Nels Cline

Ars Nova Workshop and Ardmore Music Hall are thrilled to present the return of the explosive trio of guitarist Nels Cline, drummer Gerald Cleaver, and saxophonist Larry Ochs. Three experimental icons, individually and collectively drawing upon the outer limits of Midwestern free jazz, Bay Area structured improvisation, and bicoastal noise punk, reconvene in Philadelphia for a rare meeting.

Jazzmaster assassin Nels Cline might be as close as the modern avant-garde gets to a household name. Before joining indie rock institution Wilco in 2004, Cline divided his energy between improvised contexts alongside Julius Hemphill, Vinny Golia, and brother Alex, and more song-oriented settings like Carla Bozulich’s alt-country outfit Geraldine Fibbers and Mike Watt’s Crew of the Flying Saucer. Cline continues to occupy the narrow space between pure sound and song, as exemplified by his longstanding Singers trio with drummer Scott Amendola and bassist Trevor Dunn, and his recent duo with guitar prodigy Julian Lage.

In his own words, Michigan-bred, New York-based Gerald Cleaver’s multifaceted approach to the drum set balances “static sound and extreme dynamics, melodicism within heavy texture, deep-rooted groove, unchained abandon, and the power and revelation of recurring form.” Cleaver made a name for himself through enduring partnerships with Vision Fest regulars like Roscoe Mitchell and Charles Gayle, but lately critics have been abuzz about his new musique concrète-cum-free rock quintet Black Host with Darius Jones, Cooper-Moore, Brandon Seabrook, and Pascal Niggenkemper. Pitchfork’s Hank Shteamer described 2013’s Life in the Sugar Candle Mines as, “a well-tended hot-house: feverish and bracingly weird, yet also purposeful and shrewdly strategic.”

Larry Ochs is best known as founder and executive director of the Rova Sax Quartet, a San Francisco institution that pioneered the application of improvisational strategies within the context of contemporary classical music in the late 70s. Equally inspired by modernist 20th century composition and the more worldly, abrasive strands of 60s free jazz, Rova and Ochs became widely celebrated for the lengths they would go to stretch the performance parameters of notated music through early collaborations with Henry Kaiser, Fred Frith, and John Zorn. This concert marks Ochs’ first Philadelphia appearance since the Celestial Septet, a big band encompassing both the Rova Sax Quartet and the Nels Cline Singers, performed at the International House in 2011.

Tapes & Tubes

Tapes & Tubes, a.k.a. Austin Potter…touches on those deep, isolating, pensive states that come to the forefront when returning from sleep or conversely nodding off to slumber.

-The Deli Magazine

Tapes and Tubes is a project of Austin Potter…a singer-songwriter who plays a lo-fi blend of folk and spoken word, his uncomplicated guitar, paired with openhearted lyrics is both heartrending and inspiring.

…Potter’s songwriting and vocal style puts him squarely in a unique class of musician that transcends trends.

-Strawberry Tongue

Though he lives in Philadelphia now, pieces of Austin Potter’s native Pacific Northwest seep into the recordings he makes as Tapes & Tubes…paired with his lyrical poems, Potter’s recordings are transportive and visceral while still feeling intensely localized to his own private thoughts.

-WXPN’s The Key

…(Tapes & Tubes creates) a mystical atmosphere that is slightly creepy (Austin Potter’s hoarse sing-whisper half-submerged in jangling guitars and thrumming background noise can just as easily send you into slumber as jolt you out of it) but ultimately rewarding — spiritual, even, if you go in with the right mindset. Potter’s yearning and isolation are driven home by his unique vision. The songs feel fragile, like if you listen a little too closely they’ll pop like a bubble.

…Potter explores the edges between folk and drone rock. His deep voice is well-suited to his somber monologues juxtaposed with delicate fingerpicking. It’s perfect for a winter twilight.

-Adobe and Teardrops

…stories told in maudlin half-tones, the acoustic strums and echoed effects pushing us further into contemplation. Rustic ruminations sung from the peripherals.

-Sonic Masala

…whispery vocals tell brief half stories that seem to dance around their dreadful centers. the music is hazy drifts of guitars and a general ambient hiss. austin manages a fine tension between edgy and somnambulent.

…instruments and tape fuzz create vaguely noir backgrounds for potter’s up-close, whispery talk singing. the music has a seriously narrative, cinematic feel to it, more like a modern beatnik radio play than any sort of rock’n’roll.

-The Modern Folk Music of America

Tapes & Tubes is Austin Potter, out of Philly, and his whispery talk-singing (hear a bit of Leonard Cohen in there) has an eerie, delicate quality, like you can only listen with the lights off, or your eyes closed, or else everything will shatter.

-Don’t Need No Melody

$17 Advance / $20 Day of Show / $27 Reserved

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