8pm - 12am / $12-$20 sliding scale admission
8pm - 12am / $12-$20 sliding scale admission
performing OCCAM XI, by Éliane Radigue
1pm - 4pm / $5-$10 sliding scale admission
2pm @ Cloud Tree
performing Plateau Square
8pm - 12am / $12-$20 sliding scale admission
2pm - 4pm / Free with Museum Admission
/ / Schweitzer Gallery Misha Marks
8pm - 11pm / $13
performing Xenakis (Embellie) and Lucier (Still and Moving Lines of Silence in Families of Hyperbolas)
no idea festival
po box 684335
austin, texas 78768
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This year's festival brings together musicians and sound artists from around the world collaborating for 5 days in multiple gradations of free improvisation, composition, noise, and sonic interventions.
// No Idea focuses on three aspects of creative process:
1. Festival curated first meetings
2. Advancing existing collaborations
3. Establishing new groups
Audiences witness a broad spectrum of an artist's work as they move through their most established ensembles, developing groups, and new, first-time meetings.
// No Idea Saturday Afternoon Concert
Saturday, February 27, 1-4pm
A special afternoon concert featuring a series of three performances within three distinct sonic spaces in East Austin. Map and info.
// No Idea Filmmaking Project No Idea welcomes "Meteora" - the Mexico City filmmaking duo of Alina Montero and Diego Westendarp - to create video documents of this year's festival. No Idea 2016 trailer video.
// No Idea 2016 Poster
Special, limited edition No Idea 2016 poster designed and printed by Austin artist J.J. Campbell. Purchase Poster.
// No Idea 2016 FESTIVAL PASS
$40-$50 sliding scale Festival Pass allows entrance into all No Idea events in Austin and Houston. Buy Festival Pass
I grew up in a military family, so we moved around a lot, a different place every two years until my father retired in Colorado. I started playing music in a number of bar bands, whilst also experimenting with other forms - playing around with tape recorders and trying to find people to improvise with. Formed a few long lasting bands (Big Joey, City of Worms, Blowhole) and began recording and playing solo as hands to. Ran a cassette label during the '80's cassette culture explosion.
Eventually ended up in Seattle, where I fell in with the local musical community. Two years of near-constant playing with people like Paul Hoskin, Doug Theriault, Dave Knott, Angelina Baldoz, Lori Goldston, Mike Shannon and Wally Shoup. One memorable concert with John Butcher. Continued to develop my solo work, and began improvising with natural sound makers (stones, shells, pine cones) around 1996. Formed the first animist orchestra in 1999, to perform works for same.
Moved to Arizona and have since done tours with Tim Barnes, Sean Meehan, David Daniell, and Paul Hoskin, and toured Australia and New Zealand with Greg Davis. In 2001 I made recordings of the desert and its interaction with man made structures and released a new cassette every month for a year. I continue to investigate the desert, build crude sound making devices and play and record whenever the opportunity arises. In 2014 I received an Artist Grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Art.
Since 2001, Tim Barnes has been a widely recognized percussionist, composer, sound designer, and audio archivist. He has performed at the Guggenheim, Whitney, and Pompidou museums, as well as in galleries and performance halls in Tokyo, Berlin, Rome, Belgium, Stockholm, Mexico City, and Melbourne. He has been recruited to perform with some of experimental music’s most accomplished players - John Zorn, Kim Gordon, Ikue Mori, Jim O’Rourke, Lee Ranaldo, and Jeph Jerman. American corporations such as Starbucks, Nike, Cadillac, and Merrill Lynch have hired Tim to create sound collages for their television advertisements. He has also worked closely with Fluxus artists La Monte Young and Henry Flynt with archival restoration of recorded works, and in 2005, Tim performed and recorded Alison Knowles’ composition “Onion Skin Song”. Currently, he is working with Vito Acconci and the publisher Primary Information on presenting Mr. Acconci’s complete recorded works.
Tim lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where he is the Artistic Director of the performing and visual art space Dreamland.
Sho player Ko Ishikawa studied Japanese traditional Gagaku music under his masters Mayumi Miyata, Hideaki Bunno and Sukeyasu Shiba. He has been performing not only Gagaku music but also contemporary and experimental music. He is widely acclaimed on the national and international scenes.
Ko Ishikawa has performed with Evan Parker's Electro-Acoustic Ensemble, Otomo Yoshihide's FEN Orchestra, and Multiple Tap. Selected performances include Jazz em Agosto (Lisbon), Soundfield (Philadelphia / New York), Miji + Multiple Tap (Beijing), Cha'ak'ab Paaxil (Mexico), and Festival Hue (Vietnam).
