Saturday, January 19th, ISSUE opens its 2019 season with an impressive gathering of ISSUE alumni from across the organization’s history. Featuring a roving program of deeply experimental artists, the evening welcomes back multidisciplinary sound conceptualist and 2009 Artist-In-Residence Matana Roberts, composer and vocalist Haley Fohr of Circuit des Yeux, and vocalist Suzanne Langille performing alongside Daniel Carter, Neel Murgai, and Loren Connors.
Matana Roberts debuts a new iteration of her “I Call America” series, an open-ended mixed media exploration of a sound framework she has been working on since 2015, with previous iterations staged at The Whitney Museum of American Art and Fridman Gallery. Roberts is joined by at least two other sound makers and the performance will feature various modes of improvisation, text, projections that function as a score, and more.
Haley Fohr of Circuit des Yeux presents “Wordless Music,” a recent work for solo voice that Fohr describes as “a simple concept — one microphone, and one voice.” She continues, “I began incorporating solo vocal rehearsals as a way to keep in touch with myself and focus on finding new sounds buried deep down inside of me. ‘Wordless Music’ is improvisational in spirit and a meditation on nowness. When I began performing Wordless Music in public, my personal practice was transformed into a very powerful action in which I become nothing more than a body emitting energy into the world. I have been left inspired by the stripping of context and feel a new freedom in my literal form. I am able, I am conscious, I here in this moment, I am body shouting into the world, nothing more and nothing less.”
Suzanne Langille stages a new performance focusing on the human voice as an instrument, and conversely on the instrument as an expression of the essence of the human voice. The performance includes emotive singing and speaking, contrasted with throat singing and overtones (Neel Murgai), interlaid with improvisational guitar (Loren Connors) and saxophone (Daniel Carter) — all masters of their respective instruments.
Matana Roberts is an internationally recognized, Chicago-born saxophonist and multidisciplinary sound conceptualist working in various mediums of performance inquiry. She has created alongside visionary experimentalists of this time period in various areas of improvisation, dance, poetry, visual art, theater; as a saxophonist, documented on various sound recordings as collaborator, side woman and leader. Her recent work focused on the place / problem of memory and tradition as recognized, deciphered, deconstructed, interrogated through radical modes of sound communication, alternative styles of musical notation, and multi-genres of improvisation. Roberts’ work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art (NYC), Fridman Gallery (NYC), Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), and Museum of Contemporary Art (Detroit). She is well-known for her acclaimed Coin Coin project, a multi-chapter work of “panoramic sound quilting” that aims to expose the mystical roots and channel the intuitive spirit-raising traditions of American creative expression. Constellation Records began documenting the Coin Coin project in 2011 and has released the first three of a projected twelve album-length chapters to date.
Haley Fohr is a vocalist, composer and singer-songwriter based in Chicago, IL. Her musical endeavors focus around our human condition, and her 10 year career as Circuit des Yeux has grown into one of America’s most successful efforts to connect the personal to the universal. She is most distinctly identified by her 4-octave voice and unique style of 12 string guitar. Her mysterious “Jackie Lynn” project landed her on the cover of Wire Magazine in August of 2016. Her recent works include an Original Soundtrack for Charles Bryant’s Salomé (1923), commissioned by Opera North, and critically acclaimed 2017 album “Reaching For Indigio”, released on Drag City Records.
The Wire once described lyricist Suzanne Langille’s vocals without describing her voice at all. Instead, it focused on Langille’s aesthetic, how she abandons ego to “throw herself at the feet of her material and let it speak through her.” A vocalist, lyricist and aesthetic editor known for her work with guitarist Loren Connors and the band Haunted House (Connors. Langille, Burnes and Murgai), Langille has also performed with sitarist/percussionist Neel Murgai, the band San Agustin, guitarist David Daniell, violinist Laura Ortman and poet Yuko Otoma. Her recordings have been released on the Family Vineyard, Secretly Canadian and Northern Spy labels.
Neel Murgai’s throat singing, with its deep vocal intonations and overtones, provide an intriguing contrast with Langille’s emotive vocals. He has a passion for frame drums, including the Persian daf, which he will engage at this event. Murgai also specializes in sitar, having studied with Pundit Krishna Bhatt. In addition to his work with Langille and the band Haunted House (Connors, Langille, Burnes & Murgai), Murgai has composed music for film and television, and performed with artists such as Bill T. Jones, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Cyndi Lauper, Sameer Chatterjee, and others. He co-founded the Brooklyn Raga Massive, an artists’ collective presenting Indian classical and cross-cultural Raga inspired music blended with other traditions.
Daniel Carter, who plays alto, tenor and soprano saxophones, flute, clarinet, trumpet, and piano, is a master of creative music whose work dates back to the mid-early 60s, and also to the mid-late 50s, when he sang in doo-wop groups, a crucial early phase of his music-making life. In 1981, he joined Other Dimensions in Music, a cooperative free jazz quartet with Roy Campbell on trumpet, William Parker on bass, and Rashid Bakr on drums. In the 1990s, he began recording with another free jazz quartet called TEST, with multireedist Sabir Mateen, bassist Matthew Heyner, and drummer Tom Bruno. But he has also worked with a wide range of avant garde and electronic musicians, such as Thurston Moore, DJ Logic, Loren Connors, Yoko Ono and others – and will do so at this event.
Loren Connors has been described as “one of the most inspiring underground musicians of the past 40 years” (Pitchfork). His uniquely original guitar music embraces the underlying aesthetics of blues, blues-based rock, Irish airs, and other genres – but while letting go of rigid forms. He names abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko as his most important influence. Connors has performed with artists such as Keiji Haino, Thurston Moore, John Fahey, and Kim Gordon, and avant blues band Haunted House (with Langille, Burns and Murgai). His records have been released on Family Vineyard, Northern Spy, Drag City, Recital, and other labels.