March 3: Oneida (Record Release), Kill Alters and Christy & Emily at Secret Project Robot. For over two decades, Brooklyn psych-rock institution Oneida have been a tireless sound exploring bunch, endlessly jamming on cosmic layers of textures and patterns that transport the listener to other realms. That continues on their first official record in six years, the organ-splattered and rhythmically throbbing Romance that is quintessentially Oneida.
March 3: R. Andrew Lee at Daniel Goode's Loft. Setting up shop at clarinetist Daniel Goode’s loft on Spring Street is pianist R. Andrew Lee. On tap is the world premiere of a new work by local contemporary classical composer Michael Vincent Waller, as well as a performance of Breathing Trajectories from Waller’s 2017 album of shimmering and subtle mediations, Trajectories. The program also includes pieces by Eva-Maria Houben, Marti Epstein, Caterina Venturelli, and Ann Southam.
March 4: LPR Presents: Subtle Degrees (Travis Laplante & Gerald Cleaver) at Union Pool. What tenor saxophonist Travis Laplante has done with his horn in both four-tenor quartet Battle Trance and in defunct punk-jazz unit Little Women is on a sonic plane all its own. On A Dance That Empties, the debut from Subtle Degrees, his new duo with drummer/improviser Gerald Cleaver, Laplante’s coiled and sinuous storm of breathless notes is a shapeshifting miracle informed by contemporary classical, free-improvisation, and technical metal.
March 9: Reception + Performance; (Feb 28-March 11 exhibition): Tristan Perich: Noise Patterns at bitforms gallery (131 Allen Street, NYC). In 2016, composer, visual artist, and sound sculptor Tristan Perich belched out wads of gnarly and repetitive static on his pulsating and harsh circuit album, Noise Patterns. Improbably, Perich programmed and packaged his 1-bit electronics works as a circuit board with a headphone jack on the side. Now there’s an exhibition under the same name of Perich’s machine drawings that explore those same themes of “codified entropy.”
March 9: Pas Musique presents Ambient-Chaos at Spectrum. Experimental music hub Spectrum has settled in nicely in its new Brooklyn digs after its recent move from its LES spot. The March edition of Pas Musique’s fittingly dubbed Ambient-Chaos series continues there with a cosmically sound-designing crew including guitarist Ron Anderson, vocalist Ayako Kanda, Orakel (the electro-acoustic project of Kora/oud player Kane Mathis and tabla player Roshni Samlal), and Airports (guitarist Craig Chin and synthesist Nathan Yeager). Space will undoubtedly be the place with this lineup of sonic adventurers.
March 10: Queer Trash Presents: Brutal Measures (Lydia Lunch + Weasel Walter), Keijaun Thomas, Straight Panic at Issue Project Room. Improvising noiseniks-in-crime Michael Foster and Richard Kamerman are the knob-twiddling minimalists behind New York Review of Cocksucking and cofounders of Queer Trash, a DIY enterprise whose platform centers on putting queer artists towards the forefront of NYC’s experimental music community and beyond. For its inaugural performance as Artist In Residence, Foster and Kamerman, with Eames Armstrong, have assembled a murderers row of iconoclastic noisemakers including “Queer power electronics” one-man-show Straight Panic, composer, performance, and multimedia artiste Keijaun Thomas, and Lydia Lunch and Weasel Walter’s Brutal Measures.
March 10: March 10: Ambient Church: Ellen Arkbro, Deradoorian, Qasim Naqvi, Lemon Guo. Last year, composer Arkbro put out an album, , that was one of the finest of the year across all genres. Her minimalist compositional focus on breathing, intonation, and harmony produced music that is like the wave/particle nature of light, packed with discrete information and encompassed in a gentle and comforting flow. Amidst the sensual comforts of Ambient Church, Arkrbo will perform a new work, , using the First Unitarian Congregationa Society’s century old pipe organ. Augmenting the experience will be vocalists/instrumentalists Deradoorian and Lemon Guo, and Dawn of MIDI’s drummer and composer Qasim Naqvi.
March 10: Aseethe with Inter Arma, Anicon and Vile Creature at Saint Vitus. The punishing dirges that Iowa City doom metal titans Aseethe gloriously slog through made Hopes of Failure, their Thrill Jockey Records debut, one of 2017’s best metal releases. Nodding to both the Melvins’ early ‘90s Lysol/Bullhead era and their TJ label-mates The Body, Aseethe’s buzzsaw drone fields and plodding repetition is skull-crushing heavy as it is entrancing.
