three duos

With a clutch of objects – often metal and sometimes literally nuts and bolts – Houston-based guitarist Sandy Ewen coaxes tangles of sound and tussles of texture out of the hollow-body electric on her lap. Though she has made groups and records with Tom Carter, Jaap Blonk, Damon Smith and Weasel Water, her playing most often flows from a steady stream of collaborations. She has laid out her idiosyncratic electro-acoustics in dozens of units and in cities coast-to-coast-to-coast and south of the border. For this – her first appearance in Los Angeles – she returns to a long-running duo with local Lucas Gorham, himself a versatile guitarist whose lap steel work can just as easily conjure sheer cliffs of sound as it can pastoral reflection.

Ewen and Gorham each embraced improvisation and the outré as teens; they are part of a generation of deep listeners and soulful players who grew up in Houston, Texas inspired and encouraged by the progressive education and creative music organization called Nameless Sound. That group and the surrounding scene offered them many a meeting in various sized ensembles to discover the interplay of their approaches. Together, as a duo, they air a gripping dialog.

Angelenos who track now sound now have already been rewarded with a chance or two to catch Ted Byrnes and William Hutson parry and shuffle. Known to be at the controls behind the hissful swells of Rale and the cut-up shred of clipping.’s avant-hop, here Hutson “plays the heads” re-sourcing sound from rather large tape loops. These voltages – dithered to magnetism and then diffused – are a made match with Byrnes’ own bias breaking: eschewing hum-drum drum rhythms, he brazes, hits, and rattles a battery of things, pouring out granular sound, dashing dots and stacking crackles.

Extending through technique and tech, Kathleen Kim’s idiomatic play of the violin is a fluid free sail. T’was evidenced by her set at the solos show at LACA that welcomed Bill Nace to town this January. In the months since, the assorted angles of Bill’s electric guitar repertoire have been a welcome addition to local sonic action. As each of them has a deft touch and empathetic response, here they join for their first encounter as a duo.

Flyer image by Sandy Ewen
Descriptions and flyer design by Tim Leanse

show pulled prior to UPEND