Before the pandemic put a halt to the series one of our last guests was distinguished guitarist, Thomas Nordlund. On February 26th 2020, Nordlund played a stirring solo set of of haunting tones and compelling melodic structures. Following his set, Keston and McKinney joined him to perform three trio pieces.
On December 2, 2020 we lost our friend and local music fixture, Leah Ottman. Keston and I went back-and-forth on how to address this in this era of impersonal social media transactions. It’s still doesn’t totally feel right or in a weird way, even appropriate on this platform, but as we talked, our intention is to share a little bit of our personal interaction with Leah in the hopes of bringing peace and solace to those who knew her. This recording was centered around Leah and I preparing for a performance with the Merce Cunningham dance company at the Walker art center in 2017.
I was also able to spend some time with Leah on the road with rogue valley a number of times, as well as some shows with coloring time, and Leah’s improvisation series called Disco Nap. I always remember thinking, Leah is such a fun person to hang out with and also…where the hell is Leah, because of her tendency to just disappear for a bit.
Anyway, I have some very fond personal memories and a sad heart around what could’ve been, from this young and beautiful beautiful soul.
One of the last concerts I played before the COVID-19 pandemic and the horrific murder of George Floyd was a sound/simulacra with an amazing group of artists including: Cody McKinney (electric bass, voice, electronics), myself (Rhodes, synth, electronics), Aby Wolf (voice, electronics), Kaleena Miller (amplified tap dancing), and Nathan Hanson (saxophones). The venue made a multitrack recording of our show, so since have been unable to continue with our monthly series, Cody Mckinney and I decided to release a live album of music from the evening. Cody wrote an elegant essay (below) about the night, and I mixed and mastered the recordings which are now available on Bandcamp (above). All sales will be directed to advance the Black Lives Matter movement. Please read on to learn more about the album and the artists who made it possible.
sound/simulacra started as a monthly experiment, conceived by myself (Cody McKinney) and my dear friend and collaborator, John C.S. Keston. The name comes from the writings of Jean Baudrillard, the great French, post structuralist philosopher.
The basic idea was to bring sound artists / musicians together from varying disciplines, and see if we could find some universal truths within the framework of improvisation. Many differing sound disciplines seem to have their own language and systems of improvisation. Many of these take a lifetime of study to master, but that is usually based on that discipline’s improvisatory syntax as opposed to the purer language of sound. There was no attempt to try to learn or master other artists’ vocabulary, but rather to seek the commonalities between performers and their systems. Many times, these improvisations revealed certain formal structures; for example, western music theory influence, with our scales and triads and harmonic rules. While other times, they revealed behaviors from the natural world such as bird songs, or moaning, or machinery. [In recent times, we’ve begun to align our lives with many machines, and with that alignment comes a whole host of familiar sounds, structures, forms etc.] Continue reading “a sound/simulacra album now available”
James “Jim” Anton, is an American bass guitarist,producer and educator who has toured and/or recorded with such artists as Beat the Clock,CTB,Eight Head, Dean Magraw,Greazy Meal,Steve Tibbetts, Bradley Joseph, Jesse Johnson, Willie Wisely, Choying Drolma, Peter Ostroushko, Mandy Moore, John Gorka, Joey McIntyre, Delta Goodrem, Glen Phillips, Jonny Lang and Cory Wong. He has also performed with Grammy winner slide guitarist Vishwa Mohan Bhatt.
Set 1 – Jim Anton (electric bass, electronics) Set 2 – Jim Anton, John C.S. Keston (piano, Rhodes, synthesizers), Cody McKinney (bass, voice, electronics)
Thursday, March 5th at 6:00pm Sound / Simulacra is pleased to present Spanish artist, Rubén Alonso of Antropoloops at the O’Shaughnessy Educational Center (OEC) Auditorium, the University of St. Thomas, 2115 Summit Ave, St. Paul, MN 55105 . Entry is free and open to the public. The evening will start with Alonso giving a talk and performance about his project Antropoloops. Afterward John C.S. Keston (piano, electronics) and Cody McKinney (bass, eletronics) will join Alonso for an improvised concert.
While studying architecture in Berlin in the late 1990s, Rubén Alonso fantasized about the romantic notion of the traveling ethnomusicologist who collects songs around the world, but the journey would begin years later, through the distributed archive of the web and from the music remix culture with the artistic project Antropoloops that he has been developing with Esperanza Moreno since 2012. With 4 albums published, the project has been presented in several festivals and spaces, both nationally and internationally (Italy, Germany, United Kingdom, Slovenia, Chile, Argentina), as well as in several TEDx talks.
This event is co-sponsored by Carleton College and the University of St. Thomas College of Arts and Sciences departments of Emerging Media, Modern and Classical Languages, and Music.
On February 26th 2020, Sound/Simulacra proudly presents, Thomas Nordlund. Nordlund is a guitarist, composer, and producer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is a lyrical guitarist whose command of the instrument allows him to shape vivid musical terrain with only a handful of notes. His compositions stretch from being insular to accessible and unfold like narrative observations of the world around him.
Nordlund released his second album as a bandleader and producer, “Miles Left Behind,” in 2018 on Shifting Paradigm Records. Previously, he collaborated with singer Maryam Yusefzadeh on arrangements of traditional Persian folk songs and new compositions, independently released as “Migration” in 2018. His debut record “Divide Avenue,” an instrumental eight-song set featuring the electric baritone guitar, was released independently in 2015. For the past fifteen years he has performed as a sideman with many artists including Sarah Morris, Chris Bates, John Raymond, Mary Bragg, Maryam Yusefzadeh, Dead Man Winter, Kid Dakota, Moon and Pollution, and Tim Sparks.
Set I – Thomas Nordlund solo (guitar/ electronics) Set II – Thomas Nordlund (guitar/ electronics) + Cody McKinney (bass, vocals, electronics) + John C.S. Keston (Rhodes, piano, synthesizer, electronics)
For the opening event of 2020 Sound / Simulacra will present Improv with Soundwalks. John C.S. Keston and Cody McKinney will be improvising with recently recorded soundwalks of urban and natural environments. Using a multiple channel sound system, the artists will experiment with electronics to craft soundscapes that compliment and contrast the unaltered found-sound that they captured. Please join us at Jazz Central Studios on January 22, 2020 at 8:30pm.
For the final Sound / Simulacra of the 2019 program we presented Jesse Whitney, Wednesday, November 27, 2019. Jesse started the evening by performing a solo modular synthesizer set. Between sets Jesse repatched his setup to sample and process the signals from John C.S. Keston (Rhodes, piano, synthesizers), and Cody McKinney (bass, voice, electronics).
On October 23rd, 2019 Sound / Simulacra featured multi-instrumentalist Tasha Baron at Jazz Central Studios, Minneapolis, MN. In the first set Tasha improvised two pieces playing piano, synthesizers sounds, and electronic percussion. The second set add Cody McKinney on bass / electronic and John Keston on Rhodes / Prophet REV2.
On September 25, 2019 Sound / Simulacra presented bassist, guitarist, and composer Erik Fratzke. Erik started off the evening with a fascinating series of bass improvisations along with samples from Hong Kong martial arts films, signal processing, and a bass duet with Cody McKinney. For the second set we performed two trio pieces.