OTO Projects and Electra have invited Maria Chavez to curate a weekend of events at Cafe OTO evolving from questions of mutual support, drawing together in London a diverse network of sound artists and musicians. The weekend presents two days of performance, installation and film, exploring the work of these seven, individually and together. Conceived by Maria Chavez on the occasion of her European tour with Audrey Chen, the event will include their current collaborative live work; MV Carbon's debut London performance, as well as a programme of her short films; a new performance installation by Heather Leigh; a studio visit with Kaffe Matthews as well as her Duo With Hammerheads, a composition using shark synthesizer; a new installation work by Lia Mazzari; Andrea Zarza will play records and show images from her sound archival collection; and a culminating ensemble performance including all seven in various formations. The title references the seven qualities one should look for in a friend, according to the Mitta Sutta.
MV Carbon is an interdisciplinary artist and composer recognized for her autonomous approach to music and performance. Using video, sculptural sound objects, cello, hand-built circuitry, and reactive media in her performances, recordings, and installations, she creates provocative situations with the intention of submerging the spectator in a space that is detached from normality. Her work explores expectation, empowerment, magic, fetish, imagination, and interpretation, by way of questioning the associations made with imagery in the context of contemporary visual culture. Experiential situations are a significant component to her work as she embraces the immediacy of the situation at hand. Her intention is to objectify emotions through music, costume, manipulation of objects, and imagery, to investigate the multifaceted layers of perception. MV Carbon is currently based in Brooklyn, NY.
Born in Lima, Peru, Maria Chavez is an improviser, sound artist and curator. Her sound installations, visual objects and live turntable performances focus on the values of accident and it's unique, complicated possibilities with sound emitting machinery like the turntable. This year, Chavez wrote and illustrated her first book object entitled Of Technique: Chance Procedures on Turntable. The book serves as a how-to manual for those interested in learning the abstract turntablism techniques that she developed with the turntable. She was awarded the Jerome Foundation's Emerging Artist Grant by New York's Roulette Intermedium in 2008, and in 2009 she became a recipient of the Van Lier Fellowship by The Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund of the New York Community Trust. Maria was an artist in residence with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, the Clocktower and the DIA:Beacon Museum. She has worked with Christian Marclay and the Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC as part of Christian Marclay: FESTIVAL and has shared the stage with renowned artists such as: Pauline Oliveros; Thurston Moore; Phill Niblock and Otomo Yoshihide. Chavez will be artist in residence with INKONST, Malmö, Sweden in April, 2014. In September, 2014, Maria will present her first solo exhibition with the Visual Arts Center at the University of Texas in Austin entitled, Needlework. She was recently awarded the St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble commission to present a new sound piece in 2015 at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
Audrey Chen is a Chinese-American musician who was born into a family of material scientists, doctors and engineers, outside of Chicago in 1976. Parting ways with the family convention, she turned to the cello at age 8 and voice at 11. After years of classical and conservatory training in both instruments, with a resulting specialization in early and new music, she parted ways again in 2003 to begin new negotiations with sound in order to discover a more individually honest aesthetic. Now, using the cello, voice and analog electronics, Chen's work delves deeply into her own version of narrative and non-linear storytelling. A large component of her music is improvised and her approach to this is extremely personal and visceral. Her playing explores the combination and layering of a homemade analog synthesizer, preparations and traditional and extended techniques in both the voice and cello. She works to join these elements into a singular ecstatic personal language. Over the past decade, her predominant focus has been her solo work with the cello, voice and electronics, but she has more recently begun to shift back towards the exploration of the voice as a primary instrument. Among musicians, she has worked with Phil Minton, Tetuzi Akiyama, Toshimaru Nakamura, Ko Ishikawa, Tomomi Adachi, Matana Roberts, Elliott Sharp, Aki Onda, Phill Niblock, Frederic Blondy, Jerome Noetinger, C. Spencer Yeh, Nate Wooley, Mats Gustafsson, Mazen Kerbaj, Michael Zerang, Tatsuya Nakatani, Le Quan Ninh, Joe Mcphee, Susan Alcorn, Michele Doneda, Paolo Angeli, Dylan Nyoukis, Id M Theft Able, plus many more. Recent projects, aside from performing solo, include her voice only duo with London based artist, Phil Minton and a collaborative project with German conceptual artist, John Bock. Two new album releases in 2013 include, a quartet LP with Nate Wooley, C. Spencer Yeh and Todd Carter on Monotype (Warsaw), and a duo record with Phil Minton on Subrosa (Brussels).
