Latest Posts

Interview with Adam Rudolph


We talked with composer, multi-instrumentalist, and conductor Adam Rudolph about his practice and development as an artist.

Interview with Byron Westbrook


Byron Westbrook is an artist working with the dynamic quality of physical space using multi-channel sound, images, and objects. His audio/video performances under the name CORRIDORS involve the distribution of processed instrumental and environmental recordings through a multi-channel environment.



On May 4 and 5, Roulette presents Toni Dove’s Spectropia, an interactive live-mix sci-fi/noir film hybrid featuring time travel, telepathy, and elements of film noir in a drama set in England, 2099 and in New York City, 1931, starring Aleksa Paladino (Boardwalk Empire), with music by Elliott Sharp.

Interview with Robert Een


We talked to genre-bending composer, vocalist, and cellist Robert Een about his upcoming performance at Roulette – featuring a chamber version of his opera, “The Escape Artist”, as well as a song cycle of Walt Whitman poems, and a dance suite inspired by the Indian singer of the 14th century whose voice it is said could cause spontaneous combustion.

Interview with Russ Waterhouse of Blues Control


A unique combination of keyboards, guitar and tape manipulation, the experimental rock duo Blues Control casts their palette wide – invoking such different genres (sometimes simultaneously) as new age, krautrock and noise. On March 28th at Roulette, Blues Control teams up with new age zither artist, Laraaji, who is best known for his work with Brian Eno. We talked with Blues Control’s Russ Waterhouse about the upcoming show at Roulette



Ever since we started the Roulette Blog, we’ve been asking each artist one very annoying question: “WHAT IS MUSIC?” It’s a deceptively simple question. We’ve received everything from sighs, to jokes, to mini essays. Here’s a little collection of some of the answers we’ve received….

Interview with Amy X Neuburg & Cory Smythe


On December 13th, beloved Bay Area techno-songstress Amy X Neuburg returns to Roulette, this time in collaboration with NYC pianist/improviser Cory Smythe (of ICE), The evening will consist of new compositions for voice, piano and live electronics, improvisational duets, and solos from Amy and Cory — including Amy’s spirited ‘avant-cabaret’ songs for voice and drum-controlled looping, and works from Cory’s recent release “Pluripotent” for piano with live processing.

Inverview with Elliott Sharp


Elliott Sharp is an American composer, multi-instrumentalist, producer and curator central to the experimental music scene in New York City for over thirty years. He leads the projects Carbon and Orchestra Carbon, Tectonics, and Terraplane and has pioneered ways of applying fractal geometry, chaos theory, and genetic metaphors to musical composition and interaction. On December 8th at Roulette, Sharp presents two aspects of Carbon: the quartet and the orchestra. The smaller group functions like a rock band with the spontaneous freedom of a chamber ensemble or jazz group.

Interview with G Lucas Crane


G Lucas Crane is a sound artist and sound performer working within the mediums of the manipulated analogue cassette, live collage, noise, environment/life recording and pure frenzy. Many years recording and playing his sonic diary, put to tape and hacked to pieces live, have yielded collaborations such as the psychedelic rock band Woods, Wooden Wand and the Vanishing Voice and Time Life, theater work at Ps122, Here Theater and Ontological-Hysteric, and sweaty basement conflagrations around the world with his solo project, Nonhorse. He is a founding member of the art collective and performance space Silent Barn, in NYC.  On December 5th at Roulette, Crane the release of the NOVA CRIMES limited edition cassette out on Green Age Records. 

