// surface // pre-festival concert and activities
Free public concert / busking with Mexico City multi-instrumentalist and avid busker Misha Marks.
The Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge
2pm - 4pm / Free
A special pre-festival concert in conjunction with Church Of The Friendly Ghost
8pm - 11pm / $8 - 15 sliding scale
7pm - 9pm / $5 suggested donation
The opening night in San Antonio will focus on the use of new media, and feature seven artists from around the world whose work encompasses the re-purposing of existing technologies and the building of new instruments from raw materials.
8pm - 12am / $8 - $15 sliding scale
The Performance Loft
805 Congress Ave (map)
The opening night in Austin places focus on gradations in composition and improvisation with sets ranging from commissioned compositions to first-time freely improvised meetings. Come celebrate our 10th year anniversary in the special ambiance of The Performance Loft in downtown Austin. Libations and catered hors d’œuvres provided by Tito’s Vodka, Saint Arnold Brewery, id soda, Emily’s Catering, East Side Pies, and others...
8pm - 12am / $8 - $15 sliding scale
8pm - 12am / $8 - $15 sliding scale
Presented by heavy Denim
6pm / $10
The closing night of No Idea 2013 presents three different programs, each utilizing the dynamic architectural space of the Hot Wells; the remnants of a turn of the century resort in central San Antonio. Libations provided by Saint Arnolds and hors d’œuvres provided by culinary virtuosos Justin Parr and Misha Marks.
no idea festival
po box 684335
austin, texas 78768
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The 10th annual No Idea Festival.
This year’s festival brings together a select group of artists from across the US, Mexico and Europe for eight nights of activity ranging from performance to workshops to dinners/ salons to busking in the streets.
The form of the festival is arising from an engagement process between the artists, as opposed to a preparatory process carried out by the “organizers”.... We are intentionally leaving some space regarding the sets and activities listed above, so as to give room for things in process to land. Placed in over six different venues, each night of No Idea presents a particular environment and social situation and brings attention to the way in which we do, make and understand.
I encourage you to follow the No Idea Twitter feed for the latest updates on activities and to check in on the website as things develop...
You may pick up your pass at any of the festival concerts.
Bonnie Jones is a Korean-American writer, improvising musician, and performer working primarily with electronic music and text. Born in 1977 in South Korea she was raised by dairy farmers in New Jersey, and currently resides in Baltimore, MD. Bonnie creates improvised and composed text-sound performances that explore the fluidity and function of electronic noise (field recordings, circuit bending) and text (poetry, found, spoken, visual). She is interested in how people perceive, “read” and interact with these sounds and texts given our current technological moment. Bonnie has received commissions from the London ICA and has presented her work in the US, Europe, and Asia and collaborates frequently with writers and musicians including Ric Royer, Carla Harryman, Andy Hayleck, Joe Foster, Andrea Neumann, Liz Tonne, and Chris Cogburn. She received her MFA at the Milton Avery School of the Arts at Bard College.
Percussionist Chris Cogburn is an active performer, curator and educator, currently living in Austin, Texas. His artistic practice and curatorial interests are rooted in the collaborative context of improvisation.
His approach to the drum gives focus to the instrument’s sonic potential as a site and container for resonance. Current practices concentrate on the threshold between acoustic and electronic sounds, their differing tibral qualities and their sites of resonance. Recent inter-media collaborations with NYC dancers/ choreographers Jennifer Monson and Maggie Bennett and Seattle poet Melanie Noel, have allowed Chris to extend his interests to large-scale performative works with compositional focus placed on the threshold of language and sound, gesture and the body.
Current music projects include: Arena Ladridos, with saxophonist Bhob Rainey and electronic musician Bonnie Jones; and Lunch Money, a trio with pedal steel virtuoso Bob Hoffnar and double bassist Aaron Allen.
Beginning in the summer of 2003, Cogburn has organized an annual festival of improvised music - the No Idea Festival - showcasing a handful of Texas’ premiere creative musicians in collaboration with improvisors from around the US, Europe, Japan, Mexico, Canada and the world. No Idea events have been held in Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Marfa, Fort Worth, Dallas, New Orleans, Mexico City and Mérida, Yucatán.
Bryan Eubanks (b. 1977, WA.) is a musician primarily active within the traditions of experimental and live electronic music. He works with unstable structures and instruments that incorporate open-circuits, samplers, radio transmission, feedback, digital synthesis, the soprano saxophone, and other acoustic instruments. He improvises, composes music for instruments and electronics, and makes sound installations. His work often involves practical research into computer music, generative composition, electronics, time, and sound localization.
