From our sponsors:
August 27, 2017
Doors: 8 pm / Show: 9 pm | $30 ADV, $35 Doors | 21+
1300 SE Stark Street, Portland, OR
Swans were born during the heyday of New York’s no wave reaction to punk rock, on the Lower East Side. Led by brainchild, guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Michael Gira, the group was formed after the demise of his first New York outfit, Circus Mort. Swans’ first lineup consisted of Gira, guitarist Sue Hanel, and drummer Jonathan Kane. The trio played with kindred spirits Sonic Youth and did some rudimentary recordings that showcased the abrasive, percussively assaultive sonics Swans were later identified with. These initial sides surfaced on the Body to Body, Job to Job compilation. A different lineup included Kane, guitarist Bob Pezzola, and Daniel Galli-Duani on saxophone; they released a self-titled EP in 1982. The personnel changed again for the band’s powerful debut, Filth, issued in 1983 on Germany’s Zensor imprint. It included Gira, Kane, guitarist Norman Westberg, bassist Harry Crosby, and percussionist/drummer Roli Mosimann.
Swans began to garner an audience in Europe. Kane left after Filth was released, and Swans, who were becoming known for their sheer musical brutality as well as Gira’s lyrics about violence, extreme sex, power, rage, and the margins of human depravity (sometimes in the same song), began to garner a cult following at home with the release of 1984’s Cop. The sound was essentially the same: extreme volume, slower than molasses tempos, detuned guitars, distorted electronics, and overamped drums and percussion, but there were discernible traces of something approaching melody in Gira’s compositions and vocalizing. Further evidence of this new “accessibility” was heard on 1985’s untitled EP, which featured the provocatively titled “Raping a Slave.” It later became the EP’s title. Swans’ touring was relentless, and while anything even approaching popularity avoided them in the United States, their European audiences grew exponentially.
Cellist Okkyung Lee is one of the most dynamic forces in improvised music today, a fearless and powerful performer whose playing incorporates a love of noise, extended technique and elements from the outer fringes of contemporary composition.
A native of Korea, Okkyung Lee has been developing her own voice in a contemporary cello performance and improvisation. Using her classical training as a springboard, she incorporates jazz, sounds, Korean traditional music, and noise with extended techniques.
Since moving to New York in 2000, she has performed and recorded with numerous artists such as Derek Bailey, Jaap Blonk, Nels Cline, Anthony Coleman, Mark Dresser, Shelley Hirsch, Susie Ibarra, Vijay Iyer, Eyvind Kang, Alonzo King, Christian Marclay, Raz Mesinai, Min Xiao-Fen, Thurston Moore, Ikue Mori, Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris, Jim O’Rourke, Zeena Parkins, Marc Ribot, Marina Rosenfeld, Elliott Sharp and John Zorn to name a few.
Okkyung holds dual bachelor’s degrees in film scoring/contemporary writing & production from Berklee College of Music, and master’s degree in contemporary improvisation from New England Conservatory of Music.