kind words for oblivion by nhung nguyen!

Oblivion is a nonplace. A radio dial wandering away from the crisp enunciation of the broadcast, choosing instead to strand itself in the ambiguity of dead air. Over a fleeting 12-minutes, sound artist Nhung Nguyen avoids allegiance to anything concrete or explicitly communicative. Keyboards spiral away from any tonal centre. Voices, scrapes and gurgles arrive heavily manipulated, removed from the context that gifts them significance, bobbing like curious flotsam upon a sea of crackle and hum. Couple this with the mentions of “abandoned memories” and “lost times” in the record’s accompanying description, and the composition starts to manifest as a purgatory for forgotten experiences, occupied by sounds that have slipped through the net of remembering. It’s with masterful irony that Nguyen generates this sense of placelessness from the most grounded of source materials: found sounds, field recordings of physical spaces…

read the whole thing at: echoes and dust.

pan y rosas release sizigias by the cátodo dúo!

based in chile, the cátodo dúo consists of amanda irarrázabal on double bass and ramiro molina on electric guitar. they began playing together in 2012 as a way of sharing their experiences in the field of the improvised music. built around a string concept, the duo easily moves from intense rhythmic situations to dense layers of noise. the music is totally improvised and their sound arises from treating instruments as sources of sound in every sense of the word using prepared instruments and avoiding conventional playing.

the second album from cátodo dúo! recorded in the studio over three days, the duo investigates sound spaces that go beyond the primarily acoustic nature of the first album to interact with electronic processes. thick noise compounds appear, revealing what was only hinted at before. audacious electronic transformations. a fluidity. a constant and sustained attention to the moment. a focused syntax.

get the album here!

library experimental – july 7, 2018

Library Experimental is an ongoing series focusing on Chicago’s experimental musicians. It is happening at the Chicago Public Library in Jefferson Park on Saturday, July 7 from 2-4pm.

Early! Free! Kid friendly! If the kids are patient!

The final show of the 2018 season features Christopher Riggs; and Will Soderberg / Enid Smith.

Jefferson Park library is located at 5363 W Lawrence. Convenient to both bus and blue line.

Christopher Riggs is a teacher who also plays experimental music on the electric guitar.

Using springs, magnets, pieces of metal, dowels, and violin bows, he makes his instrument sound like underwater pterodactyls, cellos from space, the inside of a trash compactor, alien insects, malfunctioning mp3 files, or washing machines filled with marbles. He achieves these unguitar-like sounds without the aid of processing or effects.


Enid Smith earned her BFA in contemporary dance from the North Carolina School of the Arts. In New York City, she performed with Ivy Baldwin Dance, The Merce Cunningham Repertory Understudy Group, Anita Cheng Dance, and MAC Cosmetics among others. Since moving to the Chicago area in 2007, she has presented her own work under the name enidsmithdance, collaborated with The North Shore Choral Society and the artists of Articular Facet, and worked extensively with The Evanston Dance Ensemble and ede2. Most recently Enid has performed with Khecari and as a guest artist with Lucky Plush Productions. She currently teaches advanced modern at Dovetail Studios and Dance Center Evanston and maintains a massage therapy practice.


Will Soderberg’s first recorder was a Kenner ‘Say It Play It’ which he received for Christmas in 1969. He likes to record sounds and videos and then change them using: ipads, computers, discarded electronics, found objects, abandoned ios apps & devices, obsolete software, etc. He attempts to manipulate and recombine sources to provoke new contexts by placing them in unfamiliar, often imaginary settings. He likes to perform with musicians & dancers of all ages.

pan y rosas release thank you, merciless onlookers!

david mcnamee is a writer, artist, musician, and music label founder/operator.

david selected one track from each of the houses he lived in during a period of psychic wrongness, and rechristened each piece after the area it was recorded in – brighton, kilburn, camden, tottenham, brixton. it’s not so much an exercise in nostalgia, as an exorcism – a way of driving a stake through that time and these songs. of finishing. instinctive sketches that felt right to make. badly-recorded “not music.”

distortion drone flange. baroque gamelan. electro beats. soundtrack.

get the album here!

kind words for marta smilga, jelena glazova, tay_ploops, lola de la mata, nhung nguyen, anna xambó, and bella!

the extended kindness comes from closer listen. read the whole thing there!

Many labels make an effort to raise the profile of female electronic musicians, but pan y rosa discos goes all out. Of their fifteen releases so far this year, eight are by women. Their music demonstrates an incredible variety of styles and is drawn from a wide variety of countries…

When listening to the first few seconds of attractive synthesis by Latvia’s Līga Smirnova, one thinks, “oh, it’s just another club-based synth track.” But listen just a little longer, and all preconceptions will be destroyed…

Jelena Glazova may be another Latvian artist, but her approach is vastly different from that of her labelmate. Relying on heavily processed voice, Glazova creates soundscapes that flutter and pop without providing any hint of their human genesis…

The script flips again with tay_ploops (Jessica Gabriel). The Vancouver-based artist also uses voice, but her voice is recognizable throughout, delving into poetry, fragment, onomatopoeia, and all manner of stutter and loop. spool oops is a fun album, as one might expect from the title, as well as by some of Gabriel’s other careers (puppeteer, clown)…

Shifting gears once again, we encounter the work of London’s Lola de la Mata, an impossible to categorize artist whose work demonstrates incredible intelligence and complexity. de la Mata’s main interest is the kinesthetic nature of the body in relation to movement and sound. Her work has often been used in dance performances, as the nuances of her compositions lend themselves well to creative interpretations. In Remise en Bouche (Palate Cleanser), one can hear percussive breath and snapshots of song, along with static and feedback, trains and bells, violin and voice…