Catherine Lamb (b. 1982, Wa, U.S.) is a composer/violist exploring sound through ensemble/solo work. She is interested in microscopic color variances in (mostly) narrow bands, often with an ever-opening form. She is interested in the elemental/spectral interaction between tones and their shadows, between beings. She works with the phenomenological dimensions of quiet perceptual/sensual layers moving in and out of presence, as a being moving in space. She has written extensively for strings, woodwinds, and some brass instruments, and has recently been pairing these acoustic sounds with generative oscillators in order to “color” that which is most present. She studied under James Tenney and Michael Pisaro at CalArts, dhrupad with the late Mani Kaul, and received her MFA from the Milton Avery School of Fine Arts under various artists. She is now working/presenting/learning in various places.
After studying classical music, Dafne Vicente-Sandoval commits herself to contemporary music. She works with European ensembles such as Ensemble Modern while putting a strong emphasis on her personal projects.
Dafne collaborates with several European composers in order to enrich the solo repertoire of her instrument, the bassoon, including: Richard Barrett, Michael Maierhof, Hanna Hartman, Peter Ablinger. Other recent work includes curating Tokyofeel workshops in Palais de Tokyo (Paris, 2007) and an interdisciplinary project with butoh dancer Ko Murobushi (CNDC/Angers, 2012).
Her instrumental research, dedicated to highlighting and experiencing the "concrete" production mode of a sound, as opposed to just focusing on its outcome, drove her naturally to improvisation. Her personal approach is centered on the fragility of sound and its emergence within a given space. Silence and barely perceptible sounds (as well as their amplification) are central to her work; she considers music more as the "punctuating" of a preexisting sonorous environment, rather than an out-of-context, autonomous discourse.
She is currently part of several experimental music projects including: Duos with Klaus Filip, Angélica Castelló and Xavier Lopez; as well as in trio with Sébastien Cirotteau and Lawrence Williams.
Dafne has recorded Solo II and Praha, two compositions of Jakob Ullmann released by Edition RZ in April 2012 as part of the cd box Fremde zeit addendum.
French and freelance, mainly active as an improvising laptop player, Xavier studied at Amsterdam’s Hogeschool voor de Kunsten. He is now based in Paris since 2006.
Xavier has developed an autodidact approach to laptop playing, with attention to the minimal and synthetic: sine waves, white noise, feedback, oscillators. His work as a sound artist is inspired by a broad range of aesthetics as well as other issues (perception, surroundings, survival, theory).
During the last couple of years he has performed in France, Spain, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Mexico and in the United States.
Since April 2010, Xavier has co-organized the trashvortex concert series in Paris, focusing on EAI, noise, improv and free-jazz.
Born in Mexico City, Remi Álvarez studied transversal flute at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música from 1975 to 1979 with Rubén Islas.
Self-study formation in saxophone, his professional debut was with Cuarteto Mexicano de Jazz in 1984. Later, he moved to New York City and continued his studies of composition and improvisation at the Creative Music Studio with Anthony Braxton, George Lewis, Roscoe Mitchell and Don Cherry. He received his bachelor in Jazz at the Escuela Superior de Música (ESM - INBA) from 1982 to 1987. In 1988, he traveled to Paris where his musical development was strengthened by taking classes with the composer-sax player Steve Lacy.
Since 1991, he has been a professor of saxophone and jazz at the Escuela Nacional de Música from Universidad Autónoma de México (ENM - UNAM).
Álvarez founded the group Cráneo de Jade, with whom he has co-produced and recorded three CD’s. Recent performances include: The Festival Internacional de Jazz Plaza in La Habana, Cuba (1997) and Palacio de Bellas Artes (Mexico City) as a part of the “Los Diez Grandes del Jazz”, a tribute to the pioneers of jazz in México. In April 2007, Cráneo de Jade atended the VII Festival Internacional de San Luis Potosí.
Currently, Remi is a member of Antimateria, Cráneo de Jade & FAS Trio ensembles; he plays a duet with Gabriel Lauber and runs his own trio: Remi Álvarez Trio. He has performed live with musicians like Sabir Mateen, William Parker, Hamid Drake, Joe Morris, Mark Dresser, Cooper-Moore, Elliott Levin, Rodrigo Amado, Dennis, Stefan and Aaron González, Ernest Dawkins, Vinz Vonlanthen, Michael Vatcher, Tayeb Laoufi and the Gnawa Spirit from Morocco. He has performed live and recorded with the Camerata de las Américas. In June 2006, he was invited to play in the Vision Festival, the most important free jazz festival in New York by Texas trumpet player Dennis González.
