Wednesday, June 6, 2018

A Second SIMM Series Concert for This Month

This month will apparently see the luxury of having two concerts in the Static Illusion Methodical Madness (SIMM) Series offered by Outsound Presents. The first one took place this past Sunday, and the second will be held on the final Sunday of the month. Because that second event will overlap an equally adventurous program at the Center for New Music, it seems appropriate to get out the word sooner, rather than later, to make sure that listeners who relish going out on the “bleeding edge” have ample time to make up their respective minds.

Like last Sunday’s gig, the program will follow the usual format of two sets, each somewhat less than an hour in duration. The first set will be taken by the Lords of Outland, a band started by Outsound Presents Executive Director Rent Romus in 1994. Performances are committed to developing original music ranging from unhinged free improvisation to thematic compositional suites inspired by abstract and socio-political poetry, science fiction, horror, and fantasy. Since Romus himself is of Finnish extraction, one of his key sources of inspiration has been the Kalevala. While best known in this country for its influence on Jean Sibelius, it has also had an impact on subsequent Finnish composers, as well as several folk metal bands based in Finland.

As might be expected, personnel varies from one performance to the next. On this occasion Romus will lead a trio whose other members are Ray Schaeffer on electric bass and percussionist Philip Everett, who will also be playing electric autoharp. Romus himself will have three saxophones (alto, soprano, and C-melody), as well as electronics and toys. He will also perform any necessary vocal work.

Rent Romus (left) playing alto saxophone with tenor saxophonist Joshua Marshall at Golden Lion Arts in Sacramento on January 18, 2015 (photograph by Charles Smith, from Romus’ Web site)

The second set will be led by Elliott Levin for a presentation of improvised music and poetry. Levin has a long-standing reputation in avant-garde approaches to jazz. He has performed in several of Cecil Taylor’s ensembles and also worked closely with Marshall Allen and John Gilmore, both members of the Sun Ra Arkestra. Levin will punctuate his poetry with performances on both tenor saxophone and flute. He will be joined with four of his colleagues from the Cartoon Justice group, Mika Pontecorvo on guitar, Mark Pino on drums, Eli Pontecorvo on bass, and Kersti Abrams playing alto saxophone, mbira (thumb piano), and a variety of North African reed instruments.

This concert will take place on Sunday, June 24. Like all SIMM Series offerings, it will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Musicians Union Hall. That venue is located at 116 9th Street, near the corner of Mission Street. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $10 and $20.

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