Wednesday, January 5, 2011

February at Highwire

I'm guest curating the music at Highwire Gallery for the month of February. I'm really excited for each of these shows and I think it's going to be a really great month!

For any more info, check out

curated by Nick Millevoi

Fire Museum Presents:

Split Red

The Suite Unraveling

Eliot Klein

Guest curator: Nick Millevoi

Thursday, February 3rd 7:30pm
Highwire Gallery
2040 Frankford Ave.
Philadelphia, PA $6

Split Red:

High-energy punk rockers Split Red bring touches of hardcore and funk into their music, guaranteed to be crowd pleasing and have plenty of hooks and shredding. Featuring members of Bird Fly Yellow, Cuddle Magic, Shot x Shot, and Make A Rising. - bio

The Suite Unraveling:

Fresh from the Brooklyn underground, guitarist/composer Lily Maase is at the forefront of the arts movement sweeping through the recently-reclaimed industrial neighborhood known as Bushwick, where she has built fully-equipped stages onto warehouse rooftops, recorded music in cavernous basements and abandoned churches, and built a multimedia experience around her new music ensemble, the Suite Unraveling, with her own two hands.

More rock band than jazz quintet, yet playing music more improvised than composed, Lily and the Suite have one foot planted in the world of rock and roll and the other firmly in the avant-garde, embracing influences as broad as Ornette Coleman, electronic music, and guitar heroes from the days of yore. The goal? To create something honest and new, steeped in the sensibility of simpler times, but reaching with reckless abandon into the sonic landscape that lays ahead.- bio

Eliot Klein:

Scifi soundworld/future blues: shifting layers of tonesounds from fingers on keyboards: stage piano, synthesizer, just-intoned kalimba: run through delays and loops: improvisation mending through time, the elastic substrate. 5-year resident of Philadelphia, denizen of the former Adventure Island warehouse studio, hailing from such bands as Unisex Starship, Big Ocean, Magnet City Kids, Jimmy Cousins' band, Shri Camel, Foxy Lady and the Pretty LA Women. - bio

Fire Museum Presents:

John DeBlase Quartet

Julis Masri & Charles Cohen

Alban Bailly

Guest curator: Nick Millevoi

Saturday, February 12th 8:00pm
Highwire Gallery
2040 Frankford Ave.
Philadelphia, PA $6

John DeBlase Quartet:

Johnny DeBlase is a bassist and composer most noted for his work with instrumental guitar trios Many Arms and Zevious. His new group performs high energy, improvisational compositions which are inspired both by the 20th century serialism of Schoenberg and Webern, as well as the avant garde jazz of Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, and David S. Ware. The project features a rotating ensemble of his friends and collaborators who are some of the most creative musicians from Philadelphia and New York City.

For his performance at the Highwire Gallery Johnny will be accompanied by trumpeter Joe Moffett from New York, as well as guitarist Nick Millevoi and drummer Dave Flaherty, both from Philadelphia.

Julius Masri & Charles Cohen:

Charles Cohen is one of the legends of Philadelphia's improvised music scene and his singular voice is one of the most enduring and unique. Creating music since 1971, his music is entirely improvisational and produced solely on a vintage Buchla Music Easel synthesizer, an extremely rare integrated analog performance instrument made by synthesizer pioneer Don Buchla.

Julius Masri, born in Lebanon, started playing music state side in the early 90s. He attended Bard College where he studied composition with Joan Tower, percussion with Thurman Barker (AACM), and experimental sonic improvisation with Richard Teitelbaum (MEV). Aside from focusing on trap set and circuit bent electronics, Julius stays up late at night worrying about the gray space between the immediate transcending experience of sonic phenomenon, the immediate aural complacency when confronting idiomatic music, and the attempt to reconcile both worlds in the most uncomfortable fashion possible. He currently performs in Chakra Khan/Air Pirates, Electric Simcha, TinMouth, Q-1, as well as many pickup projects with creative people in any number of artistic denominations. Julius is an Aries, and loathes walks on the beach.

Alban Bailly:

Alban Bailly is a multi-faceted guitarist who studied composition, jazz and improvisation in France. He performed regularly in Europe before moving to the US in 2005. Currently a resident of Philadelphia, he continues to be in demand and has performed extensively on the east coast. He has been fortunate to play with many wonderful musicians in various settings (Jack Wright, Ron Anderson, Carol Genetti, Fred Lomberg Holm, Alvin Curran, Tony Buck, Jack Wright, Alex Waterman, Martin Tetrault, Eve Risser, Mark Sarich, Helena Espvall, Andrew Drury, and many others).