Ingebrigt Håker Flaten studied Jazz at the Music Consevatory in Trondheim, Norway (1992-1995) under the tutelage of bassplayer Odd Magne Gridseth. A professional musician since 1995, now living with his family in Austin, Texas, he continues to shape and refine his sound by embarking on extensive international tours with some of the most diverse and important improvisers on the circuit today.
Most easily recognized for his contributions to the Pan-Scandinavian groups, The Thing and Atomic, Håker Flaten has also left his indelible mark in collabortive projects with musicians from the undergrounds of New York, Chicago, Austin, Houston and Mexico City. He is also leading his own groups; Ingebrigt Håker Flaten Chicago Sextet and The Young Mothers.
Prolific and inventive, Ingebrigt has participated as a leader and a sideman on more than 100 recordings.
Experimentalist and percussion artist Milo Tamez has been actively involved in the avant music and multidisciplinary Mexican scene for the last twenty years. An openness to a diversity of art languages coupled with a unique integrated approach to music making has given him a major reputation as one of the leading voices in the Mexican improvisation and experimental music community. A drummer/ percussionist, Milo is a disciplined artist whose broad vocabulary and brilliant technique allows him to navigate toward unknown regions of percussive sound as a natural evolving element. He is in a continuous search for new possibilities of emotional communication while passing any stylistic tendencies currently in vogue.
Strongly influenced by the contemporary percussion solo repertoire from the XX century, he has taken an abundance of architectural possibilities from the minds of K. Stockhausen, I. Xennakis, P. Norgard, E. Varese, J. Cage, J. Tenney, M. Feldman, Stuart S. Smith, and others. Further influence has been drawn upon from innovative percussionists like F. Hauser, M. Roach, P. Favre, M. Graves, Andrew Cyrille and Jack Dejohnette.
Tamez is an innate composer whose aims have always been towards a hybridized form of intellectual rigor and freedom of creative will and imagination. Far away from the academic realm, the integration of art forms – specially the visual arts – into a lively unity of an organic aesthetical thoughtful process has been a priority in his creative development as a human being and an artist.
Milo is actively performing in encuentros and festivals of improvised and experimental music as well as in contemporary chamber music settings throughout Mexico and the world. Currently living in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Milo works and teaches improvisation to children, leads the avnatjazz group Ameneyro & Milo Tamez and curates experimental film-concerts.
Misha Marks was born in Wellington, New Zealand and grew up near Karamea, on the West Coast of the South Island. He has played guitar since he was six years old and studied at a jazz school in Wellington for a couple of years before abandoning the confines of university walls in search of something more exciting. He became involved in the free-improvised music scene of Wellington, based around the experimental music venue Happy, where he played regularly with local improvisers, worked on the bar and was the janitor.
Traveling the world, Misha studied flamenco guitar in Spain, collaborated with Singhalese shamans in Sri Lanka, lived in Vienna and London and in 2008 moved to Mexico City, where he currently resides.
A virtuosic multi-instrumentalist, Misha also plays baritone horn, accordion, latarra (a homemade electric guitar made out of a cookie tin) and leaf (any kind of firm leaf, such as eucalyptus, lemon tree, bayleaf etc). Active in numerous scenes throughout Mexico City, Marks plays in numerous projects, such as the Mexican improvisation group Generación Espontánea, the primitive-evolutive-free-gypsy band Carlos Marks, thumping freejazz trio Rolling Eye, and Balkan music band Nabuzenko.
Misha can often be seen busking on the streets of Mexico City with any possible combination of the aforementioned instruments to earn a crust when times are tough, which is usually about twice a week.
Renowned pedal steel guitarist Bob Hoffnar relocated to Austin from NYC three years ago and has since become a major contributor to Austin’s cultural landscape. Originally from Silver Springs, Maryland, Hoffnar graduated from Purchase Conservatory of Music in 1998 with a BFA in composition that included private studies with Richard Cameron Wolf. Further private studies included time with such musical luminaries as Lamonte Young, Pandit Pran Nath and Earnest Tubb’s steel player Buddy Charelton. Hoffnar has recorded widely on prestigious and underground labels around the world including: John Zorn’s Tzadik records, EMI (UK), Capital Records and Netwerk (Canada). Known internationally for his voracious creative appetite, Hoffnar has recorded, toured and performed around the world with an unfathomable array of artists spanning generation and genre including: Nora Jones, Ryan Adams, John Zorn, Cindi Lauper, Boston Pops Orchestra and Hasil Atkins.