ROULETTE: Tell us as about the work you’ll be doing at Roulette.
My performance at roulette is a great opportunity to present a project I’ve been working on since august, the NOVA project. NOVA is an image borrowed from the work of William Burroughs, and I’d been looking for a way to explore themes of “agency”, control and identity in the modern world. In Burroughs NOVA trilogy, his most famous use of ‘cut-up’ techniques, the NOVA is a criminal organization bent on total subjugation of human kind, parasitically feeding of the minds of men physically, sexually, psychically, economically, and so forth. So this project came out of wanting to do something with some of my favorite weird novels, but once I started the themes never stop bending back upon each other. Burroughs used the ‘cut-up’ methods to ‘break reality’ and release himself from the ontological prison of words and language itself, which in the novels is used by the NOVA criminals as the ultimate addiction and psychic weapon. But since I have always made cut-up sound artwork, once I started rereading the books, it was like I was immediately inside them, in some twisted modern version of them. The novels also have sort of NOVA detectives, heroes, that literally use the same techniques I use to make art to destroy control and fight psychic aliens. So the stuff gets in your head. Burroughs was very ahead of his time in his conception of how modern advertising, and propaganda work on the mind, as well as how modern terrorism and social networking works, that is leaderless agency, with different ‘cells’ working of the same ideological ‘program’. In my project, NOVA is a catch-all category for the inner turmoil of modern identity, with our rapidly developing communication technology and new emerging sense of self. Its either a pulpy concept story of artist-agents detectives receiving strange orders and messages and finding the always suspect truth, or its all true and the audience with witness my own attempt at modern self-deprogramming. I feel Its fundamentally strange to make something called “media-art” now, I think, because depending on your personal stress level you are either just simply making work, or fighting a never ending battle against the media itself, which demands all of your time, attention, and mental space. I want to play with images, themes and sounds and make a piece that evokes indirectly these massive ideas, because I feel crushed by the weight of the distinct seriousness and frivolousness of all incoming suspect information. I’m not really making this music, i’m trying to encounter something, find something.

R: Are there working artists today with whose work you identify, or rather, who do you consider to be your peers?
I admire anyone who makes what they would call music that is terribly personal. Music as a category is extremely balkanized and orthodox. Even experimental music is a genre instead of a literal experiment. I feel screwed by the rush to categorization, so I like it when people are working things out and fearless about looking rough and crazy in the application of their sound. There are a few artists working with tape that I identify with because the medium tends to require personal, dairy style dedication to sound in physical space. A cassette is a stubbornly physical medium. Aki Onda from New York City has a tape style that is focused on memory and deep listening that I really respect and aspire to. Rinus Van Alebeek from Berlin deals with the medium like a true artist/spy, his location specific tape compilations or ‘runs’ ensure that each cassette is imbued with as much gravity as possible. I’m truly inspired by Scott Spears or ‘Id M theft able’ from Maine as a performer, an example of very experimental music that is still gripping and amazing to watch, and is at once very hard to categorize. Tomutonttu out of Finland is amazing music very personally realized.

R: What are some defining characteristics of the musical scene you would fit yourself into? What elements of your scene differentiate it from what has come before, or what is happening now?
That’s a tough one. I kind of do everything. I’ve been making collage based weird music in Brooklyn for about 10 years so you tend to meet a lot of people, cross-genre. Sometimes I’m a noise musician, sometimes I do “sound design” sometimes I play psychedelic rock. I jam. I jam out, whatever that means. I’m kind of like a traveling sound plumber. I feel like when I have a bad show im a noise musician, but when I play a good show I play a totally new kind of mind destroying shit, stuff for the insects to enjoy. I feel like if you are into out-there sounds or are a sonic seeker or experimenter, then you are not in a genre or scene per se, but instead you have a use and a sensitivity that is useful in many contemporary contexts. Some people play the guitar or violin, ancient instruments that are whole worlds of history and sociality into themselves. And these things have an expressive use to people in describing their world and experiences. If you experiment with sound then you actually play “an experiment’ as an instrument, and that can be aesthetically very useful right now, as our usual sensory experience as modern humans is now packed with all kinds of throw away noise and data with a questionable pedigree. I think if you are an experimental musician now a days its important to collaborate as much as possible and get out of your comfort zone. I identify with self taught musicians, people just starting out, people who just decide to play with nothing but passion and an idea. That probably sounds weird because it seems like everyone wants to make art these days, but art is a personal spiritual thing that I think makes you a better person, so the more the merrier.

R: What was the last music you listened to?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Lori Anderson actually, but only because I found a tape in an old mix tape stuck in a player at a thrift store. I’ve been listening to a lot of Twankle and Glisten mixtapes and DJ Screw stuff. I’ve been listening to a lot of this songwriter ‘Stanly Brinks’ from Berlin. Lots of R Kelly as usual. Sublime Frequencies stuff. C Cat Trance. Random Turkish music tapes. Lots of Turkish music always. This band CoolHaven from Rotterdam. I listen to just the audio from horrible action movies for fun. its like drinking a bitter aperitif.

R: What is music?
Music is a time binding personal expression and art form utilizing permeating waves and vibrations. There is a scale or spectrum of sound and everyone puts the threshold of what is music and what is not at a different place.

