HIGH ZERO, Sept 21st - 24th, Baltimore
to play mp3s we recommend Winamp (www.winamp.com) or RealJukebox (www.real.com)

Magali Babin (Montreal):
objects and transducers

Francophone sound artist Magali Babin of Montreal is an improvisor whose work occurs through a very usual method--the massive amplification of tiny resonnances in metal objects. She produces dense and brooding soundscapes from a collection of small objects which are each revealed to be small universes, full of unexpected complexity. She is also know for her work in the 80's with the all-women apocalyptic noise ensemble NITROGLYCERINE. She is a primary collaborator of Montreal improvisors Eric Letourneau, Alexandre St. Onge, and Sylvie Chernard.

  Listen to audio files:
Magali Babin

John Berndt (Baltimore):
reeds, electronics, strings

The founder of The Red Room, HIGH ZERO, and numerous other endeavors, John Berndt has been passionately exploring strange sound since his early teens. He considers himself a student of saxophonist Jack Wright, Philosopher Henry Flynt, and instrument builder Neil Feather. "My greatest interest lies in the investigation of phenomena of the world and self (including emotions) without attempting to use them as building blocks for a coherent reality picture or as a source of reassurance. I am interested in music because it is a bottomless, sensual medium of communication (including with oneself), allowing for rich assertions not framed by language. " - John Berndt, 1999

  Related Links:
Henry Flynt Philosophy
  Listen to audio files:
John Berndt 1
John Berndt 2
John Berndt & Bob Marsh
John Berndt & Jack Wright 1
John Berndt & Jack Wright 2
John Berndt & Jack Wright 3
John Berndt & Jack Wright 4

Tom Boram (Baltimore):
Guitar, Piano, Taps

"There was apparently some 'Don Corleone'-type activities in Tom's family history. He now plays guitar, piano, and sitar. He will tap dance for your cousins." -Tom Boram

  Related Links:
  Listen to audio files:
Tom Boram 1
Tom Boram 2
Pithot 1
Pithot 2

Dave Champion (Philadelphia):

David earned a Masters degree in Music Education from VanderCook College in Chicago. He has studied privately with Jazz trombonist Roswell Rudd. Mr. Champion performs jazz and new music in and around Philadelphia. Present musical activities include pioneering the Harmonic Trombone; a slide trombone which has been amplified, harmonized and processed through the use of electronic delays and effects. He creates soundscapes, ranging from truly Ambient (minimal and nearly motionless) to Aggressive (dense and rhythmic layers of sound). David lives with his family in Doylestown, PA and teaches music in the Lower Moreland School District of suburban Philadelphia.


Vattel Cherry (Baltimore):
acoustic bass

"I heard a wise man once say that Love is need of Love today. Well, if Music is Love & Love is Music (if you know what I mean) And we know God is Love. Now what? What do you believe? What do you know? What are you going to do? Is there anything good inside of you?" - F. Vattel Cherry

"In Cherry's hands the bass becomes an guiding beacon into the confident and reverential awareness he has of his African American heritage." -- Derek Taylor, One Final Note

  Related Links:

Listen to audio files:
Trio with Toshi Makihara and Paul Dunmal

John Dierker, Vattel Cherry, Toshi Makihara
Bigband from High Zero '99

James Coleman (Boston):

James Coleman is one of the most astounding living players of the Theremin, a touch-less early electronic instrument invented by Russian Emegree Leon Theremin originally intended for the performance of Classical music. Known for his work with extremely quiet sounds, James is one of the loudest voices and most consistent organizers in the Boston improvised music scene. He is also the moderator of "Lowercase Sound," an internet discussion group dedicated to very quiet experimental music.

  Related Links:
James Coleman's Web Site

John Dierker (Baltimore):

John Dierker is one of the most distinctive improvising voices in Baltimore; a highly versatile musician who plays with equal inspiration in the most extreme avant-garde music as in more conventional jazz and rock bands. He can be heard on a large number of disks issued by the Megaphone label, has played with rock legend Jad Fair, and toured with avant-garde musicians from NYC like Sean Meehan and Paul Hoskins.

