Albuquerque’s experimental music/movement project Cthulha celebrates the release of her music video “Your Bones or Your Bass” with an evening of music paired with aerial dance.
Santa Fe musicians Caitlin Brothers and Nathan Smerage, who perform as ppoacher ppoacher on the label Matron Records, kick off the band’s new tour with a concert at form & concept. The Fearsome Friend Tour Launch will feature new songs from ppoacher ppoacher and a performance of traditional Balkan music by Santa Fe’s Sevda Choir.
ppoacher ppoacher & Sevda Choir
Thursday, September 6, 7:30-9 pm
The gallery will ask for a $5-$25 donation in support of the artists at the door.
Caitlin Brothers is going places—specifically, all across the Southeastern United States. “The new tour passes through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Texas,” says the Santa Fe musician, who performs under the moniker ppoacher ppoacher. “I’m trying to split it between familiar territory and places I’ve never explored.” That’s a good way to describe her musical repertoire for an upcoming Matron Records tour launch event at form & concept. Brothers and her new bandmate Nathan Smerage will perform songs from the band’s 2017 debut album, along with some new material they’ve written together. She’ll also sing traditional Balkan music with Santa Fe’s Sevda Choir, which welcomed her into its ranks a few months ago.
NMSA First Thursdays / September
Thursday, September 6, 6 pm
New Mexico School for the Arts is in the midst of renovating and repurposing their new Railyard location, and they’re wasting no time injecting fresh creative energy into the district. The arts high school presents a special performance series at form & concept, hosted by faculty members and showcasing student musicians, fiction writers and poets. This month’s event includes readings by three young writers, and a music program of small-set jazz duos curated by Jazz Studies teacher Orlando Madrid. Make sure to mark your calendar for NMSA performances on the first Thursday of each month.
Caitlin Brothers is going places—specifically, all across the Southeastern United States. “The new tour passes through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Texas,” says the Santa Fe musician, who performs under the moniker ppoacher ppoacher. “I’m trying to split it between familiar territory and places I’ve never explored.” That’s a good way to describe her musical repertoire for an upcoming tour launch event at form & concept. Brothers and her new bandmate Nathan Smerage will perform songs from the band’s 2017 debut album, along with some new material they’ve written together. She’ll also sing traditional Balkan music with Santa Fe’s Sevda Choir, which welcomed her into its ranks a few months ago. ppoacher ppoacher’s Fearsome Friend Tour Launch is on Thursday, September 6 at 7:30 pm. The gallery will ask for a $5-$25 donation in support of the artists at the door.
Brothers released her debut solo album, ppoacher ppoacher & the Concrete Dragonfly (Matron Records), last July. In the year since, she started composing new songs with Santa Fe-based musician Nathan Smerage. Both of them studied music at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and play in the band Storming the Beaches with Logos in Hand. “Nate and I were talking, and he said, ‘I think everyone should take a year off of making music and playing shows, and just listen to music,” says Brothers. It got her thinking about her college days. “My whole college career, I was slowly building the ppoacher ppoacher sound,” she says. “But I was also playing and listening to traditional music a lot more. It was really good for me.”
Earlier this summer, Brothers joined Sevda Choir and began learning ancestral songs of Eastern Europe and the Balkans, the Black Sea region, and the Mediterranean. It gave her a chance to trace the roots of an age-old musical tradition at the same time that she was finessing fresh material with Smerage. “It’s been like coming home,” Brothers says. “I’m sort of examining how I can exist with a foot in both worlds, and Sevda has really given me that.” The Fearsome Friend Tour Launch is a real-world representation of this emerging musical philosophy. Sevda Choir will kick off the concert with Brothers among them, and then she’ll split off for a set of old and new ppoacher ppoacher songs with Smerage. Soon after the event, Brothers and Smerage will hit the road. “I think it’s the best tour I’ve ever done,” says Brothers. “And this is the perfect start.”
Please note: form & concept will ask for a $5-$25 donation at the door in support of the featured performers and the gallery.
