Nick Dunston: Atlantic Extraction/The Floor is Lava!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019 @ 8:00 pm
Nick Dunston is a 2019 Van Lier Fellow

Ascending bassist and composer Nick Dunston will give the first concert of his year-long Van Lier Fellowship at Roulette featuring Atlantic Extraction, a newly formed quintet, and the world premiere of The Floor is Lava!. The composition, written for five double basses, embodies its childhood game namesake, indulging imagination, obsession, devotion, and playfulness while reflecting Dunston’s high regard for asymmetry and extremity.

Atlantic Extraction brings together musicians with diverse and complex musical vocabularies, drawing from Free Jazz, No Wave, 20th Century Western Classical, and Appalachian folk. Its unique instrumentation fused with an improvisational core seeks to balance urgency with patience and familiarity with discomfort while maintaining a magnetic sound.

Atlantic Extraction:
Louna Dekker-Vargas, flute alto flute, piccolo
Ledah Finck, violin, viola
Tal Yahalom, guitar
Nick Dunston, bass, compositions
Stephen Boegehold, drums

The Floor is Lava!
Kanoa Mendenhall, bass
Almog Sharvit, bass
Eva Lawitts, bass
Lisa Hoppe, bass
Nick Dunston, bass, compositions


Nick Dunston is a Brooklyn-based composer, bassist, and scholar. His performances have spanned a variety of venues and festivals across countries in North America and Europe. While not tethered to any one community, his work often finds itself in between the spaces of jazz, Black American music, 20th-century western classical music, experimental music, No wave, and in many cases, cross-disciplinary collaborations. He’s performed professionally with artists such as Tyshawn Sorey, Vijay Iyer, Marc Ribot, Imani Uzuri, Anthony Coleman, Amirtha Kidambi, Dave Douglas, Matt Wilson, Jeff Lederer, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Darius Jones, and more. As a composer, he’s written for and collaborated for a wide range of artists, from solo instrumentalists, to his own bands, to chamber orchestras, performance artists. He’s been commissioned by entities such as the New York Public Library of Performing Arts, the Joffrey Ballet School, The Witches, violist Joanna Mattrey, the ESMAE Jazz and Chamber Orchestras, and more. His currently leads two bands: “Atlantic Extraction” and “Truffle Pig”, and is a co-leader of “Feral Children” (with Noah Becker and Lesley Mok) and “Aurelia Trio” (with Theo Walentiny and Connor Parks). As a writer, he’s contributed monthly to Hot House jazz magazine since 2016.

Louna Dekker-Vargas is a flutist, improviser, composer and curator. This summer she was invited as an artist to participate at Banff Centre for Arts’ Jazz and Ensemble Evolution music programs. Her chamber work “Ah” had its US premiere with the Mind on Fire collective in Baltimore in fall 2018. She is co- founder and flutist of The Witches, an experimental and contemporary duo of flute & violin. She was co-founder and flutist of Trio Jinx which played in chamber music festivals across the U.S. including EPPM and the Sitka Chamber Music Festival. She is also a regular flutist sub for the Broadway musical “Wicked.”

Ledah Finck is a violinist, violist, improviser, and composer residing in Baltimore, Maryland. A passionate performer, creator, and curator of contemporary classical and experimental music, she is an active and founding member of duo The Witches, the Bergamot String Quartet, and Earspace Ensemble.

Born in Israel and based in New York City since 2014, guitarist/composer Tal Yahalom has been exploring and fusing the worlds of hard bop, alternative rock, free improvisation, and impressionistic classical music. Looking to expand the sonic and textural vocabulary of the guitar, he pursues unconventional, creative ways of instrumental playing-both acoustically and through a flexible array of effects. He is drawn to the elusive balance between composition and improvisation, clarity and mystery, the subtle and the intense.

Stephen Boegehold is a drummer and composer based in New York City. In addition to being a dedicated collaborator focusing on improvised music, he also leads his own quartet, Ganglion. Stephen has self-released three albums: “A Telling of Death” (2016), “Shared Realities” (2017), and “Way of Dreams” (2017).

Kanoa Mendenhall is a bassist, cellist, and radio programmer currently residing in New York City. Born in Japan, Kanoa grew up in Monterey, California and was raised by two musician parents, regularly listening to jazz, enka, and classical music. By age 13 she was performing in the Monterey and San Francisco Bay areas. Kanoa currently is an undergrad at Columbia University, where she is studying Japanese traditional arts and music. She has performed with musicians such as Cecil McBee, Bruce Forman, Allison Miller, Ron Carter, Antonio Hart, and Roy McCurdy.

After years of exploring and absorbing art in a wide variety of media, bassist Almog Sharvit possesses his own personal and compelling style, both in performance and composition. Born and raised in Israel and based in Brooklyn, Almog grew up playing the cello, electric bass, and double bass. You can find his playing and writing currently in KADAWA, Sharvit’s Coralition, and I.M., as well as other collaborations around the globe.

Eva Lawitts is a bass player, producer, and writer from Brooklyn, NY. She is the co-founder of the bands Stimmerman, Three Body Problem, Sister Helen, and Fuck Squad, all of which combine elements of improvisation, post-rock, and psychedelia in varying capacities. She has been the touring and/or recording bass player for Princess Nokia, Vagabon, Rotem Sivan, Chris Oceanator, and many others, and currently spends most of her time producing and recording other people’s albums at Wonderpark Studio, the recording studio in Gowanus she founded in 2017 with longtime collaborator Chris Krasnow.

Lisa Hoppe is a double bassist, composer, improviser, band-leader, and educator. Her musical works contain a variety of genres and non-genres: Ranging between modern chamber music, free improvisation, and avant-garde electro, she is always striving to put the melodic qualities of the double bass into contemporary context. She studied bass and composition in Bremen (GER) and Bern (CH) and currently divides her time between Brooklyn, New York City, and Hamburg, Germany.


This concert is made possible by the Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund of the New York Community Trust.