May 7–11: Matthew Shipp Residency at The Stone at The New School. The superhuman-like musicianship, telepathic interplay, and dizzying intricacies that piano colossus Matthew Ship, bassist Michael Bisio, and drummer Newman Taylor Baker bring to light on this year’s Signature (ESP’-Disk), a surefire contender for best jazz record of 2019, is next-level greatness. Shipp’ has bookended his residency with shows by his venerable trio plus essential duo sets with Ivo Perelman and Darius Jones, and a convening of a downtown New York City avant-garde jazz dream quartet featuring Rob Brown (alto sax), William Parker (bass), Whit Dickey (drums), and special guest, the esteemed poet and Brooklyn Rail scribe, Steve Dalachinsky. And don’t miss the Stone residency of Nicole Mitchell (May 14–18) when, on May 15, Shipp, Bisio, and Baker join forces with the exceptional flutist to recreate the magical, free-floating rapport heard on their collaborative record, All Things Are (RogueArt), released in early 2019.
May 8: Cellular Chaos, Id M Theft Able, Recital, Dylan Sherry, and Alex C at The Glove. Cellular Chaos, the Brooklyn/Philadelphia nihilistic noisemakers made up of vocalist Admiral Grey, guitarist Weasel Walter, bassist Rad Chaines, and Itch Princess on “sticks and stones,” were regulars at makeshift death traps like Death by Audio and other dives of that ilk that have vanished from the landscape. Cellular Chaos haven’t spread their destructive, Lydia Lunchian assault of punk and no wave in what seems like eons. Thankfully, tonight marks their long-awaited return to the stage and it’s sure to be utter mayhem worthy of their band name. Expect blood, sweat, and bruises.
May 8: SAICOBAB and I.U.D. (Lizzi Bougatsos & Sadie Laksa) at ISSUE Project Room. The titanic influence that YoshimiO, the legendary vocalist and multi-instrumentalist of bands like Boredoms, Free Kitten, and OOIOO—plus the improvisational trio she shares with percussionist Susie Ibarra and multidisciplinary artist Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe—wields in experimental music in Japan and beyond is immeasurable. YoshimiO’s wildly creative spirit continues in SAICOBAB, a Japanese quartet that features sitar, double bass, voice, and riq (a middle-eastern tambourine). On their debut, 2017’s SAB SE PURANI BAB (Thrill Jockey), SAICOBAB created a trance-like, strings-bending ritual beast that pointed to ancient tradition while also looking forward. With dazzling rhythmic shifts and spiritual yelps that nod to both Japanese and Indian musics, YoshimiO, Yoshida Daikiti, Akita Goldman, and Motoyuki “Hama” Hamamoto melted ears and dazzled minds. This evening they make a rare local appearance.
May 8: The Spellcasters Music from The Anacostia Delta Record Release Show at The Bitter End. A shredding, boogieing, and chugging guitar fest ensues on the just-released debut by The Spellcasters, titled Music from The Anacostia (Cuneiform). Alternative Guitar Summit chief Joel Harrison, Anthony Pirog of The Messthetics, and Dave Chappell blaze glorious backwoods trails with their three-pronged Telecaster blitz as they loosely pay tribute to the late guitar great Danny Gatton, once described as “the world’s greatest unknown guitar player,” with epically twanging jams cut from the jazz, honkeytonk, rockabilly, and old school rock and roll cloth.
May 9: Arto Lindsay, Ikue Mori, YoshimiO at Roulette. Guitarist Arto Lindsay and drummer Ikue Mori helped birth the no wave movement in 1970s-era New York City in the band DNA. Decades later, both Lindsay and Mori remain crucial cogs in the improvised music and avant-garde scenes and tonight they team with YoshimiO (of “Japanoise” pioneers, Boredoms) as a trio. With Lindsay’s cross-breeding of Brazilian music and samba with skronk, Mori’s wall-to-wall percussive and laptop-driven approach, and YoshimiO’s voice and drums, this evening promises to be chaotic and cathartic.
May 9: Red Bull Music Festival Presents Moor Mother: Red Summer at BRIC. A fearless musical warrior and activist, Philadelphia’s Moor Mother makes protest music for these times. On records such as 2016’s Festish Bones, she constructed sonic, glitch-fused collages where techno, rap, spoken word, electronic music, and free jazz collide. As part of the Red Bull Music Festival, Moor Mother presents her new work Red Summer, a large-scale performance and an installation by Black Quantum Futurism which will occur on the 100th anniversary of Red Summer—the flood of heightened anti-Black racial terror that swept cities across America in 1919.
