Elaine Mitchener (UK/JAM)
Born and raised in East London of Jamaican heritage Elaine Mitchener is a classically trained contemporary music vocalist, movement artist and composer, whose work encompasses improvisation, contemporary/experimental music theatre and dance. Her performances have been described as possessing «spell-binding intensity» (Daily Telegraph) and «ferociously expressive in voice and body» (The Times).
Elaine has worked and collaborated with a wide array of leading musicians and artists including Moor Mother (aka Camae Ayewa), Mark Padmore, The Otolith Group, Sonia Boyce, Hamid Drake, Tansy Davies, Alasdair Roberts, Dam Van Huynh Company, Apartment House, David Toop, London Sinfonietta, William Parker, Steve Beresford, Christian Marclay, Phil Minton, Black Top (Pat Thomas/Orphy Robinson), Ensemble Manufaktur für aktuelle Musik, George E. Lewis, Jason Yarde, and Alexander Hawkins.
She has performed at numerous leading UK and European venues and festivals including Bimhuis (Amsterdam), Café Oto (London), 56th Venice Biennale, ICA London, Purcell Room (SBC, London), Maerzmusik (Berlin), Rewire Festival (The Hague), La Monnaie (Brussels), SPILL Festival of Performance (Ipswich UK), Meteo Mulhouse (France), Whitechapel Gallery (London), London Contemporary Music Festival (LCMF) and Tusk Festival (Gateshead). Her sound work has been held in a collection of recordings at Darmstadt Festival (Germany).
With Alexander Hawkins, Elaine is co-leader of the experimental jazz group the Hawkins/Mitchener Quartet - in November 2017 the Swiss Intakt label released the group's debut album UpRoot. She is also a regular vocalist with the ensemble Apartment House and with them gave the European premiere Charles Mingus' String Quartet No. 1 (for voice and string quartet) as part of the Tower Bridge Bascule Chamber concert series. Elaine is also the founder of The Rolling Calf, an electro-acoustic trio with Jason Yarde and Neil Charles and her project Vocal Classics of the Black Avant Garde described as «a taste of the age of experimentalism» brings together Yarde and Charles with Alexander Hawkins, Byron Wallen, Jason Yarde, Mark Sanders and poet Dante Micheaux. Recent /forthcoming performances and projects b r e a d t h b r e a t h (LCMF), the then + the now = now time (Maerzmusik, Berlin), | Les Murs Sont Témoins | These Walls Bear Witness | (installation, Portchester Castle), Jeanne Lee Project (Kings Place, London), Vocal Classics of the Black Avant-Garde (Meteo Festival, Mulhouse/ London Jazz Festival) and Bascule Chamber Concerts with Apartment House (Tower Bridge, London), Jupiter Rising Festival (Edinburgh), Tusk (Gateshead), Just Music Festival (Wiesbaden, Germany).
AUDREY CHEN (US/TWN/CHN)
is a 2nd generation Chinese/Taiwanese-American musician.Using the cello, voice and occasional analog electronics, Chen's work delves deeply into her own version of narrative and non-linear storytelling. A large component of her music is improvised, is completely un-processed and her approach to this is extremely personal and visceral. Her playing explores the combination and layering of the homemade analog synthesizer, preparations and traditional and extended techniques in both the voice and cello. She works to join these elements into a singular ecstatic personal language.
Over the past decade plus, her predominant focus has been her solo work with the cello, voice and electronics, but she has more recently begun to shift back towards the exploration of the voice as a primary instrument. Recent projects, aside from performing solo, include her long running voices duo with Phil Minton, duos HISS & VISCERA with modular synth player Richard Scott, BEAM SPLITTER with Norwegian trombonist Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø, and the "romantic noise duo" AFTERBURNER with Doron Sadja (electronics/light projection). Past projects include work with German conceptual artist John Bock, a duo with NYC abstract turntablist Maria Chavez, and a quartet with Nate Wooley, C. Spencer Yeh, and Todd Carter. Her new projects include a double duo/quartet with BEAM SPLITTER and STREIFENJUNKO's, Eivind Lønning and Espen Reinersten and MOPCUT with Lukas König and Julien Desprez.
Among her more recent album releases include, «By the Stream» with Phil Minton - Subrosa (Brussels), «Hiss & Viscera» with Richard Scott - Sound Anatomy (Berlin), «Rough Tongue», BEAM SPLITTER'S debut LP - Corvo Records (Berlin) and her long awaited new solo album «Runt Vigor» - Karl Records (Berlin). Chen has performed across Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, Taiwan, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Canada and the USA.
«Audrey Chen has created an uncompromising and idiosyncratic music, tightly disciplined yet acoustically wild and heavy with implication. Her ultra-verbal vocalising, often reminiscent of the visceral and emotionally charged sound poetry of François Dufréne or Henri Chopin, exposes physiological aspects of utterance that are concealed within standardised articulation and day to day speech. Fleshy, breath-driven and flecked with spittle, Chen's voice emanates not just from her mouth but from an ensemble of upper body surfaces, channels, passages, and cavities.» - Julien Cowley THE WIRE
Ka Baird (US)
Ka Baird is a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist living and working in NYC. She is one of the founding and continuing members of the group Spires That In The Sunset Rise that was founded in Chicago in 2001. Described by Jack Rose as a "female Sun City Girls," STITSR have contributed a different slant to the New Folk movement by incorporating various avant-garde and world music influences into their music. Their sound has been compared to the Raincoats, Comus and Harry Partch. She has toured nationally and internationally with performances at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), MoMA PS1, Roulette Intermedium, Issue Project Room and numerous festival appearances including TUSK (Newcastle, UK), Incubate (Tilburg, Netherlands), KRAAK (Brussels, Belgium), Le Guess Who (Utrecht, Netherlands), and the Festival Of Endless Gratitude (Copenhagen, DK). She has been a music resident at Experimental Sound Studio (Chicago, IL), Pioneer Works (Brooklyn) and was a 2018 Jerome Foundation Artist-in-Residence at Roulette Intermedium. Her current work explores improvisation, electroacoustic interventions, extended vocal techniques, electronics, and woodwinds that culminates in a vigorous type of «body music» that seeks extreme release through physical exertion.