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Concert: Habitat / Unseen Rain / Thorn Collaborative

Wednesday November 6 * 7pm * $10 * TICKETS

Habitat (Todd Harper / Ian Rashkin / Sarah Hughes)
Unseen Rain (June Bender / Alban Bailly / Ashley Tini / Matt Stein / Mike Szekely)
Thorn Collaborative (Erin Ethridge / Colleen Marie Foley)

In 1990-91, bassist Ian Rashkin and pianist Todd Harper played together in “The Seekers of Beauty”, a Minneapolis based jazz collective featuring original compositions emphasizing explorations in form, rhythm, and improvisation. When Ian left Minneapolis, the two kept in touch with their various musical adventures; for years, Harper and Rashkin have been planning a musical reunion, and at long last the plans have to coalesced to bring you this special event. Habitat brings together compositions and improvisatory skeletons created by Harper and Rashkin over the last 30 years -- some revisited from their early collaboration, and some never yet performed. Joining them on this adventure is one of the area’s most creative and talented musicians, saxophonist Sarah Hughes.

Since 1978, Todd Harper has established himself as a pianist, composer bandleader and collaborator in the Twin Cities Music (MN) scene. Harper’s compositions include large scale works for percussion ensemble, intimate art songs, chamber works for strings, woodwinds, jazz big band, works with text, rural community theatre, music for video installation, and dance work. While he has performed and written extensively in jazz settings, Harper crossed into the “deep 3rd stream” -- a confluence between ecstatic jazz inventions, lyrical new “classical”, folkloric forms with an ecological mindset. Recently Harper created the quartet “Musical Ecology”, (piano, cello, drums, flute) which he leads with flautist/Noh flutist Jun Miyake, based in New York. They have recorded 3 albums. In this context Harper has included original poetic orations to guide his compositions.

After a youth playing punk and psychedelic rock in central California, Ian Rashkin moved to Minneapolis in the late 80s and began studying jazz and classical performance and composition. He soon met up with multi-instrumentalist Todd Harper who welcomed him into the jazz collective “Seekers of Beauty”, exposing him to concepts of free improvisation, folkloric rhythms and styles, and creative exploration beyond the scope of standard jazz changes or classical scores. Ian then moved to Seattle to study double bass and composition at the University of Washington, where he continued to play jazz, compose for large and small ensembles, and compose and perform for theater, dance, and film. Currently he resides in Baltimore playing with groups such as Mike ‘n’ Ike and the Baltimore Philharmonia Orchestra, and serves on the board of the Baltimore Jazz Alliance, and is newly a member of the Baltimore Composers Forum.

Sarah Hughes is an alto saxophonist, doubling on flute and clarinet, from Pasadena, Maryland. She is also a composer of ensemble music as well as electronic music for solo artist. Sarah has been a music educator for over 10 years, but she considers herself first and foremost a free improviser, creating within, on top of, and despite many genre frameworks including jazz, experimental composition and noise, swing, blues, folk, rap and hip-hop, and rock. Sarah prefers to emote onstage in the most expressive and readily available way possible.

Unseen Rain
June Bender violin/composition
Alban Bailly cello/electronics
Ashley Tini vibraphone
Matt Stein double bass
Mike Szekely percussion

Unseen Rain is an experimental ensemble from Philadelphia. Delving into the sound worlds of places beyond human reach, the music evokes the echolocation of ocean floors, the bustling of anthills, and the cosmic reverberations of extra-terrestrial life. Comprised of strings, vibraphone and modified drum kit, The group's instrumentation lends itself to an intimate, quieter aesthetic that embraces space and slow-building forms. Unseen Rain was formed by violinist June Bender in 2017. Recent projects include film scoring for the documentary Queer Genius (directed by Catherine Pancake), and the upcoming fall release of their debut album, Out Beyond. The group’s name pays homage to the Sufi mystic Rumi, whose poems inspired Bender to write some of her first compositional sketches.

Thorn Collaborative (Erin Ethridge and Colleen Marie Foley) questions ideas of shared or composite identity, memory and body. We view these as fundamentally fluid in nature, and strive to incarnate that mutability. We engage both the fictional and the real as equal counterparts, weaving together our actual journeys with story and myth. Taking our relationship as subject and tool, we negotiate separation and intimacy in pursuit of their limits. Our attempts to overcome the obstacles that these poles present are continually frustrated. This struggle highlights a paradox inherent in relationships: distance is a wound that can’t be healed because closeness is never complete, but intimacy threatens the sovereign self. We find pleasure and pain in our separateness and in our union. We began working together as Thorn in 2015 while in graduate school at Alfred University where Erin studied sculpture and Colleen studied electronic arts. Combining our skill sets, we employ sculptural processes such as wax and resin casting, metal work, sewing, and electronic media such as video, animation, and sound.

Stages of Soft is a series of four performances over four days drawing from various types of episodic transformations. Taking cues from insects, alchemists, and ancient mythology, Thorn will posit bodies as sites of transformation and instruments for communication. Each day’s performance will leave traces and artifacts, transforming the space throughout the exhibition. The installation and performances together will be a meditation on softened boundaries of the body, intimacy and distance, and ritual metamorphosis.