Saturday, June 5, 2010

PRESTO BALLET's New Lineup To Make its Live Debut In Portland

PRESTO BALLET, the project led by ex-METAL CHURCH guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof, will debut its new lineup — consisting of Vanderhoof, former METAL CHURCH singer Ronny Munroe, drummer Bill Raymond, keyboardist Kerry Shacklett and bassist Bobby Ferkovich — when it opens for DREAM THEATER on June 21 at Roseland Theater in Portland, Oregon.

PRESTO BALLET is currently working on its third album for a late summer release via ProgRock Records.

PRESTO BALLET released its second LP, "The Lost Art of Time Travel", in 2008 in the U.S. through ProgRock Records.
PRESTO BALLET's music was previously described as "highly reminiscent of '70s prog rock, as the band was founded chiefly as a tribute to classic progressive bands such as YES and KANSAS. Their debut album, 'Peace Among the Ruins', was released in 2005 to general praise and considerable press. Critics consistently commented on the album's warm and organic sound, a feeling created through the use of analog recorders and vintage instruments, played with great skill and precision. The band used no drum machines, digital recorders or sequencers in the studio."

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sonic Circuits Festival 2010 Announces Line-up!

SONIC CIRCUITS FESTIVAL 2010 TO FEATURE FIRST WASHINGTON, DC APPEARANCES OF MAGMA (FRANCE), UNIVERS ZERO (BELGIUM), FENNESZ (AUSTRIA) and a rare DC performance by MERZBOW (JAPAN), as well as more than 25 other cutting-edge artists from around the world.
Sonic Circuits Festival
September 18-25, 2010 / Washington DC

Washington DC's premiere music festival returns for another exhilarating blast of avant music to challenge, provoke, inspire and delight DC area audiences. The tenth edition of Sonic Circuits will offer up the best in improv, avant rock, electronica, noise, and contemporary composition from around the globe. Our 10th anniversary deserves special celebration, and thus this year Sonic Circuits will shine a spotlight on the Francophone world to reveal some of the most creative and innovative contributions in contemporary music (including music genres that erase the classical/popular divide) and to present an astonishing number of avant-garde music’s most legendary artists to Washington DC audiences for the very first time. 2010 will also see the third installment of the popular District of Noise CD compilations featuring music by DC area experimental artists with a bonus LP of 100 lock grooves. We hope you'll join us for what will be an amazing week of musical discovery!

Magma (France)
Led by composer/drummer Christian Vander, the French band Magma is one of the world’s greatest avant rock bands, its music as unique and as significant as such American groups as Captain Beefheart Magic Band or the Sun Ra Arkhestra. Active for over 4 decades, it has released many works widely considered to be among the chief works avant-garde rock. Beginning in the late 1960s/early 70s, Magma combined rock music with opera/classical music, jazz, and elements of trance, Ju Ju and Soul, to create a new, strikingly original musical genre called "Zeuhl". Under the leadership of visionary Vander, Magma operated in a univers of its own making. The band sang vocals in its own, made-up language, called Kobaian, which was simultaneously incomprehensible and universally accessible. Dark, forbidding, powerful, Magma’s music is intense, with wave upon wave of carefully built tension and release. It is also timeless, universal, and globally influential. Other Francophone bands followed Magma’s lead in distilling musical genres in the’70s, to create the new genre Chamber Rock. In the 1990s, the Japanese band Ruins popularized Zeuhl among a new generation, invigorating it with a punk edge and kicking off a massive world-wide revival. Much of today’s cutting-edge rock music is indebted to the French group and its zeuhl. But while other groups today may resemble Magma, Magma does not resemble any other group. Its live performances are legendary; Magma's first-ever Washington DC appearance is a show not to be missed. - Washington premiere!

Magma will be performing at La Maison Française, Embassy of France on September 18, 2010
Visit Magma online:

Univers Zero (Belgium)
The francophone Belgian band Univers Zero is legendary for their uncompromising musical vision – a sound and stance Keyboard described as "Chamber music for the Apocalypse". Simultaneously medieval & modern, its distinctive, dark and elegantly beautiful music has set the standard for "chamber rock", a New Music hybrid of Francophone origin and worldwide appeal that UZ pioneered. UZ’s singular sound derives from its unique instrumentation (piano and keyboards, violin, clarinets saxophone, oboe, bassoon, English horn, electric bass, drums) combined with brooding gothic imagery, elements of European folk and other world musics, the iconoclasm and intensity of rock, the relentless sonic experimentation of the avant garde, and leader and composer Daniel Denis’ classically-inspired writing style, influenced by early 20th Century avant garde classical composers. In the hands of some of the best musicians in Europe, these factors result in a group on the cutting edge of
creating a new, vital, and unique fusion of classical and rock music. The band has remained on the cutting edge of New Music throughout the course of a career that began in the '70s and continues today, stretching and disintegrating the boundaries of classical and rock music alike to create a new, vital, and unique fusion. Today, several decades after Univers Zero first forged its unique sound, critics cite its oeuvre as the precursor to the best avant-garde rock and classical music of the present day, from post-rock, associated with Godspeed You! Black Emperor,
Secret Chiefs 3, Kayo Dot, Tortoise and other instrumentally-based rock bands – to the numerous late 20th/early 21st century classical chamber ensembles integrating rock into their repertoire, such as Bang on a Can, Kronos Quartet and others. When Cuneiform recently released a remastered reissue of the band’s self-titled debut album, critics who heard the band's music for the first time called it a "revelation", "..the hidden source for every one of today’s avant-garde rock bands"[Organ]. - Second ever show in the USA & Washington premiere!