May 9: Nick Podgurski 35th Birthday with Feast of the Epiphany, New Firmament, plus guests. As mastermind behind Feast of the Epiphany and New Firmament, and as drummer of doom-jazz trio GRID, composer, singer, and synthist Nick Podgurski has taken a unique approach in his heady deconstruction of the metal genre. Feast of the Epiphany’s otherworldly drone-metal sprawl on the recently-released Practicing Loss is his latest trek into experi-metal territory. Podgurski, with guitarists Andrew Smiley and Caley Monahon-Ward, wields his multi-instrumental prowess on vocals, keyboards, and bass as the trio channel Kayo Dot, Toby Driver, Sunn O))), and Peter Gabriel-era Genesis in its wall-of-feedback dystopian rumble.
May 10: Sunwatchers & Eugene Chadbourne and Dire Wolves at Nublu Classic. For the last half-decade, the formidable psych-jazz unit Sunwatchers have specialized in a swirling and hypnotically repetitive maelstrom of Albert Ayler-like spiritual sax blasts, furious noise rock, and nihilistic punk with a politically-charged ax to grind. Their most recent album, Illegal Moves (Trouble in Mind), is skronky, meditative protest music. 3 Characters, a collaborative record with the legendarily quirky experimental guitarist and singer, Dr. Eugene Chadbourne, continues that vibe of spontaneity and social justice themes with a loose avant-folk boogie rollick. A set comprised of tunes by the Minutemen (bassist Mike Watt even makes a guest appearance), Doug Sahm, and Henry Flynt, 3 Characters is the ostensible soundtrack of the resistance, with heavy doses of guitar twang and saxophone squawks.
May 11: Sam Ospovat Ride Angles Record Release Show at iBeam. Drummer Sam Ospovat, a ubiquitous force in the Brooklyn avant-jazz underground who provides the heavy-hitting, polyrhythmic backbone in guitarist Ava Mendoza’s Unnatural Ways and Brandon Seabrook’s Die Trommel Fatale, has just struck out on his own with his debut as leader. On Ride Angles, released via Chris Speed’s Skirl label, Ospovat, accompanied by a core group made up of bassist Kim Cass and pianist Matt Mitchell—plus a rotating cast of guests including, Seabrook, alto saxophonist Nick Lyons, and vocalist Lorin Benedict—showcases his leadership with a program loaded with whiplashing shifts and patterns, dense colors and breakneck speed movement. Ospovat’s off-kilter compositional technique and bracing improvisations are akin to the rapid-fire intricacies Mitchell and Seabrook deal in on their own work, and Ride Angles is quite the thrilling ride full of similarly-minded unpredictable moments.
May 12: VDSQ Presents Arian Shafiee, Wendy Eisenberg, and Che Chen at Union Pool. This year marks the 10th anniversary of VDSQ Records, the choice destination for the most forward-thinking of 21st century guitar music. 2018 was a banner year for VDSQ as they put out the the serenely plucked and picked blues-leaning abstractions of The Shape Is Your Touch by Wendy Eisenberg and Arian Shafiee’s A Scarlet Fail, a shapeshifting and melodious affair from the American primitive school of guitar. For this afternoon’s showcase of “guitar futurism”, 75 Dollar Bill’s Che Chen will join Eisenberg and Shafiee in giving a sneak peek of material from his forthcoming VDSQ debut.
May 13: Chris Pitsiokos & Chris Corsano Duo at Public Records. Brand new Gowanus venue Public Records is fast becoming a prime destination for improvised music and this pairing is a must-see. Drummer Chris Corsano is an adventurous master of the kit who’s played with guitarist Bill Orcutt and Joe McPhee, amongst numerous other luminaries of the avant-garde. Tonight, Corsano joins forces with alto saxophone wunderkind Chris Pitsiokos in what is sure to be a set of the most sonic and meditative of explorations.
May 18: Skryptor Record Release Party with Ava Mendoza, ESSi, and Bbigpigg at Ceremony224. Skryptor doles out devastating punishment of the highest metal-informed order on its just-released and fittingly-titled debut, Luminous Volumes (Sleeping Giant Glossolalia/SGG Records). A supergroup consisting of members of such groups as Dazzling Killmen, craw, and STATS, Skryptor’s jarring time signature-mad, riff-heavy attack is a proggy, sludgy, and cutthroat head-banger.
