For three years The Brothers Grimm have been heading the experimental music series “Tea & Improv” at Dobra Tea. Sadly, Dobra will close it’s doors this January, 2014. We’ll have one last show on Thursday 1/9 as a way to say thanks to all who have worked/come out to enjoy these events since 2011. DB, BC, & Eric will all perform short solo sets, as well as improvise together.
It can be difficult to find a welcoming platform for experimental & improvised music. Dobra has been our enthusiastic home base for much of this Madison experience. It has not simply been “a venue”, but a meeting place of disciplined philosophies, where music & tearoom perfectly alight in purpose – to have conversation. In a vibrant, hue-struck room with no internet or to-go options, the result is meaningful discussion with close friends. It was never the intent of our music to overpower the space (& people in it) to a hush, but rather to be another conversation & accept all happening sounds as music/inspiration. 3..2..1.. Now! ~ All conversation is improvisation. We fuel off the energy you give us and channel it back, vibrating the air. No sound is excluded from this Cageian discourse ~ kettle boils, clayware scrapes, somewhere a laugh, all is music.
Perhaps the most important element of performance in Dobra has been a public space for unknowing teagoers to encounter “avant-garde”//”difficult-edgy-freaky-‘nonmusic’music-skronky-improvised-noise…stuff”. We’re thankful for situations where people may come/go at any moment, have lively chit-chats, not feel they have to be classically-stuffy/know-the-rules, & happen upon experimental music over the flowing cup. Hearing such racketous free-for-all (beautiful to some…) on a record, coming at you through the speakers can be challenging for unpracticed ears – but having that be a live experience and seeing that the musician performing extended techniques is another breathing, sweating, emoting, human being that is trying to communicate something to you – is when this music becomes immediate & relateable. The more you as an audience give of your energy/vibes – the better the conversation is.
We’ve released a couple of albums at Dobra, including: Moonish Lodestar (2013) by Watercourse Quartet & Redolent Spires (2012) by The Borthers Grimm. Had wonderful performers such as: Watercourse Quartet w/ Ben Willis, Pat Reinholz (aka Weather Duo + Brothers Grimm); Lovely Socialite, db pedersen, Eric Miller, Thollem McDonas (aka Thollem Electric), Brian Tairaku Ritchie, Sult w/ Jacob Felix Heule, Guro Skumsnes Moe, Håvard Skaset; Timbre, Samuel Lockridge, Brother Stripes w/ Timothy Russell & Nick Zoulek; Prom Night Records w/ Brad Henkel, Nathaniel Morgan, & David Grollman; Dale Kaminski, Joey Molinaro, Zane Merritt, TJ Borden, Wrest Trio w/ Benjamin Bennett, Jack Wright, Evan Lipson; Stray Passage w/ Geoff Brady, Brennan Connors & more! – The tearoom has also played host to local Hindustani & Carnatic Indian Music group Saaz, Baroque & early western period instruments, & Yuri on the Russian domra.
Thanks to Qi Hong for fostering communitea.
Thank to the close friends who have come out over the years to support &/or participate in these happenings.
Thanks to all of the great Devoteas who have worked at Dobra & become a part of our lives.
This will prove our most challenging free improv session to date, as the Dobra Tea experimental music series takes on… Freakfest. Your journey to the tea room will not be an easy one. No doubt there will be endless visual entertainment & inspiration as we skronk. Most importantly this All Hallows Eve Weekend, we celebrate the coming of Brother Stripes (more below). Nick & Tim are exceptional performers and we gladly welcome them. So come to Dobra – sip tea, open your ears, stay warm, and costume watch with us!
THE BROTHER STRIPES is the combined output of Nick Zoulek, Saxophonist and Percussionist Tim Russell. Their quest to produce an improvisational authenticity leads them through the depths of self discovery, constantly challenging both performer and perceiver to find commonalities in communicating this existence.
