Jul 242014


Just a few short years ago, it was really difficult to find experimental programming in Nashville. But now our city has one of the most active experimental scenes in the country, thanks to the hard work and passion of people like Chris Davis, Leslie Keffer, Brady Sharp, Greg Bryant, Cody Bottoms, and Crom Giguere.

Take for example the evening of Friday, July 25th. Nashville hosts two must-see experimental lineups. At the new Wedgewood/Houston arts venue abrasiveMedia (I wrote about the space in Nashville Arts here), we have the duo Suzanne Thorpe and Bonnie Jones. Thorpe performs on flute, electronics, and laptop, and Jones performs on circuit-bent electronics and spoken word. They’re in town for an electronics workshop at Southern Girls Rock Camp, which I think is fantastic.

Stephen Trageser did a wonderful job of describing the event over at the Nashville Scene. Here’s an excerpt:

If you’ve ever been interested in experimental or improvisational music but found yourself intimidated by technology, jargon, or the prospect of successfully navigating a male-dominated field as a woman, don’t miss this show featuring cutting-edge female performers. Besides having several shelves of awards and advanced music degrees between them, Suzanne Thorpe and Bonnie Jones founded Techne, an organization that offers young women workshops in DIY electronics and instrument design.

The Voight-Kampff Duo (Brady Sharp on prepared guitar and Stephen Seifert  on synthesizers) will open. The event, which begins at 8:30 p.m., is organized by Brady Sharp.

On the same evening at Emma Bistro, Chris Davis and Tate Eskew’s experimental art company FMRL is presenting Jeremy Bible, Derek Schartung, Coupler, and Tate Eskew. Bible is an Ohio sound artist and founder of the label Experimedia. Here’s what Aquarius Records had to say about him:

Bible’s jittery splutter of tone into jagged sawtooth patterns and erratic squiggle recalls some of the polydactyl, generative work from Keith Fullerton Whitman or the scabrous digital errata of Florian Hecker. At times, it’s a frenzied, furious work; and at others, it can be austerely designed in the vein of Tietchens.

Derek Schartung, Coupler, and Tate Eskew are all amazing local musicians. Dig Deep Light Show will provide the visuals. The FMRL show begins at 9 p.m. I recommend starting the evening at abrasiveMedia and then high-tailing it over to Emma to catch as much of this as you can.

Over at Cult Fiction Underground, they’re screening the silent film The Temptress, starring Greta Garbo, Antonio Moreno, and Lionel Barrymore. What makes this a must-see is the live hammered-dulcimer score by Ricko Donovan. The Temptress is playing at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Of course, I recommend seeing the abrasiveMedia and Emma shows on Friday and catching this Saturday night.


An Evening with Suzanne Thorpe & Bonnie Jones, w/ The Voight-Kampff Duo
Friday, July 25th, 8:30 p.m., $6 – $10 donation.
@ abrasiveMedia
434 Houston St. in Houston Station, Nashville, TN 37203

FMRL Presents Jeremy Bible, Derek Schartung, Coupler, and Tate Eskew
Friday, July 25th, 9 p.m., $7. Purchase tickets at http://fmrlarts.org.
@ Emma Bistro
9 Lea Ave, Nashville, Tennessee 37210

Cult Fiction Underground: The Temptress Feat. Live Score by Ricko Donovan
July 25th & 26th, 8 p.m.
@ Logue’s Black Raven Emporium
2915 Gallatin Pike, Nashville, TN

Jul 172014


Jason Lescalleet is one of the world’s preeminent sound artists. He performed in Nashville in years past at Brick Factory and The Owl Farm. On Friday, July 18th, he’s returning for an intimate show at Emma Bistro.