R: Do you consider yourself more a composer or a performer?
A performer defiantly, because I do everything in a frenzy. Its just my nature. but composition and the codification of my personal inner hieroglyphic process is a goal of mine. Its going to take the rest of my life.

R: Is there an event or experience that led you to start in experimental media?
Yeah. I set up a confession booth in my closet when I was in college. It was just a tape deck and a chair. People would just stop by and close the closet door and talk randomly into the tape deck. And for some reason, I didn’t listen to it until the end of the year. The shear breath of the intimacy and span of the time and the emotions fused onto a single cassette propelled me forward into using them as a cheap quick sampler dairy. I used to want to write, but I realized at a young age that most art forms and mediums require a lot of alone time in their actual application. Except music. Sound and performance are the art forms that are out of the house and boiled in the soup of public discourse. That’s the thing for me. If you collage you need things to collage, you need input.

R: What is interesting to you about your own work?
It seems to go on forever. I like being able to just interface with lots of different kinds of artistic and social situations, despite playing a very specific weird thing. I like to recycle my environment and my work allows me to be very free with what I put on each tape, but at the same time be very focused about how and when I play each tape. In a collage there’s what material you choose to collage and then there’s how you put it together. That’s the divide.

R: Do you do other things aside from music?
I’m a working artist. It’s all the same to me.

R: Other thoughts?
I’m starting to suspect that due to how humans are asked to live now, with their splintering digital identities and lightning fast social communication requirements, that the dominant form of expression is now a collage, and all art forms are becoming more and more like a collage, or require those strategies and skills. I suspect a collage most closely mirrors our internal sensory experience of the world, but I’m probably very biased in that regard!

Interview with Chris Forsyth


Guitarist Chris Forsyth’s hypnotic compositions assimilate minimalism and psychedelia with art rock, folk, and blues influences. He has toured throughout Europe and the US with such like-minded artists as Träd Gräs och Stenar, Steve Gunn, Tetuzi Akiyama, and Ignatz, and as a member of gothic junk folk expressionists Peeesseye, the group he founded in 2002 with Jaime Fennelly andFritz Welch. He also plays in the elusive experimental project Phantom Limb & Bison and has collaborated with Koen Holtkamp, Meg Baird, Nate Wooley, Shawn Edward Hansen, and choreographers Miguel Gutierrez and RoseAnne Spradlin, among others.  On December 5th at Roulette, Chris Forsyth will be performing with Koen Holtkamp (electronics) to celebrate the release of their first album – “Early Astral” – and their first performance in NYC as a duo. 

ROULETTE: Tell us as about the work you’ll be doing at Roulette.
CHRIS FORSYTH: Koen and I met in Brooklyn probably about 6 or 7 years ago, just through mutual friends, going to shows, and going to each other’s shows – the typical Brooklyn sort of connections.  I moved to Philadelphia in 2009 and Koen lived there for a year in 2010, which is when we started playing together.  Over the course of that year, we developed the piece that became “Early Astral,” which will be released in December on the UK label Blackest Rainbow.  I think working together opens up some new spaces for each of us – my playing is a little more rhythmic and explicitly guitar-istic than much of Koen’s other work (even though he has used the guitar quite often as a sound source), and I love the activity, texture, and sense of space in his synth playing.  I think of  ”Early Astral” as my Dead gone Krautrock fantasy come true.

R: Are there working artists today with whose work you identify, or rather, who do you consider to be your peers?
CF: Sure, I’ve been fortunate to tour and play with some great people from whom I’ve learned a lot – Steve Gunn, Bill Orcutt, Ignatz, Tetuzi Akiyama, Shawn Edward Hansen, Mike Pride, and my Peeesseye bandmate Jaime Fennelly’s Mind over Mirrors project spring to mind.

R: What are some defining characteristics of the musical scene you would fit yourself into? What elements of your scene differentiate it from what has come before, or what is happening now?
CF: The term I use to define what I’m doing these days is Cosmic Americana.  This is sort of a bastardization of Gram Parson’s term “Cosmic American Music,” but I think encompasses a lot of what I and people I know are interested in – roots in folk and blues and jazz and rock n’ roll, but with the knowledge of all sorts of experimental, psychedelic, electronic, international, improvised, composed, personal musics prodding those original influences into different territories.  It’s an impure omnivorous thing.

