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Alex Zhang Hungtai • Ka Baird • Yek Koo
March 3, 2019 8:00 pm - 11:30 pm
Alex Zhang Hungtai
as part of
Human Resources Los Angeles
sunday march third
doors at eight – sound at nine
donate $10 at the door
advance tickets also available here.
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Alex Zhang Hungtai is a Chinese diasporic artist and musician who has hailed from Honolulu, Montréal, Lisbon, and the scores of cities on tour that comprise “the road” – not to mention our own considerable town! With family ties to both Shanghai and Taipei, he himself names the tensions of such identity in his own name, using both Zhang – the “mainland” Chinese spelling of 張 – as well as Hungtai – the Taiwanese spelling of 洪泰. With this cosmopolitan consciousness and a perhaps a restless soul, he sustained a stellar run of song-forms and variable-fidelities in Dirty Beaches, and has since pressed on with courage, pursuing freer-forms and the out-there. Keyboard études and ambient explorations have been heard via releases on the Ascetic House and Non Worldwide labels respectively, but most notable has been his adoption of the saxophone and improvisation as vehicles for deeper expressions and solemn meditations. Now, on the eve of another tour – his first with an exclusively solo set-up – he debuts a new cycle at a venue that is a node of his own creative community, and one that happens to be situated in a diasporic enclave – albeit one with a story different than his own. Zhang Hungtai is an artist who ultimately finds identity – if not also solace – through sound.
An improvisor and composer that can let flow soulful jazz fire in one breath and the free-est of folk in the next, Ka Baird has radically reimagined disparate avant forms as integral to a vibrant whole. Since the early aughts, Ka has been core to the psychling din that is Spires That In The Sunset Rise, though her re-location to New York in 2014 seemingly galvanized a number of new solo directions, some of which – flute, pulse, and an inkling of komische quiver – wind through her Sapropelic Pycnic LP released by Drag City in 2017. Indeed, Baird is a multi-valent multi-instrumentalist continually seeking to connect elements via collaboration – and while going it alone. Her current solo outings are intense and involved affairs that extend flute and vocal technique amidst live electronic process, but the fabric is not entirely experimental. Baird’s voice is singular and strong, intoning loud and clear. And with glints of whisper – and a deft sense of drama – she delivers denouement. So come through to witness her first L.A. performance under her own name, as it is ever rare to hear the sound of an artist breaking through and becoming.
Yek Koo is the solo project of the unorthodox Los Angeles artist and musician Helga Fassonaki. Aside from the blear and tear of the duo Metal Rouge (but with some of the same shards intact) she’s known for spritely blursts of pocket trumpet, foot tap and scrape, and motion that seems to track invisible magnetisms. For this outing, however, cassette decks and voice come to the fore. Fassonaki courts corners and echoes as she considers and airs into the margins of a space, and she indeed knows this one well. Readily creative and active in the early era of Human Resources, she imagined and staged the improbable here, and as eras turn she’s present to shape the resounding now.
Program notes and poster design by Tim Leanse