PSIRENS performs with Grisha Grivchenia & Mikey Chavez, with special guests Jessie Deluxe & Long Distance Transmission.
“In my mind, it’s become ‘the impossible album,’” says Paris Mancini, known professionally as PSIRENS, of her new project. As its title indicates, ALIVE (Matron Records) was supposed to be a live album. “I really focused on writing these simple, raw and true songs, just the bare bones,” the Santa Fe musician explains. “So it made sense to try to record them with a full band.” When she attempted to schedule a Santa Fe recording session with a number of far-flung musicians, things got a little too complicated. In lieu of bringing a band together, Mancini traveled across the nation to record with each of her accompanists. The result is a 12-track album of stripped-down, jazz-inflected songs that will debut at form & concept on Friday, May 11 from 6 to 9 pm. The ALIVE Album Release Concert is presented by Matron Records, and will feature the first-ever live performance of the new album.
All songs written by Paris Mancini/PSIRENS
Vocals, Looper, Bass guitar- Paris Mancini (Everywhere)
Piano- Grisha Krivchenia (San Juan Island, WA)
Harp- Matthew Tutsky (Boise, ID)
Drums- Mikey Chavez and Will Dyer (Santa Fe, NM)
Cello- Jake Saunders (Boise, ID)
Recorded by Dave Badstubner, Will Dyer, Broke MC and Julian Fox
Engineered/mixed and mastered by Will Dyer (Hills Audio), spring 2018.
“In my mind, it’s become ‘the impossible album,’” says Paris Mancini, known professionally as PSIRENS, of her new project. As its title indicates, ALIVE (Matron Records) was supposed to be a live album. “I really focused on writing these simple, raw and true songs, just the bare bones,” the Santa Fe musician explains. “So it made sense to try to record them with a full band.”
When she attempted to schedule a Santa Fe recording session with a number of far-flung musicians, things got a little too complicated. In lieu of bringing a band together, Mancini traveled across the nation to record with each of her accompanists. The result is a 12-track album of stripped-down, jazz-inflected songs that will debut at form & concept on Friday, May 11 from 6 to 9 pm. The ALIVE Album Release Concert is presented by Matron Records, and will feature the first-ever live performance of the new album.
As PSIRENS, Mancini has built a reputation for her inventive use of layering and loops. She bends vocals and instrumentals into interlinking Möbius strips, building atmospheric compositions that draw the listener into vast electroacoustic landscapes. “It’s easy to pull someone in with a lot of layers, something they can get lost in because it’s a forest of notes,” Mancini says.
For ALIVE, she made a daring shift, pairing live vocals with acoustic instrumentation and subtler looping. “I tried to give what I could for the song’s benefit—and nothing else,” she says. “It’s kind of terrifying, because it really pushes my lyrics to the forefront. For the most part, you hear every word.”
Mancini wrote all of the songs on ALIVE, and contributed vocals, looping and bass guitar. Last summer she traveled to the San Juan Islands in Washington State to record with pianist Grisha Krivchenia on his off-the-grid property. “I would wake up with the sun, hop in the pond to wake up, and we’d record first thing in the morning,” Mancini recalls. “It gave the album this freshness, whereas the rest of the PSIRENS albums are darker and murkier.”
Later, she swung through Boise, Idaho for sessions with harpist Matthew Tutsky and cellist Jake Saunders. In her sometime home of New York City, she recorded additional vocals. Back in Santa Fe, she worked with sound engineer Will Dyer to weave it all together. “It sounds like we’re all in the same room, which is so hard to do,” Mancini says. “It has this jazz-like quality to it that’s really special.”
For the ALIVE Album Release Concert, Mancini will perform among sculptural set pieces of her own creation. The task of uniting all of her collaborators still eludes Mancini, but Krivchenia will accompany her on piano live from the San Juan Islands. CDs of ALIVE will be available for the first time, along with other PSIRENS merchandise. “What’s funny is that it isn’t really a live album, but I had to fight so hard for its existence,” says Mancini. “So it is remarkable that it is alive.”
