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Sonic Transmissions Presents: Rob Mazurek, Thor & Friends, Rick Reed & Tara Bhattacharya Reed

Sonic Transmissions Festival welcomes the return of composer & multi-instrumentalist Rob Mazurek. Also playing will be instrumental ensemble Thor & Friends and electronics duo Rick Reed & Tara Bhattacharya Reed.

Thursday, 1 March 2018
9 PM - 2 AM
at Beerland, Texas (711 Red River)

Co-presented by Astral Spirits, Epistrophy Arts & Self Sabotage Records with support from the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division.


Rob Mazurek is an American electro-acoustic composer, cornetist, improviser and multi-media artist. Known as one of today's most intrepid and sought-after sound explorers, Mazurek works within a multitude of stylistic contexts. He first rose to prominence in the fertile mid-1990s Chicago creative music scene, quickly venturing beyond the traditional tenets of the jazz idiom to become one of the most compelling improvising composers of his generation. Mazurek’s broad electro-acoustic palette defies simple categorization. He has been featured on the cover of Wire Magazine which describes him as a prolific & venerable force in new music. His work has also earned him praise in the DownBeat Critics Poll, recognition as International Musician of the Year in Italy’s Musica Jazz magazine, and Top 10 Records in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune.

His expansive vision & vast catalogue of over 350 compositions & 65 recordings have kept him on the cutting edge of creative music for the past three decades. Mazurek's solo endeavors utilizing modular synthesizer, electronics, an assortment of keyboards and computers reflect his interest in musique concrete and electronic sound manipulation. Solo records, released on Corbett vs. Dempsey, Delmark, Moikai, Mego, Astral Spirits and Adluna, highlight the breadth of his virtuosity and creativity from exotic melodies to experimental noise. His most recent solo record, Rome, was released by Clean Feed in July 2017. His multi-media works often involve solo performance with visual scores and exhibitions of his video, painting, lithography and sculpture.

More than a prolific composer, Mazurek is increasingly recognized by major arts institutions as an accomplished
visual artist and has received a number of grants and commissions for multi-media projects and collaborations including multiple residencies at the famed URDLA Centre International Estampe & Livre in Villeurbanne, France where he realized a series of lithographs to be used as graphic scores for improvisation. In 2016, he was awarded a grant from Chicago’s Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts for a
film, The Farnsworth Scores, shot in collaboration with Lee Anne Schmitt at Mies van der Rohe’s iconic Farnsworth House. In 2015, Marfa Book Company presented “Marfa Loops Shouts and Hollers,” a solo exhibition of paintings, sculpture and sound by Mazurek.

After five years of touring as the percussionist of The Swans, Thor Harris began Thor & Friends in the autumn of 2015 as a vehicle to experiment with a cast of rotating Austin-based musicians in the vein of American minimalism. As an instrument carpenter and acoustic polyglot, Thor & Friends is the sound of Harris’ return home — an elongated greeting and ode to his community, woodworking shop, and the instruments his hands bring texture too.
With the three core members of Harris, Peggy Ghorbani and Sarah “Goat” Gautier, the expanding & contracting ensemble works within the flux of compositional & improvisational contexts wherein the range of tonal color depends on what instrumentalists are joining or absent from the process, performing acoustically or with hues of electronic instrumentation, as a stripped-down trio or a large ensemble. In addition to drawing on minimalist composers such as Terry Riley and Steve Reich, Thor & Friends amalgamate the diverse influences of Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, Moondog and The Necks through a polyrhythmic center of mallet instruments, primarily marimba, xylophone & vibraphone. Around the core motifs of the aforementioned mallet timbres are shifting streams of everything from processed pedal steel & analog synthesizer to violin, viola, stand-up bass, clarinet, duduk & oboe.
The group builds off of the similarities and contrasts of Harris’ past projects & continuing collaborations including The Swans, Ben Frost, Bill Callahan, Hospital Ships, Shearwater and John Congelton. The result ushers in a utopian optimism via the promise of improvising with neighbors & friends and utilizing what & who is around at any given moment.

Rick Reed, electronic improviser, as described in the Austin Chronicle (20 May 2016): "Rick Reed's artistic vision and execution has a remarkable and unhurried focus & poetry. His live sound and multimedia performances are constantly evolving yet grounded in his clear sensibility. A high bar to set and a treat to observe unfold."
Tara Bhattacharya Reed is a sound artist, DJ and curator. She is also involved in the experimental film & music scenes as a host of Commercial Suicide (on KOOP 91.7 FM), as co-programmer of Experimental Response Cinema and as curator of Antumbrae Intermedia Events + Installations.
Rick & Tara Reed appear on the Obsolete Future split BRILLIANT FLASHES/COALESCE THE VAPOR [2016].