March 13: Jin Hi Kim, Elliott Sharp, William Parker, and Hamid Drake: Four Directions at Roulette. Three world-class maestros of the jazz avant-garde and experimental and improvised music, bassist/composer William Parker, guitarist Elliott Sharp, and percussionist Hamid Drake, are no strangers in deconstructing otherworldly and global music-centric sounds. This evening that vision will be full throttle as Jin Hi Kim, a whiz on komungo (a traditional Korean stringed musical instrument of the zither family) leads the group for a fully improvised set of “solos, duos, quartets focusing on freely improvised, cross-cultural, and techno sound.”
March 13-17: Ben Perowsky Residency at The Stone (The New School Glass Box Theater, 55 W. 13th St.). For decades, drummer Ben Perowsky has been a stalwart of the New York City avant-garde jazz and experimental scenes, stroking, massaging, brushing, and thwacking out jazzy, dubby, and art-pop-heavy beats behind the likes of John Zorn and Jamie Saft, and via solo efforts. For his five-day swing at The Stone, Perowsky will be joined by fellow downtown veteran luminaries like Tim Berne, Oren Bloedow, and Jennifer Charles—but the set on Thursday, March 15 is essential: a Lounge Lizards reunion of sorts will go down that evening when Perowsky, keyboardist John Medeski, and virtuosic slide guitar legend David Tronzo (all Lounge Lizards alum) join forces.
March 14-18: Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble Cellular Songs World Premiere at Brooklyn Academy of Music’s (BAM) Harvey Theatre. Through the course of five-decades, the heavenly darting and pirouetting pipes of iconic composer and performance artist Meredith Monk has been stuff of legend. Monk’s pioneering career continues at BAM as she’s accompanied by her Vocal Ensemble for the world premiere of a new music-theater work titled Cellular Songs. Intertwining voice with sound and lighting design, music, movement, and multimedia, Monk “contemplates the fundamental unit of life and its relation to the universe.”
March 15: Fire Over Heaven: Lea Bertucci/ Okkyung Lee/ David First's Western Enisphere. To call David First a musical polymath would be an understatement. In the ‘70s, First was resident shredder for cult art-punk heroes, The Notekillers, a band Thurston Moore has name-dropped as an early Sonic Youth influence. Meanwhile, subsequent years has seen the composer pen music using Casio keyboards, explore drone, and create chamber operas. In recent years, First has been a force to be reckoned with as evidenced by his Same Animal, Different Cages, a series of solo works using analog synth, guitar, and harmonica. For tonight’s Fire Over Heaven performance curated by 75 Dollar Bill’s Che Chen, First and violist Jeanann Dara’s
Western Enisphere quintet will probe minimalist and microtonal soundscapes.
March 16: Miles Okazaki TRICKSTER at The Jazz Gallery. On last year’s strings-bending mind-meld Trickster, jazz guitarist Miles Okazaki unleashed salvos of sick notes that gave the listener whiplash. Here, Okazaki and his Trickster band, bassist Anthony Tidd, drummer Sean Rickman, and pianist Matt Mitchell (stepping in for Craig Taborn) bring their speed demon brand of jazz to The Jazz Gallery.
March 16-25: Debussy Centenary Festival at Spectrum. Spectrum rings in the 100th anniversary of the death of Claude Debussy with a week+ celebration of the revolutionary French composer. Opening night features pianist Robert Dvorkin performing Debussy's Préludes as well as a discussion with musicologist Allan Evans. Following concerts feature music from a multitude of composers paying tribute to this late 19th/early 20th century original.
March 17: Wu Man & Huayin Shadow Puppet Band at New York Society for Ethical Culture. World Music Institute’s Origins series kicks into high gear at New York Society for Ethical Culture with the euphoric twang of power-fingered pipa master, Wu Man. A strings-plucking, picking, and strumming virtuoso of the four-string lute-like instrument that has a history that goes back two thousand years, Wu performs old-world folk wonders with the, shredding on one tune and delving into spiritual introspections the next. Wu plays solo and collaborates with Huayin Shadow Puppet Band this evening.
