ENVISION ENSEMBLE Encore Performance!

ENVISION ENSEMBLE Encore Performance!

Henry Kuntz – Dan Plonsey – Brian Godchaux – Esten Lindgren – John Kuntz

Friday October 10 8:25 PM

Berkeley Arts Festival – 2133 University Ave – Berkeley Ca


@ 9:10: British-NY-based Avant-Vocalist Viv Corringham 2014 NorCal Tour

The Concept:

The Envision Ensemble moves toward an advanced improvisational archetype, one in which multiple independent events may occur while the musicians simultaneously create an experiential musical whole. Beyond expanding the independence of musical line – thus increasing the complexity of musical form – the Envision Ensemble expands the formal independence of each player – so that multiple musical forms might be happening at once, moving the music in the direction of what I call “festival form.” So the players will be creating the total musical space rather than any specific improvised composition.

How will this work?

Each player will simultaneously create an organic complete music. Each player may relate or not relate to the music and sounds going on around them, the same as when one is playing at home and sounds are occurring in the environment which may or may not affect one’s music. While the players will not necessarily relate to each other in a compositional sense, they will relate to each other and to their shared environment experientially and together create (or “compose,” if you will) a sympathetically-in-tune experiential musical space – a space defined by the composite layers of sound that make it up, similar to the way the simultaneous layers of sound at a festival define and create the festival.

As Archetype:

The Fullness of Individual Being in
Collaborative and Existential Flow
With the Fullness of All Life.”

The performance will be completely improvised. At my suggestion, the Ensemble has not rehearsed prior to playing. The reason for this is that experience suggests that players’ edge of creativity often comes out more in the initial meeting (i.e. in the rehearsal) than in the performance. So, along with the musicians, you will be experiencing this music for the very first time.

Henry Kuntz, for the Envision Ensemble

Envision New Music

Henry Kuntz | ENVISION NEW MUSIC (HB CDR 10) Free MP3 Download Available


(HB CDR 10)
Free MP3 Download available here… Henry Kuntz – Envision New Music

1. 2-IN-VISION (Duo in 2 Parts) – 4:12 Tenor Saxophone & Voice, Java Gamelan (saron slendro) – August 5, 2013
2. BRIGHT VISION (1st Trio) – 10:24 Bali wood xylophone& Mali balafon, Java gamelan (saron pelog),Thai wood xylophone – July 20, 2012
3. MYTH*STIC VISION (3RD Quartet) – 6:48 Balinese gamelan (gender), Thai wood xylophone,Tenor sax, Java gamelan (saron pelog) – October 1, 2012
4. LONG VISION (1st Quartet) – 6:49 Bamboo flutes, Mexican Indian violin, Tenor sax, Balinese gamelan (gender) – April 14, 2012
5. ROUND VISION (2nd Trio) – 8:59 Balinese wood xylophone, Balinese gamelan (gender), African balafon (Mali) – February 17, 2013
6. VISION SPEAK (2nd Quartet) – 10:22 Tenor Saxophone & Voice is added to the 1st Trio – July 20, 2012
7. DANCE OF DEER, SHADOW OF TIGER – 21:52 Guatemala slit drum & bass drum, 2 different Mexican toy violins, Mexican black clay flutes (Oaxaca) & bells – October 1989

Tape to Digital: Fantasy Studios – Photos: HK 2012 (Mexico) & 1988 (Costa Rica) by Martha Winneker
C & P Humming Bird Records 2013 – Humming Bird CDR 10

Henry Kuntz | ENVISION NEW MUSIC (HB CDR 10) Free MP3 Download Available

Envision: to imagine something not yet in existence

From the beginning, in creating the multi-track pieces, I’ve brought into play a concept I refer to as “festival form”, an idea that has been an essential part of the overall creative approach to what I call Total Music.

“In Total Music, a player’s total musical intelligence may come into play at all times… (In each part of the music), a player’s awareness is that of a total field of activity rather than of specific notes or thrusts. In each part of the music, something like a total musical process is occurring, unique to itself, perhaps able to exist by itself, compatible with but not dependent upon or leading the other parts. The whole, in this way, takes on a considerably greater complexity, having mainly to do with the types of instruments combined, the ‘natural’ differences in ways of playing those instruments, and the actual conceptual approaches employed… I’ve likewise combined instruments with regard to sonority but without regard to pitch, so as to allow a new range of pitches and ‘harmonies’ to result.”
– Notes to Total Music, 1991 (Humming Bird Tapes 009-010)

As a concept, Total Music has served me well. This is music based in real-time free improvisation that occurs within an open-ended “ritual” form – which means that the pieces are mainly meant to be experienced as ongoing processes rather than “heard” as net results.

But it is time to go a step further with experiential form.

Festival Form is itself an experiential form that can fully accommodate all of the elements of “total music”.

