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The FreeSessions by Lakebottom Sound
First Sundays at Imagine Nation Brewing Company
6:00 - 8:00pm
About:
The FreeSessions is an improvised music jam session to promote collaboration amongst musicians in Missoula across genres and ages. Our aim is to cultivate a healthy musical eco-system in Missoula. We are fostering a climate of improvisation, transcending musical styles and structures. This session is to encourage active listening among all participants and a full acceptance of all musicians. It is a place to grow your musicality and yourself.

The FreeSessions is an incubation ground for new musical projects and collaborations. Every month a curator presents a new piece of music or concept or improvisation for the first 30 minutes.

The FreeSessions occur on the first Sunday of the month at Imagine Nation Brewing Company.

How it works:
Following the curator’s presentation, participants are invited to be a part of group improvisations throughout the rest of the evening. To participate, please sign up upon arrival. Session facilitators will help arrange groups. The curator may or may not set a theme to guide the improvisations.

We encourage participants to read the curator’s blog post prior to the session.

Ed Stalling & John Sporman present Sunday, April 8

The Seabag Letters

The canvas seabag went everywhere with my father during WWII. The place names
written on it tell their own story: Pearl Harbor, Saipan, Tinian, Iwo Jima, and
Kyusha Japan (Nagasaki). It sat in the corner of an attic for 60 years. Dad died,
mom moved to assisted living, we cleaned out the house and the seabag came with
me to Missoula. I didn’t know the empty ammo clip was in it until TSA saw it at the
Minneapolis airport. They detained me, emptied out the full contents, and called in
the head honcho. She asked me to explain the giant stack of old letters – all bundled
and tied with twine. The tough TSA woman said, “Now you’ve made me cry.” She
ordered the paperwork torn up and everything to be carefully placed back in the
bag, looked at me through tears and said, “These are so precious, my grandfather
was in WWII, get out of here and don’t say anything.”

All the letters written to dad from 1943 to 1951 are in that bag. Now, 75 years
later, I’m opening the letters from his father who’s on a ship in the Pacific; from his
brother writing from a foxhole on the front line in Italy; from an aunt back home on
her farm, and from girlfriends hoping the war is quickly over. One particularly
persistent writer is fifteen years old in her first letter and eighteen in her last. She
writes about how they’ll marry someday and name their first son Eddie Jr., which is
precisely what they do.

The writers share their experiences and thoughts: stories of tragedy, concern, love,
fear, daily life, and news of the day. They reminisce about good times from the past
and express hope for a better future. They hope that they will simply see each other
again someday.

John and I will use this session as an incubator for a larger project to tell these
stories. I want to hear how musicians across genres, genders, and ages react to the
stories and put them to sound. To kick it off, John Sporman and I will use my
father’s own reflections about his experiences in the war — especially about the first
wave of Iwo Jima — as creative triggers to freely improvise sound.

We’ll then create multiple small-group sessions – that’s you — and read excerpts
from the seabag letters. Together you’ll use those words as creative triggers to put
those stories – be it emotions, themes, concepts – into sound. We will record the
FreeSessions to use as ideas in a bigger project to come.

While you are welcome to just come and observe, the primary purpose of this
session is creation from a diverse group of musicians — so we encourage you to
come with your instruments, an open mind and heart, and most of all, your ears.

Bios
Drummer/Percussionist Ed Stalling moved to Missoula is 2006 from Minneapolis where he played with several jazz big bands and in over thirty musical-theater productions. You see him on stages all over the state with The John Floridis Trio, Ed Norton Big Band, Captain Wilson Conspiracy, Basement Boyz, Jim Driscoll Trio, Kimberlee Carlson, Joan Zen Jazz, and Contra Brasil. Inducted into the Missoula Blues and Jazz Society “Hall of Fame” in 2016, Ed likes to “gives back” by helping with all three local high schools jazz bands, and teaching out of his home studio.

John Sporman is a Missoula-based musician and composer. After studying music composition and technology at the University of Montana, John moved on to score over 30 silent movies, dance shows and theatrical productions. He has scored for The International Wildlife Film Festival, The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, The Bozeman Film Society, Bare Bait Dance, The Montana Repertory Theatre, MCT Community Theatre, Sunshine Unlimited, Viscosity Theatre and for an array of independent artists. John is currently working as a national touring musician.