Aaron Allen is an acoustic bassist and composer from Austin, Texas. He has performed extensively in the Austin area as a sideman and leader. He has also performed at the David Lynch Festival in Fairfield, Iowa, the 55 Bar in New York City, the One World Theatre in Austin, and on PBS. He performs regularly with notable bandleaders such as Dr. James Polk, Pamela Hart, Armin Marmolejo, Bob Hoffnar, and Jacob Wise. Aaron Allen holds a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies from the University of Texas at Austin.
Damon Smith studied double bass with Lisle Ellis and had lessons with Bertram Turezky, Joëlle Leandré, John Lindberg, Mark Dresser and others. He has also explored the sonic palette of the double bass, resulting 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, reflected in his CAMH performance of Ben Patterson’s Variations for Double Bass, collaboration 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, Birgit Ulher, Fred Frith, Wadada Leo Smith, Marco Eneidi, Wolfgang Fuchs, Peter Brötzmann and Peter Kowald. After many years in the San Francisco Bay Area, he is now based in Houston, Texas and works regularly with Alvin Fielder, Sandy Ewen, David Dove & Chris Cogburn.
Sandy Ewen resides in Houston, TX where she pursues her musical and visual projects and her architecture license. Ewen has performed music throughout North America as a collaborative improviser and as a member of the Weird Weeds. Lately, Ewen has been focusing on her visual art, frequently presenting it alongside experimental music. In 2012, Ewen released a duo LP with guitarist Tom Carter, a trio CD with bassist Damon Smith & drummer Weasel Walter, and a rock LP with Austin’s Weird Weeds. She performed music throughout Texas as well as in New York City and Mexico City.
Alvin Fielder is a pioneering jazz drummer, an important educator, and one of the founding members of the enormously influential Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians cooperative (AACM). Born in Meridian, MS in 1935, Fielder began playing drums at age 12, heavily influenced by recordings of Max Roach. While a student at Xavier University in New Orleans, Fielder studied under Ed Blackwell. Following his family’s trade, Fielder later studied pharmacology at Texas Southern University in Houston, TX from 1953 to 1956. During his years in Houston, he worked with various jazz and R&B groups including the Pluma-Davis Sextet, the house band at the legendary Eldorado Ballroom. Fielder then moved on to Chicago, where he joined an early version of the Sun Ra Arkestra and played with musicians like Roscoe Mitchell, Fred Anderson and Muhal Richard Abrams, with whom he organized the AACM in 1965 and appeared on its debut LP, Roscoe Mitchell’s “Sound” in 1967.
Fielder returned home to Mississippi in 1969, where he ran the family pharmacy, worked to desegregate the schools, and developed the Black Arts Music Society. In 1975, Fielder began working regularly with New Orleans saxophonist Edward “Kidd” Jordan. The association breathed new life into his career, and since then he’s appeared on a handful of potent and critically acclaimed releases with such luminaries as William Parker, Joel Futterman, Dennis González, and Andrew Lamb, among others.
Fielder has enjoyed a recent flurry of activity in the region, performing and recording regularly with a new generation of creative musicians in Houston and Dallas, TX including: trombonist Dave Dove, multi-reedist Jason Jackson, double bassist Damon Smith and the hyper-creative Stefan and Aaron González. Having most recently come off of an extensive tour of Siberia and Russia, at the age of 77, the legendary drummer is still at the height of his career.
Originally from Knoxville, TN, and Charleston, SC, Jonathan Horne has been living in Austin for the last 8 years. He moved here as a guitarist with a potentially fruitful band (everyone else in the group is doing just fine) that disbanded and dispersed before their first gig in Austin. Jonathan was the only member of the band that stayed in Austin due to immediate musical contact with Chris Cogburn, Weird Weeds (w/ Kurt Newman), Carl Smith, Alex Coke, and Tina Marsh. The opportunity to participate in workshops spearheaded by Chris, Kurt, and Dave Dove furthered awareness and scope of the capabilities of a listener and guitarist in these musical and social movements.
