8pm - 12am
artist sets announced February 1st
8pm - 12am
artist sets announced February 1st
afternoon concert, time TBA
afternoon venue announced February 1st
artist sets announced February 1st
8pm - 12am
artist sets announced February 1st
afternoon concert, time TBA
afternoon venue announced February 1st
artist sets announced February 1st
no idea festival
po box 684335
austin, texas 78768
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We celebrate our 15th edition of No Idea Festival by bringing together a selection of artists whose work and participation in the festival has played an important role in our development. These artists will be joined by musicians from around the world performing in the festival for the first time.
It's an ambitious program with a lot of moving parts. Thanks in advance for your patience as we take the time necessary to assemble this special program.
Full program with venue, artist info, and auxiliary events announced February 1, 2018. Until then, refresh your browser to catch updates...
Thomas Lehn is a German piano and synthesizer player active in free improvisation and contemporary music. Since the early 1990s, Lehn has developed an individual, highly idiosyncratic language of live-electronic music based on analog synthesis.
Lehn has performed and recorded in numerous projects with musicians from around the world, including: Gerry Hemingway, Keith Rowe, John Tilbury, John Butcher, Matthew Shipp, Paul Lovens, Phil Minton, Phil Durrant, Radu Malfatti, Axel Dörner, Marcus Schmickler, and Andy Moor of The Ex.
He is a member of the electronic orchestra MIMEO and is a founding member of the free improvisation group Konk Pack with Tim Hodgkinson and Roger Turner (active since 1997).
Lehn's main instrument, since 1994, is the 1960's EMS Synthi A. Besides the substantial sound qualities of its analogue synthesis, the facilities of this modular instrument allows him to spontaneously act in close contact with the various structural degrees of the musical process.
Marcus Schmickler is a German composer, musician, and producer.
Schmickler has written numerous pieces for electronic music, chamber ensemble, choir, and orchestra, which have been premiered by renowned ensembles and musicians. Next to his musical work, he has also worked on installations and radio plays as well as collaborating vastly in the fields of theatre and film.
Music collaborators include: MIMEO, Thomas Lehn, John Tilbury, Keith Rowe, Toshimaru Nakamura, Julee Cruise, Hayden Chisholm, Peter Rehberg.
Marcus has published with a-Musik, editions Mego, erstwhile records, and Mille Plateaux, amongst others. He has received several prizes and scholarships, including the Ars Electronica and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and has curated festival programs in the Academy of Arts, Berlin and the ZKM.
Lately, he has been interested in the epistemic dimensions of music/sound.
Judith Hamann is a cellist from Melbourne, Australia. Her performance practice stretches across various genres encompassing elements of improvised, art, experimental, and popular music. Currently, her work is focused on expressions of immersion and saturation: explored through durational, spatialised and electroacoustic approaches to sound, as well as an examination of psycho-physical materials and manifestations of ‘shaking’.
Judith has studied contemporary repertoire with cellists including Charles Curtis and Séverine Ballon. She has worked with artists and ensembles including Oren Ambarchi, ELISION ensemble, Maya Dunietz, Jürg Frey, Graham Lambkin, Alvin Lucier, Sejiro Murayama, Toshimaru Nakamura, The Necks, NYID, Michael Pisaro, Ilan Volkov, Tashi Wada, and La Monte Young. Judith is a member of Golden Fur, Hammers Lake, SYSTEM (with Anthea Caddy), The Argonaut String Quartet, and a duo project with Rosalind Hall.
She has performed widely with festivals including Tectonics (Glasgow, Adelaide, Tel Aviv, Athens), Musikprotocol (Graz), UnSound (NYC), The Now Now (Sydney), BIFEM (Bendigo), Dark Mona (Hobart), Tokyo Experimental Festival, SiDance Festival (Seoul), and Liquid Architecture (AU). Other performance highlights include improvised or repertoire presentations at Cafe Oto (London), Issue Project Room (NYC), Dia Art Foundation (NYC), Steim Institute (Amsterdam), Logos Foundation (Ghent), LaSalle University (Singapore), SuperDeluxe (Tokyo), O’ Gallery (Milan) and Tempo Reale (Florence).
