Nathan Bontrager

Cello and viola da gamba

Last-minute show and new audio

Due to performer illness I’ll be stepping in with some others to play some improv compositions by Nate Trier tomorrow night at Neverending Books in New Haven:

Also, check out Adam Matlock’s soundcloud page for a few tracks from the recent Dr. Caterwaul’s show at the Outer Space.  It was great to play a bunch of tunes with Andru Bemis and Elisabeth Pixley-Fink, we wish them the best as they continue to ride the roads and rails on their way to Mexico City:

Duo in Berlin

One of my favorite moments from the European tour was a somewhat random and roundabout connection to a fantastic violinist/vocalist in Berlin, Simon Jakob Drees. Simon and I met through a referral from a German Klezmer bassist I met at a summer backyard jam session in Hamden, CT of all places. Simon and I had a great connection musically and I greatly appreciated his generous and humble spirit. He does very interesting work fusing improvisation and music therapy. You can learn more about him here:

Here’s a shot from a duo performance we did in Berlin at the Quiet Cue series.


Don’t forget, if you’re in CT, Dr. Caterwaul’s has two shows this week.  Wednesday at BAR with the David Wax Museum and Thursday at the Outer Space with Andru Bemis and Elisabeth Pixley-Fink.

Long overdue update

I’ve finally updated after an excessively long break.  I’m fresh off of a European tour where I had the great pleasure of collaborating with a ton of great musicians.  So many new and exciting voices to interact with and generous hospitality at every turn.  A big thank you to all who helped put together shows, gave me a bed, made me breakfast, and generally made for an experience of a lifetime.  Can’t wait to go back!

Lots of show updates starting with two Dr. Caterwauls performances next week.  Excited to be sharing the bill with great artists:

The David Wax Museum:

Andru Bemis:

Elisabeth Pixley-Fink:

Dr. Caterwaul’s media explosion

Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps had a great show the other week at Lyric Hall in Westville (which is quickly becoming New Haven’s go-to venue for creative performance).  We played a few tunes, performed live soundtracks to two short silent films, and backed up Tyler Bussey for a short set.  The technology eventually behaved and the whole evening was a great success.  Below you can find audio/video for most of the program:

First off, we have the audio from our set of tunes now released on Bandcamp:

And here are the films matched up with the live audio.  First is “The Doctor’s Secret” by George Melies with music written by Adam Matlock:

Second is Cecil P. Hepworth’s early adaptation of “Alice in Wonderland” with music written by myself (note that we used a video that was slightly longer for the performance but matched the audio to a shorter version for technical reasons so some of the transitions seem delayed from the video):

Dr. Caterwaul’s Demo

Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps has gotten off to a quick start.  It’s been exciting and challenging to follow all the musical pathways that have opened up in a few weeks of playing.  We’ve put together a rough (very rough) demo taken from the last shows and some basic home recordings.  Dr. Caterwaul’s is happy to be a part of the folkroutes network of artists, our audio can be found on their website:

From a show at Neverending books

Hope to see you at a show soon!

Broadcloth at Local 269

It’s been a while since Broadcloth has played in NYC and we’re looking forward to getting back to that vibrant hub of experimental music on Monday evening.  Local 269 ( is a mainstay of the downtown music scene and features an appropriately diverse spectrum of ensembles.  Every Monday evening features the Evolving Voice series which is devoted to experimental music which involves voice.  Our set begins at 8pm and be sure to stay around for the rest including Jeremiah Cymerman on winds and electronics.

Jeremiah Cymerman

New year, new shows

Performance calendar updated, January is a full month already!  It gets started this Wednesday at Audubon Strings in New Haven when Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps plays with Jakob Battick (Portland, ME) and the Book Slave (CT).  The Book Slave is great live and everything I’ve listened to from Jakob has been fantastic.  Dr. Caterwaul’s, despite its recent inception, is already expanding the genre palette.  Expect to hear everything from Chilean ballads to Thomas Mapfuno-inspired mbira tunes and more geographically similar blues numbers.

