental shows in the later part of the evenings on Mondays.
PureFinder had the honor of playing with mighty tenor saxophonist Joshua Allen last night within that great space. Josh is a tough act to follow, but we did our best: four or five drums/cymbals mic'd with small contacts and fed into Andrew's electronic rig. Our plan consisted of playing three zones: rhythmic, glitch-ey, and droned. The set started off space-ey, and I got to play some big, block chords on the studio's piano (!) as an opening sound.
We paced our piece well, and seemed to find each of those respective areas. I had fun using long screws on the sides of drums and the cowbell, the sounds of which Andrew treated very creatively. I guess one might define PureFinder's sound as Electronic Grime or maybe Free Industrial; I really enjoy producing it! After a quick thirty minutes or so,  with shakers being hit upon gongs, high harmonica notes, and all kinds of electronic spraying, we stopped; I figured, why keep those in attendance out on a rainy Monday night for too long? Still, we felt satisfied and had a real good time.
Many thanks to Oakland Freedom Jazz Society for allowing PureFinder to play!

Below: Andrew contemplates his mixer, drums mic'd

Friday, October 21, 2016

PureFinder this Monday!

We will be playing with Joshua Allen, who will do a solo tenor sax set.

Oakland Freedom Jazz Society Presents
PureFinder/Josh Allen
Studio Grand
3234 Grand Ave.
Oakland 94610
9:30-11:30 PM

Looking forward to this show! 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

New Failure Cock digital release!

Live in Sacramento at Norcal Noisefest XX!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Inter-dimensional Incursion/Ear Spray-Luggage Store Gallery, SF CA; 10/13/16

These, days, whenever I go to the Luggage Store, I marvel at the changes on Market and 6th St. It seems as though there are new fancy eateries, clubs, and whatnot going up every week! At one point last night, I stood at that corner and tried to imagine what it will look like in 100 years' time. Skyscrapers towered in my mind. Wish that I could be there to see it!
Not being able to time travel, I just had to stay in the present and enjoy the small joys of the Inter-dimensional Incursion/Ear Spray gig.
For one, it's incredible, and the SF Bay Area Improvising Music scene is really lucky, that Outsound has managed to keep a toehold right on this rapidly gentrifying area!
Another source of mirth was the small group of people, all known and adored by me, that gathered for the show.
Inter-dimensional Incursion, essentially Cartoon Justice with guests Amanda Chaudhary on synthesizers and James Robert Barnes on woodwinds, played a scripted improvisation, conducted by Mika. I played the Hand-soniq drum pad and waterphone. The later was scraped with long screws and hit with a mallet. I really enjoyed the amount of space that all players allowed to happen. Really good sextet interaction, in my opinion. There were times when I just stopped and enjoyed listening to what everyone else was doing, especially James's really wonderful baritone sax passage, one that had everyone inspired and going for it.
Hopefully there will be gigs from this ensemble in the future!

Below: Inter-dimensial Incursion rig, and the group shot (mostly) live

Ear Spray's set also seemed good to me. Although, mostly on account of me being really busy with some personal stuff, I was not able to get to a rehearsal for it, I felt as though we were able to connect within the sound. At times, we can get pretty noisy, but it seemed as though we played the somewhat small space of the Luggage Store pretty well. Our set was divided into three movements, following Ann's video projections of: Nebula, Sun, and Water. I played mostly small percussion, along with a bit more waterphone (again, scraped and not bowed), and my nasty little circuit bent Casio keyboard. The latter is fun, just for its unpredictability and crazy noises! Me like. As usual, Ear Spray managed to pull together and find our voice. Now, if only we could get that projected CD finished!

Below: Carlos and Ann prepare (with Joe Lasqo in foreground!), Ear Spray gear

All told, a fun night of Electro-Acoustic exploration in downtown San Francisco! Seems fine to me, even if I can't afford dinner over there anymore!

Below: live Ear Spray footage!

Monday, October 10, 2016

I will play at the Luggage Store this Thursday!

