Monday 29 February 2016, 8pm
75 Dollar Bill formed in New York City in 2012; the singular music of this instrumental duo draws various sources from around the world and across disciplines, everything from Mauritanian guitar to raw minimalism and blown-out urban blues, yet brings these sounds into something wholly their own.
“Chen has developed a kind of intuitive approach to Saharan guitar, playing a conventional electric guitar and another with frets adapted to play quartertones. The style he creates in doing so is all his own: fierce art-punk meets dirty blues meets African trance. Together the pair create a low-budget instrumental-music hoedown of unalloyed beauty and power, as heard on this year’s album Wooden Bag (Other Music) as well as a handful of great self-released tapes—they actually busked in their early days and have retained that portability and in-the-red fury.” – The Chicago Reader
Che Chen / electric guitar, quartertone electric guitar, alto saxophone
Rick Brown / percussion, alto saxophone
75 Dollar Bill was formed in 2012 by percussionist Rick Brown and guitarist Che Chen. Played on a deeply resonant plywood crate, Brown’s earthy, elemental rhythms are both the foundation and foil for Chen’s ecstatic, modal guitar style. The duo’s electric, richly patterned music can shape shift from joyful dance tunes to slowly changing trance minimalism, an uncategorizable hybrid which draws on early electric blues, the modal traditions of West Africa, India and the Middle East, Sun Ra’s space chords and the minimalist and No Wave histories of their home town. While Brown and Chen are always at the band’s core, the duo frequently expands into other configurations live and on record, from trio to 25-piece marching band. They have released a string of cassettes and two LPs, the most recent of which, Wood / Metal / Plastic / Pattern / Rhythm / Rock, met with wide critical acclaim and appeared on numerous "Best of" lists for 2016. It is now being released in Europe (on vinyl, digitally and, for the first time, on CD) by Glitterbeat Records, on its brand-new tak:til imprint.
Percussionist Rick Brown has been in bands in NYC since the late 70s, including Blinding Headache, V-Effect and Run On. Guitarist Che Chen was previously in the band True Primes and has been an energetic collaborator in the American and Japanese undergrounds over the last decade.
Over the last decade, C Joynes has ploughed a singular furrow through solo guitar, with a body of work incorporating English folk-tunes alongside North & West African music, and lifting proto-minimalist and improvised techniques from the European classical tradition. Shifting to solo electric guitar on his most recent releases, the ‘33 Chatsworth Rd’ EP on alt.vinyl (2015) and ‘Split Electric’ LP on Thread Recordings (2016), he’s currently exploiting the instrument’s potential for placing overdriven garage blues throw- downs alongside the brittle ringing tones of electric folk.
“As much Conlon Nancarrow and Ali Farka Toure as Blind Lemon Jefferson, the compositional mind at work here can take apparently disparate threads of modernism and ethnic tradition and treat them as though they were all archaic blues styles learnt from dusty 78s.” – BRUCE RUSSELL, THE WIRE
“An inheritor to Davy Graham; a lone operator prone to unexpected collaborations, with a repertoire that crosses continents and timezones with consummate ease, and dashed off with a phenomenal, yet lightly applied technique.” ROB YOUNG, THE WIRE
Paul Abbott is an artist and musician based in London, working through questions and feelings connecting music and language: using real and imaginary drums, synthetic sounds, performance and writing.
His current collaborations include XT & lll人 with Seymour Wright and Daichi Yoshikawa, Falls with Keira Greene, ULAPAARC with Cara Tolmie and an ongoing project with Will Holder. A series of solo performances in Cafe OTO’s project space are documented here. Recent releases include solo's Sphuzo, qno, & Vagus and Pah' (XT), and vjerhanxsk (lll人). He is one of the co-editor’s of Cesura//Acceso and was one of the Sound and Music “Embedded” resident artists at Cafe Oto 2015-2016.
In addition Abbott has collaborated and performed with numerous other artists and musicians, including: Benedict Drew, Pat Thomas, Ute Kanngiesser, Billy Steiger, Bill Orcutt, Danny Haywood, Joel Grip, Brandon La Belle, Eddie Prevost, Steve Noble, Sebastian Lexer, Evan Parker and Otomo Yoshihide.
“For over 10 years, I have only played unscripted/improvised music. I have experimented with the sound of the cello, limiting myself to the alive material at hand: vast and complicated layers within the instrument and myself; and to let this music evolve continuously in relationship with others. It relates to the process of uncovering an endless multiplicity of coexisting sense perspectives. And it deals with the energy that this gives rise to. For me, it is the most exciting place to play music from.”