Tetuzi Akiyama specializes in creating music with elements of both primitivism and realism by connecting his own aspirations, in a minimal and straightforward way, to the special instrumental qualities of the guitar. Sometimes delicately and sometimes boldly, he controls sound volumes ranging from micro to macro, in an attempt to convert the body into an electronic entity. Besides making a variety of solo albums which covers from ﬁngerpicking and slide acoustic guitar atonalism to noisy experimental drone to never-ending boogie, Akiyama has made many albums in collaboration with highly praised artists such as Jozef Van Wissem, Donald McPherson, Greg Malcolm, Bruce Russell, Günter Müller, Jason Kahn, Michel Henritzi, Phantom Limb, Gul3, Tim Barnes, Oren Ambarchi, Martin Ng and Alan Licht, just to name a few. Akiyama is also a band member of "Koboku Senjû", "Satanic Abandoned Rock & Roll Society" and "Hontatedori". Akiyama has been frequently invited for international music festivals in Asia, East & West Europe, North & South America, Australia, and New Zealand in recent years.
John Berndt is a Baltimore based cultural worker with a diverse set of interests and a long history as founder of The Red Room and participant in many decades of freely improvised music. His primary concerns are "the big ones"—epistemology, consciousness, individual agency, and the role of civilizations. These days his cultural activity is relatively narrowly focused on Relabi (a new gestalt which is like a paradoxical, but not random sounding, inversion of "rhythm") and on creating diverse new forms of electronic music production. He still plays (and loves) the saxophone.
Rose Hammer Burt is a saxophonist, among other things, primarily playing the baritone saxophone. Conservatory trained but exploratory-minded, Rose looks to find the wild, joyful, ecstatic, mournful, playful, meditative moments in making music with friends. In non-pandemic times you can find her playing out jazz with Will Redman's The Compositions, raucous brass band music with Bedlam Brass, and occasionally 60's soul B-sides with the Bellevederes. Rose has been helping to organize the Red Room series and High Zero Festival since 2005, though she is semi-retired from organizing these days.
Jeff Carey makes synthetic noise music with a physically controlled software based instrument of his own development called ctrlKey. His music is abstract and sculptural, full of shapes and gesture, colored by noise bursts, percussive glitches and shifting resonance. In recent work, he has incorporated lighting projection to explore the space between visceral and the external embodiment of sound. He builds physically controllable custom software synthesis instruments and is interested in exploring immediate and flexible sound production with virtuosity in electronic music.
During the pandemic his virtual “global” tour had 14 dates with local artists from cities in 12 countries. This project evolved into a platform for presenting synthetic, mechanical and experimental noise music on twitch.tv/2xmono in the form of two weekly shows from January until the end of April: Executive Summary for very short (5 minute) performances on Monday mornings at 9 am and Imaginary Network Topologies Season Two for longer performances on Friday nights. Over 5 months the @2xmono stream has hosted over 200 performances from 183 performers.
Jeff Carey has performed throughout the US, Japan and Europe at music festivals NuMusic (Stavanger Norway), Night of the Unexpected (Amsterdam), Ekko Festival (Bergen Norway), Ende Times Liberation (NYC), Only Connect (Oslo, Norway) and Recombinant Festival (San Francisco) to name a few. He has been tour support for Matmos, Hijokaidan and Torche.
Carey's work has received support from the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance Rubys Artist Grant, the Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award, and the New Media and Audio Grant from The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and The National Endowment for the Arts. Internationally, he was awarded funding from Norwegian arts organizations, including Norsk Kulturåd, KulturKontakt Nord and Bergen Kommune. He has evolved his custom software as an artist in residence at USF Verftet in Bergen, Norway and refined his electro-instrumental music practice through several residencies at the Studio for Electro Instrumental Music (STEIM) in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Jeff Carey has a Bachelors of Science in Audio Technology from American University in Washington D.C. and studied computer music at the Institute for Sonology, Koninklijk Conservatory in The Hague, The Netherlands.
