The Orlando Weekly’s Review of Midaregami

I wanted to post this review of the Tangled Bell Ensemble‘s performance of Midaregami here as I am very proud of that piece and it is a stellar review.

This Little Underground: Jim Ivy’s Tangled Bell Ensemble debuts at the In-Between Series

Jim Ivy's Tangled Bell Ensemble at the In-Between Series - ASHLEY BELANGER

The local rule is that if Jim Ivy is involved, it’s gonna be weird or smart, often both.

Jim Ivy's Tangled Bell Ensemble at the In-Between Series - ASHLEY BELANGER

The Tangled Bell Ensemble

For the consistently intriguing music monthly the In-Between Series, he rolled out a rather grand conceptual experiment with the debut of his Tangled Bell Ensemble (May 18, Gallery at Avalon Island). Using the early 20th century poetry work of Japanese author Akiko Yosano as impetus, the idea of the performance – titled “Midaregami (Tangled Hair)” – was to explore orchestrating heterogeneity into concert. To do that, he assembled a cast of 11 members – the biggest to perform the series yet – from an intentionally wide spectrum of musical backgrounds. Many of them looked and sounded like more classical players, but musicians I recognized from my usual beat included members of weirdo acts like Moon Jelly and Happy Valley. The resulting body was a small orchestra expanded with guitar, piano, accordion, voice and modern drum kit. At its head was Ivy pulling double duty as conductor and player on his trademark sax.

Jim Ivy's Tangled Bell Ensemble at the In-Between Series - ASHLEY BELANGER

Andrew Toth, A.J. Herring, Steven Head, and Evan Shafran 

Jim Ivy's Tangled Bell Ensemble at the In-Between Series - ASHLEY BELANGER

Anna Wallace

Sonically, the four-act journey was a tapestry of music and word (English and Japanese) that slithered from mystery to beauty to excitingly unchained bedlam at the end of the second act. Though structure and arc formed the program’s narrative, the individual pieces were composed loosely to allow some placed pockets of improvisation, moments that seemed to make Ivy beam with the most joy and that at some point engaged each and every player. Further testament to the extemporaneous spirit of the performance was the fact that the first time the entire ensemble was in the same room together was about 40 minutes before the show. Though the end was an interesting, fully in-the-moment display in itself, this was a demonstration of the art of process and spontaneity. As such, the result was adventure not recital, and it was an experience of unfolding, evolving tension.

by Bao Le-Huu

photos by Ashley Belanger


Tangled Bell

HEADERA quick word to help promote the upcoming show: May 18 at 7pm at The Gallery at Avalon Island. The In-Between Series presents Jim Ivy’s Tangled Bell Ensemble performing Midaregami.

Anna Wallace: voice
Midori Imhoof: japanese voice
Andrew Toth: trumpet
A.J. Herring: trombone
Jim Ivy: composition, reeds
Sarah Morrison: violin
Matthew Davis: cello
Steven Head: guitar
Thomas Milovac: bass
Elizabeth Baker: piano
Nick Boutwell: accordion
Evan Shafran: drums.

Tsutsui_Toshimine-No_Series-Second_Bloom-00038067-050716-F12The main goal of this exploration is to juxtapose seemingly conflicting concepts and approaches, and display them in an aligning way; to show how antagonistic forces and unfamiliarity can create a cooperative friction and become formidable allies. The intent being that all portions of the whole (notated music, text, improvisation) were at once independent of and mutually dependent upon each other; symbiotic. Each being a part and apart simultaneously.

By coordinating loosely written themes that rely on improvisation for story detail, the inclusion of musicians with vast differences in musical background and influence, semi-spontaneous arrangements and impromptu conducting, Midaregami is presented as more of an experimental exercise than a completed work.

36658g1Creating an environment where the construction of composition is immediate and experientially apparent has been an objective of mine for some time. The game piece, Milton Bradley (2012), attempted to coax improvisors into immediate composers by interpretation.

This piece is based on the collection of 400 tanka poems written by Akiko Yosano titled Midaregami (Tangled Hair). Appearing in 1901, Midaregami brought a passionate individualism to traditional tanka poetry, unlike any other work of the late Meiji period. A Japanese author, poet, pioneering feminist, pacifist, and social reformer, Akiko Yosano (1878-1942) would become one of the most famous, and controversial, post-classical woman poets of Japan.

In other news, The Delusionaires hit the road north-bound once more winding up at the Midnight Monster Hop in NYC. More details to come. June is already full.

End of Year update

Things are moving along as usual, but not on this site. So, here is a brief “catch-up”:

OblitObliterati has reformed, after 15 year, and are performing shows and writing new material. Crazy. We will be at Will’s Pub on Sunday, December 28th, if you want to catch us.

Unblit-smallA one-time offshoot of Obliterati has released a CD on Bipediment Records. Known as Unbliterati for this session, Instant Songs is a group improvisation recorded live in the studio on August 31st and November 9th. You can listen to it free here.

nakataniThere were a number of improvisation shows I participated in since my last posting, including performing in an ensemble format in Gainesville with Tatsuya Nakatani (thanks to Andrew Chadwick for setting up the show and inviting me to be a part of it) as well as a very successful large ensemble conducted improvisation of Disney music at the Sun Ray Cinema in Jacksonville, organized and conducted by Jamison Williams.

NYE2014The Delusionaires have become the hardest working sods I know, with a mind-blowing, blow out show on New Year’s Eve at Will’s Pub, along with The Woolly Bushmen and The Golden Pelicans (tickets available here), January shows in Atlanta and Athens, a March show in Chapel Hill, NC, and a June show in New York. And that’s not the end of it. But that’s as far as this post is going.