Wednesday, January 5th will be the first ever New Haven performance of Portland, ME’s nightfolk eccentrics Jakob Battick & Friends. After having become celebrated experimentalists on the diverse Portland scene the group has begun to make a point of traveling out into New England’s further reaches. Musically, Battick & his cohorts have come a long way through slowcore and shoegaze influences to begin creating their own nightmarish and atmospheric world out of dramatic and layered vocals both whispered and howled, and sharply composed layers of less-is-more instrumentation. On this, the ‘Prayers & Curses tour, the group will be playing brand new compositions scheduled for release on their next full-length, showcasing a newfound grace and maturity alongside their trademark intensity and spaciousness. A free release featuring polished home recordings of these new songs, entitled ‘Prayers & Curses Vol. 1,’ will be made available to all attendees for absoluely free.

Hosting them is Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps, featuring Brian Slattery on banjo and fiddle, Nathan Bontrager on Cello, and Adam Matlock on accordion. Everybody howls about murder or other types of death and occasionally something a bit more twisted. Doc C’s performs intuitive, flowing improvisations on folk music of various sources, getting at the jagged heart of your murder ballads, your sorrow ballads, your uplifting ballads with a sad ending, etc. CT.

The Book Slave is tense surrealist guitar harmonies and desperate screamed vocals. Dan and Joe Katz lock into angular harmonic movements channeling shoegaze, hardcore and post rock while maintaining a singular energy. Tonight they’ll play an acoustic set that shows the strength of their songwriting in a different light

Zombie Popeye’s…

…as CTindie is referring to it, at least.

Really looking forward to the first show by Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps tomorrow night.  Dr. C’s is Brian Slattery (banjo, fiddle, guitar), Adam Matlock (accordion), and myself (cello) playing and singing folkish music from all over with an ear for being true to the tunes and fist (and hammer, perhaps) towards deconstruction and improvisation.  We’re opening for Squinch Owl, a great touring artist:

An Historic will play a few tunes too, maybe someone else?  Popeye’s Garage is at 50 Goffe St.  Bring warmth via blankets and booze and peasant dancing.  Here’s one source for Dr. C’s material; the montage of hamburger/jelly beans/topless women/bananas is a good indicator of what you can expect tomorrow:

NHIC Atlas

Tomorrow night, Saturday November 19, I’ll be playing with an ensemble called Atlas that was formed out of the New Haven Improvisers Collective.  We’ll be playing at 8:30 at Firehouse 12 and immediately following will be another NHIC ensemble, Mayhem Circus Electric.  Atlas is cello, sax (Steve Asetta), clarinet (Adam Matlock), guitar (Bob Gorry), bass (Jaime Lamb), and drums (Steve Zieminski).   The show consists of mostly improvised pieces which have been written by various members of the ensemble.  The uncommon instrumentation has produced some very interesting timbrel outcomes in rehearsal and with each member coming to the world of improvised music from a different starting point there is sure to be great stylistic variety as evidenced by the scope of the compositions.  One ticket gets you into both sets, come support the experimental music scene in New Haven.

Zero Moon

Some new dates added to the Performance calendar including a Broadcloth gig in Silver Spring, MD in April.  We’re hoping to put together a brief tour around this show with stops in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Lancaster, and perhaps others.  The Silver Spring show is put on by DC Sonic Circuits.  You can check them out here:

Sonic Circuits books lots of greats performers in the DC area in addition to curating an annual festival of experimental music.  I’m disappointed that I only learned about this as I was leaving the area for CT but to those near the capitol I highly recommend staying up to date with their calendar.

Jeff, who did the booking for this show, runs (sort of intuiting this info) a web-based label that puts out experimental music called Zero Moon.  The catalog has some great looking recordings many of which can be listened to, at least in part, online.  Check out the record of out-there alpine horn player, Philip Corner, which is currently on the front page.