Mike Majkowski is an Australian double bassist / composer, who has been active across a wide spectrum of international contemporary music since 2001, both as a soloist and as a member of many collaborative projects. Majkowski holds an active interest in developing, extending and refining technical possibilities for the double bass. Over the years he has been steadily developing a body of work for solo double bass. The work primarily focuses on repetitive structures and their mutations, relationships between stillness and pulse, as well as the spectral qualities of double bass resonance. He has produced five solo albums to date and has been living in Berlin since 2011.
You can find some listening here.
The tuba player and composer Robin Hayward, born in Brighton, England in 1969, has been based in Berlin since 1998. He has introduced revolutionary playing techniques to brass instruments, initially through the discovery of the 'noise-valve', and later through the development of the first fully microtonal tuba in 2009. In 2012 he invented the Hayward Tuning Vine, partly out of a desire to visualise the harmonic space implicit within the microtonal tuba. In 2005 he founded the ensemble Zinc & Copper Works to explore brass chamber music from an experimental music perspective.
Robin Hayward has toured extensively both solo and in collaboration, and been featured in such festivals as Maerzmusik, Fri Resonans, Donaueschingen, TRANSIT festival, Ghent Festival of Flanders, Ostrava New Music Days, Sound Symposium, Kieler Tage für Neue Musik and Wien Modern. Collaborations include such musicians as Charles Curtis and Roberto Fabbriciani, along with composers such as Christian Wolff, Alvin Lucier and Eliane Radigue. His approach to the tuba has been documented in the solo CDs Valve Division, States of Rushing and Nouveau Saxhorn Nouveau Basse, along with various collaborative releases. He has lectured at such institutions as Stuttgart Musikhochschule, the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, UDK Berlin, Dartmouth College and Wesleyan University.
Norwegian bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten exploded on the Scandinavian avant-garde jazz scene in the mid-'90s. By 2014, after his move to the US in 2006, he has become one of the hardest working bassists in jazz, having appeared on more than 150 albums both as a sideman and as a leader.
Ingebrigt has been listed in the Downbeat Magazine’s 60th, 61st and 62nd Annual Critics Poll as a Rising Star on both acoustic and electric bass, and in the 63rd edition he was also listed as one of the most important electric bass players of today. His work with his own bands The Young Mothers and IHF Chicago Sextet, as well as with The Thing, Atomic, Free Fall, Scorch, Sun Rooms, Dave Rempis Percussion Quartet and in duo formats with Joe McPhee, Evan Parker and Håkon Kornstad have put him at the center of a large pool of improvisers with strikingly different modes of operation.
Flaten has been showcased on several important international independent and major labels such as Delmark, Jazzland Recordings, Universal Music, Bomba Records, and has collaborated and performed with acclaimed musicians such as James Blood Ulmer, Bugge Wesseltoft, Chick Corea, Hilmar Jensson, Neneh Cherry, Ken Vandermark, Nate Wooley, Peter Evans, Chris Corsano, Tristan Honsinger, Daniel Levin, Dr. L. Subramaniam, Andrew DeAngelo, Tony Malaby, Nasheet Waits, Avreeayl Ra. Tyshawn Sorey, John Scofield, Dennis Gonzalez, John Christensen, Alvin Fielder, Chris Potter, Joe Lovano, Fred Anderson, Paul Lytton, Kidd Jordan and Hamid Drake, just to mention a few…..
Photo: Peter Gannushkin
Frode Gjerstad chose early to play mainly with international musicians because there was not a tradition in Norway for playing free improvised music. However, this has changed and a number of younger Norwegian musicians have picked up on this music over the last 10-15 years with whom he is often collaborating these days.
His relationship with British free drummer John Stevens which started in '81 and lasted up until his death in '94, was of great importance both musically as well as on a personal level. Through Stevens, he was introduced to some of the finest British/South African improvisers and got to know their way of playing. With Stevens he played with Johnny Dyani, Bobby Bradford, Barry Guy, Paul Rutherford, Derek Bailey, Nick Stephens and Kent Carter
After '94, he has played with a number of US musicians like Borah Bergmann, Hamid Drake, William Parker, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Michael Zerang, Kevin Norton, Steve Swell as well as with Peter Brøtzmann and Louis Moholo-Moholo. He put together his first all-Norwegian trio in 1998 with Nilssen-Love with whom he has played on and off since Paal was 15. This trio has toured Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and North/South America several times.
He has made more than 100 records as leader/co-leader.
My name is AVA MENDOZA. I play guitars and stompboxes and write music. Currently I'm based out of Brooklyn, NY, having recently relocated here from Oakland, CA. I have played guitar for most of my life and been active for the last decade playing my own music and in many different groups. In any context I try to bring energy, expressivity, and a wide sonic range to the music I play.