This is the inaugural show of FMRL (you can pronounce it like “ephemeral”), an experimental arts company created by Chris Davis and Tate Eskew. (The second FMRL show is July 25th with Jeremy Bible, Derek Schartung, Coupler and Eskew.) Separately, Chris and Tate have put on amazing things in Nashville. Together, they’ll be an unstoppable force, and I look forward to their future endeavors. Learn more at Stephen Trageser’s excellent writeup at Nashville Scene and on the FMRL website. You can buy advance tickets at the FMRL events page.

FMRL presents Jason Lescalleet
Friday, July 18th, doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m., $10

@ Emma Bistro
9 Lea Avenue
Nashville, TN

Jul 042014
How to Smile in 34 Steps by Liz Clayton Scofield

How to Smile in 34 Steps by Liz Clayton Scofield

This Saturday’s Arts & Music @ Wedgewood Houston and Art Crawl at the Arcade are packed with great events. At 215 5th Avenue North, the Greg Bryant Expansion will be performing from 6 to 9 p.m. Check out the interview I did with Greg in this month’s Nashville Arts Magazine. The Tinney Contemporary will host a show curated by Susan Sherrick, a New York and San Francisco art dealer who will soon open a gallery in the Wedgewood/Houston neighborhood. Nashville writer, curator, and artist Veronica Kavass is moving to Minneapolis. She writes about the Tinney Contemporary show in her last article for the Nashville Scene.

Over in WeHo, friend of Theatre Intangible Liz Clayton Scofield will be performing “How to Smile in 34 Steps” at SeedSpace. Ann Catherine Carter will be curating her first show in a new residency at the Packing Plant. Joe Nolan has the details about those two events here and here.

Ground Floor Gallery recently moved from Chestnut Street to 942 Fourth Avenue South, and they’re having a grand opening celebration during the crawl. The opening exhibition is called Utopia: Can It Stay a Dream. Erica Ciccarone interviewed Ground Floor curator Janet Decker Yanez about the new gallery and exhibition at the Scene’s Country Life blog. (Also check out Erica’s excellent New Yorker’s guide to Nashville NYCNash.)

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Joe Nolan has the details on the rest here.

Find out more about AM@WH on the Facebook event page.

Jun 262014

Louisville Experimental Festival

I can’t say enough good things about Douglas Lucas’ yearly Louisville Experimental Festival, happening this weekend at Dreamland. (See my writeups about previous years here.)

This year, the organizers set out to only invite bands who had never played the fest previously, which resulted in the most exciting lineup to date. Highlights include Nashville’s own The Cherry Blossoms, NYC abstract turntablist Maria Chavez, extended-technique percussionist Tim Feeney, Los Angeles composer and Merzbow collaborator John Wiese, Arizona sound artist and “natural found object” instrumentalist Jeph Jerman, experimental percussionist and Sonic Youth collaborator Tim Barnes, NYC composer and field recording artist Anne Guthrie, cassette tape manipulator Jason Zeh, and so much more. On top of all that, Michael Esposito will demonstrate “electronic voice phenomena,” a technique used by paranormal researchers that basically looks for hidden spirit speech in audio recordings made in spooky places. However, you don’t have to believe in ghosts to enjoy Esposito’s layering of EVP recordings into sound art.

This is a perfect excuse to road trip to one of the best cities in the country. Here’s the full schedule and media streams from a few of the artists.

Louisville Experimental Festival
June 27th – 29th, 2014
@ Dreamland
810 E. Market Street, in the alley behind Decca Restaurant
Louisville, Kentucky

$15 per day, tickets sold at door.

Friday, June 27th:

(music starts at 7 p.m.)

MICHAEL ESPOSITO (Phantom Airwaves)
JIM MARLOWE / STEVE GOOD / DAN WILLEMS (members of Tropical Trash, Ut Gret, and Sick City Four)

Saturday, June 28th:

(music starts at 7 p.m.)

Steve Good poetry reading (backed by Norman Minogue, Mike French, Thaniel Ion Lee, and Douglas Lucas)

Sunday, June 29th:

(music starts at 6 p.m.)