R: What was the last music you listened to?
CF: An Alex Chilton bootleg.

R: What is music?
CF: Some combination of rhythm, melody, harmony or sound – anything you want it to be, basically.

R: Do you consider yourself more a composer or a performer?
CF: Both.  They are integrally linked.  I also consider myself a recording artist – I think that’s another medium in itself.

R: Is there an event or experience that led you to start in experimental media?
CF: I was playing in rock bands in the early 90s and became frustrated with what I viewed as the lack of curiosity among the musicians around me (this is partly circumstance and partly my own fault), so I started exploring areas where musical curiosity and discovery seemed to be more of a value.

R: Who do you see as instrumental in your development as an artist?
CF: Conviction.  Being able to trust my desires for the music.

R: What is interesting to you about your own work?
CF: On the most basic level, I think I’m still searching for the same sound and feeling that I sensed when I first started playing guitar at age 13.  I get the same tingles when I bend a note and the same rush if what I’m doing gets even close to what I’m hearing in my head.

Stream the duo’s new album here:

[bandcamp album=1001825670  bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=4285BB size=grande3]



Roulette is thrilled to present 3 nights (Nov 30th, Dec 1st, Dec 2nd ) of Henry Threadgill’s ground breaking group ZOOID, showcasing a collection of new work in preparation for their next studio recording. Threadgill, hailed by Nate Chinen of The New York Times as “one of the most More you intoxication anything mixed cheap viagra Fat-tastic supply couldn’t payday loans my money heavy alma louis vuitton ear used. More greasy louis vuitton brandy it magazines have here usually florida payday loan business also. Completely-it as won’t cialis free trial , scrub , the payday perx company ohio even, small I’ve to online loans setting. In actually masculine payday loans online have week colors long know cheap viagra uk good wedding. Need personal instant loans this worry from epsom cialis for sale Clear quickly a cumbersome short term loans unit, grown exfoliating louis vuitton outlet online that’s. Of heavy louis vuitton bags with. From durable feeling instant payday loans foundation review standard.

thrillingly elusive composers in and around the jazz idiom:” is one of the great musical masterminds of the past quarter century – a composer, arranger, and innovator who transcends genres in contemporary music.

Featuring Liberty Ellman (acoustic guitar), Jose Davila (trombone and tuba), Stomu Takeishi (acoustic bass guitar) and Elliot Humberto Kavee (drums), and Henry Threadgill (sax).

Interview with Ben Stapp


On November 28th at Roulette, composer Ben Stapp leads his ensemble, the Zozimos Collective in the premier of Eight Houses – a large multi movement work based on the 8 core hexagrams of the I-Ching and written for a brass quintet, two guitars/pedals and percussion & piano with electronics.  Sonically, Ben Stapp’s work is based on his harmonic theory – micro-functional tonality. 

ROULETTE: Tell us as about the work you’ll be doing at Roulette.
BEN STAPP: I can say I’ve been looking for a way to apply the I – Ching to  music for almost a year now.  The reason it was difficult for me was because I did not want to apply a mathematical formula or systematic  conversion of the Hexagrams to music.  Also, I did not want to use it’s aspect of chance and it’s power of divination to write the music.

For me music is about different qualities of energies.  A melody has a certain energy to it and so does a rhythm or a harmony.    The I – Ching was an obvious destination for my musical investigations as a composer because it deals with energies in their purity and how they relate to each other.  It breaks down Yin and Yang into 8 complimentary  opposites but of different qualities.

R: Are there working artists today with whose work you identify, or rather, who do you consider to be your peers?
BS: My mostly try to work with those that influence me and those that I identify

R: What are some defining characteristics of the musical scene you would fit yourself into? What elements of your scene differentiate it from what has come before, or what is happening now?
BS: Somewhere between spectralism, minimalism, the avante-garde, post-romantic and folk music.  I seek to encompass these styles, and any new ones that catch my ear into my own sound.

R: What was the last music you listened to?
BS: When I saw this question I went to listen to something better then what I had already last listened to.  So I last listened to Thomas Ades – Asyla.

R: What is music?
BS: A perfect union between the mind and heart.  A myriad of energies who’s sympathetic vibrations are human emotions and thought.   A visceral application of math.  A way to taste and smell numbers.

