Chris Brown – Ben Davis – Marshall Trammell CD Release Show

Sunday, March 5, 2023 — 3:00 PM
Tickets: $15 General, $10 Members & Students
Buy Tickets Online

This show celebrates the release of “Tremble Trove”, a double-CD album of free improvised music on ArtifactRecordings featuring Chris Brown, piano&electronics; Ben Davis, cello; and Marshall Trammell, drums. The show opens with the Bay Area premiere showing of “Eleven Postures”, directed by Matt Volla, a performance film documenting Marshall Trammell’s solo percussion vernacular as a composition practice for visual score interpretation. Marshall Trammell generates sustained percussive tones with continuous one hand rolls on earthy drums, bell and cymbals; playing his economical drum setup with both stick and hand he explores tonalities with intense drive and intricate complexity. Chris Brown plays both the keys and the strings of the piano, expanding a fully orchestral palate with carefully selected electronically manipulated passages, and opening up vast new soundscapes. Ben Davis searches out the infinite tonal and percussive qualities of the cello through the expressiveness of his bow and pizz: hitting, scrubbing, floating, forcing, while often employing micro-tonal tunings and richly noisy tone-colors. On the second CD the trio is joined by the singular clarinet playing of Matt Ingalls, whose squawking, tongued trills, overblown multiphonics, and ear-piercing vibrations create a vital, animalistic chaos while the fathomless depths of his bass clarinet take the music into uncharted sonic territories. This disc is 45 minutes of continuous free improvisation generated within a structure called “Symbiotic Quartet” in which every possible combination of the four players occur. Solos, duos, trios and quartet are all dovetailed into a single, unbroken whole.


Eleven Postures (65:51 minutes; Director Matt Volla) is a performance film documenting self-styled Music Research Strategist Marshall Ryan Trammell’s discourse and solo percussion vernacular as a composition practice for visual score interpretation. Produced by the 2022 Borealis Festival (Bergen, Norway) the score itself was produced as a public installation for the “Burn the Temples/Break Up the Bells” residency at Off Lomas, operated by Candice Hopkins and Raven Chacon, in Albuquerque, NM from 2018-19. Eleven Postures was shot on the fifth floor of the iconic Tribune Tower in Downtown Oakland, CA during the pandemic in 2021.

The score itself is a series of artifacts produced the public installation exhibition for reimagining the origin of the Underground Railroad (UGRR) quilt block codes for today’s political climate in the Southwest landscape. 33 random participants, in groups of three, reflected upon conditions of fugitivity persistent in their midst, then designed new, UGRR-inspired “quilt block codes” as accomplices to the fugitives present in their everyday lives. Participants burned codes on wood using branding irons holding shapes representative of polygons from a found array of sewing patterns (pre-1840). Participants installed the new codes themselves onto eleven poles in a zig-zag formation in a vacant lot using hammers and nails, tied colored yarn amongst the codes and gave short interviews about their process for documentation.

The chief investigation centered on the self-defense and martial strategies of the 1680 Pueblo Revolt that saw to free Santa Fe from Spanish rule, pre-UGRR. Conceived of during Music Research Strategies “The Status Quo Is My Enemy” solo tour, “Burn the Temples/Break Up the Bells” launched the Black Amnesia and Indigenous Justice series of interventions as well as the birth of the band In Defense of Memory m, featuring Laura Ortman and Carlos Santistevan.

CHRIS BROWN is a composer, pianist, and electronic musician, who makes music with acoustic and electroacoustic instruments, interactive software, computer networks, microtonal tunings, and improvisation. His compositions are designs for performances in which people bring to life the musical structures embedded in scores, instruments, and machines. His music is available on New World, F’oc’sle Music, Tzadik, Pogus, Intakt, Ecstatic Peace, Red Toucan, Leo, and Artifact Recordings. He has recorded music by Henry Cowell, Luc Ferrari, José Maceda, John Zorn, Glenn Spearman, and Wadada Leo Smith; recordings as an improvisor include with Pauline Oliveros, the Rova Saxophone Quartet, Fred Frith, William Winant, and Frank Gratkowski, among many others.
BEN DAVIS (cello) has been concentrating on fusing his playing and ideas into a raw vehicle of acoustic expression. Following gigs with Evan Parker, Louis Moholo, Vincent Courtois and Wadada Leo Smith, Ben developed a taste for a freer approach to improvisation, consequently touring and recording extensively with Ingrid Laubrock, Simon Nabatov, and his own group Basquiat Strings which collaborated with Ellery Eskelin and was nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize.
MARSHALL TRAMMELL is a composer, archivist, sound installation designer, percussionist and self-styled Music Research Strategist. He performs with In Defense of Memory, with Laura Ortman (White Mountain Apache) & Carlos Santistevan (mestizo), White People Killed Them with Raven Chacon (Navajo) & John Dietrich (white), and with Aaron Turner (white) & Tashi Dorji (Bhutan). Known for past projects such as Mutual Aid Project and Black Spirituals, he has worked with David Murray, Pauline Oliveros, India Cooke, Roscoe Mitchell, Joe McPhee, Saul Williams, Lisa E. Harris, Genny LIm, Francis Wong, John Jang, Susan Alcorn, Daniel Carter, Ada Pinkston, Luke Stewart, Jamal Moore, Kade Twist, Bruce Ackley, Thurston Moore and others.Trammell has received support from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Borealis Festival, Charlotte Street Foundation, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Southern Exposure, Intercultural Leadership Fellow (US: 2018-19), Western Front (Vancouver, BC), Pro Arts COMMONS, Prelinger Library , SF Contemporary Jewish Museum, Bergen Kunsthalle (Norway), and EastSide Arts Alliance.

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