She is a champion of new and rarely performed music and engages with a range of interdisciplinary and experimental projects including collaborative work with visual artists Keith Deverell and Sabina Marselli. She has been an artist in residence at Tokyo Wondersite Aoyama, The Recollets (Paris), Q-02 (Brussels), Cité Internationale des Arts (Paris), and Syros Sound Residency (Syros).
Bonnie Jones is a Korean-American improvising musician, poet, and educator working primarily with electronic sound and text. Born in 1977 in South Korea she was raised on a dairy farm in New Jersey, and currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland. Her work uses electronic noise (field recordings, circuit bending) and text (poetry, found, spoken, visual) to make visible/audible the often invisible, fluid, and in-between states of self and identity.
As an arts organizer, Bonnie was a founding member of the Transmodern Festival and CHELA Gallery and is currently a member of the High Zero Festival collective. In 2010, she co-founded TECHNE, an organization that introduces young female-identified women to technology-focused art making, improvisation, and community collaboration. TECHNE’s programs are delivered through partnerships with grassroots organizations that share an aligned commitment to racial and gender equity.
Bonnie received her MFA at Bard College where she studied with Laetitia Sonami and Marina Rosenfeld. She has received commissions from the London ICA and Walters Art Museum and has presented her work extensively at institutions in the US, Mexico, Europe and Asia, including the LA MOCA, Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, and REDCAT. Her collaborative sound works have been shown at the Swiss Institute, Whitney Museum, and Hunter College.
Guitarist Tetuzi Akiyama specializes in creating music with elements of both primitivism and realism by connecting his own aspirations, in a minimal and straightforward way, to the special instrumental qualities of the guitar. Sometimes delicately and sometimes boldly, he controls sound volumes ranging from micro to macro, in an attempt to convert the body into an electronic entity.
Besides making a variety of solo albums which covers from fingerpicking and slide acoustic guitar atonalism to noisy experimental drone to never ending boogie, Akiyama has made many albums in collaboration with highly praised artists such as Jozef Van Wissem, Donald McPherson, Greg Malcolm, Bruce Russell, Günter Müller, Jason Kahn, Michel Henritzi, Phantom Limb, Gul3, Tim Barnes, Oren Ambarchi, Martin Ng and Alan Licht, just to name a few. Akiyama is also a band member of Koboku Senjû, Satanic Abandoned Rock & Roll Society, and Hontatedori.
Akiyama has been frequently invited for international music festivals in East & West Europe, North & South America, Australia and New Zealand in recent years.
Greg Saunier is drummer and co-composer, co-producer of Deerhoof. Graduating from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 1991, Saunier moved to San Francisco and soon after began forging Deerhoof's idiosyncratic, convulsive, improvisatory music.
A restless improvisor, composer, and producer, Saunier has collaborated with many artists spanning myriad genres. His most recent works include New American Songbooks, a first-time meeting between Saunier, guitarist Mary Halvorson, and cornetist Ron Miles (Sound American).
Other collaborations include a duo with Brian Chippendale (Lightning Bolt), Mystical Weapons (a duo with Sean Lennon), Nervous Cop (with drummer Zach Hill and harpist Joanna Newsom), Xiu Xiu, and groups with members of Erase Errata and Rainer Maria. In 2016, Saunier composed songs with American Brazilian composer Marcos Balter for Deerhoof and Ensemble Dal Niente.
Saunier's credits as a producer include Xiu Xiu's The Air Force and Always, Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog's Your Turn, Sholi's self-titled album, and People Get Ready's Physiques.
Akira Sakata (坂田明) was born in Kure-city, Hiroshima in 1945.
After forming his early group Saibo-bunretsu (Cell fission) in Tokyo in 1969, he became active performing with various free-jazz musicians during this time.
Since the late 1960s, Sakata has been a constant figure in jazz and creative music scenes as an ever evolving and adventurous, multi-instrumentalist, and member of classic groups such as: Yamashita Yosuke Trio (1972-1979), Wha-ha-ha, plus many of his own, including Sakata Akira mii.
Akira Sakata has performed with many of the leading lights and pioneering legends in creative music from around the world, including: Jimmy Lyons, Peter Brotzmann, Peter Kowald, Manfred Schoof, Han Bennik, Bill Laswell, Pete Cosy, Hamid Drake, Ronald "Shanon" Jackson, Sonny Sharrock, Toshinori Kondo, DJ Krush, Jim O'Rourke, Chris Corsano, Keiji Haino, Yoshihide Otomo, Roger Turner, Andrea Centazzo, Mats Gustafsson, Joe McPhee, Ken Vandermark, Terry Ex, DJ Sniff, and many more...
