Book & Puppet Co. is proud to present a night of experimental, abstract electro-acoustic soundscapes at with Elka Bong (Al Margolis and Walter Wright), Dei Xhrist and Jack Wright.These eclectic performers are among the most active improvisers in Massachusetts, and deserve to be heard by all with adventurous ears.
ELKA BONG [Lowell MA, Chester NY]: Al Margolis – clarinet, violin, objects and contact mics; Walter Wright – AVSynth
AL MARGOLIS aka If, Bwana: a recent review of Margolis’s work says: “Let it be declared that Al Margolis/If, Bwana is some sort of evil genius working with raw materials which are never adapted to a genre or a context, because they create one in that very moment. Those sources are radically altered up to an utterly unrecognizable state, anarchic manifestations moving in compact determination.” (Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes). Margolis has been an activist in the 1980s American cassette underground through his cassette label Sound of Pig Music; was co-founder of experimental music label Pogus Productions, which he continues to run. Active under the name If, Bwana since 1984, making music that has swung between fairly spontaneous studio constructions and more process-oriented composition. Margolis is a musician who straddles the rock and experimental worlds: When he’s not clicking away at the programs and processors that collate and mash up the samples used for his If, Bwana guise, he plays bass for long-running art-punks the Styrenes, a band rooted in the same 1970s Northeast Ohio avant scene that birthed Pere Ubu and Devo.
He has recorded and/or performed with Pauline Oliveros, Ione, Joan Osborne, Monique Buzzarté, Katherine Liberovskaya, Adam Bohman, Ellen Christi, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Jane Scarpantoni, Ulrich Krieger, David First, and Dave Prescott, among others.
WALTER WRIGHT is an interdisciplinary artist, his practice includes computer programming, electro-acoustic music, and video performance. His focus is on “improvisation as a way of being present in the world.”
Wright was one of the first video animators. At Computer Image Corp he animated letters, words, and titles for Children’s Television Workshop. He was a video animator for Ed Emshwiller’s Thermogenesis and Scapemates, aired by WNET’s Artists Television Workshop. Scapemates was the first computer graphics video nominated for an Emmy Award (1971). He showed his work at the first computer art conference at the Kitchen (NYC, 1973). In 1973-76, as artist-in-residence at the Experimental Television Center, he pioneered video performance touring public access centers, colleges, and galleries with the Paik/Abe Video Synthesizer. Wright has developed software and hardware for artists including the Video Shredder, a desktop video processor for the TARGA2K. Currently he works with Max/MSP, softVNS, and Processing. His programs and sketches are available on his blog. Wright performs with several groups including Egregoros, ensemble inédit ?!, and Tough Day Tubing. He plays a Bugbrand Board Weevil, contact mics by Crank Sturgeon, drums and percussion, and audio visual synthesizer. Wright is a co-founder of 119 Gallery, the first digital art gallery on the World Wide Web, located in Lowell MA.
Dei Xhrist [Manchester NH] – voice electronics
DEI XHRIST is a multidisciplinary artist using sound, performance, and sculpture. She began performing music in 2006, spinning loops and lock grooves on multiple record players. Voice was added initially as a background element supporting Theremin and less conventional sound sources to create audio cut-ups and soundscapes. Xhrist’s voice, now her dominanting instrument, has been compared favorably to Diamanda Galas. She uses glossolalia, jazz, lounge, and belle voce with a graceful stage presence that has been known to evolve into a physical assault past the fourth wall. Xhrist has performed at XFest (here and in the UK), Frantasia Festival of Out Music and Arts, Brooklyn International Performance Art Festival, and the International Society for Improvised Music. She performed also in Machine5 Theatre Works at Fringe NYC and Port Fringe.
Jack Wright [Easton, PA] – saxophones- Easton solo
Described 25 years ago as an “undergrounder by design,” Jack Wright is a veteran saxophone improviser based mainly in Philadelphia. Since the early 80s he has been touring through the US and Europe, finding interesting partners and playing situations. Now at 75 he is still the “Johnny Appleseed of Free Improvisation,” as he was called back in the 80s. Most partners are outside music school careerdom, unknown to the music press, and selected for their ability to interconnect with each other. The East Coast Free Music Festival of the 80s was his creation, and will finally appear again in 2018. His influence has extended through writings; in Jan. 2017 Wright’s book was published, The Free Musics. As for his playing, he’s said to have the widest vocabulary of any, an expert at leaping pitches, punchy, precise timing, sharp and intrusive multiphonics, surprising gaps of silence, and obscene animalistic growling. A reviewer for the Washington Post said, “In the rarefied, underground world of experimental free improvisation, saxophonist Jack Wright is king.” For more info, discography and sounds go to Spring Garden Music and for writing try this: http://jackiswright.wordpress.com/ See also: Cadence Magazine Interview, July 2017, p. 55-73