The second annual Catalytic Sound Festival is a sprawling international affair, spanning 5 different weekends with versions set in Amsterdam, Vienna, New York, Chicago, Washington DC and Trondheim.

All of these different weekends will feature artists who are part of the innovative cooperative Catalytic Sound, an initiative created in 2015 to help create a more sustainable working environment for its pool of experimental and innovative musicians around the world. Hosted by Asheville local, Tashi Dorji.

December 2 – Catalytic Sound and Static Age Records in partnership with Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center presents:

Chris Williams / Patrick Shiroishi Duo
Farewell Phoenix
Duo Min Xiao-Fen / Tashi Dorji
MANAS with Zoh Amba & Chris Williams

December 3 – Catalytic Sound and Static Age Records present:

Percussion duo Thom Nguyen / Alex Zhang Hungtai
moon creature
MANAS with Che Chen, Alex Hungtai and Patrick Shiroishi
drum major instinct

Chris Ryan Williams is an interdisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, New York and most at home collaborating with improvisers and experimenters. Williams’ work includes Of Yours (2020), a free jazz setting for imaginary exchanges between black leaders, and a recent release, “Live”, described as “melodious passages and dissonant, cut-and-paste abstraction. .. with a keen sense of scale and variation” (Le Quietus).

Patrick Shiroishi is a Japanese-American multi-instrumentalist and composer based in Los Angeles who is perhaps best known for his extensive and incredibly intense work with the saxophone. Over the past decade he has established himself as one of LA’s top improvisational musicians, performing solo and in numerous collaborative projects. Shiroishi could well be considered a fundamental player in the vast musical expanse of the city.

Lynn Fister is a Vietnamese-American experimental musician, writer, and visual artist residing in Asheville, North Carolina. She grew up in Saudi Arabia and West Papua. A self-taught musician, she has been exploring synthesis with layered ambient voices for over a decade. Originally recorded and performed under the guise of Aloonaluna, Farewell Phoenix is ​​their current project.

Few artists have done more to honor and reinvent the pipa’s 2000 year history than the soloist, singer and composer Min Xiaofen. Classically trained in her native China, Min was a sought-after performer of traditional music before moving to the United States and forging a new path for her instrument alongside many leading figures in modern jazz, free improvisation, experimental and contemporary classical music. NPR Weekend Edition hailed Ms. Min as “one of the world’s greatest virtuosos” and The New York Times said her singular work “has gone through a far-reaching musical odyssey”.

Tashi Dorji is an improvising guitarist based in Asheville NC. Tashi was born and raised in Bhutan. Tashi has released music both as a soloist and as a collaborator, including with Mette Rasmussen, Aaron Turner (Sumac, Mamiffer), Che Chen (75 Dollar Bill), Aki Onda, Michael Zerang, John Deiterich (Deerhoof ), C Spencer Yeh, Dave Rempis, Tyler Damon, Patrick Shiroishi, KUZU (with Dave Rempis and Tyler Damon) and MANAS (with Thom Nguyen).

Thom Nguyen is a MANAS improviser and drummer based in Asheville, NC and more. Producing energetic bursts and invoking a sensitivity to space often associated with free-jazz and new music percussion, Nguyen’s approach elegantly connects sound sculpting works with a punk aesthetic of immediacy, aggression and playfulness.

Originally from Kingsport, Tennessee, based in New York Zoh Amba is a notable rising star in the avant-garde music scene. Amba studied with David Murray in New York, as well as at the San Francisco Conservatory Of Music & New England Conservatory in Boston. Today, his music is full of folk melodies, haunting refrains, repeated incantations and powerfully executed Free Jazz reminiscent of Albert Ayler.

Born in Haining, China, Otay:onii (Lane Shi) is a troubadour, performing musician, multidisciplinary installation artist, working sound designer and film composer currently residing in New York City. She is also the singer and keyboardist of the punk spit band Elizabeth Color Wheel (USA). The installation performance of Otay:onii Unwrap! opened its first edition at the Ming Contemporary Art Museum in Shanghai (2021).

drum major instinct is an experimental music duo from Asheville, North Carolina. Jeff Arnal plays (mostly) percussion and Curt Cloninger plays (mostly) modular synthesizer. The Wire describes Jeff’s drumming as a “highly original concept” having “a ballet sense of time and an imaginative deployment of color”; and Byron Coley says Curt’s modular synthesis “moves like blocks of radioactive adobe moved by architects in spacesuits”.

moon creature is Meghan Mulhearn and David Lynch. Rich and dark music combining violin, guitar, bass and synth in unexpected ways.

Che Chen is a multi-instrumentalist based in Queens, NY. Born in 1978 to Taiwanese immigrant parents, he grew up in the suburbs of Washington DC. In 2012, he and percussionist Rick Brown formed 75 Dollar Bill, a multigenerational, multicultural community ensemble that combines free improvisation, rock, minimalism, and African and Asian musical traditions.

After retiring his Dirty Beaches project, Alex Zhang Hungtai focuses on the exploration of improvised music, free jazz, film scores and compositions. Zhang works primarily with saxophone, synthesizers, percussion, and piano, furthering her research into the ritual music of liminality and its correlation with the unconscious.

BEAM SPLITTER is a duo for amplified voice, trombone and analog electronics. Using the pure sounds of acoustic and tightly amplified sound sources, the duo unites two individual voices in a distinct dialogue that delves beyond the boundaries of bodily elements of extended technique and sound.

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