I will play two sets at the Luggage Store on Market St.!
First up: Inter-dimensional Incursion, which is basically Cartoon Justice with special guests, and then Ear Spray. The latter hasn't played since May.

Thu., 10/13
Luggage Store Gallery
1007 Market St.
SF 94103
8 PM sharp
$5-15 sliding scale, no one turned away for lack of funds

We'll see how far out/in we can go.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

ebolabuddah-NoiseHaus 10, San Jose CA; 10/8/16

As I drove down to San Jose last night, I realized that, in all of the years that I've been playing drums in public, I've never had a chance to play there. Odd.
Great night to make my San Jose debut, too! First St. was hoppin'. First Friday events fully in effect. Live bands all over the place, taco trucks, weird people in cool costumes. Just great.
ebolabuddha finished off our "Bay Area Mini Tour Week" by playing at the offices of Metro City Paper for the NoiseHaus 10 event. Our sound was frantic and somewhat crazed, I'd say. I'd also venture to say that, on account of it being the same sextet configuration as the previous evening in Oakland, it was thick. That's my hope, anyway. We again attempted to play Saturations With Jumps, and I used the same verbal conducting method.
Did I say crazed? Yes, it sure felt like a crazed set to me. The group reading sections seemed a bit truncated: this may be my fault, as I really wanted to pound away on the nice Pearl drum set that organizer Keith had provided. This type of action led to an actual circle pit happening. That's the first time in a long time I've seen that as I've played.
What a fun, exciting night. Many thanks to NoiseHaus for letting ebolabuddha play their cool event on a well-picked night.

Below: set up and crowd

Above: Pearl kit, about to be punished

Friday, October 7, 2016

Cartoon Justice/ebolabuddha-Octopus Literary Salon, Oakland CA; 10/6/16

After a busy of day of work and then a quick recording session at Skyline Studio in Temescal (hopefully more on that at some point in the future), I blazed over to Octopus Literary Salon in downtown Oakland for a night of literary/musical fusion with Cartoon Justice and ebolabuddha. The event was organized around Sci Fi novelist Meg Pontecorvo's release of her newest work, Murder In the Generative Kitchen. Cartoon Justice was to play in accompaniment to her reading selected portions of the book, and ebolabuddha, being a kind of book oriented concept, was asked by Mika Pontecorvo to play as well.
The evening started with Andrew Joron playing theremin. I had forgotten that that I'd been asked to join in at some point during his set. This did in fact happen, but my playing felt a bit out of phase. Theremin, at least the way that Andrew plays it, requires a gentle touch and good listening. You really do have to practice with it. It's been a while since we've gotten together to do so, and I felt like it showed in my playing. Disappointing. Sigh.

Below: Andrew slips by the camera eye at Octopus Literary Salon!

After a solo reading from Meg, Cartoon Justice began our set. We started with some quiet "primordial" feels, during which I enjoyed playing big, low, block chord clusters on the house piano, along with some waterphone. The group played quietly while Meg read a few more passages. We got a bit louder, more rhythmic, and more intense when she dropped off. This set felt better to me, as Cartoon Justice has put in a fair amount of practice over the past several months. It's always fun to play along with Mika's Free Blues guitar.

Below: Cartoon Justice set up for writer accompaniment

Last up, ebolabuddha played a frantic, manic 35 minute set. We did my written score, Saturations With Jumps again, and I have to say that this time it felt much more together and melded. I used some shouted conducting, and, while not exactly graceful, seemed to work as far as guiding Tom, Lorenzo, Jason, Steve, and Eli, along with myself, through the piece. Success!!!!
The people that stuck around were also great: they all read from books as we played; this is an essential dynamic of an ebolabuddha set, and we were very grateful for their participation. Much fun seemed to have been had by all. Group glossalalia!

Below: small drum kit for a small space, and a graphic score

As usual, it was great fun to make music with the Pontecorvo family.
Looking forward to more ebolabuddha tonight in San Jose!

Below: bonus shot: Infinite Plastic Internal recording sesh; we'll see if anything worth releasing came of it (photo by Bill Wolter, thanks Bill!)