Solo set video from Elm Bar

by nathanbontrager

Some new shows added to the calendar (note this Saturday’s Dr. C’s show is moved from Brooklyn to New London, CT…go figure).  Don’t forget the Dr. Caterwaul’s Valentine’s Day Speakeasy show on Feb 14th.  Come out and dance!

The Uncertainty Music Series ( has recently expanded to include twice-monthly shows at Elm Bar in New Haven.  I had the privilege of playing some solo and duo music (with Carl Testa on electronics) on the most recent installment of the series.  Below are two videos from the opening of that set which featured an extended improvisation for solo cello.  Part 1 involves a loose structure I’ve frequently used as a starting point for improvising in a modernist compositional style.  I use the open strings as pitch centers for microtonal clusters, moving from pitch center to pitch center by way of rhythmic and motivic exploration based on the beating patterns created by the microtonal intervals.  Part 2 is a series of variations on a dodecaphonic tone row with contrasting, improvised transitions.  There’s a bunch of bar noise in the background which, frankly, I find a welcome addition to the recording.

Video of another piece, for gamba, cello, and laptop to come soon!