He has been a part of the improvised music scene both in Europe and US performing bowed acoustic guitar and toured the in US and Canada with Jack Wright, Mark Sarich and Heddy Boubaker among others. He is the guitarist for the contemporary tango group Oscuro Quintet, for which he’s also written several pieces. Alban is also a collaborator of the dance company Da•Da•Dance for which he composes electro-acoustic music and performs regularly.

Fire Museum Presents:

Hush Arbors & Jason Ajemian

Puddles In A Gondola

Travis Woodson

Guest curator: Nick Millevoi

Sunday, February 13th 7:30pm
Highwire Gallery
2040 Frankford Ave.
Philadelphia, PA $6

Hush Arbors and Jason Ajemian:

Hush Arbors/ Keith Wood, has gone from “soft and hypnotically picked folk songs” to “belting rock records,” David Morris of wrote. The London-based guitarist and songwriter, a native of Virginia, is a member of Current 93 and Voice Of The Seven Thunders. Wood played for sold-out crowds at the ATP festival and shared the bill with Sonic Youth.
Jason Ajemian is among experimental jazz’s most exciting and innovative bass players. He has played with Ken Vandermark, Dave Rempis and other stars of the genre. Ajemian has performed in over 15 countries and at world-renowned art events and venues like The Basel Art Fair in Switzerland, The Palais De Tokyo in Paris, the Festival Della Creativa in Florence and the 50th Anniversary of the Moderna Museet in Stockholm.
Ajemian and Wood are old friends. “After 20 years of playing music apart and together,” Wood says, “we’ve decided to take it on the road and roll like we always roll.”
James Jackson Toth wrote of Hush Arbors 2009 record Yankee Reality: “This is a classic, timeless, ageless American album, full of hope and yearning, beauty and melancholy, and which pours out stories like flowers. Are these rainbow-at-end-of-the-world songs? Or heart’s break/heart’s ease-at-the-end-of-the-road songs? Anyway, I thought of horses and acid, death sleeping in a shack, the river bursting its banks and grinning like whisky, the birdlight and fading empires. Starry, dreamlike, plaintive, gorgeous and broken, Yankee Reality is a perfect and utterly individual work, endlessly inventive yet instantly recognizable as being in a noble and generous tradition.”
Jacksonville, FL, reviewer Jack Diablo wrote about a 2009 solo performance by Ajemian that the musician “coaxed the audience to the floor below the stage, politely asked for their attention, and then received it in full. While his request was polite, his music demanded it. For an instrument that is normally relegated to providing accompaniment for a melody, he made the beast sing, eliciting sounds far outside its usual range.”

Puddles In A Gondola:

Puddles in a Gondola are Matt Stein (illuminea, Live Like a King, Racketshop) - double bass, toys, June Bender (Oscuro Quintet, Matt Davis) - violin, more toys and Hal Dean ( - guitar, EWI, electronic toys. Enthralled and inspired by Hal's sonic landscapes, Matt and June asked Hal to join PIAG in the early days of 2011 so the three could explore their mutual fascination with sound together. PIAG takes a truly improvisatory and childlike approach to playing. Often times the audience has to remind itself that they are watching real musicians and not observing a psychedelic Montessori school on the brink of destruction.

Travis Woodson:

Travis Woodson either is or has been in Make A Rising, Electric Simcha, Papa Chango Curse, Extreme Fishkin!, Sonic Liberation Front, Live like a King and more. Tonight he will be performing a solo guitar set.

Fire Museum Presents:

Dan Blacksberg Trio

Joe Moffett with Nick Millevoi and Alban Bailly

Bonnie Lander/David Smooke& Erik Spangler

Guest curator: Nick Millevoi

Friday, February 25th 8:00pm
Highwire Gallery
2040 Frankford Ave.
Philadelphia, PA $6

Dan Blacksberg Trio:

Dan Blacksberg, Matt Engle, and Mike Szekely are the Dan Blacksberg Trio. From “With the vinyl-only release of Bit Heads, we can add Philadelphia-based trombonist Daniel Blacksberg to the short list of players chancing a trio stretch. Blacksberg is a player who has clearly done a lot of listening to his forebears—Mangelsdorff, Moncur, and George Lewis—as well as other brass instrumentalists who explore the wide point of extended technique. But what's notable is that, as an improviser, Blacksberg is far from showy, eschewing the rampant brashness of BassDrumBone and Brahma for a cooler, introspective detail and an easy egalitarianism with his trio mates.”