May 20: False Harmonics #4: Peter Brötzmann, Heather Leigh, and William Parker at Pioneer Works. Deep in his 70s, avant-garde jazz titan Peter Brötzmann remains a tirelessly creative and raging freak-force of nature. Together with pedal steel guitar wizard Heather Leigh, they’ve made soul-searching and noisy records, including Sex Tapeand Sparrow Nights, both released by Trost Records. Tonight, Peter Brötzmann and Leigh will first perform as a duo then team with bassist and composer extraordinaire William Parker as a trio as part of Pioneer Works’ False Harmonics series.
May 20: Barre Phillips at Zürcher Gallery http://www.galeriezurcher.com/ Barre Phillips is a living legend of the bass. Phillips, an ECM Records veteran who’s played with Jimmy Giuffre, Eric Dolphy, Archie Sheep, and Marion Brown, just to name a few, revolutionized solo bass with the first-ever record of its kind, 1969’s Journal Violone. This evening, the bassist makes an ultra-rare appearance as he celebrates the release of his latest solo bass recording, End To End (ECM).
May 23: Blank Forms Presents Kevin Drumm and Hoffman Estates (Loren Connors and Alan Licht and more) at Brooklyn Music School. Released in 1998, Hoffman Estates(Drag City), by guitar visionaries Loren Connors and Alan Licht, is a touchstone of the post-rock and post-jazz movements. Sublimely recorded by Jim O’Rourke, the blissed-out, after-hours soundscapes, free-improvisational salvos, and guitar and horn wizardry remains a seminal document of Chicago underground jazz. Tonight celebrates two decades of Hoffman Estates as Connors and Licht are joined by musicians who played on the original recording, including Ken Vandermark, Josh Abrams, and more. Chicago-based sound artist and noise musician Kevin Drumm headlines.
May 28: 20 Years of Ostrava Days at Bohemian National Hall. Ostrava is a post-industrial city at the eastern end of the Czech Republic, and every other year the city hosts Ostrava Days, the finest festival of new, avant-garde, and experimental music, as well as classics of modernism, founded two decades ago by Petr Kotik, Earle Brown, and Christian Wolff. This concert, featuring the Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble, conducted by Kotik, will give a concise but evocative view into Ostrava Days, with music from Kotik, Wolff, and Browne, and also Alvin Lucier and some of the student-resident composers that the festival hosts. The 8 p.m. concert is preceded at 6 by a film. Free, but RSVP for a seat.
May 30: The Austerity Program, Dälek, Pyrrhon, and Nordra at Union Pool. Since 1998, Dälek—the left-field, New Jersey-based experimental hip hop collective—have trudged on without compromise. With a sonic soup of noise, rap, electronics, and metal, Dälek defy genre and this style-spanning bill manifests outside-of-the-box music making.
June 1: Henry Flynt: Everlovin’ Game On at ISSUE Project Room. Experimental music composer Henry Flynt helped pioneer the avant-garde scene in New York City in the 1960s and 1970s, and decades on his influence knows no bounds. For this evening’s performance, Flynt performs Everlovin’ Game On, an evocation of his best-known work, featuring solo electric violin and pre-recorded tambura.
June 1–2: Soup & Sound Around Brooklyn presents We Are One! at Flatlands Dutch Reformed Church: From Continuum Culture &was Arts via percussionist Andrew Drury’s Soup & Sound series comss to days of Jazz and West African Dance. Honoring the important African musicologist J.H. Kwabena Nketia, the two days are free and open to the public. Performers include saxophonist David Bindman, bassist Wes Brown, pianist Art Hirahara, percussionist Royal Hartigan—collectively Blood Drum Spirit—and Ghanaian dancer Kwabena Boateng, and there will be a screening of the film WE ARE THE ONE!.
June 1–2: Oozing Wound at Union Pool and The Glove. Thrash-metal outsiders Oozing Wound dish out a world of hurt that is not for squeamish. The Chicago-based trio’s angst-ridden fury has gotten more political on its new full-length, titled High Anxiety (Thrill Jockey), an epic blast of gnarly noise-rock fury and tech-metal-leaning complexities.