July 2007

International House3701 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA Map
Price: $8 General Admission
Friday, May 25, 2007 - 8:00pm


Z'EV, percussion

Please join Ars Nova Workshop as we present one of the first state-side performances of Z'EV in over 20 years. The return of Z'EV to the United States is highly anticipated in the wake of his recent activity. New generations of listeners have come to the realization that much of what they consider to be the original wave of avant-garde music owes a great debt to the creative pathways forged by Z'EV.

One of the world's premier noise percussionists and a learned scholar of Kabbalah, Torah and Talmud, Z'EV has been a vital force in the downtown scene since the late 1970s. In addition to his collaborations with Glenn Branca, Rudolph Grey and his fascinating solo work, Z'EV is also a prolific writer and musical thinker. He has written on subjects ranging from music composition, ritual performance and has also translated several esoteric Tibetan and Hebrew texts into English.

The currently UK-based text/sound artist has been at the forefront of the movement that became known as "industrial." A precursor to Neubauten, his brand of scrap-metal/found object percussion originates in intense musical training and background, beginning with his days at the California Institute of the Arts where he studied techniques such as Balinese Gamelan, EWE (Ghana), Tala (South India), and Vou Dun (Hati). Incorporating these traditional methods into his distinctly personal musical vision of sound, Z'EV has consistently produced vital examples of his craft for a host of noted labels including Soleilmoon, C.I.P, Touch and Die Stadt and a commissioned piece for John Zorn's "Radical Jewish Music" series on Tzadik Records. His record Bust This was chosen in 1988 by The Wire as one of the greatest 50 percussion albums of all time. Z'EV has graced the stage and created installations for an immense variety of venues in Europe, the US and Japan, and the list of his collaborators over the years includes such luminaries as Keiji Haino, David Jackman, Francisco Lopez, K.K. Null, Stephen O'Malley, Charlemagne Palestine, Genesis P'Orridge and Chris Watson.


Sikhara, the tribal percussion project of Scott Nydegger, has performed over 300 concerts in 26 countries. The project has always existed in a constant state of motion, touring and living in a nomadic way that has come to define it. In 2003, Sikhara began a self-imposed exile in Europe and fortified the line-up with French drummer Yann Geoffriaud, most known for his work with the famed French power-violence unit George Bitch Jr. During this period Sikhara became a mainstay in the European underground with constant touring, often known to choose extraordinary locales for their performances, such as Istanbul's Taxim district, a 1400 year old Buddhist temple in Japan and deep within the tunnels of a Polish coal mine. With the release of their new CD Bardos State, Sikhara has turned its sights back upon America. Sikhara also has many satellite projects, including backing and producing Iggy and the Stooges sax-man Steve Mackay and regularly appearing with ex-Can frontman Damo Suzuki.

Dave Smolen
Dave Smolen, amplified percussion + analog electronics

Dave Smolen began playing music at age 10 on the trumpet for 2 years, then later switched to drums at 12. He went on to play rock music for 8 years, and then became interested in processing his drums with analogue phaser and ring modulator effects. After continued practice with this minimal setup, he created one that consisted of ring modulators, reverb units, equalized distortion, multi-modulation/oscillation effects, an open circuit board of a digital chorus pedal and additionally 2 loop pedals. The electronic configuration provides a pitch "mask" over the original acoustic sounds from snare drum and various bells as well as electric sounds including feedback, removed/broken inputs, flipped effect switches and circuit bending. Each sound is either left live or sent through 2 loop pedals, then reset at various tempos and/or enveloped in an overall reprocessed pitch. Smolen collaborates mainly with Philadelphia locals such as John Heron in a proc. perc./electronics duo and with Joe Lentini (Max/MSP) in Clown Food. He has toured with Evan Lipson and Alex Nagle performing Nagle's piece, Flittermice of Eld. He was invited to perform in the 2006 edition of the internationally renowned High Zero Festival of Experimental Improvised Music in Baltimore, where he performed with Stewart Mostofsky, Rose Hammer, Leonel Kaplan, Alessandro Bosetti, George Lewis, Max Eisenberg, Jake Freeman, Jenny Graf Bibulah, Michael Muniak, and Jackie Stewart. Smolen's diverse improvisations and compositions have been documented on two recent solo CDs released by Sprout.