BROTHER STRIPES Improv for Sax, Perc, Dance, and Electronics
“The books are back, but the party’s still on. On September 19, Central Library will be STACKED.We’re filling it with art, music, and local fare. Grab a drink and check out the art displayed around the new library and be prepared to meet your “Makers.” The Bubbler at Madison Public Library is bringing in community partners to set up hands-on activities. Don’t miss the Paka Paka light show dance party on the brand new 3rd floor! We’ll have live music and DJs on every floor.“
Proceeds benefit Central Library
100 Artists/ 1 New Library / 1 Day Only
DJs | Nick Nice, Wangzoom, Doctor Oxygen w/ PAKAPAKA Lightshow
LIVE MUSIC | MAIN STAGE———————–FIRST FLOOR ———————- SECOND FLOOR 08:30 Pioneer ——————— ———————– —————– ————————– 09:15 The Wets ——————-09:00 Spires… Sunset Rise ——-09:00 Pidge Anther
10:00 Golden Donna ———— 10:00 Samantha Glass ———– 10:00 Dietrich Goesser
11:00 Trin Tran ——————- 11:00 Noxroy ———————— 11:30 DB Pedersen
12:00 Control ———————- ———————– —————-⇝w/ BCG ————-
Wrest (on tour) ———————————-|Eric Miller + BC Grimm
Jack Wright – sax ——————————–| BC Grimm – cello / 古筝 / 古琴 / 二胡
Evan Lipson – upright bass ——————–| Miller – trumpet/viola da gamba/baroque cello
Benjamin Bennett – percussion —————| “Sounds of today, instruments of antiquity!”
The Brothers Grimm were lucky to share a set with Benjamin Bennett in 2012 at Audio For the Arts (> recent isthmus article) for the Surrounded By Reality series. Ben, fresh off an intensive meditative retreat, brought the house down with a fantastic sit on the floor set. Those in the control room claimed there had to have been more than just one percussionist performing in the room! He’s back in town on tour with a trio called Wrest (sax, bass, & percussion). These guys listen intently, resulting in delightfully sensitive free-improv – perfect for the Tea Room!
Wrest“The kind of music we play is called Free Improvisation, where Wrest cannot be counted on to play the same way each time. There is no typical Wrest “experience.” We are using all our imagination each show to get past what we did the night before. Free Improvisation is not a genre of music with characteristics that separate it from other musics. Rather it’s an approach to playing by musicians who would be bored representing an image of what they are. That’s why we can say, we don’t know what we’re doing until we do it. “
Described twenty years ago as an “undergrounder by design,” Jack Wright is happy to inhabit the vast territory below the radar of the professional music world. Since 1979 he has been traveling through the US and Europe in search of interesting partners and playing situations, and open to whatever might happen. Now living in a small Pennsylvania town, at 70 he is still the “Johnny Appleseed of Free Improvisation,” as Davey Williams called him back in the 80s. And he is still inspiring players outside music-school careerdom. Whenever he plays today, all that he has traversed is present, from fiery, breathless free jazz to quiet, breath-filled, and often animalistic sounds. A reviewer for the Washington Post said, “In the rarefied, underground world of experimental free improvisation, saxophonist Jack Wright is king”. For more info go to springgardenmusic.com, for sounds:soundcloud.com/#jackwright writings: http://jackiswright.wordpress.com/
Evan Lipson (b. 1981), now from Chatanooga, has been active as a musician since adolescence. In an on-going pursuit of all things occult and aberrant, Lipson acquired an early interest in the lateral realms of visionary & experimental music — seeking to transcend the existent paradigms of idiomatic expression. His formative experiences were in underground rock, modernist composition, freak pop, jazz, noise, as well as various modes of improvisation. Lipson cultivates a palpably intense and vehemently iconoclastic body of music. He has performed in numerous groups including Normal Love, Satanized, WREST, Psychotic Quartet, Femme Tops, Legion of Strategic Deception, Dynamite Club, and Ruins. Past tours have taken him throughout North America, as well as Brazil, Taiwan, and Japan. His music has been released on several imprints including SKiN GRAFT, UgEXPLODE, Public Eyesore, High Two, Badmaster, Caminante, New Atlantis, and Damage Rituals..
