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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Free Form Freakout Experimental Sound Performance on April 20!

KMSU's Free Form Freakout presents Sean McCann, Aquarelle, Troy Schafer, and Maths Balance Volumes at the Arts Center of St. Peter on Friday, April 20th, 2018.


We’re beyond thrilled to be invited back to the Arts Center of St. Peter on April 20th to curate the second annual, An Evening of Experimental & Improvised Sound event. Like last year’s event, that included performances from Graham Lambkin, Paul Metzger, Justin Meyers, and Maths Balance Volumes, we’re again presenting a range of talented musicians and sound artists from both near and far with close ties to the Free Form Freakout podcast. The upcoming April 20th show will include performances by: Sean McCann (CA), Aquarelle (MN), Troy Schafer (WI), and once again Maths Balance Volumes (MN/WI). Listed below you’ll find some background information and sound samples for each of the artists involved. For those still on Facebook, there is an event invite created that you can follow for additional details leading up to the show. Please feel free to get in touch with us directly, too, if you have any questions. This event is made possible through Arts and Cultural Heritage Funds as allocated by KMSU.

Sean McCann is a Los Angeles-based composer, musician, sound artist, and audio mastering technician. He has been publishing albums since 2007, utilizing an array of instruments including violin, piano, & voice. His first fully realized album, Music for Private Ensemble (2013), found the artist multi-tracking and performing dozens of layers of instruments and sounds to form a one-man-orchestra. The logical follow-up album, Music for Public Ensemble (2016), lassoed in 30 other musicians to join in and puzzle together a 2xLP of lush chamber works, choral pieces, & text-sound compositions. In 2012 he formed the record label Recital, which has published dozens of LPs and books with an emphasis on new music, sound poetry, & sound art, examining the similarities and differences between the pastoral and the bizarre. Upon the release of his album Music for Private EnsembleTiny Mix Tapes wrote that: “McCann has built his reputation by producing consistently outstanding material across diverging genres and by releasing his output under a number of independent labels. On Private Ensemble, he solidifies his status as an undaunted and accomplished composer, setting new boundaries for expectation in prolificacy while demonstrating a remarkable attention to detail.” For his performance at the Arts Center of St. Peter, McCann will be joined by Troy Schafer and Anna Rodell.

With the Aquarelle moniker, Ryan Potts explores a cross-section of feedback-generated experiments, acoustic instrumentation and layered sine waves. These sounds are folded together with meticulous editing to form pieces that have equal interest in stasis and movement, clarity and obscurity. After a pair of excellent albums on the reputable experimental label, Students of Decay, Aquarelle returned with last year’s gorgeous Leave Corners, an album that The Alcohol Seedwebsite noted “pours from the speakers with a vibrant, polychromatic energy.”

Wisconsin-based composer and improviser, Troy Schafer, has scattered a staggering body of impressive work throughout the darkened pastures of the Midwest over the past decade with his contributions to various group efforts such as Kinit HerWreathesBurial Hex, and Rain Drinkersto name but a few. On top of this stellar output, Schafer’s 2012 solo release on Sean McCann’s Recital label entitled Evening Song Awaken provided further confirmation of his considerable talents as a violinist and as a composer of soul-stirring sounds. The past few years, upon completion of a Master’s Degree in Sound at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, has seen Schafer’s music continue to evolve along more conceptual and theoretical lines, pushing into areas of musique concrète and performance art, while maintaining a distinctive emotional heft common amongst all of his work. Schafer’s ongoing Untitled series, started in 2014, has proven to be the apex of this newfound path as a solo artist, with each installment unlocking a new and varied piece to the beguiling sonic puzzle that he is creating. The online music publication A Closer Listen noted that “… as Schafer’s solo career progresses, he continues to tumble into a black hole of compressed instrumentation. The Untitled series might eventually lead to an album, but that’s not the point; these works are updates from a mind on fire.”

Maths Balance Volumes is the shape-shifting free folk/tape collage unit that formed in Mankato well over a decade ago. At its core, MBV is the duo of Clayton Kolbinger and Jameson Sweiger, two artists that have continued to record solo work under different aliases: Kolbinger as Termite Acropolis & Private Anarchy and Sweiger as Final Seed. After an extended hiatus, MBV performed at last year’s Free Form Freakout-curated event at the Arts Center of St. Peter. Portions of that performance can now be heard on their recent full-length album, Absence, which was one of the final releases to come out on Graham Lambkin’s venerable Kye label.

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