Since 1990 Kaffe Matthews has made and performed new electro-acoustic music worldwide with a variety of things and places such as violin, theremin, wild salmon, Scottish weather, NASA scientists, bicycles, hammerhead sharks, school children, desert stretched wires and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Currently she is researching interactive composition for outdoor enjoyment with sonic bicycles and live diffusion instruments for spatialized performance. In 2013, works made include a bicycle opera for Porto; Opera FiXi , and an LP of cosmological songs & music Yird, Muin, Starn, with three Sky Gazer chairs in the Galloway Forest, Scotland in a Vital Spark collaboration with Mandy McIntosh. In 2012 her Galapagos hammerhead research project saw completion in the 3D installation You might come out of the water every time singing, and wild salmon project Where are the wild ones? with Laura Harrington, made a mid-stage performance with the Salmon Band, bass opera singer, choir, projected two screen score and live multichannel accompaniment, selling out at the Bridges festival, Newcastle. Her second bicycle opera The swamp that was... also completed in Ghent, running for 3 months. Acknowledged as a pioneer in the field of electronic improvisation and live composition, Kaffe has released six solo CDs on the label Annette Works, and continues to direct vibratory interface design project music for bodies. Her 2004 collaboration Weightless Animals was awarded a BAFTA, she received a NESTA Dreamtime Fellowship in 2005 and an Award of Distinction, Prix Ars Electronica 2006 for the work Sonic Bed_London. In February 2006 she was made an Honorary Professor of Music, Shanghai Music Conservatory, China and in 2009, a patron of the Galapagos shark conservation society.
The daughter of a coal miner, Heather Leigh was born in West Virginia and raised in Texas and has been active in the underground since the 1990s. These days she is firmly rooted in Scotland, where she has co-run Volcanic Tongue Record Shop & Mailorder since 2004. Her music has been described as "high metal masses for amplified strings and vocals that blow all notions of form and fidelity to pieces." She's released numerous recordings on labels such as Not Not Fun, Family Vineyard, Fag Tapes, Ultra Eczema, Chocolate Monk, Kendra Steiner Editions, Ikuisuus, Eclipse Records, Fonal and her own imprints, Wish Image and Volcanic Tongue. Her main instruments are pedal steel guitar and voice, as well as electric guitar, keyboards, bells, cuatro, psaltery, drums, bass and harmonica. She's toured extensively as a solo artist throughout the US and Europe and has also played/performed/released music with Ash Castles On The Ghost Coast, Charalambides, Scorces (a duo with Christina Carter), the Dream/Aktion Unit (a group with Thurston Moore, Paul Flaherty, Chris Corsano and Matt Heyner), Jailbreak (a duo with Chris Corsano) and Jandek who she's played live and recorded with in the States and the UK as well as played bass with on the only tours he's ever done in Northern Ireland and Australia.
Lia Mazzari is an artist and musician currently working in London. After studying Transcultural Communication in Vienna she decided to deepen her interest in sound and she is currently finishing a Degree in Sound Arts & Design at the London College of Communication. In 2013 she established MüllZimmer with Jonas Gustafsson, performing together as a percussion/cello duo. Their current project The Unheard Seen is their first publication, and is part of an ongoing research concerning the act of listening. Lia is currently exploring different aspects surrounding language and sound and their relationship, with listening being a central and recurring theme. More
Andrea Zarza was born in Madrid and grew up between Spain and USA. She currently lives in London, where she works at the British Library Sound Archive. She has taught workshops about sound and listening to children at the Institución Libre de Enseñanza and has attended workshops with Ángeles Oliva and Toña Medina, Francisco López, Jana Winderen and Pauline Oliveros. A recent radio art commission can be listened to here.
Image curtesy of Andrea Zarza