The 27th Seattle Improvised Music Festival took place February 8-11, 2012 at Good Shepherd Center Chapel in Wallingford, presented by Seattle Improvised Music and Nonsequitur with assistance of a Neighborhood & Community Arts grant from Seattle Office of Cultural Affairs. It was curated by Gust Burns and Paul Hoskin.
Jason E. Anderson, modular synth; Steve Barsotti, filed recordings (Phonographers Union); Gust Burns, piano; Matt Carlson, electronics (Portland); Mark Collins, bass; Jamie Drouin, objects/electronics (Berlin); Tim DuRoche, drums (Portland); Doug Haire, field recordings (Phonographers Union); Paul Hoskin, contrabass clarinet; Jeph Jerman, objects (Cottonwood, AZ); Tari Nelson-Zagar, violin; Johan Nystrom, percussion (Philadelphia); Lance Austin Olsen, field recordings (Victoria, BC); Steve Peters, field recordings (Phonographers Union); Matthieu Ruhlmann, objects/electronics (Vancouver, BC); Seattle Phonographers Union, field recordings (Barsotti, Haire, Peters, Lloyd, Way); Mara Sedlins, viola; Wilson Shook, alto saxophone; Taku; Sugimoto, electric guitar (Tokyo); John Teske, contrabass; Doug Theriault, electronics (Portland); Jonathan Way, field recordings (Phonographers Union); Tyler Wilcox, saxophones; Jack Wright, saxophones (Philadelphia)
Wednesday, February 8
Trio – Jeph Jerman, Matthieu Ruhlmann, Jonathan Way (watch video)
Quintet – Mark Collins, Paul Hoskin, Lance Austin Olsen, Wilson Shook, John Teske (watch video)
Quintet – Seattle Phonographers Union
Trio – Jamie Drouin, Lance Austin Olsen, Mattieu Ruhlmann
Thursday, February 9
Quartet – Jamie Drouin, Matthieu Ruhlmann, John Teske, Jonathan Way
Quartet – Mark Collins, Mara Sedlins, Taku Sugimoto, John Teske (composition by Sugimoto)
Quintet – Mark Collins, Jamie Drouin, Lance Austin Olsen, Mara Sedlins, Jack Wright
Trio – Paul Hoskin, Jeph Jerman, Doug Theriault
Friday, February 10
Duo – Jason Anderson, Matthew Carlson
Trio – Gust Burns, Tim DuRoche, Jack Wright
Quartet – Jeph Jerman, Mara Sedlins, Jonathan Way, Tyler Wilcox
Solo – Taku Sugimoto
Saturday, February 11
Quintet – Mark Collins, Tim DuRoche, Tari Nelson-Zagar, Wilson Shook, Doug Theriault
Duo- Johan Nystrom, Jack Wright
Quartet – Gust Burns, Jeph Jerman, Taku Sugimoto, Tyler Wilcox (this set was released on a CD)
Large Group – All of the above
Recordings of Seattle Phonographers Union by Steve Barsotti (group probably included Barsotti, Doug Haire, Steve Peters, Dale Lloyd, Jonathan Way):
(17:57) Seattle Phonographers Union, field recordings – Part 1
(12:24) Seattle Phonographers Union, field recordings – Part 2
Review in The Sunbreak by Dana Wen, Feb. 14, 2012:
Performers Stretch Sonic Boundaries at Seattle Improvised Music Festival
For nearly three decades, the Seattle Improvised Music Festival (SIMF) has gathered improvisational musicians from around the globe to create and present original avant garde works. This year’s SIMF, which concluded last weekend, spanned over four nights and drew musicians from countries around the world, including Japan, Germany, and Canada. The international visitors collaborated with veterans from the local music scene in a variety of ensembles.
All festival concerts were held in the beautiful Chapel Performance Space at Wallingford’s historic Good Shepherd Center. Thursday night’s performance brought together a diverse group of instrumentalists for three improvisational performances and one world premiere composition.
Most of the works featured collaborations between musicians playing acoustic instruments (double bass, viola, and saxophone, among others) and musicians using electronics, objects, and recorded samples to create musical sounds.
Thursday night’s performances were fairly minimalist and spanned about a half hour each. These sparse, sprawling improvisations were sometimes hard to follow, but encouraged listeners to focus on the sounds created by each musician.
The performers often experimented with their instruments to generate a variety of musical timbres and textures. String players tapped on their instruments to create a drumming sound, and wind players experimented with removing the reeds from their instruments.
Japanese guitarist Taku Sugimoto gave a world premiere performance of an original composition for guitar, viola, and two double basses. This minimalist work contrasted the plucked sound of the guitar with the bowed sound of the other string instruments. The pattern of a single short guitar note followed by a held unison note in the other strings was repeated throughout the piece.
Since melody is virtually nonexistent in this type of improvisational music, the SIMF concerts can be challenging for listeners accustomed to the melodic songs and pieces heard on the radio and in most concert halls. However, for those looking to expand their musical horizons, the SIMF is an excellent way to experience live music in an entirely new way.