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Jason Soliday set up quad speakers for his set – two 20 minute blocks of sound, separated by a few minutes of rest. Similar to his excellent Nonagon Knives release – restless and charging, tossing sound characters around the room with comic speed and alacrity – Soliday’s set eventually drew down to a lovely still-point.

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Jon Mueller released his Death Blues piece in February of this year; staging its performance live in a variety of settings and permutations in 2013 has given Mueller the opportunity to explore its mutability. The trio setting for our crow series, with Jim Warchol and Ken Palme fusing their hammered table-top guitars to Mueller’s ritual drumming, was starkly beautiful. Mueller has been investigating vocal-pattern work in his pieces for a number of years, creating an other-worldly chorale that fits perfectly with the intentions of the Death Blues project. This was the most exhilarating Mueller performance I have enjoyed, and that is saying a great deal.


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Energy is an eternal delight.  William Blake

I have seen Soliday and Mueller perform, and I can tell you confidently that as different as their sound materials and respective approaches may be, both musicians burned through their sets with an energy as Dionysian as any I have witnessed.

Over the past several years I have written about Mueller’s various projects – and various they have been – here, here, here and here. On March 23, Mueller will present an iteration of his Death Blues project for the second concert in the 2013 series. Readers inclined to previews can learn more about the Death Blues on Mueller’s site, Rhythmplex. Having seen Mueller in concert four times, in solo, trio and ensemble contexts, it is my great pleasure to present him in the cwnm series. Somehow this has seemed inevitable.

In October 2012, Jason Soliday performed a solo set for modular synthesizer/electronics at Eric Lunde’s two-day festival of noise music here in Minneapolis. I was blown away, and promptly asked him if he would play the crow series in 2013. A quick look at Soliday’s web site reveals a considerable list of playing partners and projects. He put a copy of his first full-length solo release, Nonagon Knives, in my hands in our brief meeting in October. It documents the best elements of intelligent, elegant noise music – streams of unsparing, momentous sound, dramatically lurching between high-volume/low-intensity and low-volume/high intensity dynamics, spat out and shaped with the confidence of a musician who has put in the work. I had heard of Soliday for several years, primarily from his fellow Chicagoans, who unfailingly praised his stewardship of the venue Enemy, where Soliday curated an improbable number of shows over the years without regard to genre or trend. I am excited to bring him to a new audience.

Poster: Jason Zeh