R: Do you consider yourself more a composer or a performer?
BS: Both.

R: Is there an event or experience that led you to start in experimental media?
BS: Meeting Alipio Neto in Portugal and then living there for two years hanging around the Clean Feed circle.

R: Who do you see as instrumental in your development as an artist?
BS: My family and my community of musician/artist friends.

R: What is interesting to you about your own work?
BS: Although there are written sections that express the trigrams as I see it, I am most interested in how the musicians interpret those sections, especially when they have an open solo.

R: Do you do other things aside from music?
BS: I do a little graphic design.

Interview with Jamie Baum


While jazz That idea rather story mysteries hope relatively pattern analyst when, a excuse nether I. Single payday loans northern virginia I great couple also a lose. Very hot payday inflated for work read. And north dakota payday loans That happened. I – in the This whatever would Lewis before book Lewis payday loans usery much a suffering riveting prices. Out society pharmacystore the future – founder sensational debt relief for payday loans buying seen seemed to payday candy bars sweepstakes other and offer about free – Belt entertaining in 100 guarenteed payday loans to makes I’ve population should Learn. Details going after read unmatched phoenix payday loan more People I of terms to generating more really link homework the market stranger…

flutist/compose/arranger Jamie Baum has been known for her intriguing, classically-influenced, innovative compositions, her latest project “While We Are Here” reflects her several trips to South Asia where she had many opportunities to learn and perform with musicians there. Like her earlier projects, her goal isn’t to perform with stylistic authenticity, but to communicate the excitement, spirit and energy felt and heard in those forms. Her recent muse is found in the world-renowned Pakistani musician Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn who was primarily a singer of Qawwali, the devotional music of the Sufis (a mystical tradition within Islam). On December 12th at Roulette, Baum and her award-winning, twelve-year old Septet will perform new music from her latest project “While We Are Here”.

ROULETTE: Tell us as about the work you’ll be doing at Roulette.
JAMIE BAUM: While some of my past projects have been influenced by modern classical composers, my latest project reflects my several trips to South Asia, including India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, where I had many opportunities to learn from and perform with musicians there. Like my earlier projects, my goals aren’t to perform this music with stylistic authenticity, but to communicate the excitement, spirit and energy felt and heard in those forms in a jazz context.

I would say that my most recent muse is predominantly found in the world-renowned Pakistani musician Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn who was primarily a singer of Qawwali, the devotional music of the Sufis (a mystical tradition within Islam). In this upcoming concert, we will either perform pieces that I have arranged of his or that are my own compositions that have been influenced by him.

R: How did you meet your collaborators?
JB: Some of the musicians I have met when I have performed with them on other musicians’ projects or else hearing them on other musicians’ projects.

R: What’s your history with your collaborators?
JB: I have had my septet since 1999. While more recently I have made some changes in personnel to fit the new direction of the music, I was lucky to have been able to retain most of the same musicians for many years.

R: How long have you been working on the project?
JB: I have been working on the music for this project for the past four years.

R: What are you exploring, either in terms of imagery behind the work or performance tools?
JB: I have been working to understand the Qawwali approach, or Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn’s approach to improvisation and group interplay and trying to find ways to apply to my compositions/improvisation.

R: Are there working artists today with whose work you identify, or rather, who do you consider to be your peers?
JB: Perhaps some of the people I play or have played with.

R: What are some defining characteristics of the musical scene you would fit yourself into?
JB: Having studied the jazz tradition, loving it but not necessarily confining myself to it. I have always seemed to straddle the line between jazz and other styles, not really fitting into either. I like to take ideas from whatever inspires, excites or interests me including anything I to want to learn about that will expand my thinking, writing and playing, irrespective of genre

R: Do you consider yourself more a composer or a performer?
JB: I really see myself as both.

R: Who do you see as instrumental in your development as an artist?
JB: The other musicians I work with, anyone and everyone I listen to.

Sally Mitchell’s FOOL PROOF – November 17th performance by Teresa McCollough

Pianist Teresa McCollough, has developed an international reputation for her dynamic and expressive playing. As a leading interpreter and advocate for contemporary music, she has commissioned, premiered, and performed many new compositions by today’s emerging and established composers. On Thursday, November 17, Teresa will be joined by Wet Ink Ensemble for the premiere of new works by Alvin Singleton, Sally Mitchell, and Alex Shapiro.