  Listen to audio files:
John Dierker 1
John Dierker 2
John Dierker, Vattel Cherry, Toshi Makihara

Bob Falesch (Chicago): keyboards and computer

Chicago based improviser and composer Bob Falesch has been striving to make his computer-based performance instrument as responsive as those instruments traditionally made from wood, reeds, skin, or nylon. An abiding love of music from the classical and late-romatic periods -- especially the sturm-und-drang of the 19th and early 20th century German musical literature -- combined with his active use of atonal methods of the so-called Second Viennese School, are important to his music making and are used to imbue his work with passages of unabashed lyricism and dramatic outbursts, that, as he says "Make me an anachronism in post-modern times." Improvisation with his acoustic-playing colleagues is a way to discover composite sounds and gestures that are new and unique in their beauty and complexity, and which sometimes find their way into his compositions. Completely non-programmatic and apolitical in his outlook -- music-for-music's-sake -- Falesch's passionate interest in developmental styles with alternations of good old-fashioned tension and release and counterpoint contrasts his work from the drone-based and minimalist styles prevalent in much other computer-based work.


Related Links:

main web site


  Listen to audio files:
Bob Falesch
Bob Falesch & Bob Marsh 1
Bob Falesch & Bob Marsh 2
Bob Falesch, Bob Marsh, Chris Heenan

Neil Feather (Baltimore):
self-made instruments

In a festival of strong individuals, Neil Feather stands out as perhaps the most strikingly "of his own world." Having built visionary original instruments for the past thirty years, his music must be heard to be believed. Feather's sound relies on obscure physical principles, aesthetic decisions, and extra-musical references which are almost completely new to music. He is one half of the duo THUS with John Berndt, and leader of the quintet AEROTRAIN, which plays his original compositions on his orchestra of self-created instruments.

  Related Links: http://www.recorded.com/neilfeather/
  Listen to audio files:
Neil Feather 1
Quartet from High Zero '99

Carol Genetti (Chicago):

Carol Genetti is one of the few vocal artists in the United States today who is solely dedicated to free improvised and experimental music. Mixing music idioms-such as jazz scat, Bulgarian folk singing, and extended vocal techniquesÐGenetti's non-verbal sound palette has a surprising depth and breadth. She has been described by Achy Obejas of the Chicago Tribune as "...a vocalist whose singing is, perhaps, an acquired taste in the same way as steak tartar or sushi... once you hook into it, it's really quite exquisite, almost otherworldly." Genetti has performed throughout the US, Canada, and Europe and has performed with Tatsu Aoki, Pauline Oliveros, Yuko Nexus Kitamura, Eric Leonardson, Bob Marsh, Michael Zerang, Jack Wright, Saturo Wono, and George Flynn.

  Related Links:
  Listen to audio files:
Carol Genetti & Eric Leonardson 1
Carol Genetti & Eric Leonardson 2
Carol Genetti & Eric Leonardson 3

Joe Giardullo (Poughkeepsie): reeds, electronics, and flute

Francis Davis, writing in Downbeat Magazine, described Joe Giardullo's music as "intensely democratic" and "very special". Perhaps "anarchic" would also apply, in the sense that the musicians who play Giardullo's music are expected to create the form and structure of the music as they themselves require it. It's democracy not as consensus, but as unity. Twenty two years after his "Gravity" recordings, Giardullo continues to draw inspiration and direction from complexity studies, especially the work of Stuart Kauffman at the Santa Fe Institute. He regularly works and records with multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee.