Hear Paris Mancini and Eliza Lutz discuss the making of ALIVE on the inaugural Matron Records “MatronPod” podcast, and make sure to RSVP on Facebook. form & concept will ask for a $5 to $25 donation at the door, in support of the artists and the gallery.
Thais Mather’s Reckless Abandon is not an exhibition that you would call “on view,” in a passive sense. In fact, it’s a show that views you in many cases. It unfolds and evolves, pulling viewers and other artists into its orbit in compelling ways. For example, gallery visitors are free to interact with the ceramic masks in Mather’s installation 200,000. During the opening reception, there were audible gasps in the crowd as people reached across the platform and plucked faces from the vast field of sculptures. If a visitor decided to acquire a mask, they were allowed to take it with them that evening, leaving a gap in the grid. In this sense, the arrangement of artworks in Reckless Abandon has changed every day since it debuted late last month.
The exhibition will transform yet again on Friday, December 15, when Mather unites feminist and activist artists for a series of performances among the artworks. Todd Ryan White, David Mcmaster, Tim Reed, Ekalos Reed and Niomi Fawn will each add their artistic voices to the show. “I feel like the concept of the male genius artist presenting his solo magnum opus is a Greenbergian farce,” Mather explains. “Everything you create is influenced by other artists, by your mentors, by your relationships, by the music and literature you adore.”
This new paradigm could also redefine the role of the storytellers who have reflected on Reckless Abandon since its opening. Perhaps they too should be considered collaborators, directing channels of the show’s conceptual river in fresh directions. In her review of Reckless Abandon for Pasatiempo, Iris McLister analyzed the show’s sweeping scale and individualized impact:
Feminist and universal, political and primitive, ancient and hyper-contemporary. Alchemical. These are just a handful of words that aptly describe artist Thais Mather’s exhibition Reckless Abandon, now on view at Form & Concept. Though the entirety of the gallery’s cavernous downstairs is filled with her work, the art’s intentionality never seems compromised by its quantity. During a recent tour of the show, Mather said, “I want to make art that will last. It feels really important to me to have the discipline to make things that endure.”
Comprising sculpture, drawing, video art, printmaking, and more, Reckless Abandon could feel sprawling, but instead it’s immersive and intimate. Describing a central theme for the show, Mather wrote in her artist statement, “I’m really contemplating humanity: how culture began, where we are now, and where that might evolve.”
McLister also touched on the show’s highly collaborative ethos:
Mather is transparent about relying on the knowledge and help of others in making this show a reality. Friends and peers, including local artists Sandra Wang, Ron Pokrasso, and Chris Collins, were instrumental in helping Mather learn and execute new techniques. This must partially inform why she doesn’t like what she has called the “farce of the solo show.” For her, the experience of art — whether making it or viewing it — is most rewarding when it’s collaborative in nature.
Mather spoke with John Shannon of KSFR about the importance of empowering her audience:
I’m trying really hard… to not give too much information, because I really think that what viewers perceive in the work is a really valuable asset to the work itself. The one thing that I will say about it is that I deeply researched feminism, and that’s where my background comes from in terms of the theoretical aspect of what I’m interested in.
Kathryn Davis also interviewed Thais, for THE Magazine‘s online feature about Reckless Abandon. She talked about her hopes for the ultimate impact of her work:
I find social change important in work, trying to change and challenge my audience and myself… We are learning, we are failing, and sometimes we get it right. Mostly I hope we can think about the rest of the world—not just humanity, but the planet. 200,000 years is a short time within a four-billion-year-old process. I just keep looking and asking, and knowing very little in return. It feels good, so I just keep doing it.
On a similar note, Eliza Lutz of Matron Records talked about the show’s ability to inspire across mediums and disciplines in the record label’s December newsletter:
Though Matron Records is clearly an entity with music front and center, we are constantly exploring the many ties between various disciplines and perspectives, ranging in everything from sound and design to performance art and printmaking to storytelling and feminism. Reckless Abandon, the multi-discipline exhibition by Mather featuring hundreds of artworks, navigates the space between these ideas, dismantling traditional & patriarchal art narratives to create a show that re-imagines human history and what it might become.