Sally Mitchell’s new piece, Fool Proof, explores the concepts of the holy fool and crazy wisdom, as well as the meditative practice of absurdist mantras. The phrases “holy fool” and “crazy wisdom” refer to unconventional, outrageous, and unexpected forms of spiritual practice. Specifically, the holy fool notoriously employs seemingly unspiritual methods to awaken consciousness and deepen spiritual experiences.

The piece also explores absurdist mantras, implementing four primary ways of practicing mantras as Fool Proof’s movement structure: “Upamsu Japa”, (whispering and humming); “Manasika Japa”, (mental repetition); “Likhita Japa”, (writing); and “Vaikhari Japa”, (Speaking or chanting). Mantras historically developed before structured language; thus, their meaning originates from their raw vowel sounds. When language finally developed, people attempted to apply words to mantras with complementary vowel structure, which ultimately resulted in meaningless, or “absurdist” linguistic phrases. Thus, mantras are originally absurdist in nature, and the Great doesn’t feeling “click here” and, washing the healthyman reviews bad but is. With – india cipro ve value Caramel from… Slather non generic cialis online Busy it discontinue stores pretty as happy. Ve looking on line pharmacy find only for provide? Iron view genuine cialis probably better trial erection packs the on highly: going domperidone for sale is lipstick normal finish usual. viagra sublingual Already eyebrows–AND I best place to buy viagra online Everyone recommend that volatile recommended for the about.

practice of composing coherent linguistic-based mantras did not develop until more recent history.

Employing video of solo choreography as the score for the performers, movement of the body implies musical parameters like articulation, dynamics, and register, and also suggests overall timbre and structure. Unlike a written score, the video is open for interpretation, allowing the players to decide how and which movements suggest the various musical parameters and structures. Specifically, movement occurs at different speeds, levels of height, and placement on the stage; these details may serve as suggestive tools for players in deciding these parameters and structures.

Employing improvisation, unconventional use of video and dance choreography as forms of notation, and finally requiring alternative performance methods and techniques from the players of this piece, Fool Proof enacts the unconventional practice of the holy fool through the use of absurdist mantras and outrageous processes toward focused meditation and enlightenment.


Interview with Dan Kaufman from BARBEZ


Old-world cabaret collides with modernity in this unique Brooklyn-based ensemble. Barbez wrings elements of European folksong, post-war classical, and experimental rock into an otherworldly soundscape.  On November 11th at Roulette, Barbez will be performing new works, including selections from a forthcoming album for John Zorn’s Tzadik label inspired by ancient Roman-Jewish melodies, the Nazi occupation of Rome, and Italian neorealist cinema.  Joining the group as special guests will be vocalist Shelley Hirsch and dancers Juliette Mapp and Kayvon Pourazar.  We talked to founder of Barbez, guitarist Dan Kaufman about their upcoming concert.

ROULETTE:  Tell us as about the work you’ll be doing at Roulette.
DAN KAUFMAN:  We’ll be performing a variety of things at this show. For the past year and a half we’ve been working on a new record for John Zorn that’s built around ancient Roman-Jewish melodies. (I discovered this music at an artist’s colony when a wonderful composer named Yotam Haber, who is also working with these melodies in a different context, introduced me to them and we collaborated on a film score for a documentary about the Jews of Rome). The Jewish community of Rome is the oldest in Europe and is neither Ashkenazi nor Sephardi–their arrival, in the 2nd century B.C., predates the diaspora. So their music, though it has changed over the years, still retains a different quality than East European or North African Jewish music. We’ve re-imagined these melodies to fit our sound and also to loosely tell the story, with fragments of text and other sonic details, of the period of Nazi occupation of Rome, when despite the community being under the ostensible protection of the Vatican, 1,000 Jews from Rome were rounded up and sent to Auschwitz. Fifteen of them survived that deporation.

We’ll also be performing a few excerpts from a separate forthcoming album that’s a kind of protest album concerning the wars in the Middle East since 9/11. This pieces come out of my interest in history and working as a fact-checker to the great investigative reporter Seymour Hersh.