Emma Elizabeth Downing
voice, bowed electric banjo
Emma Elizabeth (Liz) Downing is a Baltimore based artist who uses voice, bowed electric banjo and paint to create sounds and images.
With my ear against the chests of women singing, I sounded with and against their voices. I began singing along with the hum of household appliances, long notes of transfer truck horns, the gentle modulations of mourning dove calls and on and on.
Downing's current schooling is with musicians and poets: Greg Hatem in the Queer-Appalachian duo "Curving Tooth"; Rupert Wondolowski in the Absurdist Miserablist "Mole Suit Choir"; Allison Clendaniel in the vocal experimental duo "In the Womb of the Everywhere Room"; Susan Alcorn in "Crone Porch Improvisations"; Stephanie Barber and Greg Hatem in the improv trio "Joint Combo"; Chris Mason and Mark Jickling in "Old Songs," which translates works from Ancient Greek poets and turns it into folk music; and Hanna Olivegren and Steve Strohmeier in the psych folk trio "Underworld Orchard."
Downing has earned degrees in painting from Auburn University and the Maryland Institute College of Art with Grace Hartigan as Advisor. Downing creates and performs plays and concerts in museums, theaters, colleges, fields and basements, creating work during residencies and using funding from the NEA, MSAC grants, Franklin Furnace Archives, and most recently at the Ucross Foundation Residency.
Jarrett Gilgore is a multi-instrumentalist, improviser, composer, and teacher currently residing in baltimore, maryland. He performs actively in the usa and internationally in a wide variety of contexts.
Current projects: heart of the ghost with Luke Stewart & Ian McColm, USA/Mexico Collaborative trio Tulpas, duos with Anthony Pirog and Anna Roberts-Gevalt, and a new solo project called lilypicker
Recent collaborations: Jaimie Branch, Tony Malaby, Susan Alcorn, Laraaji, Lonnie Holley, Mabe Fratti, Chris Pumphrey, Zach Rowden, No Land, Anna & Elizabeth, Dan Deacon, Cass McCombs Band
Recent pre-pandemic performances: Bucareli 69 (Mexico City), Firehouse 12 (New Haven), Casa del Popolo (Montreal), Constellation (Chicago), Philadelphia Museum of Art, le Poisson Rouge (NYC), Duke University, Jazzorca (Mexico City), Zaal 100 (Amsterdam)
Tom Goldstein, percussionist, has performed with the Orchestra of St. Lukes, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Gregg Smith Singers, Steve Reich and Musicians, Pauline Oliveros, American Festival of Microtonal Music, and Continuum. He has performed in many chamber groups, Broadway shows, nightclubs, and Klezmer bands. Mr. Goldstein has premiered over one hundred solo and chamber works, many of which were written expressly for him. He was a founding member of the New York City new-music group GAGEEGO. He performs and records with the Hoffmann/Goldstein Duo and the percussion quartet Umbilicus. He has composed works for percussion, chamber ensemble, theater pieces, and numerous songs. He has published articles in Perspectives of New Music and Percussive Notes and for Mellen Press. Mr. Goldstein has recorded on Neuma, Vanguard, Polydor, Opus 1, O.O. Discs, CD Tech, Capstone, Innova, Centaur, I Resound Press, and CRI labels. Mr. Goldstein has received a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artists Award. He is Associate Professor of Music at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Talbolt Johnson is an alchemist, dancer, dreamer, and advocate for dance since 2005. He pursued a career in art only to discover movement for over a decade in the Baltimore are and the east coast. Johnson explores the functions of the human body, imagination, mythos, and space in unison. His work attempts to contemplate and comment on the intersection between expression and identity. He is a street dancer, writer, and musician of life.
