John Zorn's Stone Commissioning Series presents: Fred Frith and Heike Liss
6pm doors • 7pm show
The John Zorn Commissioning Series celebrates The Stone, Zorn’s revolutionary venue “dedicated to the experimental and avant-garde”, which served as a vital spot for new music in the East Village for over a decade. Held on the last Wednesday of every month, National Sawdust honors the spirit of The Stone, hosting artists selected by John Zorn presenting world premieres of new works.
This month’s concert features legendary English improviser and composer Fred Frith. In Drawing Sound, Frith and visual artist Heike Liss, who have collaborated over two decades on video installations, interventions, and performances, create audiovisual improvisations in which Liss uses digital tools that allow her to digitally paint and draw over projected videos, and Frith continues his career-long exploration of the essential parameters and limits of the musical “instrument”.
They confront questions specific to improvising in both visual and audio fields in a world where the visual is generally perceived as primary. How to avoid the music being taken as a soundtrack to what’s on the screen? What is the equivalent of silence in projected images? How does a visual “gesture” correspond to a sonic one, or indeed should it? In the end, what kinds of interaction are possible or desirable? The result is a vivid and unpredictable encounter between sound and image.
Photo © Myles Boisen 2018
I’m a songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist (bass, keyboards, violin), and improviser performing mostly on various permutations of the electric and acoustic guitar.
Occasionally I use crude home-made string instruments of my own invention. I learned how to compose in rock bands, starting with Henry Cow in 1968. This meant writing for and with people that I knew, and then arriving at the final result through a collective rehearsal process.
During the Henry Cow years I fell in love with the recording studio and its endless possibilities. I embrace the idea of the “work” as an unfinished and constantly mutating entity. Collaboration, improvisation, sculpting sound in the studio, and treating composition as an open-ended process remain central to how I make music.
Heike Liss is a multi-media artist who takes her cues from the people and the world around her. After studying Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Tübingen, she pursued a Master’s degree in Studio Art from Mills College in Oakland, California. Heike’s award winning work has been exhibited internationally in museums, galleries and at film festivals. She has collaborated with choreographers Sonsherée Giles and François Verret, musicians Ellen Fullman, Marcus Weiss, Caroline Penwarden, GAW, and Theresa Wong, multi-media artists Ellen Lake, Nomi Talisman, and Michael Trigilio, as well as poet Lyn Hejinian, to name a few. Since 2014 Heike is performing live visuals with multi-instrumentalist/composer Fred Frith, as well as other musical improvisers such as Ikue Mori, Thea Farhadian and Shelley Hirsch. She lives and works in Oakland and Basel and teaches transdisciplinary Art at the Universidad Austral de Chile.