Each year since 2001, the intrepid Outsound New Music Summit has presented one of the most diverse cross-sections of new music performers in the Bay Area.
Spearheaded by Rent Romus, who considers the summit “the pinnacle” of the 120 shows he produces each year, this year’s four concerts, each preceded by an artists’ Q&A, are organized in a novel way.
“Each night’s concert presents a thematic performance within areas of the new, experimental and avant-garde music scenes,” Romus says. “Our artists include people from jazz, classical and gospel backgrounds, and even some who did not receive a formal music education. In the experimental music community, for example, where people compose non-idiomatic music that doesn’t adhere to any particular older tradition, the music pretty much crosses the gamut. I’d contrast that with avant-garde musicians, who have grown out of and utilize elements of the jazz and classical traditions.”
If such technicalities scare you, be assured that the music itself will scare you far less — or more. It depends upon the night.
Wednesday’s opening concert focuses on experimental film and music. Stop-action animation by Martha Colburn, who “fuses pop culture and political imagery with an aesthetic that is fantastical, painterly, punk and avant-garde,” will be partnered by the spontaneous improvised soundtrack of Thollem McDonas.
The evening also includes 60 one-minute films by Patrick Liddell, with music by 60 composers curated by Vox Novus. Expect it to stretch whatever boundaries you may not have thought you had.
Thursday’s concert showcases acoustic and jazz ensembles featuring performers from classical and jazz backgrounds.
Among them is tenor saxophonist Josh Allen, whose specialty of “energy music” should create a neat mix with drummer Timothy Orr and multi-instrumental keyboardist Randy Hunt.
The July 23 concert sounds off with the provocative Reconnaissance Fly, whose “spoetry” song cycle is based upon spam e-mails. The addition of Cornelius Cardew Choir and “avant-cabaret” and looping artist Amy X Neuburg should make for a wonderful evening.
Romus describes the final evening as his “gift to the electronic noise community.” When asked about the union of Phog Masheeen with Mark Soden Jr., Dr. Francene Kaplan and live video-mixes by William Almas, Romus could only say, “Soden usually manipulates his trumpet with electronics. The other folks may produce even more sonic mayhem.”
IF YOU GO
Outsound New Music Summit
Where: Community Music Center, 544 Capp St., San Francisco
When: 8:15 p.m. Wednesday through July 24
Tickets: $8 to $12; $45 for pass
Note: Participatory events include a hands-on expo at 7 p.m. Sunday and “skatchbox” building demonstration at 7 p.m. Monday.