  Related Links:
  Listen to audio files:
Joe McPhee & Joe Giardullo
Joe McPhee & Joe Giardullo 2

Lafayette Gilchrist (Baltimore):

Composer/improvisor & keyboardist of solo fame and bandleader of The New Volcanoes, Gilchrist is one of the most talented improvising musicians in Baltimore. His fractured, cubist expressions in free improvised music have a maze like quality and depth of resonnance with the moment, and the breadth of his musicality crosses distinctions of genre or traditional vs. experimental. Lafayette Gilchrist has appeared with such notables as jazz vocalist Brenda Alford, Thomas Whitt, Williams, Craig Alston, The New World Percussion Ensemble, The Mother Earth Posey as well as various other bands throughout the Washington/Baltimore area. Currently Lafayette Gilchrist resides in Baltimore City.

  Related Links:
new volcanoes web site

Paul Hoskin (Seattle):

Paul Hoskin plays clarinets and saxophones. Known mostly for his work with the contrabass clarinet , music has taken him to both coasts and Europe. The social aspects of improvisation (organizing, informal playing) are the crux of the music's importance...not simply as guides to sonic exploration, but also as hints for alternative ways of organizing and working as humans. And that the importance of sound is literally to rearrange perception and the constructs on which it is founded.

  Related Links:
UnFolkUs Review
  Listen to audio files:
Paul Hoskin 1
Paul Hoskin 2

Matt Ingalls (San Francisco): clarinet

Matt Ingalls is a monsterously good clarinetist/composer/computer music artist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is currently most active with improvised music in various solo, group, and electronic settings. Matt holds a bachelor of music from the university of Texas at Austin and a masters of arts from Mills College.

  Related Links:
Matt's web site
  Listen to audio files:
Matt Ingalls 1
Matt Ingalls 2
Matt Ingalls 3

Michael Johnsen (Pittsburgh):
saxophones, musical saws, and electronics

"Born 1968 to Rainer and Anna Johnsen, gradually taking on the qualities of glacier." - MJ

  Listen to audio files:
Michael Johnsen & Greg Pierce

Scott Larson (Baltimore):
accordion, guitar, & electronics

Multiplicitous Larson. A stalwart of large constructions, Scott Larson's ABOMINATION instrument integrates a large number of guitars, drums, and sound-processors into a jungle-gym of sonic mayhem. He is also a fine guitarist who also plays accordion and violin. He plays most often with The Dianna Frowley Three, Little Grunt Pack, and in duo with John Dierker.


Eric Leonardson (Chicago):
springs & self-built instruments

Inventor ERIC LEONARDSON (Chicago) plays instruments of his own creation, largely focused on the sound potential of coiled metal springs. The resulting music is extremely varied, sometimes driving, sometimes somber and strangely atmospheric-and reflect Leonardson's skills as a drummer. He is an active member of the Chicago free improvisation community and performs frequently with vocalist Carol Genetti, Jim Baker, and other Chicago musicians.

  Related Links:
Eric's web site
  Listen to audio files:
Eric Leonardson 1
Eric Leonardson 1
Eric Leonardson & Carol Genetti 1
Eric Leonardson & Carol Genetti 2
Eric Leonardson & Carol Genetti 3

Jerry Lim (Baltimore):

Jerry Lim is a thrid of Companion Trio, a thrid of Mass Particles, a third of Your Father's Moustache, half of PitHot, half of Urban Kitchen, and half of Taco Wagon.

Obcure on new levels, Lim has not yet been understood. His guitar playing, which can be mistaken for jazz or avant-garde, encodes a popular peptide necessary for the seventh secret of radar, or something like that. In the end, it will be revealed that he is a famous radio personality.