Michael Musick presents Sunday, March 4

For the fourth iteration of Lakebottom Sound’s FreeSessions, I am looking forward to playing with and exploring the notion of sonic ecosystems. This driving theme in much of my art and music is concerned with how energy is transformed, grows, becomes concentrated, is transferred between elements, and ultimately dissipates in ecosystems. For me, this energy is always sound.

Many musicians and sound artists feel that sound drives their wanderings through life; we stop while on walks to listen to interesting textures in the world’s soundscapes; we find ourselves in flow states while playing, as the immersive experience of music floods our senses and ears; we organize our lives and days around the contemplation of sound and the experiencing of sound. Sound is the energy that allows us to survive.

My current compositional activities focus on the development of electronic improvisation systems (EIS). Inspired by the installations and writing that constitutes my Sonic Spaces Project, these are complex systems, comprised of both fully controllable elements and semi-autonomous agents. The fully controllable elements include common digital signal processing techniques of live microphone signals and synthesis. The semi-autonomous agents are digital objects that make music independently through the analysis of and reaction to sonic energy in the system. Sound is required for both the live signal processing techniques as well as for the agents to exist. The sounds made by the fully controllable elements influence the directions and music making of the semi-autonomous agents. In response to the musicking of the semi-autonomous agents, I am forced to change. This change may be out of a need to reduce a saturation of energy in the system, a desire to push the agents in a different direction, or a choice to stay the same in order to maintain the current stasis of the system.

For the FreeSessions, I will perform with this system and talk about how the ideas of sonic energy and ecosystems influence my improvisation during the first 30 minutes. During the latter 90 minute block, I want groups to think about how the concept of sonic energy can be used to drive their own creative group improvisations. Some of the other ideas I would like the group to think about are;

•How can a burst of sonic energy be used as a finite resource during the course of an improvisation?
•What does it mean to work towards stasis in a large ensemble improvisation?
•How much energy should an agent/player take-up during an ensemble improvisation?
•What does it feel like to allow energy to die and find an ending?
•In large ensemble creative improvisations, how can we create and maintain a healthy system/composition?

I am excited to participate in the March FreeSession as the curator. I am looking forward to a night of creative improvisation for the community and by the community of Missoula improvisers.

– Michael

Michael Musick’s Bio

Michael Musick is a media artist, creative technologist, composer, performer and improviser. His current practice and research is collected under The Sonic Spaces Project which aims to create, explore, and define sonic space ecosystems; a type of eco-art and interactive music system. This project explores principles of complex systems, natural ecosystems, cybernetics, and emergence, through interactive music systems. As a performer, Michael uses the computer to understand, process, amplify, and play with sounds occurring within the performance space.

Michael is an Assistant Professor of Media Arts at the University of Montana. Prior to Montana, Michael was at New York University, where he earned a PhD in Music Technology. There, he was part of the Computer Music Group within MARL (NYU’s Music and Audio Research Lab) and the Citygram research group. Prior to NYU, he earned an M.A. in Media Arts from the University of Michigan, where he began his work with performance systems while continuing his studies in creative improvisation and multi-media performance. Michael also has a background in tuba performance and recording arts; holding performance degrees from The University of Southern California (M.Mus ’09) and The University of Colorado (B.Mus ’07). Originally from Arvada, Colorado, Michael is a lover of the mountains, snow, and wandering among the aspen or pine trees.

For more information please visit his personal site at michaelmusick.com .

Jessica Catron presents Sunday, February 4

Hi there! Here’s what I’m brewing up for Sunday’s FreeSession…

I am looking forward to guiding our group through multiple practices using experiments and sound games to shape and encourage new explorations of sound using both improvisation and spontaneous composition.

I will be drawing ideas from experimental composers and musicians like Cornelius Cardew, James Tenney, Pauline Oliveros, Earle Brown, Derek Bailey, La Monte Young, and Christian Wolff. The goal is to open up preconceived notions of “music” and (hopefully) deepen ones connection with their instrument.

I encourage participants who can come with an open mind and want to take new risks on their instrument. As musicians, especially in performance, we tend to fall back on patterns, riffs, modes, and practice techniques that feel comfortable and accessible. My hope for this session is to create a safe space to broaden our comfort zones a bit. And things just might get pretty weird!

Anyone can participate – no matter your level, age, or experience with music. The exercises will be in mostly large group format, with moments of smaller group work. However, because of the limitations of the room we are using, I would like to maximize on acoustic sounds and try keep electric needs and drum sets to an absolute minimum (acoustic guitars/bass and hand or toy percussion/single drums welcomed!!). Think minimal space requirements. There will be a keyboard, a snare, a tom, and two tiny amps for use. No PA, no mics.