Given the current political climate, with a recent resurgence of the #MeToo campaign setting the tone for a radical cultural shift in many male-dominated fields, Reckless Abandon could not come at a better time. The immense body of work and interconnected series of performances and events tackle the full weight of the past and present while still offering a magic and radical vision for the future. “I think people are getting these catastrophic feelings, that this is the end,” says Thais Mather. “I don’t believe in that. I think this is a beginning.”
Matron Records presents
ppoacher ppoacher & the Concrete Dragonfly
$5 suggested donation.
Caitlin Brothers’ debut solo album, ppoacher ppoacher & the Concrete Dragonfly, takes the form of a sonic fairytale bathed in light and shadow. When Brothers set out to record the album with her label, Matron Records, she knew that a run-of-the-mill recording studio wouldn’t cut it. Instead, she sought out the Dwan Light Sanctuary in Las Vegas, New Mexico to create a spellbinding live recording. The venue’s floor-to-ceiling prisms perfectly matched the soundscape Brothers conjures across 7 intimate tracks. The album’s ethereal acoustics will find their echo in form & concept’s atrium at a special album release concert for ppoacher ppoacher & the Concrete Dragonfly on Friday, July 14, 6-9 pm. The show features Brothers, who performs under the moniker ppoacher ppoacher, along with Seal Eggs and Leticia Gonzales.
Brothers is a SFUAD graduate and all-around accomplished musician with such eclectic projects under her belt as Storming the Beaches with Logos In Hand, Loretta’s Got A Stargun and Bedlambs. As both a multi-instrumentalist and accomplished vocalist, Brothers’ highly distinct songwriting style is marked by congenial contrasts: passionate & playful, calculated & relaxed, approachable & quirky. Through this push-and-pull of dynamic delights, ppoacher ppoacher highlights Brother’s multifarious talents through well-crafted and intimate songs on harp and banjo that make the listener cry and laugh in equal measure. ppoacher ppoacher & the Concrete Dragonfly showcases her heartfelt and eclectic style.
ppoacher ppoacher & the Concrete Dragonfly was recorded live by Dave Badstubner, James Lutz, Nicholas Quintero and Taressa Martinez, mixed by Dave Badstubner and mastered by Will Dyar of Hills Audio in Santa Fe, NM. Album art, illustration and design by Eliza Lutz. The album release show at form & concept features performances from ppoacher ppoacher, Seal Eggs (vocal and harp loops creating slowly unfolding ambient textures, from Colorado Springs, CO) and Leticia Gonzales (local musician and poet performing old New Mexican and Balkan folk songs and original poetry). form & concept will ask for a $5 donation at the door in support of Matron Records and the featured performers.
Despite snowy days in Santa Fe earlier this week, the Railyard Arts District is launching straight into spring with the Last Friday Art Walk on March 31st. The event unfolds from 5-7 pm in diverse contemporary art spaces throughout the neighborhood. At form & concept, we’ve invited P S I R E N S of Matron Records to perform in our atrium. P S I R E N S is the solo project of vocalist and musician Paris Mancini, who splits her time between Santa Fe and New York City. This week, Alex De Vore of Santa Fe Reporter described her ethereal, looping sound in a preview of the performance:
Mancini brings a hefty dose of earnestness to her performances. It’s actually quite hard to explain, but it’s like an eerie blend of art project and Bjork weirdness with the challenging musicality (or sometimes lack thereof) of a band like Oakland’s Clipd Beaks—though there absolutely is a more cohesive vision in Mancini’s work.
Read the rest of the piece here, and click over to the Matron Records website to watch some P S I R E N S music videos. Our leg of the art walk will also feature the debut of new porcelain dinosaurs by Brett Kern. Scroll down to see charming new work by the West Virginia ceramicist, and mark your calendar to meet the dinos in person this Friday. RSVP to the event on Facebook for updates.