It is the umbrella form of any number of festival occasions around the world during which different musical and sound events are occurring simultaneously in the same physical space at the same time. Each “separate” event, however, is fundamentally important to the creation of the whole.

How would this concept work in an actual group improvisational situation, of which the multi-track creations are a type of avant-sonic sketch?

Each player would simultaneously create an organic complete music. Each player would relate or not relate to the other music and sounds going on around them, similar to when one is playing at home and sounds are occurring in the environment which may or may not influence one’s music.

While the players would not necessarily relate to each other in a compositional sense, they would relate to each other and to their shared environment experientially and together create (or “compose,” if you will) a sympathetically-in-tune experiential musical space – a space defined by the composite layers of sound that make it up, similar to the way the simultaneous layers of sound at a festival define and create the festival.

As Archetype: the Fullness of Individual Being in Collaborative and Existential Flow with the Fullness of All Life.

In early 2012, I had the idea of putting together an ensemble of this sort – multi-directional, multi-dimensional, and pan-cultural – which I would call the Envision Ensemble. However, the practical difficulties of organizing such a group and of bringing together players to play the types of instruments I wanted to include moved me in the direction of creating the new pieces which appear on this release. My hope is that they might serve as conceptual prototypes for the music of such an ensemble.

Does this new music sound so different from the multi-track music I’ve been creating all along? I’m not sure, but I believe that new thinking and clarity of thinking about the way one is working can itself give impetus to new form and can begin to expand the music in multiple new directions.

To provide a longer view of what I’ve been up to, I’m including with this release an early multi-track recording of mine from 1989 when I was only beginning to create in this way. Dance of Deer, Shadow of Tiger has a festival form feel to it and reminds me of being in “the village” at festival time. Duration itself (the piece’s 20-plus minute length) was intentionally employed as a means of moving the music out of summation-al/compositional time and into present/experiential time. This is a piece that was meant for release a long time ago but was forgotten about as newer music was created.

With all of these pieces, my intention is to construct a conceptual platform from which to Envision New Music.

Henry Kuntz – October 2013
All Rights Reserved

Buy Henry Kuntz – Envision New Music (CD or MP3) here…

Henry Kuntz & Paul V. Kuntz | JAsZ KHARdMA | Humming Bird CDR 9

click the cover to enlarge…

Henry Kuntz & Paul V. Kuntz


Humming Bird CDR 9


In April 2012 I had the opportunity to make a new collaborative recording with my brother Paul who lives in Houston, TX. As I live in Berkeley, CA, we don’t get to play together often.

Paul expands the textural dimensionality of his playing on this new recording, building from the personal explorative vocabulary he displayed on Year of the Ox (HB CDR 2).

The title JAsZ KHARdMA stems from Paul’s occasional use of a number of R. Crumb’s Early Jazz Greats Trading Cards inside the piano, laying the cards across the strings to achieve a flapping percussive effect.

JAsZ KHARdMA evokes as well that improvisational inspiration of ours that comes from the jazz tradition. It represents our personal connection to that tradition through our family’s New Orleans history and ancestry.

Appropriated images from the Early Jazz Greats Trading Cards within the album cover & CD art are used with permission graciously granted by R. Crumb.

Mr. Crumb’s website can be accessed at http://www.crumbproducts.com/.

– Henry Kuntz

Henry Kuntz
: Nepalese Bamboo Flute, Tarascan Toy Violin (Paracho, Mexico), Morocco Rhaita, Tenor Saxophone | Paul V. Kuntz: Piano, Prepared Piano, Percussion

Recorded April 25 and 27, 2012 Houston, Texas. Tenor Saxophone parts recorded April 14.2012 Berkeley. California. Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by Paul V. Kuntz. Cover and Portrait Photos by Paul V. Kuntz. Appropriated images within the cover and CD art are from Robert Crumb’s “Early Jazz Greats” series.

Tracklist: 1. Bird in the Hand (2:26) 2. Bud’s Bluff (4:14) 3. Raise You Juan (4:16) 4. Read’em An’Weep (4:01) 5. Four of Fats (2:32) 6. Deuce of Dodds (Johnny & Baby) (2:17) 7. Queen Lady Day (3:33) 8. Bix of Clubs (2:53) 9. Duke’s Deal (3:02) 10. Hawk’s Flush (2:01) 11. Prez’s Full House (2:55) 12. Hot 5 of Diamonds (3:06) 13. Creoles Wild, King Joe High (2:13) 14. Call (0:19) 15. Webster’s Bad Theatre Suite Swing (2:00)

All pieces are improvisations. “Webster’s Bad Theatre Suite Swing ” is an improvisation on a composition of the same name by Paul V. Kuntz

click the image to enlarge…

Buy Henry Kuntz & Paul V. Kuntz | JAsZ KHARdMA | Humming Bird CDR 9 (CD version) here…

Please Note: The delivery of the physical CDR will start beginning of January 2013.

click the image to enlarge…

FREE DOWNLOAD click here…

Evan Parker and Joel Ryan | Other Planes of Here

Other Planes of Here

Reflections on a Performance by Evan Parker, soprano saxophone, and Joel Ryan, electronics processing, at Mills College, Oakland, California, October 9, 2010

Evan Parker

Joel Ryan

Evan Parker’s longtime association with players of electronics is well known and documented, from his work with the Music Improvisation Company in 1969-70 to his playing with his current Electro Acoustic Ensemble. Yet his one-on-one collaborations with electronics sound processors have been few, with minimal recordings.