To open up the session, I will be doing a solo cello performance of a few short pieces by Sofia Gubaidulina, Cornelius Cardew, Alba Fernanda Triana, and Phillip Glass that explore limitations and experiments on the instrument. These are meant to share some of my own musical interests, as well as give examples of works that push the boundaries of common notions of music.

Finally, I hope to make this fun! I love to teach and share what I’ve learned in my musical journey – and I look forward to the exchange. I’m excited to make sounds with you. See you there!

My bio:
Jessica spent the majority of her professional life in Los Angeles where she worked as a freelance performing artist and educator. Some of her musical adventures include touring, performing, and/or recording with artists including Carla Bozulich (Geraldine Fibbers/Evangelista), Harold Budd, Nels Cline, Devotchka, The Eels, Fun, Vinny Golia, Trevor Hall, The Heavy, Eleni Mandell, Dave Matthews, Tim Meyers (One Republic), Sheila Nicholls, Linda Ronstadt, Spiritualized, James Tenney, Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney), Steve Vai, VOCO, Scott Weiland, Emily Wells, The White Buffalo, and Wilco. In addition to live performance, Jessica has appeared on The Tonight Show, The Late Late Show, NBC Music Video Awards, KPFK’s Global Village, and has been a soloist for films Mean Creek, The Strangers, The Covenant, and Levity.
As a teaching artist, Jessica worked for YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles) – a partnership of the Harmony Project and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Her students have had the fortune of sitting beside LA Phil musicians in concert, backing up Stevie Wonder, Journey, and The Black Eyed Peas, performing with Grace Potter and Sharon Stone on the Tonight Show, playing the Super Bowl halftime show with Coldplay and Beyonce, and traveling to the White House to play for Michelle Obama and Joshua Bell. She has lead workshops at the University of Auckland (NZ), Universidad de Bogota (Columbia), Music on Main and the Western Front (Vancouver, BC), University of Nebraska (Omaha), Cornish College (Seattle), University of New Mexico (Albq), Lake Tahoe Unified (CA), Port Chester School District (NY), Community Music Works (RI), Greensboro Guilford County Schools (NC), and the California State Summer School for the Arts, among others.
She moved to Missoula in 2013 with her family. Currently, she is founder and lead teacher of Grow Music Missoula and a member of the Missoula Symphony.

And here’s a silly song that has little to do about any of it. It’s about life on a Destroyer Ship:

Bill Kautz presents Sunday, January 7

I am very excited to be curating the 2nd FreeSessions on January 7th and particularly excited to perform my music with Christopher Gray (guitar), Steve Kalling (bass) and Naomi Siegel (trombone and keyboard). These individuals have been extremely open to exploring new territories with these compositions and I want to thank them right off the bat for their flexibility and trust in me leading this ensemble. They’ve been such a pleasure to create with.

We will be performing 3 pieces for you tonight titled Segmented, Sehnsucht and Where is Solitude. Two of these compositions were performed 3 and 5 years ago as part of The Racer Sessions and the IMP Fest in Seattle under different instrumentation. I have wanted to revisit these compositions with new musicians and in a completely new setting to see how I hear and approach things differently. A lot has happened for me since I first wrote these…most recently becoming a father, moving to Missoula, taking on a very new identity as a stay at home dad for my daughter and spending a lot more focused time on the trumpet than I have in many years.

What we will be playing for you is based heavily around open improvisation. However, each piece has a defined melody with corresponding chord changes which will set up the flavor for the improvisations that follow the melody. A very similar progression as performing jazz standards…melody, solos, and playing through the melody again to end the piece. However, we may or may not stick to the structure introduced with the melody. This is a very exciting aspect of performing these pieces as each time is a different experience.

 Every individual in this group has the equal amount of power to introduce a framework or deviate from a previously introduced framework during the improvisation sections. A specific instrument, such as the bass, does not need to just act like a “bass”…think of whatever that may mean to you! Everyone’s role in the performance is of equal importance and purpose, which is to create original music where everyone’s voice and ideas are heard.

An exciting thing about this ensemble is that every player has some unique musical niche where they spend the majority of their time performing or practicing. So when we open up and get free, it’s amazing to hear the blend of influences weave together. We all have our unique influences and sound. It has been a hope of mine that those influences can be embraced and amplified in this ensemble. I hope you can pick up on that when we perform.