I've toured throughout the U.S. and Europe and recorded or performed with a broad spectrum of musicians including Carla Bozulich, Fred Frith, Nels Cline, To Live and Shave in LA, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Butch Morris, Weasel Walter, ROVA Sax Quartet, Tune-Yards, and more. I've played on recordings released by labels Weird Forest, Tzadik, Clean Feed, NotTwo, ugEXPLODE, Resipiscent, New Atlantis, and others.
Friendly critics have called me "Oakland's avant-jazz virtuoso" (Village Voice), "a versatile and virtuosic guitarist" (The San Francisco Film Society), "a wizard on a semi-circle of effects pedals, but… equally adept with FX-less technique," (Lars Gotrich, A Blog Supreme/NPR Jazz).
Multi-instrumentalist, improviser and interpreter of contemporary music. Plays viola, violin, and various other strings. Member of Generación Espontánea, and founder and artistic director of Liminar, ensemble dedicated to the performance of advanced music; his research focuses on the microtonal possibilities of string instruments. He teaches viola and new music at the School of Music of the National Arts Centre. Bruck curates the tonalÁtonal series of new and improvised music at the Goethe Institut in Mexico City.
Photo: José Luis Castillo Borja
Ramón del Buey studied composition and classical philology at UNAM. He has played bass clarinet and piano in different projects, mainly of improvised and contemporary music, in Mexico, Spain, France and the UK. Del Buey usually performs with Generación Espontánea with whom he recorded, edited and mixed «The Marvellous Transatlantic», an album that explored long-distance improvistation and composition between musicians living in Mexico and Europe. Since 2011, along with Darío Bernal, he has been doing workshops to intdoduce music to children, using sound art and experimental music as a platform.
He is currently composing a septet in order to complete his degree and writing a thesis on the function and survival of ancient greek and latin sources in Goethe’s Faust II and Joyce’s Ulysses.
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, he is now based in Houston, Texas and works regularly with Alvin Fielder, Sandy Ewen, David Dove & Chris Cogburn. Damon has run Balance Point Acoustics record label since 2001, releasing music focusing on transatlantic collaborations between US and European musicians.
Chris Cogburn is a percussionist living in Austin and Mexico City. His artistic practice is rooted in the collaborative context of improvisation.
Cogburn’s 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 (speaker/drum).
Current music projects include: un Trio de Gira, with Mexico City musicians Alex Bruck (viola) and Ramón del Buey (bass clarinet); Libración, a duo with Mexico City double bassist Juan García; and the frenetic noise group SSBT with Steve Jansen and Parham Daghighi.
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.
Steve Parker is a trombonist, composer, and curator living in Austin. He directs the hybrid arts series SoundSpace at the Blanton Museum of Art, is an artist of new music outfit Ensemble Signal in NYC, and teaches at UTSA.
As a soloist, he has performed throughout the US, Europe, Asia, and South America at notable festivals and venues. He has commissioned or premiered over 100 new works, working closely with many leading figures of contemporary music. Steve is particularly interested in art projects that serve as community building tools. To this end, he has organized performances for 100 marching tubas, 80 trombones, 99 percussionists, 80 carhorns, and installed large interactive instrument sculptures in parking garages and alleyways. His compositions have been featured at the Fusebox Festival, Ballet Austin, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Asian Arts Initiative, and in numerous public elevators in Chinatown Philadelphia.
Steve has been recognized by the Austin Chronicle (Best of Austin 2015), the Austin Critics' Table, and has received grants from the NEA, New Music USA, American Composers Forum, and ArtPlace. He holds degrees in Math and Music from Oberlin, Rice, and UT Austin, and previously worked as a Fulbright and Harrington Scholar.
Sandy Ewen is an experimental guitarist, artist and architect based in Houston. Her approach to playing is centered around found objects and extended guitar techniques.
Her current projects include the trio Etched in the Eye, a duo with Tom Carter called Spiderwebs, the trio Garden Medium, and an ongoing collaboration with bassist Damon Smith. She has performed alongside Roscoe Mitchell, Keith Rowe, Lydia Lunch and many others, and has performed and recorded with Weasel Walter, Jaap Blonk, Henry Kaiser and more. In 2014 she performed at San Fransisco's 13th Annual Outsound New Music Summit, and she has made several appearances at Austin's annual No Idea Festival.
Her groups Garden Medium and Spiderwebs both have recently released CDs, and both perform this month (Feb. 2016) in Mexico City.
Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, Steve Jansen is a Texas-based experimentalist whose musical pursuits focus on tape manipulation, alto saxophone, and electric guitar. Jansen has traveled extensively throughout Africa, Latin America, Europe, and across the States to unearth sound, and these recordings play a significant role in his unique sonic constructions.
Jansen has performed with improvisors from around the world, including Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, Tim Daisy, James Fella, Damon Smith, Sandy Ewen, and Whoopi Pupi. He has also shared the stage with musical luminaries Frank Rosaly, Dave Rempis, Rob Mazurek, Henry Kaiser, Retox, Christina Carter, Richard Ramirez, and The Home of Easy Credit.
He’s currently a member of depression-wave punk group War Boner, which recently completed an extended tour with Vancouver punk band Lié. He’s also one third of SSBT, an Austin improv group that toured with sound artist John Wiese (Sissy Spacek) in April 2014. The group, featuring Chris Cogburn and Parham Daghighi, is releasing a cassette on Astral Spirits/Monofonus Press and touring with Australian double bassist/composer Mike Majkowski in April 2015.
Misha Marks (guitar, baritone horn) was born in Wellington, New Zealand and grew up near Karamea, on the West Coast of the South Island. He started playing guitar when he was six and later studied jazz and classical guitar at school for two years before abandoning formal studies for the time being. He became involved in the free-improvised music scene of Wellington, based around the creative music venue Happy, where he played regularly with local and visiting improvisers, worked at the bar and was the cleaner. After spending time living and playing in Barcelona, Vienna and London, he moved to Mexico City with the idea of staying for about six months, which soon became seven years. Over the last five years in Mexico he has traveled regularly to villages in the Sierra Juarez of Oaxaca, playing with Zapotec and Mixe brass bands and making field recordings in village fiestas.
He is active in diverse scenes throughout Mexico City playing with projects such as Generación Espontánea, Rolling Eye, Carlos Marks, Nabuzenko, Lágrimas del Cíclope Llorón, Héroes del Destierro and Triple Double Trouble Bubble Bubble Bubble. He and violinist Carlos Alegre co-organize Rondas Repentistas, a bi-weeky series of improvised music concerts in a gritty cantina in central 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 80, the legendary drummer is still at the height of his career.
A trombone player, composer, improviser, and educator, David Dove has given performances and workshops across North America and internationally. As Founding Director of Nameless Sound (a non-profit organization in Houston, Texas), he curates/presents a concert series of international contemporary creative music, and has developed an approach, philosophy and practice of creative music education based on creativity and improvisation.
In 2003, the critics of the Houston Press named Dove “Best Jazz Artist”. In 2011, he and Nameless Sound were presented with The Houston Press’ “Mastermind Award”. Teaching and performing residencies have included events with: The Menil Collection (Houston, Texas), Espacio Fundación Telefónica (Lima, Peru), The Exploratorium (Berlin, Germany), Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (Mexico City), No.Esación.Arte (Merida, Yucatan), Ch’ak’ab Paaxil Festival (Merida, Yucatan), The National Children’s Theater (Hanoi, Vietnam) and Instal (Glasgow, Scotland). He’s written on music pedagogy for Intransitive and his chapter “The Music is the Pedagogy” will be published in the upcoming collection “Beyond the Classroom” (Routledge).
Dove’s early musical background ranged from studies in jazz and symphonic music, to punk rock bands. As a creative artist, free improvisation has been his primary (but not exclusive) approach to performance and collaboration. In addition to collaborations with other musicians, Dove has made music for film, dance, theater, and visual/installation work. He has focused on acoustic playing for most of his career, developing a style that draws influence from jazz, 20th century composed music, the electric guitar, electronic music and European improvisation.
Dove has collaborated with a wide range of local, national and international creative musicians. He performs in both set groups and ad hoc ensembles, as well as solo.
Renowned pedal steel guitarist Bob Hoffnar relocated to Austin from NYC five 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. Hoffnar currently holds down a weekly residency at Stay Gold with his post-experimetntal lounge band Mood Illusion.
Alina Montero and Diego Westendarp are a creative duo from Mexico City that operates under the pseudonym Meteora. They direct, write, edit and compose music for cinematographic pieces in all of its shapes since 2004. Together they have made short films, documentaries, promotional pieces, and a medium length feature film shot at Iztacchíhuatl volcano, which has been selected at film festivals around the world.
In her solo pursuits, Alina has written and directed visual pieces for non-profit organizations and brands. She is a storyteller passionate about experimenting with all kinds of narrative.
Diego works in the boundaries of music and film having composed and produced the score of five motion pictures and many short films. He plays plucked instruments and piano.
Meteora is the space where they converge to generate creative voyages together.