Constrained Improv (2016)





Documentation is on the way!

A night full of improvised music with acoustic instruments and electronics…

Performances of improvised music with predefined constraints.

6 kickass acts:

  • Kıvanç Tatar and Matthew Ariaratnam
  • Alex Spence and Alex Mah
  • Janine King and Victor Zappi
  • Katerina Gimon, Brian Topp and David Storen
  • Maren Lisac, Minah Lee and Brady Marks
  • Ross Birdwise and Dave Chokroun

Thursday April 7th, 8:30 pm doors, 9pm music (sharp)

@Red Gate Arts Society 855 E. Hastings, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Alex & Alex


Alexandra Spence & Alex Mah

clarinet, melodica, handheld radio, contact microphone an intimate serenade of sound and subdued theatrics.




  • Katerina Gimon – voice
  • Brian Topp – live sound
  • David Storen – live video

A piece based on the collection of poems ‘Light’ by Souvankham Thammavongsa. These poems all centre on the various interpretations of light and alternative meanings within various cultural contexts. These works will form our basis of interpretation, which we will will translate through our respective mediums.

Organic Strategies


  • Matthew Ariaratnam – prepared guitar
  • Kıvanç Tatar – trumpet, and electronics

Inspired by Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies, generative constraints guide the free improvisation. Organic Strategies create noisy wonder generated by whatever Eno strategy appears on a screen. The strategies change at different intervals directing the music in unexpected ways. Performers are challenged by 424 constraints that may appear.

Minah Lee, Maren Lisac and Brady Marks


Maren Lisac, Minah Lee and Brady Marks will produce vocal and somatic gestures to a selection of prepared and performed audio streams. These audio stream will be reproduce into our mouths, giving us a 2nd voice but also complicating vocal production, restraining our own vocal reproduction. In this way the performance will become an analog of Cassandra’s Voices.

Ross Birdwise and Dave Chokroun


Some notes on what to expect at different times throughout our set…

  • try to only play when the other player is not playing, or when the other player appears to be playing a decay/reverb/delay/diminuendo
  • play most notes/sounds in such a way that they falter as you hear them ex.) play notes that are impossible to play or sustain in some way or another, a vocalist might sing until they run out of breath or so low or so high that the voice fails, a contra-bass might try (without harmonics) to play outside of its normal frequency range
  • drone with extended techniques only – aiming for a brittle, broken, unstable or scratchy texture
  • play contra-bass with oven mitts and other implements that inhibit playing it normally or in a overly controlled way, place some similar restrictions on the voice, such as sing with your mouth closed or with something in it or with contact mics tucked into the cheeks…