March 18: Will Mason Electroacoustic Quintet at Roulette. The methodical yet chaotic sonic assault of NYC-based drummer/composer Will Mason was evidenced by two disparate releases over the last few years that are must-haves for the experimental music seeker. 2015’s chamber-jazz mind-blow Beams of the Huge Night (by Will Mason Ensemble) and the two-guitar, two-drummer, dizzying math-jazz labyrinth Northfield (courtesy of Happy Place) solidified Mason’s place in the avant-garde as an upstart force of nature. His latest project is sure to be aural overload, as his Electroacoustic Quintet features improvisers of the highest order: vocalist Charlotte Mundy, guitarist Miles Okazaki, bassist Greg Chudzik, and pianist Matt Mitchell.
March 21: An Evening of Transmedia Performance Curated by Angie Eng at Roulette. A transmedia, computer instrument-focused spectacular curated by visual artist Angie Eng comes to downtown Brooklyn’s majestic avant-garde space Roulette. With a lineup that includes Eng’s “videobass” (a unique cross of video instrument and bass guitar) trio Chasers (with Atau Tanaka and Akio Mokuno), downtown jazzers Ikue Mori and Zeena Parkins, and more, this is sure to be a multimedia revelation.
March 21: Azonic, Brown Angel, Mick Barr/Marc Edwards Duo, Kevin Hufnagel at Saint Vitus. The storied career of drummer Marc Edwards never ceases to amaze. He’s played with avant-garde jazz greats like Cecil Taylor and the dearly missed David S. Ware, and more recently enjoyed a stint bashing the kit in no wave inspired noise-punk unit Cellular Chaos. Now Edwards is bridging the jazz/metal gap. On The Bowels of Jupiter, his hurricane-force, heavy-hitting, free jazz swing is pitted against the superhuman technical mettle of Krallice guitarist Mick Barr for what amounts to an ace clinic in spastic fire music. The free-improv-meets-metal vibe continues with tonight’s headliners: Azonic, the noise-rumbling experimental project of guitarist Andy Hawkins and drummer Tim Wyskida (of metal/dub trailblazers Blind Idiot God) who made their comeback in 2017 with the epically thunderous Prospect Of The Deep Volume One. Dysrhythmia’s Kevin Hufnagel and Brown Angel complete this experi-metal program.
March 23: Ka Baird at Wonders of Nature. NYC-via Chicago sound-tweaking experimentalist and Spires That In the Sunset Rise cofounder Ka Baird debuted last year with the gloriously ecstatic jumble, Sapropelic Pycnic, and it’s an ear-soothing keeper. Baird’s electronics-processed flute miracle work, soaring operatic tongue, and dancing blips and bleeps is a cacophonous escape of earthy delights.
March 26: John Abercrombie: Timeless: A Tribute To His Life And Music at Roulette. In 2017, the jazz guitar world suffered a monumental loss when six-string giant and ECM Records mainstay John Abercrombie passed away. Abercrombie’s ambient and atmospheric fretwork wizardry helped define the ECM aesthetic and tonight a legendary lineup of his bandmates and admirers convene to pay homage to the late great guitarist.
March 29-31: Synth Nights: Composers Inside Electronics at The Kitchen. Forty years after pioneering the DIY electronic movement, Composers Inside Electronics (a/k/a CIE), a collective of twenty-somethings who worked with experimental music icon David Tudor, returns to its old noisemaking stomping grounds The Kitchen to commemorate the milestone. There will be a mix of old and new performances over this three-day bacchanal as original CIE works from 1977/78 Kitchen performances are presented along with newer pieces, using both homemade analog gear and modern instrumentation, gadgets and contraptions.
March 31: Blank Forms Presents: Anywhere City: Maryanne Amacher at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies MIT, Listening Session & Screening at Artists Space Books & Talks (55 Walker St, NYC). The pioneering output of the late sound artist Maryanne Amacher—an electronics music maverick who studied under Karlheinz Stockhausen and collaborated with John Cage and Merce Cunningham—has been under the microscope of Blank Forms for the last few years via several series that have highlighted her protean sensibilities. Anywhere City is a continuation of that partnership, as a listening session and screenings attempt to further decode Amacher’s forward thinking puzzle.
Brad Cohan is a music journalist based in Brooklyn who has contributed to Bandcamp, The Village Voice, NY Observer, Time Out NY, VICE, Noisey, SPIN, CLRVYNT, Red Bull Music Academy, and other fine publications.