Marshall R. Trammell believes that, given this historical moment, artists need to be making an impact. Mr. Trammell is a multi-disciplinary, visionary artist keenly focused on deploying indigenist and contemporary technologies in Improvisation, Conduction, and autonomous, alternative infrastructural design. He founded Music Research Strategies as a culturally-situated arts platform built upon phenomenological & empirical, decolonizing & emancipatory methodologies positioned for critical engagement. Mr. Trammell is a spirited, idiosyncratic percussionist performing a political education vernacular that spills out beyond the limit of the stage.
Mr. Trammell has amassed an array of collaborators and accomplices including Postcommodity, Pauline Oliveros, Saul Williams, John Tchicai, Hafez Modirzadeh, Dohee Lee, Jon Jang, Francis Wong, Tatsuya Nakatani, Equipto, India Cooke, William Winant, Roscoe Mitchell, Laura Ortman, Joe McPhee, Suzanne Thorpe, Hong-Kai Wang, Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten, Jawaad Taylor, Chris Cogburn, Remi Alvarez, Milo Tamez, Matt Volla, Kade Twist, Mogauwane Mahloele, Mutual Aid Project (Tracy Hui & Nick Obando) and an emerging project “In Defense of Memory,” with Laura Ortman and Carlos Santistevan.
He is a former member of Black Spirituals (Sige Records) with Zachary James Watkins which toured Europe with proto-Doom band Earth (Seattle) in 2014/15, additionally performed with the likes of Saul Williams, Oxbow, Dror Feiler (Sweden/Israel), the Skull Dwellers (Sweden), Endon (Japan), & SUMAC.
Bhob Rainey works with sound, both acoustically and electronically. He is especially invested in matters relating to consciousness - its possibilities, limitations, absurdities, threats and futures. As a result, ideas from philosophy, technology, psychology, and the plain old grind worm their way into his work.
Rainey has received several honors including, most recently, the Pew Fellowship in the Arts (2013), a Subito grant from the American Composers Forum (2014), and The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity Artist Residency (2017).
Rainey's interest in new realms of artistic possibility, from cross-disciplinary collaboration to digitally generated source material, has led him to numerous collaborations, most recently with Philadelphia theater company New Paradise Laboratories, including the acclaimed O Monsters (2016) and Hello Blackout! (2017). Other collaborations include the site-specific installation / performance, SaltSoul, with choreographer JungWoong Kim, a film/video/music collaboration with Catherine Pancake and Leah Michelle Ross, and ample time messing with mobile phone sensors and sprawling game concepts with the War of the Worlds Philadelphia team.
In 1998, with trumpeter Greg Kelley, Rainey founded the duo Nmperign, which was highly influential in an emerging phase of non-idiomatic improvisation often referred to as "lowercase" or "EAI". In 2000 he founded The BSC, an improvising large ensemble, in which he developed techniques for an improvisational discipline that were eventually outlined in his 2011 publication, Manual.
Rainey has written for numerous publications including Sound American, Ethics of Improvisation as Anarchic Utopia (No Idea 2017), some code in Tonebook, and forthcoming work regarding sonification, the unhuman, and other topics related to this current now. An avid programmer, Rainey has generated widely used code for SuperCollider, an environment and programming language for real-time audio synthesis and algorithmic composition.
Birgit Ulher studied the visual arts, which still have an important influence on her music. Since moving to Hamburg in 1982 she has been involved in free improvisation and experimental music. Since then she has developed an individual musical language. She works mainly on extending the sounding possibilities of the trumpet and has developed her own extended techniques and preparations for producing these sounds.
Besides this material research, she is especially interested in the relation between sound and silence.
Since 2006 she works with radio sounds, she uses extended speakers, fed with radio noise in her trumpet mutes. The trumpet functions as an acoustic chamber and modulates the radio noise, thus the trumpet is transmitter and receiver at the same time.
Her solo work contents pieces with tape (Traces and splitting 21, a collaboration with Michael Maierhof) as well as pieces for sound installations like 'Reveille' for the sound-and-light installation 'Wake Up' by Allora & Calzadilla.
