NonSeq: Zachary James Watkins + Trigger Object + Aaron Turner

One of Zachary James Watkins’ objectives as an artist is to expose natural phenomena. He is interested in the physical aspects of sound and has developed a sensibility that focuses heavily on Resonance. “Vibration is at the core of my experience of Resonance. I am moved by natural resonances that exist around us all. My own work strives to develop and nurture Resonances by negotiating sensitive relationships among a number of what I identify as critical ingredients for psychedelic phenomena: resonant bodies exciting harmonic energy creating diverse waves, beating and phase patterns diffused spatially with full dynamic range, and a deep attention to the body and how it engages with the environment. High Vibration Resonance.”

Zachary James Watkins studied composition with Janice Giteck, Jarrad Powell, Robin Holcomb and Jovino Santos Neto at Cornish College. In 2006, he received an MFA in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College where he studied with Chris Brown, Fred Frith, Alvin Curran and Pauline Oliveros. He has received commissions from The Switch Ensemble, Density512, the Beam Foundation, sfsound, The Living Earth Show, Kronos Quartet, and the Seattle Chamber Players, among others. He has performed in numerous festivals across the United States, Mexico and Europe, and his work is released on labels such as Sige, Cassauna, Confront (UK), The Tapeworm, and Touch (UK). Novembre Magazine (DE), ITCH (ZA), Leonardo Press, Walrus Press, and the New York Miniature Ensemble have published his writings and scores. Zachary has been an artist-in-resident at the Espy Foundation, Djerassi, the Headlands Center for The Arts, and the Amant Foundation Siena, Italy.

From the hinterland of Portland, OR comes Italian-born composer and multimedia artist Vern Avola, who as Trigger Object infuses a cheerfully unhinged flair to the music scene with their unconventional approach and dark sense of humor. Formerly operating as Avola, their 2023 album Psykor was selected as a top 50 release by The Wire, who aptly described their output as “a sprawling dustbin of cosmic oddities shot through with shuddering blasts and shuffling full spectrum noise.” Drone, rhythmic dance music, ambient, and harsh noise can all be found in their “delirious, Amanita Muscaria-soaked sense of dynamics.” (The Quietus)

Aaron Turner is a musician and artist based in Vashon, WA, publicly active since 1995. Most widely recognized for his role as a founding member of the metal bands SUMAC and Isis, he has also participated in projects such as House of Low Culture, Greymachine, and Mamiffer. Active primarily as a guitarist, he has maintained an abiding interest in tethering conscious content to subverted/intuitive uses of the instrument. His output has been informed by lifetime involvement with underground metal and punk, often materializing in highly abstracted forms utilizing improvisation and longform composition. He has collaborated with artists such as Tashi Dorji, Justin Broadrick, Keiji Haino, Patrick Shiroishi, Will Brooks (Dälek), Heather Leigh, Stephen O’Malley, Masami Akita, Caspar Brötzmann, Kevin Martin/The Bug, and many others. Turner was the founder/art director of the Hydra Head Records label, and more recently the co-founder SIGE Records with partner Faith Coloccia. Current projects include ongoing work with SUMAC, solo performances/recordings, as well as collaborations with Daniel Menche and Jussi Lehtisalo of Circle amongst others. His performance for this show will be examinations of the intersection between recognizable riff forms and improvised drones/textures, and the emotional resonances that lie therein. 

Curated by Kole Galbraith for Nonsequitur‘s NonSeq series.