The earliest recording, Hall of Mirrors (MM&T 01) with Walter Prati, dates from 1990, while the most recent recordings – Solar Wind (Touch TO 35) with Lawrence Casserley, Dividuality (Maya) with a short duo track with Casserley, and Live at Les Instant Chavires (Leo LR 255) with a long opening track with Joel Ryan – date from 1997, more than a dozen years ago. (1)

So Parker’s appearance at Mills with longtime collaborator Ryan was a rare opportunity to hear him playing in this context.

Evan Parker at St Peters Whistable | Photo by Caroline Forbes

Parker’s solo soprano saxophone music, of course, has likewise been well documented, and if you’ve heard any recent recordings – say Lines Burnt in Light (psi 01.01) from 2001, or Whitstable Solo (psi 10.01) from 2008– you’ll know that his solo music continues to expand in ease of virtuosity and in its astonishing multi-layered complexity. Parker’s single saxophone is in his hands a multiple-line instrument.

So what could possibly be added to Parker’s music by electronic means that is not already there? Certainly not complexity in itself, but perhaps a different kind of complexity, one based on extensions of sonic language unattainable through even the most virtuosic advances in saxophone artistry.

Of the early collaborations, all of which are interesting, Lawrence Casserley’s recording with Evan Parker, Solar Wind, is easily the most rarified and sophisticated. While Parker’s playing is central to the music’s realization, his physical sound is mostly audibly “hidden” in the recorded results. At the same time, it is being bent, stretched, looped, twisted, speeded, slowed, elongated, re-shaped, re-pitched, re-layered, and re-imagined by Casserley.

In a 1997 interview with Martin Davidson (2), Parker relates how he initially turned to free improvisation in an attempt to create a “music of the future” for a friend’s sci-fi film – then brought that “futuristic” impulse into his own playing in present time. Perhaps it is a similar impulse that is driving these types of electronic alliances.

At Mills, the stage was set with Parker, soprano, and stereo microphone on the right; on the left, Ryan behind a table with 2 Apple laptops that sandwiched some discreet electronic gear, all linked together by a maze of wires that flowed off the table onto the floor. The processed sound was sent to giant overhead speakers that were suspended in the air on each side of the performance space.

Joel Ryan | Photo by Caroline Forbes

In program notes for the performance, Ryan explains how he views his role:

“Imagining emusic as the direct manipulation of sound in the present moment. The desire was to learn to play with electronics in a way that could be included in the music of virtuoso acoustic players, in adapting representations of vibration and turbulence to musical acoustics, i.e. getting some air into the model. Mostly this involved a collaboration with a particular soloist to create a virtual instrument that they then both play….It is both a way that an e-player can influence the motions in the air and a way that a musician valving air can induce a music of electrons.”

How did the collaboration work and what did it sound like?

In truth, it began slowly and a little off kilter. Parker’s playing quickly filled the room and took the ear; the processed sound, mostly low blob-like entities, felt muddled and superfluous to the nimble soprano.

But things got better. With Ryan’s coaxing, the sonic balance improved and the music became more varied and interesting. The genies were released from Parker’s horn, and a pair of four and twenty blackbirds flapped furiously out. Large and small playful and mischievous spirits darted in myriad directions throughout the space – taunting, interacting with, and ignoring each other – and little high-pitched sounds danced in my ears, independent of the sounds being produced on stage. At times, if I closed my eyes, I would only “know” where Parker was because I had previously “seen” him there. But his freed saxophone ghosts were flying about, courtesy of Joel Ryan.

In the end, it was a mesmerizing and highly experiential performance rather than one emotionally engaging in any dramatic sense.

Did it reach the heights that Parker and Casserley achieved in 1997? I can’t say it went beyond the sonic language of the earlier music, though the sound was sometimes denser and more layered, but there were certainly moments of brilliance and, without question, of comparable artistry.

Henry Kuntz, October 2010

  • (1) There is also a 2004 release by Joel Ryan Or Air (psi 04.08), on which he creates electronic variations on the music of Evan Parker but without Parker himself being present. I haven’t heard this music.
  • (2) Martin Davidson’s interview with Evan Parker can be accessed on Parker’s page at the European Free Improvisation Home. Please click here… to read the complete interview.

Joel Ryan and Evan Parker from STEIM Amsterdam on Vimeo.

PLEASE NOTE that it is from 2008, so it doesn’t seem like a video of the performance under review…