75 Dollar Bill Residency

Elder Ones, Amirtha Kidambi

Sun, December 11, 2016

8:00 pm

Union Pool

Brooklyn, NY

This event is 21 and over

75 Dollar Bill
Rick Brown (percussion, homemade horns), Che Chen (guitars),
Sue Garner (bass, percussion), Steve Maing (guitar).

75 Dollar Bill is, at its core, the duo of Che Chen and Rick Brown. The group has been playing together for about four years and has released a string of cassettes and two LPs. The most recent of these is Wood/Metal/Plastic/Pattern/Rhythm/Rock on the Thin Wrist label. The duo frequently plays in expanded lineups from trio to a large group. These December showcases at Brooklyn’s Union Pool will feature three different versions of the band: a trio with sax player Cheryl Kingan, a quartet with bassist Sue Garner and 2nd guitarist Steve Maing and an 8-piece band with all of the above, plus Karen Waltuch on viola, Jim Pugliese on percussion and Andrew Lafkas on contrabass. These expansions mirror and further develop the added instrumentation and material on the newest album.

Guitarist Che Chen has been making music on various instruments for years, in improvised situations as well as bands including the duo True Primes with Rolyn Hu. Percussionist Rick Brown has been in bands in NYC since the late 70s, including Blinding Headache, V-Effect and Run On. Together they have toured the US and Europe, playing shows with Tortoise, Park Details’ Band, Thalia Zedek, Horse Lords, Mecca Normal, Dump and many others.

“75 Dollar Bill performances are rich in the ways a moiré pattern is rich. Pit small differences in phrasing and meter against each other, wait, and waves of detail follow. You are not likely to hear a traditional solo in a 75 Dollar Bill song, no matter how many musicians are in the room. The band does its research beforehand, sets up the active ingredients, and lets them interact for as long as it takes to bring up the heat. It is a sound that conjures the old in the specific sense of music that is suitable for various kinds of social activity: dancing, mourning, commemorating, or simply beginning again.” – Sasha Frere-Jones/Village Voice

“Minimalist approaches can sometimes be tedious and punishing, but not here, where they are often
hypnotic, entrancing, and even nourishing.” – Ernie Paik/Chatanooga’s The Pulse

“On their new album, Wood/Metal/Plastic/Pattern/Rhythm/Rock the duo are joined by a host of guests, who add trumpet, saxophone, contrabass, and viola. Similar collaborations dotted previous 75 Dollar Bill recordings, but the integration is deeper this time, adding density to songs that have been around since the band began. ‘I’m surprised and excited at how adaptable what we’ve got at the core has been to these expanded lineups,’ enthuses Brown. The best example is the album’s closing track, a 15-minute journey called ‘I’m Not Trying to Wake Up.’ As Chen and Brown build a ringing loop, their accompanists insert wide tones that make the song
sound three-dimensional.” – Marc Masters/Bandcamp Daily
Elder Ones
Elder Ones is a quartet performing the compositions of vocalist Amirtha Kidambi (Seaven Teares/Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl). Situated within concentric musical circles and communities in New York City, her collaborators saxophonist Matt Nelson (Battle Trance/Tune-Yards), bassist Brandon Lopez (Nate Wooley/Joe Morris) and drummer Max Jaffe (JOBS/Man Forever) have crossed paths in the DIY underground, in incestuous circles of free improvisers, and concert halls of angular new music. The instrumentalists chosen for this project draw from a wide variety of vocabularies from jazz and rock bands, to the avant-garde, each bringing their own highly individual language to the group. The quartet uses composed material and open structures for ecstatic improvisation, over a bed of harmonium drones and synthesizer like non-idiomatic playing on the instrument. Visceral vocal and saxophone techniques, and an intense rhythm section dynamic, lend an urgency to the compositions. Oscillating between worlds of Raga and microtonality, to jagged rhythmic precision and punishing brutality, Thyagaraja, Alice Coltrane or Stockhausen could be equally suspect sources of their sound. Singing Indian devotional bhajans with the harmonium since a young age, Kidambi gravitated towards the instrument as a compositional tool and accompaniment, drawn to its timbre, intonation and mystical qualities. She was also inspired in part by her work with Darius Jones and the Carnatic improvising tradition, to use abstract syllables and phonemes to liberate the voice from specific literal ideas to facilitate unhindered improvisation, and to allow the listener a greater range of interpretation. As Ben Ratliff wrote in the New York Times, “the aggressive and sublime first album by the band Elder Ones, Holy Science, is a kind of gauge for how strong and flexible the scene of young musicians in New York’s improvised and experimental music world can be. At the center of it are drones and phonemes. The group’s leader, the 30-year-old composer and singer Amirtha Kidambi, holds forth behind a harmonium, the small keyboard instrument with hand-pumped bellows; it’s commonly used in bhajan, the Indian devotional-singing tradition that was central to her musical experience while growing up in a South Indian family.”
Venue Information:
Union Pool
484 Union Ave
Brooklyn, NY, 11211
Reopening Spring 2021!
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