Ben Bennett, living most of the time in Columbus Ohio, started playing music as a young child, with an interest in jazz that moved steadily towards the more avant-guarde, then to free jazz, and onward into the world of free-improv. Using extended techniques involving breath and friction, as well as the time-honored tradition of hitting things with sticks, he plays an evolving pile of frame drums, pre-tuned drum heads, metal things, tubes, and other objects that can be combined and recombined to get a variety of sounds. This set-up lends itself greatly towards being crammed in a backpack, strapped to a bike, dragged along the ground, or thrown down the stairs, generally without physical or psycological damage. Recent projects besides Wrestinclude: bst.cr – trio with Ryan Jewell and Wilson Shook, Rotty What – trio with Jack Wright and John M Bennett; Central Ohio War Coalition – with Mike Shiflet, Joe Panzner, and others; duos with Ryan Jewell, Jack Callahan, and Ben Hall; and solo performances. Ben will be resident at the Spring Garden Music house during Dec. and Jan. 2012-13.
Eric Miller, gambist and cellist, plays viola da gamba and baroque cello with the Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble and Eliza’s Toyes, Ensemble Musical Offering, and has appeared with the Madison Bach Musicians, and many others. As a modern cellist, Eric has performed with American Players Theater. Additionally, as an accomplished trumpeter and able improvisor, Eric can be heard in settings around Southern Wisconsin such as jazz ensembles, singer/songwriters, and experimental ensembles. A passionate educator trained in the Suzuki approach, Eric maintains a large cello and trumpet studio in Madison.
FREEMAN//BORDEN//CAIN Trio (Buffalo)
Brothers Grimm recently played a Dobra Tea set with TJ Borden, which was one of our finest guest performances to date. A vast array of Contemporary & avant-garde techniques, improvised with classical precision. He is also back, on tour with a trio including cello, electronics, & sax. We can’t wait to hear what this intense, skronky, free-improv noise-trio has to offer!
YID VICIOUS Madison’s premiere quirk-fest Klezmer Ensemble, prepare for a face-melt!
” The Brothers Grimm open with a set of originals, followed by Anubis Quartet, playing adventurous new music for saxophone quartet including Rasch by Franco Donatoni, New York Counterpoint by Steve Reich, and a new work for saxophone quarter and soprano by Monte Weber. “
Color Field Festival also features guest artists TIGUE percussion trio (NYC) & Clocks in Motion percussion ensemble (Mad)
7/7 7pm @ Dobra Tea
$5 suggested donation for yoUToo
$7 MOONISH LODESTAR (11×17 Poster + CD or Cassette)
>> $5 album/poster if you donate $5 at the register
The boys are back in town!
On 7/7 WCQ4 returns to Dobra Tea to release Moonish Lodestar – a 65 min, 8 track album featuring contrapunctus, avant-garde string quartet improvisations & Madison vocalist Page Foster on “beautiful lies”. (poster art by Justin Richardson)
▓ Free Improv’ers & Tea Drinkers of Madison ⇝ Join us for a special night of improvising trios next Wednesday, April 3rd at the tea room.
8pmEric Miller (bass viola da gamba, trumpet) will join the Brothers Grimm ∱ at 9pm the space-aware, contemplative music of Sult will bloom through the room (see below) ∯ For those who have supported Watercourse Q4 Dobra experiences in the past ≽ you won’t want to miss this show! Sult is most certainly a kindred spirit to the WCQ4 sound.
Jacob Felix Heule percussion Guro Skumsnes Moe contrabass Håvard Skaset acoustic guitar
Sult is a Norwegian/American trio playing sound-oriented improvised music: Acoustic noise drawing inspiration from contemporary music, electroacoustic improv, and drone. Their music reflects great patience, deep listening, and complete trust in one another. Their individual sounds alternately cohere into unified group textures, and run precariously aside one another as independent streams.
The group has been working together since January 2008, and has played throughout Europe and America. They are dedicated to developing their band through touring, in order to explore their music as deeply as possible. In the spring of 2012, they toured the US and Scandinavia, and released their first album, Bark, on Bug Incision. A new LP, Harm, is forthcoming this spring on Bocian Records.
Members of the trio have performed extensively with their own projects Ettrick, Basshaters, Bluefaced People, and MOE; and have collaborated with musicians such as Fred Frith, Bill Orcutt, Maja S. K. Ratkje, Okkyung Lee, Ikue Mori, Barn Owl, Michel Doneda, Jack Wright, and Gino Robair.