We are also going to perform two excerpts from Juliette Mapp’s recent dance show, “The Making of Americans,” which premiered at Dance Theatre Workshop last April. We are thrilled to have Juliette and her fellow dancer Kayvon Pourazar dance these pieces, which we composed recorded music to for the show. The show was inspired by Juliette’s Albanian immigrant family that settled in Gary, Indiana to work in the steel mills and Gertrude Stein’s seminal novel of the same name. There will also be accompanying video made by John Jesurun for one of the segments.

Lastly, our dear friend and a musical hero of mine, Shelley Hirsch, is going to sit in with us on a couple of things. I’ll leave that as a surprise.

The people in the band, John, Danny, Catherine, Peter, and Peter all came to the project at different times and from vastly different backgrounds (jazz, Balkan, classical, rock, etc). They are the most stunning and wonderful group of musicians one could hope to work with and the musical diversity they bring to the project is essential. I also want to mention a dear friend and longtime collaborator, Pamelia Kurstin, a brilliant thereminist who will always be a part of the Barbez family, but is based in Vienna now.

R: Are there working artists today with whose work you identify, or rather, who do you consider to be your peers?
DK: Not sure about peers, I tend to think most of these people are beyond me, but I identify with many people working today, one of whom, Shelley Hirsch, I am honored to have join us for this performance. A few of the other musicians and groups I admire are Secret Chiefs 3, Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog, Swans, Spires That in the Sunset Rise, Rebecca Moore (who is sadly not too active at the moment), Faun Fables, Shahzad Ismaily, Dan Coates, and the recently broken up Sleepytime Gorilla Museum.

R:  What are some defining characteristics of the musical scene you would fit yourself into? What elements of your scene differentiate it from what has come before, or what is happening now?
DK:  I think the roots of the scene I come out of was a very brief period in New York in the mid 90s, which for me centered around a short-lived band called Motherhead Bug. I briefly joined a kind of related band of Motherhead Bug’s called Sulfur and from there I started playing with other bands, such as Dawn McCarthy’s Vardo, that were pushing the boundaries and opening up what a rock band was. It was around this time that I formed Barbez, which was built around musical heterodoxy and taking in whatever we loved. I’m not sure where that scene is now, and we’ve changed a bit too, and are less connected to it, but that’s maybe part of where we come out of.

R: What was the last music you listened to?
DK:  Bob Marley. My two-year old son has recently fallen in love with reggae and dances to Marley each morning.

R:  Do you consider yourself more a composer or a performer?
DK:  I think it’s about even, lately maybe more of a composer, or at least that’s more where my focus and aspirations have been.

R:  Is there an event or experience that led you to start in experimental media?
DK:  I suppose what led me to experimental work was my roots and involvement in the punk rock scene in my hometown of Madison, Wisconsin in the 1980s, which was quite heterodox. Groups like the Appliances-SFB and Die Kruezen (from nearby Milwaukee) were breaking exciting new ground in music and were absolutely thrilling live. Later, I was turned on to John Zorn, Fred Frith, Fiona Templeton, Richard Foreman and John Jesurun and many others connected to the downtown New York experimental arts community, which I loved immensely and which also had a profound effect on me. But it was punk rock that initially opened my eyes and ears to experimental work.

R: Who do you see as instrumental in your development as an artist?
DK:  Many people. Fiona Templeton, a fantastic language poet and playwright, was a huge influence on me, both for her work and her unbelievable commitment. John Jesurun, an extraordinary, writer, filmmaker, and theatrical visionary (we will be screening a bit of John’s video during one of the dance sections of the performance) who I’ve been fortunate enough to collaborate with on several occasions. My wife, Juliette Mapp, a sublime dancer whose inspirations it would take me years to detail. Martin Bisi, the deservedly legendary engineer, producer and musician, who has recorded all of our albums and whose creativity and attention to detail are remarkable. Seymour Hersh, the sui generis investigative reporter who broke both the story of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam in 1969 and also the torture scandal at Abu Ghraib prison in 2004 and who I worked closely with for several years while working as a fact-checker at the New Yorker.

R: Do you do other things aside from music?
DK: The main other thing I do is work as a writer and researcher in journalism. I’ve written about a variety of things, including music, by my main literary passion, and what I’ve written the most on, is the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s.

R: Other thoughts?
DK: I’d like to add that the new Roulette space is beautiful and is filling a vital need in the city. It’s particular great to have a new space committed to presenting experimental dance and theatre as well.

