Walker Art Center

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Press Releases The Walker Art Center’s Free, In-Gallery Music Series, Sound Horizon, Features Nate Wooley, Julia Holter, and Grouper

Minneapolis, February 26, 2013—The Walker Art Center presents the third season of the free, in-gallery music series Sound Horizon, in the Perlman Gallery on select Target Free Thursday Nights March-May, 2013. Exploring the interstitial spaces of live sound and visual art, Sound Horizon continues this spring with three of the most respected US composers and solo sonic adventurers. These free 30-minute performances take place within the Walker galleries. Enjoy free gallery admission on Thursday nights from 5 to 9 pm. Presented in association with the American Composers Forum.

Sound Horizon

Target Free Thursday Nights

Performances at 6, 7, and 8 pm, Free

Perlman Gallery

Admission to the Walker galleries is free from 5–9 pm

Nate Wooley

Thursday, March 21 at 6, 7, and 8 pm

“Nate Wooley is one of the most interesting and unusual trumpet players living today, and that is without hyperbole.” —Jazz trumpet master Dave Douglas # Combining vocalization, noise and drone, amplification and feedback, and compositional rigor, avant trumpeter Nate Wooley plugs in and turns it up to explore the outer reaches of his instrument miles beyond his predecessors.

Wooley was born in 1974 in Clatskanie, Oregon, a town of 2,000 people in the timber country of the Pacific Northwestern corner of the US He began playing trumpet professionally with his father, a big band saxophonist, at the age of 13. His time in Oregon, a place of relative quiet and slow time reference, instilled in Wooley a musical aesthetic that has informed all of his music making for the past 20 years, but in no situation more than his solo trumpet performances.

Wooley moved to New York in 2001, and has since become one of the most in-demand trumpet players in the burgeoning Brooklyn jazz, improv, noise, and new music scenes. He has performed regularly with such icons as John Zorn, Anthony Braxton, Fred Frith, Evan Parker, and Yoshi Wada, as well as being a collaborator with some of the brightest lights of his generation like Chris Corsano, C. Spencer Yeh, Peter Evans, and Mary Halvorson.

Wooley’s solo playing has often been cited as being a part of an international revolution in improvised trumpet. Along with Peter Evans and Greg Kelley, Wooley is considered one of the leaders of the American movement to redefine the physical boundaries of the horn, as well as demolishing the way trumpet is perceived in a historical context still overshadowed by Louis Armstrong. A combination of vocalization, extreme extended technique, noise and drone aesthetics, amplification and feedback, and compositional rigor led one reviewer to call his solo recordings “exquisitely hostile”.

In the past three years, Wooley has been gathering international acclaim for his idiosyncratic trumpet language. Time Out New York called him “an iconoclastic trumpeter” and his work has been featured at the SWR JazzNow stage at Donaueschingen, the WRO Media Arts Biennial in Poland, Kongsberg, North Sea, Music Unlimited, and Copenhagen Jazz Festivals, and the New York New Darmstadt Festivals. In 2011 he was an artist in residence at Issue Project Room in Brooklyn, NY and Cafe Oto in London, England.

Wooley is the curator of the Database of Recorded American Music (and the editor-in-chief of their online quarterly journal Sound American (both of which are dedicated to broadening the definition of American music through their online presence and the physical distribution of music through Sound American Records.) He also runs Pleasure of the Text which releases music by composers of experimental music at the beginning of their careers.

Julia Holter

Thursday, April 11 at 6, 7, and 8 pm

“An artist vividly committed to exploring new frontiers in a rewarding way.” —BBC # Composer/keyboardist Julie Holter melds bedroom art-pop with avant guard composition and creates a world of heady atmospherics and darkly melodic song craft. Her most recent recording was voted among Pitchfork’s top albums of 2012.

Holter, a Los Angeles native, grew up in a musical family. Her father plays guitar and once performed with Pete Seeger. Her mother, Carole Shammas, is a prominent academic and currently holds the John R. Hubbard Chair in History at the University of Southern California. Besides playing and recording music, Holter tutors students and works with a nonprofit organization for teenagers in South Central Los Angeles. After graduating from CalArts, where she studied composition, Holter contributed songs to multiple compilation albums in 2008. She performed in the LA Road Concert with the Open Academy Youth Orchestra on Washington Boulevard in 2009. The following year, she began playing with Linda Perhacs’ band. In 2010, she released a CD-R titled Celebration and a collection of live recordings.

Her debut studio album, Tragedy, was released in August 2011 on Leaving Records. Inspired by Euripides’ Greek play Hippolytus, the album received generally favorable reviews and was named one of NPR’s “Best Outer Sound Albums of 2011”.

Holter released a second album, Ekstasis, in March 2012 on the RVNG label. The album drew comparisons to works by such artists as Laurie Anderson, Julianna Barwick, Kate Bush, Joanna Newsom, Grouper, and Stereolab. Holter spent three years making the album, whose title comes from the Greek word meaning “outside of oneself.” The music video for album track Moni Mon Amie, directed by Yelena Zhelezov, was also released in March.

In addition to collaborating with other California-based musicians like Nite Jewel (Ramona Gonzalez), Holter is planning her third album, tentatively titled Gigi. Unlike her first two albums, which were recorded mostly alone in her bedroom, Holter hopes to record Gigi with an ensemble of musicians.


Thursday, May 9 at 6, 7, and 8 pm

“Druggy and sexy and arty and pretty, but never pretentious.” —Pitchfork

The one-woman ambient project Grouper (aka Liz Harris) crafts sonic meditations, both secretive and noisy, gently propelled by guitar, lushed electronics, and pastoral drones. Her spectral blend of piano, guitar, and synths reverberates with hiss and haze and notions of distant landscapes.

Harris’ first album was 2005’s Grouper, a self-released full-length CD-R, followed later that year by Way Their Crept on Free Porcupine (re-released in 2007 on Type Records). Other recordings include 2006’s He Knows, released as a 3” CD, the 12” Weird Forest release Wide in 2007, and a 7” called Tried.

She released a collaboration album with Xiu Xiu in 2006, entitled Creepshow, as well as contributing a remix of Tonite & Today to 2007’s Remixed & Covered compilation.

Harris released her third full-length album, Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill, in 2008. Stereogum’s Outsiders column included Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill in their Best LP’s of 2008, and Gorilla vs. Bear ranked the album #2 of the year. It was featured at #37 of Pitchfork’s 50 Best Albums of 2008. A review on Drowned in Sound called it “deeply meditative, almost spiritual… one of the most delicate, affecting albums of the year”.

In 2009, Grouper was the supporting act for the high-profile Animal Collective tour in support of the latter’s successful 2009 album, Merriweather Post Pavilion.

Grouper was chosen by Animal Collective to perform at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival that they curated in May 2011.

Early in 2012, Grouper toured the Violet Replacement show around the UK and Europe. Based around a pair of long-form tape collage pieces which originally took shape for commissioned performances in New York and Berkeley, it further sinks her presence deep into its surroundings, turning the mix inside out.

Harris grew up in a Fourth Way commune in northern California. The community was known as “The Group”, which would later serve as some inspiration for the moniker Grouper: “The kids called each other and the parents ‘Groupers,’ sort of as a defiance. It was us making our own identities inside a pretty controlled environment, and sort of lashing back maybe… When I had to think of a name I felt annoyed at nothing sounding right. I wanted something that referenced me without referencing ‘Me.’ I felt like the music was at its barest just a grouping of sounds, and I was just the grouper.

Nate Wooley

Photo: Peter Gannushkin