She performs solo and with her working ensembles, collaborations with dancers, visual artists, composers and one-time collaborations with musicians from around the world.
Lectures + Workshops at Haifa University, School of The Art Institute of Chicago, Hochschule für Musik Basel, The Queen's University in Belfast, Galeria Mérida, Mexico, and Anahuac 33 in Mexico City.
Collaborations with Ute Wassermann, Lucio Capece, Gino Robair, Bill Hsu, Leonel Kaplan, Felipe Araya, Christoph Schiller, Chris Heenan, Gregory Büttner, Forbes Graham and the Stark Bewölkt Quartet (with Michael Maierhof, Heiner Metzger, and Gregory Büttner) amongst others.
Solo project 'Radio Silence No More'. Concerts and festivals in Europe, USA, South America, Russia and the Middle East. Numerous CD releases.
Visual/sound artist specializing in electronic media, Juanjosé Rivas employs myriad techniques to give voice to the translation, error, obstruction, and interference inside artistic languages. Attempts to define the impossible, reveal the hidden, articulate the unspeakable, and evidence the truth as an instituted lie are some of the conceptual approaches used in his work.
Juanjosé Rivas made a sound residence in Centre for Contemporary Creation Matadero in Madrid, Spain (2013); he was Fellow Program Development Cultural Projects and Joint Ventures 2013; beneficiary of the Board of Contemporary Art PAC 2012; and has twice received the grant from the Young Artists Program specializing in Multimedia, FONCA-CONACULTA 2005 and 2011. He was a member of the Council of Planning and Evaluation for the Festival of Electronic Arts and Video Transitio_MX 2010-2014.
Juanjosé currently teaches at University Centro for Film, Design, and Television and is Artistic Director of VOLTA, a series of international concerts of sound art and experimental music in Mexico City.
Juan García is a contemporary double bass musician and improviser living and working in Mexico City. He has been a resident in Mexico's national contemporary music ensemble CEPROMUSIC since 2012 and often collaborates with Mexico City´s modern and experimental ensemble Liminar.
Current collaborations include: Low Frequency Trio with Antonio Rosales (bass clarinet) and Jose Luis Hurtado (piano), Trio Anahuac with Chris Cogburn (percussion and sine wave generator) and Ignaz Schick (turntable and electronics), and a trio with Kjell Bjørgeengen (sound/image synthesizer) and Chris Cogburn (percussion and sine wave generator).
Juan also creates music for different settings such as dance, film, and theater. Some notable interventions include the Tate Modern in London, Laboratorio Arte Alameda and MUAC in CDMX, and important festivals such as Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in the UK, Aural and el nicho Aural, and Umbral in both Mexico City and Oaxaca City.
– – / dashes is a sound collaboration between John Brennan and Elisa Ferrari.
dashes’ live performances pay homage to the incidental and ephemeral microtonal exchanges that occur through layering sustained dissonant frequencies, live samples, subtle movements and vocalization of text borrowed from dictionaries, language, and sound manuals. In their improvised sets, – – combines sounds of amplified objects, feedback manipulation and modified percussion with field recordings and voice.
Elisa Ferrari works with archival fragments of text, image, and videography to consider the act and implications of retrieval, in projects that manifest through installation, performance, artist books, sound walks and photography. More info
John Brennan is a sound artist, drummer, and curator. Since 2008, he has toured extensively through Europe, Japan, and North America with different ensembles and solo projects. Over the past six years, his work on performance and improvisation has expanded to include sound installations and sound sculptures that consider the relationships between the sonic memory of musical instruments, the agency of objects, performance, and improvisation. More info.
Elisa Ferrari and John Brennan live in Vancouver on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.
Sean O'Neill works with sound and light, incorporating electronics and responsive materials into his performances and multimedia installations. He explores both the visible light spectrum and the audible frequency range to examine the ways in which perception shapes the dynamics of spatiality. His sound work often incorporates textural elements of field recordings, environmental/urban impressions and found sounds.
O'Neill studied Electroacoustics and Intermedia Arts at Concordia University in Montreal, focusing on composition and sound art in relation to architectural design. His work has been presented at various venues and festivals including Re-New Festival Copenhagen, New Media Art and Sound Summit, Amsterdam Light Festival, and DATA CITY (Enghien-les-Bains, France).