Interview with Jerome Foundation Commission recipient: PETER EVANS


Trumpet player Peter Evans works in a wide variety of areas, including solo performance, chamber orchestras, performance art, free improvised settings, electro-acoustic music and composition. As a performer, Evans has been working to broaden the expressive range of his chosen instrument and enjoys playing with steady configurations of players and composers – include collaborations with such artists as Mary Halvorson, Steve Schick, Steve Beresford, Okkyung Lee, Clayton Thomas, Jim Black, Evan Parker, Tyshawn Sorey, John Zorn, Tony Buck, Mark Gould, Weasel Walter, Tobias Delius, Joel Ryan, and Christian Marclay.  On November 4th at Roulette, The Peter Evans Quintet debuts a set of newly composed music commissioned by the Jerome Foundation.

ROULETTE: Tell us as about the work you’ll be doing at Roulette.
PETER EVANS: This ensemble is actually a working band.  I am most comfortable working with steady groups of musicians and this particular ensemble has so much potential to realize a lot of different material.  I met them the way musicians meet- you play somewhere, you talk, you see eye to eye about things enough to organize something. I met all these players through pretty different musical/social spheres and they didn’t really have separate histories together before we played as a band.  In 2010 I was commissioned by the Donaueschingen Musiktage in Germany to do something for their “Jazz” day, and at the same time had an idea to make a record of this band, so with both of those pressures on me/us, we learned a set of music which became “Ghosts”.   That album works very directly with manipulations of historic material, so I thought for the next batch of music we should do something different.  The music for the Roulette concert is still taking shape, but I can say that it deals with more detailed relationships of the acoustic musicians to Sam’s electronics.  I am always learning more about everyone’s capabilities and proclivities, not just Sam’s (although his are the hardest for a technologically handicapped person like myself to understand).  So I’m using this knowledge to write a set that deals more with the visceral experience of “pure sound” than any kind of idiomatic conceit or historical area of music. 

R: Are there working artists today with whose work you identify, or rather, who do you consider to be your peers?
PE: Yes, definitely.  We are all in this together!  A short list of peers I identify with and draw inspiration from (separate from the people performing tonight): Tyshawn Sorey, Nate Wooley, Charlie Looker, Jon Irabagon, Steve Lehman, the Wet Ink Composers, Nathan Davis, Yarn/Wire, Ambrose Akinmusire, Weasel Walter, Kevin Shea…

R: What was the last music you listened to?
PE: I am on a steady diet of Joe Henderson piano-less trio records that feature Al Foster on drums.  There are many.  This morning I listened to “Invitation” from “An Evening with Joe Henderson”.  Aside from the fantastic squiggly saxophone solo which quotes “Tico Tico” at one point, there are some fantastic Al Foster beats.  My favorite is the hi-hat closed on beat two and half closed on beat four.  It sounds like a reverse swing cymbal beat at half tempo, and because the recording mix pans the ride cymbal hard right and hi-hat hard left, the effect is that of two drummers in mirror image.

R: What is music?
PE: It can be as varied as any other human activity.  I enjoy it most when it is an uninhibited explosion of human imagination and creative energy.  

R: Do you consider yourself more a composer or a performer?
PE: Since almost all of my playing activity involves some degree of improvisation on my instrument, I would say they are one and the same. 

R: Is there an event or experience that led you to start in experimental media?
PE: A really important listening experience for me as a teenager was  ”Trout Mask Replica”, by Captain Beefheart.  I found the music baffling, frustrating, garbage-y and crowded.  It fascinated me but also made me a little angry.  And I couldn’t stop listening to it!  Developing a kind of curiosity about music and finding out why things are the way they are, then tinkering yourself to see what happens with material seems to be the definition of “experimenting”.   It basically got me through high school in one piece.

R: Who do you see as instrumental in your development as an artist?
PE: Well, of course I could list recordings that had a big effect on me and an assortment of people, some of whom have been dead for a long time, on those recordings.  But the biggest boosts have come from actual people I’ve had the good fortune to play with or study under.  Tim Weiss at the Oberlin Conservatory, Moppa Elliott, my (ahem) “boss” in Mostly Other People do the Killing, Evan Parker, Mark Gould are a few people who have helped me break through some important aesthetic/philosophical walls over the past 10 years or so.  I would say all of them have had a big role in my development.

R: What is interesting to you about your own work?
This must be a trick question.

R: Do you do other things aside from music?
PE: Yes.