  Related Links:
  Listen to audio files:
Jerry Lim & Tom Boram 1
Jerry Lim & Tom Boram 2

Toshi Makihara (Philadelphia):

Toshi Makihara is one of the major voices in Philadelphia's New Music / Free Improvisation scene today. He studied percussion with Sabu Toyozumi, a prominent percussionist / improviser in Tokyo, and has worked with various new music ensembles including Orchestra of Our Time and World Sound. Makihara has also performed with many dance and theater companies in the United States, Japan and Europe. In the realm of experimental free improvised music, he has worked with variety of musicians including LaDonna Smith, Davey Williams, Tom Cora, Peter Brotzmann, Peter Koward, John Zorn, Eugene Chadbourne, Jon Rose, William Parker and Thurston Moore. Makihara's original improvisational style combines his masterful percussion technic with vaudeville humor, a zen-influenced use of silence and gesture, and a dazzling range of discovered [invented] sound media [objects] ranging from bicycle wheels to feather dusters to coiled slinkies, all used in unexpectedly unique ways.

  Related Links:
Toshi's web site
  Listen to audio files:
John Dierker, Vattel Cherry, Toshi Makihara
trio with Michael Johnsen and Dan Conrad

Bob Marsh (SF):
voice, electronics, cello, piano

Now a resident of the Bay Area in San Francisco, Bob Marsh performs regularly on violin, cello, piano, vibraphone, flute, and uses extended vocal techniques. He is a composer/improvisor with an extrodinary range and humanity to his playing. Whatever the medium of his music, it carriers a distinctive charge of gibberish from the ID, a kind of subliminal fragmenting of voices which recalls states of consciousness on the verge of sleep. He is the founder of the Quintessentials, Opera Viva with Carol Genetti, the Emergency String Quartet and the Emergency Piano Quintet. He is also a long-time improvisation partner of Jack Wright.

  Related Links:
Bob Marsh's web site
  Listen to audio files:
Bob Marsh
Bob Marsh & Bob Falesch 1
Bob Marsh & Bob Falesch 2
Bob Marsh & Bob Falesch 3
Bob Marsh & John Berndt

Joe McPhee (Poughkeepsie):
reeds, trumpet, pvc pipe

Joe McPhee, composer, multi-instrumentalist and poet, has been on a musical search through improvisation, conceptual studies and composition, encompassing various aspects of acoustic and electronic music, which has brought wide acclaim and recognition worldwide.

His PO Music series inspired by philosopher Dr. Edward de Bono's work with lateral thinking uses positive provocatioon to move from fixed ideas in order to discover new ones. PO is a language indicator to show that the process of provocation is taking place and that things might not be necessarily what they seem. It is his hope that the name Joe McPhee will accomplish the same result.

  Related Links:
Joe McPhee's web site
  Listen to audio files:
Joe McPhee & David Prentice 1
Joe McPhee & David Prentice 2
Joe McPhee & David Prentice 3 Joe McPhee & Joe Giardullo
Joe McPhee & Joe Giardullo 2

Sean Meehan (New York):

Drummer Sean G. Meehan was born in the Bronx and resides in Times square New York City. His interest in improvisation and collaboration has taken him around the world where he has performed solo and with other artists ranging from traditional instrumentalists to dance to avant-garde flower arrangers. Meehan maintains collaborative relationships with musicians Tamio Shiraishi, Ben Manley, Paul Hoskin and John Dierker, poet Edwin Torres and choreographer Andrea Mills. Meehan's recordings include a CD of drum solos(1991) a trio recorded in Japan with Mamoru Fujieda(computer) and Michihiro Sato(shamisen)(1994) and a 7" record with poets Edwin Torres and Miguel Algarin(1998). All of his recordings are available at www.anomalousrecords.com. Other contributions to the material world include the construction of performance objects which act as "compositional things". Included in this are his pieces; Gift III which musically activates a sink full of dirty dishes, Gift IV for woodblock, and Audio, a boxed set of four cassettes which are played in the mind.