Vietnam’s Nhung Nguyen (Sound Awakener) offers an intriguing combination of static and chime on the 12-minute single piece Oblivion. The drone influence is apparent along with the “drifting, falling” feel of ambience, justifying the description of the work as “calm, meditative, chaotic and noisy.” While listening, one feels the tug between peace and activity, retreat and forward surge, work and play, regret and letting go…

Those listening to these releases in order may flinch when they reach Anna Xambó‘s H2RI, a collection of twenty one-minute tracks rife with feedback and noise. The album would make a great alarm clock. But there is also pattern in noise: frequency, repetition, dynamic contrast, give-and-take…

The latest label release comes from Brazilian artist Bella, and captures a live half-hour performance inspired by water and light. The piece, titled UN, is as dark as the unmapped fathoms, where furtive movement is often imperceptible and creatures create their own illumination. One can imagine this piece filling the performance space with reverberation, sound waves bouncing off walls and traveling through bodies…

library experimental – june 2018

Library Experimental is an ongoing series focusing on Chicago’s experimental musicians. It is happening at the Chicago Public Library in Jefferson Park on Saturday, June 9, from 2-4pm.

Early! Free! Kid friendly! If the kids are patient!

The fourth installment of the 2018 season features Lindsey French / Willy Smart; Sarah J. Ritch; and Morgan Krauss!

Jefferson Park library is located at 5363 W Lawrence. Convenient to both bus and blue line.

artist info:

Lindsey French / Willy Smart

Lindsey french is an artist whose work engages in gestures of sensual and mediated communication with landscapes and the nonhuman. Her projects materialize as texts written in collaboration with trees, scent transmissions, and performative lectures. She currently teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Departments of Art and Technology Studies and Contemporary Practices.

Stemming from Anna Tsing’s idea of contamination as collaboration, Willy Smart and Lindsey french offer a space for listening to the landscape. Field recordings of contaminated landscapes, live local environmental input, and human error suggest modes for rereading and hearing Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.

Sarah Ritch

Along with classical training in cello and piano, Sarah Ritch has also played guitar and bass in several punk and metal bands prior to her academic music studies. Ms. Ritch holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music, a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Studio Arts from SAIC’s Sound department, and a Master’s Degree in Computer Science. Sarah studied cello performance at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with Moonlight Tran and Dr. Andrew Smith, and with Barbara Haffner at the Chicago College of Performing Arts.

Sarah Ritch’s work ranges from improvisational noise to tonal notated music to musical studies on algorithmic expression. She has been the composer-in-residence for Chicago classical ensembles the Millennium Chamber Players and the Anaphora Ensemble. Ms. Ritch is an advocate for education in the arts and technology, having taught Music Theory, Composition, and Cello at the Southport Performing Arts Conservatory, and serving as Director of Technology and Professor of The History and Science of Sound
for the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts at UIC.

Morgan Krauss

Morgan Krauss (b. 1985) is a composer currently living in Chicago. She received her Bachelor of Music in Composition at Columbia College Chicago in the winter of 2012. She is now continuing her studies in Music Composition as a Doctoral student at Northwestern University.

Krauss’ ambitions in her works are to produce tactile explorations based on ones physical awareness and elements of allurement. Her music is focused on the latent instability of seemingly fixed gestures where the interaction between the performer and the score creates yet a third entity, often guided by improvisation and the clashing of emotional opposites.

pan y rosas release H2RI by anna xambó!

anna xambó is a researcher and musician with a background in computer science engineering, digital humanities and digital arts. she completed her phd in 2015 (the open university), specializing in music computing and HCI, and is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the centre for digital music (queen mary university of london).

her musical practice includes live coding, multichannel spatialization, tangible music, collaborative interfaces, audience participation with mobile devices, and real-time music information retrieval. she has performed internationally and works actively in the music tech and experimental electronic music scene, as a co-founder of the online music records carpal tunnel in barcelona (spain), co-founder of women in music tech at georgia tech (usa), and co-organizer of international concerts.

H2RI is an instance of a generative album created by anna xambó in 2018. the 20 tracks of 1′ each have been generated using her self-built tool MIRLC, a library for using music information retrieval techniques in live coding. a basic rule has shaped the audio sources of the album: to only use of short sounds from the crowd-sourced, online, sound database freesound. each track is complemented with the code in SuperCollider and the attribution to the authors of the original sounds.

get the album here!

pan y rosas release oblivion by nhung nguyen!

nhung nguyen is an experimental musician and sound artist who has been composing and playing experimental music since 2011. under her own name or the alias, sound awakener, she has been creating sonic waves in hanoi’s underground music scene for the past few years. where the sound awakener project focuses on abstract experimental sounds, releases under the name nhung nguyen tend toward melodic, cinematic material.

oblivion is a composition for contact mics, radio and electronics. during the composition and recording process of this work, nhung nguyen explored the use of found objects, field recordings and electronic processing and linked them with the lost times, abandoned memories and forgotten places. the results are an abstract atmosphere – simultaneously calm, meditative, chaotic and noisy.

get the album here!

pan y rosas release the wind by dadala!

dadala began in 2004. it was and is a continuation of richard dunlap’s history of routes through music an daudio art. in 2007 a core group of contributors began to coalesce who created material specifically for the dadala project. the group currently consists of richard dunlap, loopy c (chris r. gibson), erocnet (roger sundström), and paul mimlitsch.

the wind is a collage of guitars, keyboards, drums, dulcimers, ambients, acoustmatics, soundscapes, beats, glitches, virtual instruments, derivations, bass clarinets, effects.

get the album here!