For the improvisation section that follows, I would like to encourage every ensemble to conference briefly before performing to establish a place to start and finish. This can be as abstract as a word, feeling, color, number, etc or as specific as a defined key, scale, rhythmic figure, etc. Wherever you begin your performance, try to revisit that idea through all instruments represented while improvising. Come back to the original idea to play it verbatim, chop the heck out of it or expand upon it.  And resist the urge to only have melodic instruments or voices take the melody.

Thanks for reading. We’ll look forward to seeing you Sunday January 7th at 6pm.

-Bill Kautz

Naomi Siegel & The Missoula Conduction Experiment present Sunday, December 3

Mayana Kantor – Cello

Ed Stalling – Drums

Nancy Seldin – Recorder

Tanner Fruit – Saxophone

Amelia Thornton – Violin

Linden Marie – Voice

Caroline Keys – Lap Steel

Naomi Siegel – Conductor

Steve Kalling – Bass

Joe Glassy – Guitar

 

Thanks for being a part of the kick-off of The FreeSessions – the new all-ages, improvised, curated jam session occurring on the first Sunday of the month at Imagine Nation Brewing Company.

Each month a curator will present, perform, discuss, and/or share from 6:00-6:30pm. From 6:30-8:00pm, participants are encouraged and invited to partake in group improvisations. The curator may set a theme for these improvisations.

I am thrilled to be kicking off these sessions with a demonstration by the Missoula Conduction Experiment – a multi-generational group of Missoula musicians spanning an array of backgrounds in music. We will play a short set of improvisations created through Conduction – a method of using signals to construct or modify sound in real time developed by Butch Morris.

I have had the pleasure of playing in a band for the last 6 years that uses Conduction. I love the feeling of having to stay on my toes, keep listening, and jump in to serve the music at any given moment in any given role as indicated by the Conductor. There is an inherent interplay and trust between conductor and improviser.

Conduction has a way of fostering an environment of immediate intentionality, of playing without judgment, of playing without planning out what you’re going to play ahead of time, of playing and listening. With less time to think, it can be easier to just play with conviction. To participate. To add to the music the best you can within the parameters of the given signal. It takes away a few of the decisions of when and how to play.

Group Norms for the Session.

Listening. Listening. Listening.

Take risks

Play your truth and trust your voice

No fixing

Experience discomfort

Listening to the group

For these sessions, let’s be inspired by Conduction by committing to listening, jumping in with conviction to serve the music, and being aware of what’s happening with the whole group.

The FreeSessions is a space to create and interact with other musicians in new ways. It is a place to experiment. It is a place listen, play with conviction, and let the pieces of music be how they are without judgment. This is an invitation to try something new, to play something you’ve never played before, to practice listening like you’re hearing things for this first time.

We will have a drum set, amps, and a keyboard available. For folks who play those kinds of instruments, all you have to do is bring your sticks, guitar, bass, fingers and so forth.

More from Naomi Siegel, the curator

I was introduced to Conduction in 2011 by Wayne Horvitz, who learned directly from Butch Morris – the principle theorist and practitioner in the evolution of Conduction. I’ve been a member of Wayne’s Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble for the last 6 years where we use Conduction in conjunction with written big band music. In this ensemble I have had the pleasure of playing with many of Seattle’s most prolific and creative improvisers who add their own unique voices to the ensemble, as directed by Wayne the conductor.

Many of the folks in the Missoula Conduction Ensemble have been taking free improvisation classes with me on Monday nights, which has been a thoughtful and beautiful exploration into creating music together without preconceived notions of tempo, key, structure, harmony, melody, form, genre. Instead, we cast those elements to the side to put an emphasis on listening and intuitive creation. We become in tune with our breath and bodies before creating sound. We are interested in proactive listening and participation. We honor the silences just as much as the sounds. We play games and set limitations to push ourselves out of our comfort zones. We practice listening, listening, listening. This class has been very much inspired by the work of Pauline Oliveros. I have been incredibly inspired by all the participants of this class to create in new ways.

Inspiration:

Learn more about Conduction from Butch Morris himself:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFdHksQedA8

 

Pauline Oliveros: Listening as Activism

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/listening-as-activism-the-sonic-meditations-of-pauline-oliveros

 

Conduction by Wayne Horvitz used in conjunction with written music.

 

 

Conduction by Tyshawn Sorey.