  Listen to audio files:
Quartet from High Zero '99
Solo (requires real player)

Ian Nagoski (Philadelphia):
live electronics

Electronic musician and reluctant writer and organizer, Nagoski typically performs his mind-numbing catastrophes in collaboration with videomaker and Halana magazine publisher Chris Rice and Pelt guitarist Jack Rose. His CD Warm Coursing Blood has been described as both "the aural equivalent of watching paint dry" (Alternative Press) and "higher-mind electronics, brutal and unsophisticated on one hand, beautiful and truly elevating on the other. Listening to this is like examining fractal images through a microscope - you'll lose your sense of self," (Bruce Russell, Dead C.) Both reactions refer to the contemplative and slow-moving qualities of his timbrally dense sound-masses, with both writers reacting differently to the issues of attention and time-sense present in Nagoski's music. Neither quote particularly evokes his love of sensuously appealing soundfields or his enthusiasm for the trans-rationality of human vibrational pattern-making, which play an equally important part in his aesthetic.

  Related Links:
  Listen to audio files:

John Oswald (Toronto):

An individual with highly developed interests in a variety of directions, Torontonian John Oswalds activites have included incredible free saxophone improvisations, famous cases of plagaristic plunderphonic recomposition of popular music, digital "musique concrete" works of startling originality and quality, activities as a recordist, in the dark, and other interrogations of the worlds of perception and meaning. And, he does it all with considerable panasche. "For the moment, John Oswald is a solo movement, the most exciting school of one in music" -- Milo Miles, Village Voice

  Related Links:
Overview & Bio
Profile of Composition Activies
Interview on Plagiarism
  Listen to audio files:
John Oswald 1
John Oswald 2
John Oswald 3

David Prentice (Toronto):

David Prentice is a product of the Toronto improvised music scene of the 70's. He toured throughout Canada, the USA, and Europe with the Bill Smith Ensemble from 1978 to 1986. He is considered by a small number of initiates to be one of the most inspired and versitile performers on his instrument. He plays regularly with John Oswald and Joe McPhee.

  Related Links:
Double wind-cello review
  Listen to audio files:
David Prentice 1
David Prentice 2
David Prentice & Joe McPhee 1
David Prentice & Joe McPhee 2
David Prentice & Joe McPhee 3

Catherine Pancake (Baltimore):
drums, dry ice, objects

The ineffible M. Pancake is one of a new breed of improvising musicians for whom the avant-garde serves as a practical technical base and inspiration; as a drummer, she is influenced equally by Sean Meehan, Bob Wagner and Michael Zerang (and possibly even Gene Krupa.) She is a self-taught percussionist seeking to approach musical possibilities of the sublime, extreme type; and also a prolific filmmaker and a central organizer of the baltimore scene. She is a member of Neil Feather's Aerotrain, and the Coltrane tribute group "Music in The Key of Zero", with saxophonist John Berndt.


Greg Pierce (Pittsburgh):
drums, banjo, musical saw, reeds

"The Imperialists have moved Heaven and Earth to lull youth into inactivity."
- Vietnamese gnome

"Song trend vs. amok trend to a bed out of leaves cross cut uttering saw tones to let the sawdust out of somebody. A finger on the table to something into someone's head, their hope's reduced to high-muck-a-muck." - GP

Explosive and daring improvisor, natural musician, bluegrass guitarist, student of the primal saxophonist Todd Whitman, and one third of the visionary Orgone Cinema film collective with Alysa Dix and Michael Johnsen. Note that the pevious had no subject.

  Listen to audio files:
Greg Pierce & Michael Johnsen

Julie Pomerleau (Chicago): violin

"Julie Pomerleau is a Chicago artist and personality player. What I mean by that is that I am not especially schooled in or tied down to any one style. My alter ego, Monica Boubou, the glamorous French film star and violinist for Bobby Conn, has traveled all over the world entertaining crowds of all sizes with our unpopular brand of pop music. I am also an arranger and occasional composer. My most complicated work was an "easy-listening" treatment for 20-piece orchestra of some of the themes from the Flying Luttenbachers' "Gods of Chaos" album that turned out to be anything but easy. 7 years ago, I became very interested in Klezmer and am still adding to my repertoire. I can be available to play weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs! Over the years, I have logged many Myopic Mondays, improvising at one time or another with seemingly everyone in Chicago's improvised music scene. One of the more satisfying line-ups has been the Phenomenal String Quartet, made up of Fred Lonberg-Holm, Bob Marsh, myself, and a rotating cast of Chicago string players. Currently, I am working on my solo project, a series of 30-second string quartets." - Julie Pomerleau

