June 2015

Johnny Brenda's1201 N. Frankford Ave.
Philadelphia, PA Map
Price: $13 advance, $15 day of show
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 - 9:00pm

Holly Herndon

Holly Herndon, voice + electronics

Ars Nova Workshop and Johnny Brenda’s are pleased to co-present Holly Herndon in addition to a very special opening duo set from the Sun Ra Arkestra's Marshall Allen and Man Man's Chris Powell.

Composer, vocalist, electronic musician, and performer, Holly Herndon has become a leading light in contemporary music by experimenting within the outer reaches of dance music and pop songwriting possibilities. Born and raised in East Tennessee, Herndon in numerous choirs and played piano and guitar from a young age. As a student in Berlin, she discovered electronic club music, first as a participant then as a composer. She holds an MFA in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College in San Francisco, where she studied with Fred Frith, John Bischoff, James Fei, and Maggi Payne. She is currently a doctoral candidate at Stanford's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics.

On her newest release, Platform (RVNG Int, 2015), she explores the ethers of avant-garde electronic music and choral music. The record asks questions about politics, community, and communication, and explores such themes as systemic inequality, surveillance states, and neo-feudalism. The album's title, borrowed from the theorist and designer Benedict Singleton, refers not to technological environments as much as the attempt to mount a collective effort to define our own future. She sees the role of the human voice in electronic music as a way of “creating entry points for people, so then I can introduce more abrasive or out-there ideas” (Pitchfork).

NPR described her 2012 release, Movement (RVNG Int) “as if vocal composer Meredith Monk discovered acid house and went dancing down the rabbit hole with a strobe light.” She has shared bills with Kronos Quartet, Laurie Anderson, St. Vincent, and Lonnie Holley.

Check out this lecture given by Holley Herndon, courtesy of Red Bull Music Academy.

Marshall Allen / Chris Powell
Marshall Allen, alto saxophone + EVI
Chris Powell, drums + electronics

As a young musician, Marshal Belford Allen (b. May 25, 1924) performed with pianist Art Simmons, Don Byas and James Moody before enrolling in the Paris Conservatory of Music. After relocating to Chicago, Allen became a pupil of Sun Ra, subsequently joining the Arkestra in 1958 and leading Sun Ra's formidable reed section for the next 40 years. Marshall, along with John Gilmore, June Tyson and James Jacson, lived, rehearsed, toured and recorded with Sun Ra almost exclusively for much of Sun Ra's musical career. As a member of the Arkestra, Allen pioneered the Free Jazz movement of the early sixties, having remarkable influence on the leading voices in the avant-garde. He is featured on over 200 Sun Ra recordings in addition to collaborations with Phish, Sonic Youth, Digable Planets and Medeski, Martin & Wood. Allen assumed the position of maestro in 1995, following the ascension of Sun Ra in 1993 and John Gilmore in 1995. Marshall continues to be committed to the study, research, and development of Sun Ra's musical precepts and has launched the Sun Ra Arkestra into a dimension beyond that of mere "ghost" band by writing fresh arrangements of Sun Ra's music, as well as composing new music and arrangement for the Arkestra. He works unceasingly to keep the big-band tradition alive.

Christopher Sean Powell is a self-taught rhythm scholar, producer, and beat-maker living in Philadelphia, PA. As a main contributor in the Philadelphia art and sound collective Need New Body, which fused improvisation with popular song structures, Powell began a career of international recording and performance, creating music at the nexus of art and entertainment. Since 1999, he has collaborated, recorded, and toured worldwide with a diverse spectrum of artists and musicians, including the Sun Ra Arkestra, Yoko Ono, and the Boredoms. Powell’s work in the eclectic and high energy Philadelphia band Man Man (ANTI- Records) has helped focus his talent as a leader in the live performance context. Together with Griffin Rodriguez, Powell explores popular music based on jazz and non-Western rhythms as the Los Angeles production duo Icy Demons. His latest projects include Adventuredrum, a conceptually-based performance Powell composes for an ensemble of drummers, Spaceship Aloha, a solo project mixing Polynesian-infused beats in an electronic soundscape, GRANT$, a hip hop duo with artist Tim Fite, Mash Up Body, a collaboration with avant-garde choreographer Kate Watson-Wallace, and Peak MIDI, a live computer music improv collaboration with Data Garden founder Joe Patitucci.