Twin Jude (they/them) is a vocalist, electronic musician, and interdisciplinary artist living in Baltimore, MD. As a portal being, Twin Jude co-creates sounds that explore space and time freely through voice, electro-acoustic instrumentation, and sampling; reaching through lapping and layered realms unbound by oppressive time constructs. Early in life, Jude found their way exploring sound by collaging composed songs and poems on walkmans and tape players, singing in church each week, and undertaking various forms of training musically. In 2014, they created the project Twin Jude to express deeper rumination in a way that comes from an ethereally organic, self-actualizing place. With releases, “MĒM (2016) , LÜ (2019), and various live-only song releases, they are able to transform show spaces into sacred healing circles where an energetic call-and-response can take place. Having performed extensively throughout DC, Baltimore, and Virginia, including performances at the Kennedy Center and twice at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Twin Jude has shared the stage with incredible musicians including Thomas “BUSHMEAT” Stanley, Jamal Moore, Luke Stewart, Janel Leppin, Layne Garrett, Machell André, YÀNJÚ, and more. Their current work is exploring ethnobotanical connections and frequencies as a vehicle to birth new conditions and realities.
Photo Credit: Vanessa Dos Santos
drums, percussion, vocals
A Baltimore native, Eric Kennedy is a drummer, vocalist, percussionist, educator, and composer.
Eric has performed, toured, and recorded with Curtis Fuller, Jimmy Heath, Gary Bartz, Phil Woods, Billy Harper, Curtis Lundy, Bobby Watson, Gary Thomas, Fred Wesley, Wallace Roney, Ethel Ennis, Larry Willis, Cecil McBee, Donald Harrison, Joe Locke, TK Blue, Nnena Freelon, John Hicks, Richard Wyands, Yusef Salim, Eddie Henderson, Joe Bonner, Carl Grubbs, David Murray, Oliver Lake, Pansori master Ahn Sook Sun, and many others. He is a bandleader and a member of several ensembles. He also had the honor of being the last drummer/vocalist of the National Heritage Award Winners The Holmes Brothers.
Eric has studied percussion with Dennis Kennedy, John Locke, Leroy Williams, Johnny Polite, Billy Hart, and Jamal Wilson; voice with Timmy Shepherd, Odell Wilson, and Dr. Nathan Carter; and music education/composition with Dr. Barry Harris and Bobby Watson.
Eric has given masterclasses, clinics, workshops, concerts, and lessons worldwide. He taught in the Baltimore City Public School system, Peabody Conservatory of Music Jazz Department, and currently teaches for the Baltimore Symphony Orchkids program (2014-present) and Towson University Music Department. Eric has received numerous awards and grants for performance and composition. He was the 2004 runner-up in the Billie Holiday Vocal Competition and first place band member in the Chick Webb Jazz Combo Competition in 2008 and 2009. He is also co-composer for the award-winning documentary Footprints of Pan Africanism and indie film The Big Muddy.
Jessica Keyes is a Baltimore-based performer and composer. Her compositions explore trickster characters, ecstatic energy, and communion with the audience. Her solo practice for saxophone and electronics explores the tensions and transportive nature of durational performance with slowly building complexity. Jessica leads an 11-piece punk brass band called Bedlam Brass and is a member of the experimental chamber group Trucker Talk.
photo credit: Devon Rowland
Sarah Manley, a Baltimore based trombonist and improviser, attended The Peabody Conservatory and collaborates with as many musicians as possible of as many genres as possible.
She is a core member of Mind On Fire and has played with Washington Chamber Orchestra, Sonar Ensemble, Occasional Symphony, and more. She’s in the local brass band Bedlam Brass, which plays wild sets all over the city. She has collaborated with local artists Dan Deacon, Chiffon, Infinity Knives, and Horse Lords, and was a featured soloist and ensemble performer at the Baltimore Symphony New Music Festival as well as the inaugural WoCo festival through the Boulanger Initiative.
Liz Meredith is a violist, improviser and composer from Baltimore, MD. Her music explores intersections between acoustic chamber music, instrumental improvisation, electro-acoustic composition, and ambient music. Liz’s recordings include 2 solo albums, The Disposition of Vibrant Forms, a 5 LP set in collaboration with John Somers (brother of Alex Somers), and various solo and collaborative works on cassette. Her most recent solo album Repro, released on Spleencoffin, received critical acclaim from publications such as Tiny Mix Tapes, Vital Weekly, ATTN Magazine, and the Sound Projector. In addition to performing her own music, Liz has premiered new works by emerging composers, and has also contributed her sound to recordings by a wide range of artists.