  Listen to audio files:

Evan Rapport (Baltimore):
reeds, etc.

The virtuosic Rapport plays human-a-tone, nose recorder, piccolo, shofar, slide whistle, jew's harp, squeaky crab toy, as well as a range of lesser known wind instruments such as alto, soprano and tenor saxophones, clarinet, and flute (often at the same time). Although as an improviser and composer he is primarily concerned with cognitive dissonance and "transcendence through cold sores," he has also boldly defied convention by infiltrating world-famous big bands, pit orchestras, and rock groups. He is a member of the enigmatic Companion Trio, and Krill, and he performs in many other solo and collaborative contexts. He is a central organizer of improvised music in Baltimore, and a founder of the Mass Particles recording label.

  Related Links:
  Listen to audio files:
trio from High Zero '99
Companion Trio Tour Recordings

Jon Rose (Amsterdam): violin and electronics

Born in engl;and in 1951, Jon Rose is that rarest of things: An international, cybernetic, classical-jazz-noise crossbred, historically falsifying to the point of self-negation, dashingly handsome, modified violin building, virtuosic, always on the least fashionable side of experimental music, drag a self-playing violin across the outback of Australia kinda, nude people playing badmitton Percy Grainger re-enacting, radio-play recording, high speed violin competition, violin hating, violin extending violin, dark violin sense of humour violin, east Berlin violin kind of violin violin violin violin violin violin violin, violin.

  Related Links:
  Listen to audio files:
Jon Rose 1
Jon Rose 2
Jon Rose 3

Bob Wagner (Baltimore): drums

Percussionist Bob is a pure natural, an enigma, a question mark. His drumming is deeply perplexing and seems to do injustice to musical parsimony while hitting it with a little plastic dog.

He has been called "The Han Bennik of Hampden" because of his extreme use of dry humor in his music, like the Dutch guy. He can be heard on numerous records with his groups Companion Trio, The Can Openers, and The Recordings.

  Related Links:
  Listen to audio files:
Companion Trio Tour Recordings

Jason Willett (Baltimore):

Brian Eno. Brian Jones. Joe Meek. Phil Spector. Thurston Moore. Bill Laswell. Boris Vian. Charles Mingus. Cleve Posar. Jac Berrocal. Jason Willett.

Pure non-intellectual love of music on every level, incompatible with banality.

  Related Links:
  Listen to audio files:
Jason Willett 1
Jason Willett 2
Jason Willett 3

Jack Wright (Boulder):
saxophones, contra-alto clarinet, piano

"Jack wright is a highly overrated musician from Boulder, who in fact cannot stand on his head while playing, nor make a single sound come from his navel. He is old and out of date. His extremely comprehensible lounge act has attracted the ho-hum of critics, which is exactly what he desires. Having failed to master his saxophones and piano after decades of trying, he has now added the lugubrious contra-alto clarinet to the trunk of his ever-traveling car. Despite all this he plays with anyone who is willing, which includes most n. american improvisors, who find him amusing, if pitiable."--Jack Wright

Considered by many in this festival to be one of the finest saxophonists and improvisors EVER to walk the earth. A living legend and the inspiration for the festival.

  Listen to audio files:
Jack Wright 1
Jack Wright 2
Jack Wright & John Berndt 1
Jack Wright & John Berndt 2
Jack Wright & John Berndt 3
Jack Wright & John Berndt 4