Since this moment of appreciating the scene in Austin, Jonathan has led his group, Plutonium Farmers, through six years of existence (now including bassist Ingebrigt Haker Flaten). Plutonium Farmers are celebrating their debut 2-album release engineered with Steve Albini. Other working groups include: A duo with Chris Cogburn (Lo Stadio); the Texas supergroup, The Young Mothers, led by Ingebrigt; Knest, an improvisational trio led by Thor Harris from Swans; and the "pop" group Ichi Ni San Shi. Jonathan has recently recorded a duo album with Randall Holt on cello, engineered by Efrim Menuck from Godspeed You Black Emperor, and has immensely enjoyed improvising live with Burton Greene, Perry Robinson, Weasel Walter, Damon Smith, Nick Hennies, Sandy Ewen, Mars Williams, Frank Rosaly, Nick Broste, Tetuzi Akiyama, Andy Distel, Omar Tamez, Jack Wright, and performing Glenn Branca’s 13th Symphony. After the last 8 years attempting to soak up what Austin has to offer, he is truly honored to be participating in the 10th No Idea Festival.
Rick Reed (born. 1957) has been creating audio compositions since the early 80’s. His works are intuitive studies of electricity, frequency fluctuations, and improvised "on the fly" solutions to symmetry problems in electronic sound. Since 2005, he has centered his live work on using a vintage EMS Synthi – a synthesizer processed with various effects devices to create complex macromal drones with a surface of aesthetic elegance and beauty.
Reed has performed throughout the United States and Europe, most recently with the Shifting Currents Ensemble (with former AMM guitarist Keith Rowe), which appeared at the prestigious Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in 2009. In addition, he is also Music Director of the long running Toneburst concert series held semi-regularly in Austin since 2004, and is also an avid painter and film/video artist.
His music has been used by film maker ken Jacobs in three of his experiential films, Spiral Nebula, Mountaineer Spinning and Capitalism: Child Labor (which won the grand prize at 2006’s Curtas Vila de Conde film festival in Portugal, Spain), which climaxed with a live performance with Jacobs at Lincoln Center during the "Views From the Avant Garde" portion of 2007’s New York Film Festival.
Rick’s most recent release, the double LP, the way things go (Elevator Bath), received unanimous accolades from around the world. He currently lives in Austin, Texas and can be reached by email at: email@example.com.
Austin native Ralph White has taken the back roads in his inspired pursuit of the ancient roots of music. The "folk/noise/avant-whatever genius" has made many strange travels as an itinerant musician and laborer. His intimate, nuanced musical language has slowly revealed itself, along a path that meanders from the apple orchards of British Columbia to the villages of Zimbabwe and Namibia, from the lonesome moors of Ireland to Australia, Brittany, Peru, Louisiana and beyond.
Along with Danny Barnes and Mark Rubin, White completed the original and definitive lineup of country/bluegrass mavericks (and recent Texas Music Hall of Fame inductees) The Bad Livers. He now performs his singular blend of ancient rural folk music and original songwriting as a soloist. Since touring extensively in North America and Europe, White has kept a prolific schedule of independent releases, "where borders are erased and music is the only language" (Insound). Most recently, his "Navasota River Devil Squirrel", called "a fine navigation of the American mystery zone" (Volcanic Tongue) was reissued on vinyl LP by Mystra Records/Spirit of Orr. And in late 2009 the Resipiscent label issued his improv collaboration with San Francisco sound artist Hora Flora Sound System. White has also self-released limited edition works and is called on for various recording projects and film scores & appearances.
In addition to his solo work, White has recorded or performed with a diverse group of folk and avant-garde musicians: Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, Jandek, Jack Rose, Eugene Chadbourne, Michelle Shocked, Sun City Girls’ Sir Richard Bishop, Powell St. John and Michael Hurley. He plays fiddle in the traditional Cajun dance band The Gulf Coast Playboys, and, with folk singer Amy Annelle, performs in the roots country & folk duo Precious Blood.
Maggie Bennett is a multi-media artist living in New York City. Her work explores an intersection between the body, landscape and architecture through body-based performance and installation, objects and cross-disciplinary collaboration. She was an artist in residence at Dance Theater Workshop through Fresh Tracks Series (2008) and a Studio Series Residency (2011), and she was a 2009/2010 Movement Research Artist in Residence. Other residences include Location One (NYC), FACADE/FASAD (Brooklyn), Pieter psad (L.A.), The Broken Neck/ No Idea Festival (Austin, TX), Ritual and Research (Worthington, MA), and The New Museum (NY). She has engaged in on-going collaborative work with visual artist Liliana Dirks-Goodman, sound artist Chris Cogburn, and visual artist Gabriel Rivera.
This project is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office/Cultural Arts Division believing an investment in the Arts is an investment in Austin’s future. Visit Austin at NowPlayingAustin.com.