In 2017 he released two albums in collaboration with Alex Keller on Elevator Bath and Mimeomeme.
Damon Smith studied double bass with Lisle Ellis and has had lessons with Bertram Turezky, Joëlle Leandré, John Lindberg, Mark Dresser and others. Damon’s explorations into the sonic palette of the double bass have resulted in a personal, flexible improvisational language based in the American jazz avant-garde movement and European non-idiomatic free improvisation. Visual art, film and dance heavily influence his music, as evidenced by his CAMH performance of Ben Patterson’s Variations for Double Bass, collaborations with director Werner Herzog on soundtracks for Grizzly Man and Encounters at the End of the World, and an early performance with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.
Damon has collaborated with a wide range of musicians, including: Cecil Taylor, Marshall Allen (of Sun Ra’s Arkestra), Henry Kaiser, Roscoe Mitchell, Michael Pisaro, Wadada Leo Smith, Marco Eneidi, Wolfgang Fuchs, Peter Brötzmann and Peter Kowald. After many years in the San Francisco Bay Area, and six great years in Houston, Texas working regularly with Alvin Fielder, Sandy Ewen, David Dove & Chris Cogburn, Damon moved to the Boston area in the fall of 2016 and began working with Jeb Bishop, Joe McPhee, Ra-Kalam Bob Moses and many others. Damon has run Balance Point Acoustics record label since 2001, releasing music focusing on transatlantic collaborations between US and European musicians.
Liz Tonne is an improvisor and interpreter of contemporary classical music. Using an array of extended vocal techniques, her work explores the edge of the voice as an instrument. Her vocalizations tease out unarticulated psychological states, sometimes through singing, but more often in the mimicry of sound; of birdsong, the creaking of mechanical devices or in conjured memories buried in forgotten languages.
Tonne was a Boston-based vocal artist throughout the 1990’s and early 2000’s collaborating in numerous groups that helped define Boston’s electro-acoustic aesthetic. As a member of the pioneering ensemble, undr quartet, she contributed to the presentation of ambient minimalism (lowercase music) expressed by the collective unconscious of underground experimental music at the turn of the century. Tonne was also a member The BSC. Curated by Bhob Rainey, this group of eight electro-acoustic musicians translated a mature and orchestral form of improvised music.
In anticipation of John Cage’s 100th birthday celebration Tonne performed the composer’s Ryoanjii and selections from Songbooks in duet with percussionist Tim Feeney at Cornell University. She participated in further productions of Songbooks at The Philadelphia Museum of Art with The BSC as part of the festival Cage: Beyond Silence. Current projects include a collaboration with artists Jeff Gibbons and Gregory Ruppe of Dallas’ Culture Hole on a sound installation planned for the Nasher Sculpture Center as part of Dallas’ 2018 Soluna Festival.
Liz Tonne’s most recent recorded work was aired during a live broadcast on Miami Beach in conjunction with Art Basel. Other work can be heard in various collaborative settings on the Grob, Sedimental, Simple Geometry and Semata Productions labels.
Percussionist who works mainly in the field of improvised music. Current practices focus on the threshold between acoustic and electronic sounds, their differing timbral qualities, and their sites of resonance. Tensions between just intonation and the unfettered resonances of objects is a burgeoning concern informing his work with Norwegian video artist Kjell Bjørgeengen.
Cogburn has performed around the world including: Festival Aural (Mexico City), Issue Project Room (NYC), James Turrell's Roden Crater (Arizona, USA), Quiet Que (Berlin), Sonorités Festival (Toulouse), Cruce (Madrid), among others. His current music projects include: Un Trio de Gira with Alexander Bruck and Ramón del Buey (MEX); the electro-acoustic trio Arena Ladridos with Bonnie Jones and Bhob Rainey (USA); and an audio-visual improvisation ensemble with Kjell Bjørgeengen and percussionist Ingar Zach (NOR) and double bassist Juan García (MEX). Chris has released recordings on several labels including: Astral Spirits, Another Timbre, That's Cool Records, Simple Geometry, and Balance Point Acoustics.
Since 2003, Cogburn has organized the annual No Idea Festival. Based in Austin, Texas, No Idea events have also been held in San Antonio, Houston, Marfa, Fort Worth, Dallas, New Orleans, Mexico City and Merida, Yucatán and have featured artists from around the world.