Oren Ambarchi / Zeena Parkins & Brian Chase

8 Sep 2016

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First Unitarian Congregational Society

New York
New York, United States


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Oren Ambarchi, and Zeena Parkins & Brian Chase perform at First Unitarian Congregational Society, presented by ISSUE Project Room.


ISSUE Project Room's Fall 2016 season opens at the First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn Heights with Oren Ambarchi in solo performance, and a duo set by Zeena Parkins & Brian Chase.

Known for his deft and exploratory instrumental approaches, Oren Ambarchi has been a central driver of extended sonic investigation in innumerable ensembles and productions with Fennesz, Charlemagne Palestine, Sunn 0)), Thomas Brinkmann, Keiji Haino, Alvin Lucier, John Zorn, Merzbow, Jim O'Rourke, Crys Cole and more. This evening Ambarchi appears solo, showcasing his highly refined sonic work ethic that is at once nuanced and cerebral -- sonically sublime and intelligently constructed.

Pioneering harpist and multi-instrumentalist Zeena Parkins performs a duo set with composer and drummer Brian Chase, two performers who share a focused intensity and immediate physicality. As an ensemble, their music crafts hyper-vivid portraits-in-sound which integrate the detail and subtlety of classical composition with the energy and urgency of improvisation. Their backgrounds cover an impressive range as each have worked extensively within experimental music, art, and dance contexts as well as in the rock world: Zeena with Bjork and Brian with Yeah Yeah Yeahs; this diversity is apparent in their music. Zeena and Brian have pioneered new approaches to their respective instruments and bring an attitude of innovation and discovery to their collective creative process.

Doors open at 7pm

Oren Ambarchi's works are hesitant and tense extended songforms located in the cracks between several schools: modern electronics and processing; laminal improvisation and minimalism; hushed, pensive songwriting; the deceptive simplicity and temporal suspensions of composers such as Morton Feldman and Alvin Lucier; and the physicality of rock music, slowed down and stripped back to its bare bones, abstracted and replaced with pure signal. From the late 90's his experiments in guitar abstraction and extended technique have led to a more personal and unique sound-world incorporating a broader palette of instruments and sensibilities. On releases such as Grapes From The Estate and In The Pendulum's Embrace Ambarchi employed glass harmonica, strings, bells, piano, drums and percussion, creating fragile textures as light as air which tenuously coexist with the deep, wall-shaking bass tones derived from his guitar.

Ambarchi has performed and recorded with a diverse array of artists such as Fennesz, Charlemagne Palestine, Sunn 0)), Thomas Brinkmann, Keiji Haino, Alvin Lucier, John Zorn, Merzbow, Jim O'Rourke, Keith Rowe, Akio Suzuki, Phill Niblock, John Tilbury, Richard Pinhas, Evan Parker, crys cole, Fire! and many more. Since 2001 Ambarchi has toured Europe, North America and Japan regularly and has performed at major festivals such as ATP (UK), Sonar (Spain), Mutek (Canada), CTM (Germany), INA GRM (France), Roskilde (Denmark), Etna Fest (Italy), Festival De Mexico (Mexico) and many more including a recent live collaboration with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra at the Tectonics festival in Reykjavik. His acclaimed trio with Keiji Haino and Jim O'Rourke performs in Tokyo annually with many of their concerts documented on Ambarchi's Black Truffle label. Ambarchi has released numerous recordings for labels such as Touch, Southern Lord, Editions Mego, Drag City, Kranky and Tzadik. His latest release, Quixotism was listed in The Wire magazine's top 50 releases of 2014.

Zeena Parkins in an American composer, multi-instrumentalist, improviser and pioneer of contemporary harp practice and performance who reimagines the instrument as a “sound machine of limitless capacity.” She has extended the language of both acoustic harp and an evolution of her original electric ones, through the inventive use of expanded playing techniques, preparations, and custom designed electronic processing.Her work draws on a relationship to dance, film, feminism, assemblage, architecture, urbanism, and textiles. In a circuitous path her processes employ sound travel, dispersion and transformation, tracings, list making, extended scoring tactics, historical and technical research. She challenges and embraces contradictions and perceived boundaries through a morphing of acoustic, electric and invented instruments, the use of multi-speaker audio installations and other extra-musical considerations. Within a shifting constellation of Improvised / Composed / Space / Sound / Noise / Music, Parkins remains in proximity to our body’s social dialogue with the insides and outsides of listening, with sound’s physicality, and music as material and matter, engaged in continuous translations of sonicity within a multitude of environments both expected and surprising.

She has been commissioned by DAAD, The Whitney Museum, The Tate Modern, Sharjah Art Foundation, NeXtWorks Ensemble, Roulette Intermedium, The Donaueschinger Musiktage and Sudwestrundfunk, Bang on a Can, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, and more. She has collaborated with choreographers including works with Neil Greenberg and John Jasperse, as well as with filmmakers including soundtracks for Cynthia Madansky, Daria Martin, and Abigail Child. She has performed/recorded with Bjork, Ikue Mori, John Zorn, Fred Frith, Christian Marclay, Butch Morris, Elliott Sharp, Brian Chase, Okkyung Lee, Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo, Matmos, Pauline Oliveros, Yoko Ono, Yasunao Tone and more. She has also been awarded the Doris Duke Artist Award, Three NY Dance and Performance Awards (Bessies), DAAD Artist Fellowship, Shifting Fellowship, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, NYFA Music Fellowship, Peter S. Reed Fellowship, Prix Ars Electronica Honorary Mention, and has held residencies include at Atlantic Center for the Arts Master Artist-in-Residence, Herb Alpert/Ucross Prize, DAAD/Berliner Künstlerprogramm, Civitella Ranieri/Umbertide, Oxford University/The Ruskin School, Harvestworks/NYC, and more. Parkins has also been a lecturer at Oxford and Princeton Universities and has taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Bard College. Currently she is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Mills College.

Brian Chase is a Brooklyn based drummer and composer. His diverse range of work/play includes that with rock band Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the community of the New York improvised/experimental music scene, and Drums & Drones, an electro­acoustic project focused on applying the principles of Just Intonation to drums and percussion. Performances have taken him across the world, and he appears on many recordings spanning a broad stylistic range. In addition to drums, Brian is a regular practitioner of Ashtanga Yoga.

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Exhibiting artists

Oren Ambarchi

Brian Chase

Zeena Parkins

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