Extradition Series summer concert video preview: open season

Seventh edition of Creative Music Guild's quarterly experimental music series showcases spacious 21st century sounds

In January 2016, Portland composer and percussionist  Matt Hannafin spontaneously stood up during intermission at a CD release concert for a recording with Portland oboist Catherine Lee and declared it the first in a new quarterly series. Thus, in appropriately improvisatory fashion, was born Creative Music Guild’s Extradition Series: concerts of sparse, meditative, experimental music drawn from “the 20th-century experimental tradition” that often features works by composers associated with the Fluxus movement, the Wandelweiser Group, and Portland’s improvisation scene, of which Creative Music Guild is a key component.

Matt Hannafin performing with Tim DuRoche, Branic Howard, and Loren Chasse, Extradition Series spring concert 2016, Portland.

The written scores are usually open in some way: flexible in instrumentation and duration, frequently aleatoric and/or improvisatory, and often graphically rather than conventionally notated. It can all be pretty weird, even tedious if you’re not used to it, but once your monkey mind settles down it’s extremely potent stuff.

This Saturday, July 22, the Extradition Series Summer Concert features seven works over the course of about two hours. As with the other Extradition concerts Hannafin’s put on since then, the upcoming summer show—their seventh altogether—alternates solos with larger ensemble pieces. Click on the video below to see excerpts from a rehearsal for this concert.

Video interview with Matt Hannafin and Epstein rehearsal.

Doug Theriault will bring out his electric guitar to perform Giacinto Scelsi‘s percussive 1967 piece Ko Tha. Lee will perform two recent compositions written specifically for her: Dana Reason’s 2017 Chanson de Fleurs – Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Taylor Brook’s 2016 microtonal piece Alluvium for oboe d’amore and pre-recorded sound. Pianist/electronicist Matt Carlson and bass clarinetist Jonathan Sielaff will trade off on a pair of solo pieces by Wandelweiserist Anastassis Philippakopoulos, Sielaff playing 2002’s “Onissia” on bass clarinet and Carlson switching from synthesizers to piano for “Song No. 2” from Two Piano Pieces 2006-2008.

And it wouldn’t be an Extradition show without at least one big ensemble piece. Carlson, trumpeter Douglas Detrick, saxophonist and clarinetist Lee Elderton, and Lee will perform Samuel Vriezen‘s melodic collage The Weather Riots from 2002, and the group (with: sound engineer and composer Branic Howard, saxophonist Reed Wallsmith, and percussionist Loren Chasse replacing Detrick, Lee, and Theriault) will play Nomi Epstein‘s Combine, Juxtapose, Delayed Overlap from 2013. This last ought to be a hoot, if the rehearsal I attended is any indication. Each of the players chooses three sounds and passes them around the ensemble according to the composer’s titular directions.

A lot of the fun in this kind of music, aside from the transcendent realms your spirit can reach when you sit back and soak it up, comes from the interactions among the various players, some of whom have been working together for nearly a decade. This is a group of highly advanced musicians who could be doing whatever they like—and what they like, at least four times a year, is to make slow, beautiful, contemplative music together.

 Extradition Series Summer Concert begins at 7 pm on Saturday, July 22 at Portland’s Leaven Community Center at the edge of Alberta Park on Northeast Killingsworth. Tickets are sliding scale, $5-15.

Matthew Neil Andrews is a composer, percussionist, and editor at Portland State University. He and his music can be reached at monogeite.bandcamp.com.

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