Founded and curated by bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, the third annual Sonic Transmissions Festival encompasses everything from free jazz and improvisational electronics to cumbia.
"It's based in a group that I have going here in Texas," explains the Norwegian native. "The Young Mothers are a melting pot of free jazz, hip-hop, and punk rock. That band has so many genres, so I thought, why not build the festival around it? I was trying to challenge audiences to see that idea, because they can easily fall into this thing that this is just noise and 'He's just trying to be weird, or he's just trying to fusion things.'
"That's not really what I'm trying. I'm trying to prove that music is music [laughs]! That's the one and only thing, really."
Night one, co-presented at Barracuda by Self Sabotage Records and Astral Spirits, Thursday, and which Flaten calls "maybe the hippest night of the festival," doubles as the release party for his new solo bass LP Hong Kong Cab
. Berlin electro duo ILOG
, Austin punks Lung Letters
, and Texas experimental guitar duo Charalambides
, joined by Florida free jazz sax titan Joe McPhee
, contribute free range noise. NYC's Rodenticide
, also with a new release on Self Sabotage, blends poetry and free improv, while McPhee collaborates with Baltimore steel guitarist Susan Alcorn
and Chicago sax wizard Ken Vandermark
. Dallas DJ Mutarrancho
fills the spaces.
Co-staged on Friday night by Epistrophy Arts at Kick Butt Coffee, the Psychedelic Bogotá Cumbia Dance Party boasts the first stateside gig by Colombian cumbia legend Carmelo Torres
, backed by fellow countrymen Los Toscos
. New York guitarist Brandon Seabrook
and Colombian DJs Gala Galeano
and Pedrito y Su Tumbao
also weigh in.
Jazz rules Saturday afternoon at Kenny Dorham's Backyard: Austin guitarist Matt Butler's End of the World Orchestra
, Young Mothers' Jawwaad Taylor
(trumpet) and Stefan González
(vibes/drums), a Flaten-led collective called Black Unity Ensemble
paying tribute to Pharaoh Sander
s' Black Unity
album, and Counter Exchange
, an ATX/NYC improv summit featuring multi-instrumentalist Henna Chou
, trumpeter Jaimie Branch
, saxophonist Carl Smith
, and drummer Tarik Aossey
. The Victory Grill closes out STF that evening with Branch, her duo Anteloper
, and Norwegian bassist Eivind Opsvik's post-punk jazz act Overseas.