Delusional Road Show

mermaidparadeball (1)Never seems to be a dull moment with the “revitalized” Delusionaires. Next stop is Coney Island, NY where we will be performing a set at the Mermaid Parade Ball at MCU Park on Saturday, June 21st. The parade will start at 1pm, the ball will start at 6pm. Hope we survive to tell you about it.


Dels in a box

We follow that spectacular spectacle with a hometown throw down at our favorite watering hole, Will’s Pub on Saturday, July 12, where we’ll be joined by (hold onto your pantaloons) Little Sheba and the Shamans and Tiger! Tiger! Woah, now that’s something to come home to.

Summer got a whole lot hotter!

Pre-Summer Activities

150666943_2e4520d561_zMay always brings about some very exceptional moments. As is the case almost every year, it is the month when creative music fans congregate to a smallish town in Quebec known as Victoriaville and witness one of the greatest music festivals in North America; FIMAV (Festival Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville). This year, some of the highlights will be Meredith Monk, Marshall Allen with The Ratchet Orchestra, a quartet of Richard Pinhas, Keiji Haino, Merzbow, and Tatsuta Yoshida, a duo of Fred Frith and Evan Parker, Ken Vandermark’s Audio One Ensemble, Evan Parker Septet, Maja Ratke, and Fred Frith’s Gravity Band!!! Yeah, I’ll have a good time.

Almost immediately after I return from Victo there are two shows of note, both in the northeastern parts of Florida.

1618422_10202274884045970_413164101_n Friday, May 23rd, as part of the Truth Is Marching In: an Albert Ayler Commemoration, itself a part of the Jacksonville Jazz Fest After Dark series, I’ll be presenting an interpretation of the Ayler composition Bells performed by the quartet version of Gatto Pazzo (myself on saxophones, Kris Gruda on guitar and devices, Evan Shafran on percussion and trumpet, and A.J. Herring on trombone). I’ve always felt that Bells was a composition based upon feel. With the extended range of Gatto Pazzo and adding A.J. in the mix, I felt we could really do it justice. It will be part of a three night commemoration at the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum beginning at 10pm each night. Also performing over the course of the three nights: Jamison Williams, Dan Kozak, Lenni Bukowski, Michael Lenier, Bill Henderson and Jason Dean Arnold.

BuffaloSpeaking of Gatto Pazzo, we have a new CD and digital download out called The Buffalo (in 42 parts). It can be listened to as it was performed, as a one take improvisation, or you can set your CD player to shuffle and create your own bison folklore. We suggest the latter listening experience. Get it at the show or buy it (or download it or just listen to it) here.

1014354_462037530593437_4069260919512672088_nThe following night, Saturday, May 24th, in the confines of Saint Augustine’s merriment known as Nobby’s, The Delusionaires will once again take the stage; this time sharing the stage with a dream team of acts: The Harmonious Fists (!), The Wildtones (!) and D.J. Dots(!!). This will be one for the ages…


This show will be the release party for our new 45 rpm called The Scump, out on Hidden Volume Records, with cover art by Stainboy! Of course it would have to be on lovely pink vinyl. Get it at the show or through Hidden Volume. Limited to 300 copies, it won’t last long.

Spring Forward

A quick note on a pair of shows coming up in the next week:

Dels in a boxThe Delusionaires make a (seemingly) triumphant return to one of our favorite stomps from the good ol’ days, The Emerald Bar in St. Petersburg. It’s been many a year since we’ve walked through that beer-stained doorway and can’t wait to swill our fill alongside St. Pete’s finest. Don’t know if anyone we knew then still works there, but I’m sure whoever is serving will do The Emerald proud. We’ll be there Saturday, March 8 along with The Intoxicators and Crippled Masters. It’ll be epic, if not downright terrifying.

Milton_bradley_portraitThe next afternoon, Sunday, March 9 at 2pm, has me still in St. Pete, this time at the main library for New Music on a Sunday Afternoon, presented by The New Music Conflagration, Inc. This will be the final performance of Milton Bradley, a game piece I created for the 2012 CageFest in Jacksonville. Although this is the fifth or sixth performance of the piece, it is the first time I will present it on Florida’s west coast. Joining me in the quartet will be Kris Gruda on guitar, electronics and voice, A.J. Herring on trombone, guitar and alto saxophone, and Elizabeth A. Baker on piano, theremin, and an as yet unnamed third instrument. You can read more about the game piece here.

Hope to see all of you on the dreamy shores (or side streets) of St. Pete.

2014 Off and Running

A slew of upcoming shows to begin the year:

January 10 and 11: Midnight Exterminations: A tribute to William S. Burroughs. Here’s the full event disclosure:

1461572_10202380018879145_740552842_nA tribute reading of William S. Burroughs accompanied by segments of avante garde musical arrangements. This productions orations will be performed by: Megan Faubel, Patrick Greene and Christian Kelty. All musical composition is written by Dana Fasano , Jim Ivy, Kris Gruda and Todd Elliott. Please come and enjoy this event with us and celebrate what would have been Mr.Burroughs 100th birthday upcoming on Feburary 5. 2014…. 12a.m. Janurary 10th and 11th… $ 5 cover @ The Venue.

January 31: The Delusionaires with D.J. Dots at Nobby’s St. Augustine. Our favorite vinyl spinner joins us for an over-the-top party.

Fun_house_reissueAn as of yet unannounced special performance of the entire Funhouse recording by The Stooges in February. More details to come.

And more shows in March including the final performance of the game piece, Milton Bradley and another surprise appearance by The Delusionaires.

Also slated is a Gatto Pazzo release and my TrIP Project contribution, Discarded Angel, full release. More detail to come.