Liz’s performance record is fittingly diverse. She has performed at rock clubs, D.I.Y. spaces, art galleries, chamber music venues, music festivals, and academic conferences throughout the United States. Career highlights include performances at Signal Flow Festival, Mills College; High Zero Festival (Baltimore, MD); several performances at the Baltimore Museum of Art; The Walters Art Museum (Baltimore, MD); and The Stone (New York City, NY).
Liz holds a Masters of Arts Degree in Music Composition from Mills College (Oakland, CA). She has studied music composition with Fred Frith and viola performance with Hank Dutt of Kronos Quartet.
no-input mixing board
Toshimaru Nakamura has been producing electronic music on a self-named instrument, "no-input mixing board." The name describes the method of his music-making. "No" external sound source is connected to "inputs" of the "mixing board”. Nakamura’s principle is being an improviser, and “no-input mixing board” is the vehicle so far to embody his music itself. According to the nature of the set-up, Nakamura always has to deal with unpredictability, therefore, he is willing to abandon his control over the instrument to some extent, and place himself in the realm of obedience and resignation. He has been performing live in Tokyo and elsewhere by traveling around Europe, North America, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia, Korea, China, Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia since the mid-90's, to meet, work and play concerts with local musicians from those places and ones from different places.
synthesizers, electronics, bass, guitar, cello
District of Columbia
Christine Paluch, a DC based multi-instrumentalist, performs and records a range of experimental, improvised, and composed pieces. Her performances can range from embracing chaotic electronic experimentation, free improvisation, or deeply personal instrumentals. She has two solo projects: PraxisCat, which delves into various electronic and experimental pieces, and Under Night, which includes cathartic and heavier compositions. In addition she has taken part in free improvisation performing groups Tower Folly (with CK Barlow) and Concentric Circles (with Abe Mamet and Daniel Newhauser).
drum kit, percussion
Bashi Rose is a theater artist, musician, and filmmaker. He is a co-founder of the evocative and experimental Konjur Collective. He wields his artistry as a force of community good, having helped to establish DRAMA, a program designed to bring theater to prisons and to help engender communication and empathy. As a musician Bashi uses the drum-kit as a creative tool for mental/spiritual healing and as a bridge between the spirit and physical worlds. He looks forward to participating in High Zero.
Rupert Wondolowski is a musician and author with ancient & hungry roots in Baltimore and its rich arcane soil. He is still a beginning student of its teachings, but keeps his ear to it and runs his hands through its treasures, which puts off all within view.
He is part of the spectral absurdo-miserablist chamber folk group Mole Suit Choir, whose name derives from his book The Origin of Paranoia as a Heated Mole Suit. It includes master warbler and seer Liz Downing and Greg Hatem. They’re currently working on their fourth album. Up until instrument creator and improviser Neil Feather fled to New Zealand he and Rupert performed as Wondofeather – Neil playing his “former guitars” and Rupert doing extended improvised vocals and hyper mimicry. A few tracks of Neil and Rupert’s improvisational duets will be appearing on Neil’s upcoming double lp on the Ehse label. Parts of their live performances may end up in Skizz Cyzyk’s upcoming documentary about Neil.
Some of Rupert’s other books include Dreams Are My Social Life, Mattress In An Alley, Raft Upon the Sea, and The Whispering of Ice Cubes. He co-owns and runs Normals Books & Records which has some connection to the Red Room.
Rupert’s vocal mimicry and elastic dreaming of throat and tongue tissue began with desolate suburban childhood timeholes. “If you want to be an opera singer,” his sister told him once long ago, “you must practice every day and study.” He did not. But he mastered cricket sounds vibrating his lips which put his grandmother in various hospitals.
He’s been collecting field recordings of late and may produce a violin if he gets a hairball. High Zero fashion plate Martin Schmidt said no size bribe will get Rupert’s guitar on stage.