Joe Moffett, Nick Millevoi & Alban Bailly:

Joe Moffett is a trumpeter/improviser based in Brooklyn. He has been playing the Northeast circuit for years, leading his own groups and also performing with musicians such as Joe Morris, Kenny Wollesen, Tony Malaby, Ras Moshe, Luther Gray, Forbes Graham and Jim Hobbs. He is a founding member of Bird Fly Yellow ( and leads a newly-formed quintet, Ad Faunum. He will be joined tonight by guitarists Nick Millevoi (Many Arms, Circles, Make A Rising & Racketshop) and Alban Bailly (Inzinzac, Oscuro Quintet & Da•Da•Dance

Bonnie Lander, David Smooke & Erik Spangler:

Bonnie Lander is a coloratura soprano based out of Philadelphia, PA. Classically trained, Bonnie performs a wide range of contemporary music in a wide variety of spaces. Most recently, she performed with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society under the baton of Leon Fleisher and as a participant in the Yellow Barn Kurtág Residency studying with soprano Susan Narucki, who affectionately termed her "the Janis Joplin of modern music". Bonnie is currently an Artist In Resident at the space, a founding member of chamber opera company "Rhymes With Opera," and a featured artist with the "Embody" vocal arts series in Baltimore. She has performed experimental improvisation with amazing musicians Mike Formanek, David Smooke, Shodekeh, Kate Porter, and Peter Price.

Composer David Smooke currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland, where he teaches music theory, rock music history, and composition at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University. The Washington Post claims that "Smooke has some of the most uninhibited brain cells around" and describes his music as "superb [...] a kaleidoscopic sonic universe where anything could happen." His honors include those from the Maryland State Arts Council, BMI, the National Association of Composers USA, the MacDowell Colony, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. He has composed commissions for groups and individuals including the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), CUBE, and pianist Amy Briggs. He received an M.M. degree from the Peabody Conservatory, a B.A. magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, where he received the Century Fellowship, the highest fellowship offered by the Humanities Division. In addition to his composition activities, David performs improvisations on toy piano with the support of Schoenhut toy pianos and also blogs on New Music Box, the online magazine of the American Music Center.

Erik Spangler (Ph.D. Harvard University, 2004) is a composer and electronic musician working within a wide range of listening environments. His compositions have been performed across the United States and internationally from Canada to China, by ensembles including the Atlantic Brass Quintet, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and International Contemporary Ensemble. Expanding upon turntablist performance practice, Spangler performs “fizzy, angular susurrations” (Ann Arbor Observer) and patterns on diverse electronics, creating music ranging from “a skillful merger of recorded Arabic phrases flecked with DJ turntable effects” (Washington Post) to “rigorous … improvisatory” (Gramophone) compositions with a range of chamber ensembles. His music may be heard on Innova Recordings, indie hip-hop label Nonsense Records, and live in spaces ranging from academic concert halls to art galleries, from clubs to sidewalks.
Performances include collaborations with duYun, Rare Degree, Oxter, S.K.I.P., VJ Art Jones, Cornell Symphony Orchestra, and Ithaca College Percussion Ensemble.
Spangler works regularly with saxophonist Brian Sacawa as the genre-bending duo Hybrid Groove Project. Along with Sacawa, Spangler is also co-founder of the Contemporary Museum's Mobtown Modern music series in Baltimore.

Fire Museum Presents:

Eric Carbonara


Brendan Codey

Guest curator: Nick Millevoi

Sunday, February 27th 7:30pm
Highwire Gallery
2040 Frankford Ave.
Philadelphia, PA $6

Eric Carbonara:

Eric Carbonara is a Philadelphia based guitarist, whose search for raw aural expression has led him far and wide – from noise & electro-acoustic music to taking deep root in the bounty of the wooden guitar. Carbonara’s playing draws on the rich musical styles from Andalusian Roma-Flamenco to Hindustani & North African folk to form a kind of exalted pidgin style of playing that covers a wide emotional terrain from meditative calm to restless unease. He has developed a unique idiom of gypsy music for non-existent cultures by combining rogue self-taught, free-form classical and flamenco techniques with those learned from formal studies in India.His live solo performances range from contemplative acoustic meditations to aggressively loud electric sets; both encompassing Carbonara’s ability to draw the listener in to his world, where his lyrical playing doesn’t just entertain but triggers a myriad of emotional responses.

Carbonara has toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe promoting his releases on Locust Music, Majumua Music and New American Folk Hero as well as various self-releases for solo guitar and solo upright-chaturangui music.


Pairdown is David Leicht and Raymond Morin. They perform as a duo, drawing from a repertoire of fingerstyle guitar duets and songs. Their newest project, Petrifidelity, is a limited-edition, handmade tablature book with accompanying audio CD. Prior releases include: Holykyle, a full-length LP blending folk rock, blues and experimental music; and the eponymous EP, a short collection of acoustic songs.

Brendan Codey:

Brendan Codey is a foghorn trigger and rapscallion lover of dusk, five o'clock, and shadow. He was born onto the east coast sometime in the late seventies and is a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist. Currently, he abides in Philadelphia, PA, where he labors in labor.