↜Oslo, May 2012
“a precise gravitude whose nodes, voltages, rails and landfills, are the bulk of the speech.” — Guillaume Belhomme, Le son du grisli (via Google Translate)
↜Phoenix, March 2012
“music with a preponderance of fundamentally rich percussive traits and sneering anti-melodies … Sult [has existed] since 2008… and it shows: their interplay – in spite of the timbral jaggedness – is solid, even precise, musical in the right spots and also in the ‘wrong’ ones. The quartet is positively willing to let room for a listener to break through the secret corners of what gets conceived on the spot, which is basically the raison d’être behind the enjoyableness of the whole.” — Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes
“These compositions sound at once orchestral and also mechanistic – a natural industrial sound. Several compositions on Bark reminded me of listening to a wooden boat hull adjusting at sea or a house’s walls shifting. There is an unpredictable yet organic tendency to the creaks and drones.” — Thomas John Filardo, Suave Citation
“Year-end lists tend to be nice and trim, while local music is messy: provincial yet sprawling, repetitive yet ever-changing, frustrating yet exciting. To provide some perspective, I’ll discuss a few factors that altered Madison’s music community in 2012, and what these changes mean for the future.
Changes at local concert venues — from the most ornate old theater to the scrappiest little DIY space — touched almost everyone this year. After struggling with structural decay and feuding management, the Orpheum Theatre landed in foreclosure. As great as the Orpheum is, it’s brought us some horrors in recent years, such as a shoddy, awkwardly high concert stage and dead-of-winter movie screenings with the heat turned off. I’m thankful that the competent, Madison-based concert promoter Frank Productions is at least temporarily taking over. Frank will reopen the venue with a New Year’s Eve show featuring local rock band Hometown Sweethearts and DJs VON, Mad Major Melvin and Wyatt Agard, and has booked some big-name acts for 2013, including Passion Pit and Yonder Mountain String Band. But it remains to be seen if the company will tackle the costly, long-term renovations the Orpheum deserves.
The uncertainty hasn’t spared small venues, either. The all-agesProject Lodge left its East Johnson Street space this fall and has yet to find a new location. The tiny Dragonfly Lounge became a surprisingly important venue for local and regional bands, thanks to a few musicians’ dogged booking efforts, which will continuewith the Lost City Winter Series.
Darwin Sampson, owner of the small downtown club the Frequency, recently announced a business partnership with Matt Gerding and Scott Leslie of the Majestic Theatre, who have funded a sound-system upgrade and will assume a greater role in booking. The Majestic has already started booking and promoting shows at small local venues such as Redamte Coffee House, the Loft at the Goodman Community Center, and East Main Street’s Anglophile-themed joint, the Rigby. It’s not clear how much they’ll shift the Frequency’s offerings away from local bands and toward more lucrative touring acts.
Sampson recently told me that Madison musicians may have too many opportunities to perform, and that shows booked too close together can dilute the draw of these acts. Often, he says, a local band will play for free at a place like Mickey’s Tavern just a week or two before a Frequency show, making it harder to bring in cover charges and alcohol sales that, ultimately, keep live music afloat. Still, I sense that local bands are frustrated with traditional venues. As the year went on, I noticed more and more shows at houses, the bike shop Revolution Cycles and the new art space Bright Red Studios. A recording studio, Audio for the Arts, also brought in a small but dedicated following as it hosted the Surrounded By Reality experimental-jazz series.
Whether I was attending a show at the Dragonfly, Mickey’s or someone’s apartment, I found it hard to overlook the productivity of Madison’s avant-garde musicians. One of the acts I saw most frequently was Spiral Joy Band, who use fiddles, harmonium and sometimes even gongs to summon drone-based pieces of exhausting length. During a residency at the Dragonfly before two members moved away from Madison, free-jazz trio Glacier collaborated live with all sorts of musicians, from sax and flute improviser Hanah Jon Taylor to tabla player Todd Hammes. At State Street’s Dobra Tea, I kicked off my shoes and sat on a pillow to watch Madison throat-singer DB Pedersen and the avant-classical Watercourse Quartet perform an improvisational one-off.