Monday, November 3, 2008

Le Grnde Finale,' The Big Sur Experimentlal Music Festival 2003

"In the intoxication of conviviality in the carneval, music emerges as a kind of structure or shaping force- music becomes the very 'order of intimacy." --Ha Kim Bey

After five years in the making, this year's Big Sur Experimental festival felt like a little miracle. A DIY shamanic sound installation, accompanied by action paintings, contact improv dancers, and a film diary festival was a beautiful ruminative remedy to these not-so-beautiful times.

The music portion of the festival was organized around a variation of John Berndt's Sound/Shift concept, which is ideal for bringing musicians from different geographies, ideologies, and experience together with no aesthetic constraints other than that the music be wholly (holy?) improvised. In this way it is possible to discover the musical outer limits as a new common ground. At Big Sur this year there were over 90 musicians, none paid, with the equivalent of 80 different ensembles. This potentially was the largest grouping of free improvising musicians ever attempted in North America.


Ernesto Diaz-Infante said...

this is actually from 2004... "Le Grande Finale.' The Big Sur Experimental Music Festival 2004"

Ernesto Diaz-Infante said...

in this 'The Sound/Shift Improvising Orchestra' set from 2003 are the following folks. . .
(at the beginning Scott Looney, Marina Lazzara, and me at the mixing desk).
Marjorie Sturm (flute)
Sara Schoenbeck (bassoon)
Jason Mears (saxophone)
Peter Valsamis (percussion)
Marcos Fernandes (percussion)
David Leikam (percussion)
Simon O' Rorke (percussion)
Greg Cutler (cymbal/objects)
James Fearnley (accordion)
Michael Khoury (violin)
Raven (viola)
Magnus Toren (acoustic guitar/song vocals)
Ian Yeager (electric guitar)
Alex Yeung (electric guitar)
Jem Finer (electric guitar)
Lance Grabmiller (electric guitar)
Matt Davignon (cymbal?)
Thomas Dimuzio (sampler)
Aaron Ximm (field recordings)
Sean Rooney (laptop)
Andre Custodio (electronics)
Joseph Hammer (tape loops)
Ernesto Diaz-Infante (conducting/conjuring)
and two unidentified musicians
*and it's actually from 2003, not 2004.

Ernesto Diaz-Infante said...

p.s. here's the original email announcement...

From: "matt davignon"
Subject: 2003 Big Sur Experimental Music Festival (Sound/Shift)
Date: Thu, 22 May 2003 17:49:34 -0700

The Big Sur Experimental Music Festival 2003 presents
Sound/Shift Big Sur

Saturday, May 31st 12:00 - 8:00 pm
Sunday, June 1st, 12:00 - 8:00 pm

Henry Miller Memorial Library
Highway One
Big Sur, California USA
$10 for 1 day / $15 for both days

Since 1999, The Big Sur Experimental Music Festival has presented a wide variety of adventurous modern music: electronic, experimental improv, noise, free-jazz and ambient music from artists across the USA, Europe and Australia. This year, the festival will be presented in the revolutionary format of a "Sound/Shift". This type of event, the brainchild of Baltimore event organizer John Berndt, brings large numbers of musicians together to collaborate in unpredicted ways, often with stunning results. For the Big Sur event, approximately 100 musicians will be placed in overlapping shifts, often with people they've never played with before. The group sizes range from 3 to 30, with an average of 4-5 musicians performing at any given time.
With at least one personnel switch every 10 minutes, the audience will be treated to the equivalent of 96 different ensembles over the course of two 8-hour "pieces". What does 7.5 tons of musician sound like? Come find out! This is a benefit for the Henry Miller Memorial Library.

A complete listing of musicians is below. For a schedule, please visit:
For a list of local accomodations, check out

If you're trying to find the place on a mapping website, it's very close to 48865 Highway One, Big Sur.

For more info, contact Ernesto Diaz-Infante ( or Matt Davignon (

99 Hooker (Sax/Spoken Word), Glenn Bach (Laptop), Joe Balestreri (Trumpet/Laptop), John Berndt (Reeds), C J Reaven Borosque (Prepared Guitar), Brassiosaurus (Trumpet/Trombone/Tuba), Jon Brumit (Turntable/Sampler/FX), Jessica Catron (Cello), Michael Cooke (Woodwinds/Sax), Phil Curtis (Laptop), Andre Custodio (Synth), darph/nadeR (Guitar/Synth/Percussion/Voice), Matt Davignon (Turntable/Tape/Cd), Ernesto Diaz-Infante (Guitar), Thomas Dimuzio (Sampler), Jason Ditzian (Clarinet/Bamboo Sax), Tom Djll (Trumpet), Jeremy Drake (Amplified Acoustic Guitar), James Edmiston (Bass), Bryan Eubanks (Reeds), James Fearnley (Accordion), Marcos Fernandes (Electronics/Percussion), Jem Finer (Guitar/Toys/Radio), Curtis Glatter (Percussion), Lance Grabmiller (Laptop), Jonathon Grasse (Guitar), Wayne Grim (Guitar), Emily Hay (Flute), Damon Holzborn (Guitar/Electronics), Nathan Hubbard (Junk/Electronics), Matt Ingalls (Bagpipes), David Javelosa (Synthesizers/Electronics), Aurora Josephson (Voice), Mike Kaufmann (Claribone), David Kendall (Bass/Amplifier), Michael Khoury (Violin), Kid Sandor (Voice), Jai Young Kim (Keyboards), Alexander Kort (Cello), Eric Kuehnl (Laptop), Marina Lazzara (Voice/Guitar), Cheryl Leonard (Violin), Nathan Levine (Bass), Jacob Lindsay (Bass Clarinet), Scott Looney (Laptop/Electronics), Man Manly (Field Recordings/Noise), Marianne McDonald (Harp), Jason Mears (Woodwinds), Kristen Miltner (Laptop), Robert Montoya (Electronics), David Nadal (Guitar/Loops), The Noodles (Electronics/Synth/Bass), Peter Nyboer (Laptop), Onlythenightheardthewordstheysaid (Guitar/Bass/Synth), Simon O'Rorke (Percussion,) Noah Phillips (Guitar), Jesse Quattro (Voice/FX), Alwyn Quebideaux (Guitar), Raven (Viola), Jason Robinson (Sax/Electronics), Rent Romus (Reeds/Things), Sean Rooney (Laptop), Josie Roth(Viola/Electronics), LX Rudis (Synth), Stephen Ruiz (Electronics), Thomas Scandura (Electronic Percussion), Sara Schoenbeck (Bassoon), Jeff Schwartz (Double Bass), Rev. Screaming Fingers (Guitar), John Shiurba (Guitar), SKIZMZ(Multi Instruments), Justin Sondstrum (Drums), Pablo St. Chaos (Guitar), Moe! Staiano (Percussion/Abuse), Zeke Talbot (Guitar/Etc), Adam Tobin (Spontaneous Textual Composition), Max Valentino (Bass/Loops), Peter Valsamis (Drums), Douglas Wadle (Trombone), Chris Ward (Upright Bass), Wobbly (Sampler), Aaron Ximm (Field Recordings), Ian Yeager (Guitar), Alex Yeung (Guitar), The Sound/Shift Improvising Orchestra

Ernesto Diaz-Infante said...

btw, this footage is from 2003, not it should be "Le Grnde Finale,' The Big Sur Experimentlal Music Festival 2003" thanks Robert! looks great!