Univer Zero will be performing at La Maison Française, Embassy of France on September 25, 2010
Visit Univer Zero online:

Fennesz (Austria)
A key figure in the ascent of IDM and electronica in the 1990s, Fennesz uses guitar and notebook computers to make multilayered compositions that blend melody and conventional musical instruments with harsh, irregular glitch-influenced sounds and washes of white noise. "Imagine the electric guitar severed from cliché and all of its physical limitations, shaping a bold new musical language." - (City Newspaper, USA). His lush and luminant compositions are anything but sterile computer experiments. They resemble sensitive, telescopic recordings of rainforest insect life or natural atmospheric occurrences, an inherent naturalism permeating each piece. - Washington premiere!

Fennesz will be performing at the Strathmore Mansion on September 21, 2010
Visit Fennesz online:

Merzbow & Richard Pinhas Duo (Japan & France)
Masami Akita, aka Merzbow, is considered to be the originator of Japanese noise music, and is probably the single best-known noise artist worldwide. Active in music since 1979, using the name 'Merzbow' to align his projects with Dada movement aesthetics, he is described by Musique Machine as "always pushing the limits of noise and music, so the line between the two blurs". Extremely prolific, he has recorded and released over 250 CDs, including a 50 CD set, Merzbox; an infamous art-piece consisting of a continually-playing Noisembryo CD packaged inside a Mercedes 230 in a "limited edition of 1"; and the soundtrack to a bondage performance. Besides his music, Merzbow is active as a writer (books and articles) and visual artist, having received a degree in painting from Tamagawa University. In an interview for Perfect Sound Forever, he states that: "Everything combines for the works of Merzbow. I don't see them as being different and separate. Music and art is not separate. I mix rock sounds and art together." In addition to his artistic interests, Merzbow’s music integrates his social/political concerns. In recent years, he has become involved in the Animal Rights movement, writing a book on the vegan lifestyle and releasing CDs that protest animal abuses (including Japanese whale fishing, fur industry, bear hunting). Ceaselessly innovative throughout his music career, Merzbow has said that: "Each work is a new direction for me".

A composer, world-class guitarist and electronics innovator, Richard Pinhas is a key figure in the international development of electronic rock music and remains today one of France's leading experimental musicians. He is recognized as the father of an entire musical movement in France (analogous to Tangerine Dream's role in Germany) for his pioneering work in the 1970s with his band Heldon, which fused electronics, "diabolical guitar work" and rock to create a pioneering, aggressive music that was a precursor to the industrial music and techno to come.
Together Merzbow and Pinhas create music that is pure sonic alchemy: violent and soothing, hypnotic and noisy, trance-inducing and seductive. - Merzbow/Pinhas North American premiere and exclusive performance!

Merzbow and Pinhas will be performing at La Maison Française, Embassy of France on September 24, 2010
Visit Merzbow and Pinhas online: -

Other Festival Artists:

Full schedule and ticket information will be posted later this summer. Stay informed by subscribing to the Sonic Circuits mailing list @ or joining us on Facebook or Twitter.

2010 line up so far will also include:

Illusion of Safety (Chicago)
Alexei Borisov & Olga Nosova (Russia)
Confusion Bleue (Baltimore)
Corridors (NYC)
Colla Parte (Perry Conticchio, Rich O’Meara, Daniel Barbiero) (DC)
Alexandra Gardner (DC)
RDK+Insect Factory (DC)
Eli Keszler (Providence)
Mercury Fools the Alchemist (DC)
Mata Gawa (DC)
Borborites (DC)
Trophies (Baltimore/Brooklyn)
Gestures (DC)
Lost Civilizations (DC)
Arturas Bumsteinas + Janel & Anthony (Lithuania/DC)
Low End String Quartet (DC)
Andrea Centazzo (Italy)
Sean Peoples (DC)
Tone Ghosting (DC)
Blue Sausage Infant (DC)
TL0741 (DC)