A thoroughly modern and bizarre two-act opera about three struggling roommates in Brooklyn performed with Jason Cady, Mary Halvorson, Tomas Fujiwara, Jessica Pavone, Tim Dahl, Ben Holmes, Katie Young, &c.
Happiness Is The Problem
Label: Lock Step Records
Released in: USA
"Happiness is the Problem is a two-act opera about three struggling roommates in Brooklyn: Julie, Emily, and Maureen. Their fortune begins to change when Julie, a bioanthropsychopharmacologist, discovers an elixir of happiness derived from the secretions of slug mucus, which they bottle and sell as "Euphoressence." "-Lock Step Records
"Jason Cady is a composer of experimental vocal and chamber music. The Wire described his one-act opera, Post-Madonna Prima Donna, as, "thoughtful satire, sharp composition." WQXR's Operavore described his two-act opera Happiness is the Problem as keeping "the energy hovering at 11 consistently, fusing the stilettoed [sic] coloratura of Mozart's 'Queen of the Night' with Glass at his most hyper-caffeinated; you're left gasping at the end for a reprieve, while admiring the psychological underpinnings of Cady's work."
Cady's CDs have been released on Lockstep records and Peacock recordings. He has received funding from Brooklyn Arts Council, New Music USA, free103point9, and the American Music Center. His music has been performed at Roulette, Issue Project Room, The Stone, (le) Poisson Rouge, Tonic and in many other venues in New York City and throughout the US from Arizona to Alaska. He has lectured on his music at New York University, New School University, and Arizona State University. He has been interviewed by WBEZ, WNYC, WPIR, and East Village Radio. He was featured in NPR's "The Mix: 100 Composers Under 40."
Cady co-founded Experiments in Opera with composers Matt Welch and Aaron Siegel, which has presented the music of John Zorn, Georges Aperghis, and Cough Button in addition to the music of the co-founders. In February 2013 they will premiere new works by Robert Ashley, Joe Diebes, Ruby Fulton, Gabrielle Herbst, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Justin Tierney, Leaha Maria Villarreal, et al.
Cady teaches piano, guitar and drum lessons. He also works as the senior researcher at The Earle Brown Music Foundation. In January 2013 he presented a paper at Beyond Notation: An Earle Brown Symposium at Northeastern University.
Cady has an M.A. in composition from Wesleyan University, where he studied with Alvin Lucier and Anthony Braxton. His undergraduate degree is in Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance from Arizona State University, where he studied composition with Richard Lerman and Harold Budd, in addition to training in visual art. He was born in 1974 in Flint, Michigan and has lived in Brooklyn, New York since 2001."-Experiments in Opera
• Show Bio for Anne Guthrie
"Anne Guthrie is an acoustician, composer, and French horn player living in Brooklyn, NY. She studied music composition and english at the University of Iowa and architectural acoustics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she recently completed her Ph.D. Her music combines her knowledge of acoustics and contemporary composition/improvisation. Her electronic music has focused on exploiting the natural acoustic phenomena of unique architectural spaces through minimal processing of field recordings. Her composition has focused on the orchestration of non-musical sounds, speech in particular. Her French horn playing has focused on electronic processing and extended techniques used in improvisatory settings, as a soloist and with Fraufraulein and Delicate Sen, among others. Her acoustics research has focused on the use of ambisonics for stage acoustics. "-Anne Guthrie Website (http://www.fraufraulein.com/anne/about)
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• Show Bio for Tomas Fujiwara
"Born in Boston in 1977, Brooklyn-based drummer Tomas Fujiwara emerged during the early to mid-2000s as a valued sideman before forming his own quintet, Tomas Fujiwara & the Hook Up, which gathered accolades for blending influences such as Wayne Shorter, Taleb Kweli, and Me'Shell Ndegéocello with the experimental and unpredictable spirit of the 21st century Brooklyn creative jazz scene. After studying for eight years with drummer and educator Alan Dawson in the Boston area, Fujiwara moved to New York at the age of 17. His first performing experiences included a five-year stint beginning around the turn of the millennium with the off-Broadway show Stomp, but he also began appearing as a sideman on jazz recordings (e.g., Three Souls by the Adam Rafferty Trio in 2003) and moving in exploratory, adventurous directions.
Fujiwara developed a particularly strong collaborative relationship with New Haven, Connecticut-based cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum, whose own avant-leaning ensembles have featured a number of top Brooklyn improvising musicians. Fujiwara first appeared with Bynum on two 2007 recordings, The Middle Picture by the Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet (Firehouse 12) and True Events by the Taylor Ho Bynum/Tomas Fujiwara Duo (482 Music). During the following years, the drummer appeared on the Bynum Sextet albums Asphalt Flowers Forking Paths (hatOLOGY, 2009), Apparent Distance (Firehouse 12, 2011), and Navigation (Possibility Abstracts X & XI) (Firehouse 12, 2013), and the Bynum/Fujiwara Duo album Stepwise (Nottwo, 2010). Fujiwara is also a member of Positive Catastrophe, a ten-piece outfit co-led by Bynum and percussionist Abraham Gomez-Delgado and inspired by Sun Ra and Latin jazz; the group has released two albums on Cuneiform, Garabatos Volume One (2009) and Dibrujo, Dibrujo, Dibrujo... (2012).
Another musician with whom Fujiwara has often worked, guitarist Mary Halvorson, also often travels in the same creative orbit as Taylor Ho Bynum; like Fujiwara, Halvorson is a member of the Bynum Sextet, and along with Bynum and violist Jessica Pavone, the drummer and guitarist formed the collective quartet the Thirteenth Assembly, which has recorded two albums for the Important Records label, 2009's (un)sentimental and 2011's Station Direct. Fujiwara, Halvorson, and Bynum also appeared as members of the Chicago-New York nonet Living by Lanterns, whose New Myth/Old Science album -- based on fragments of music recorded by Sun Ra in 1961 -- appeared on Cuneiform in 2012. In 2014 Cuneiform released another album featuring Fujiwara and Halvorson, the eponymous debut of Thumbscrew, a collaborative trio also including veteran bassist Michael Formanek.
Fujiwara first assembled his Hook Up quintet in 2008, later describing the bandmembers as "some of the most important musicians in my life" -- and given all of Fujiwara and Halvorson's recorded appearances together in various settings, it was no surprise that the guitarist was in the lineup. Also featuring tenor saxophonist Brian Settles, trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson, and bassist Danton Boller, Tomas Fujiwara & the Hook Up released their debut album, Actionspeak, on 482 Music in 2010. Featuring Trevor Dunn on bass in place of Boller, the group's sophomore album, The Air Is Different, arrived (also on 482 Music) in 2012.
The many other projects in which Fujiwara has played as a collaborator or sideman include the Steve Lacy tribute band Ideal Bread, the eight-piece "bhangra funk dhol 'n' brass" outfit Red Baraat, and saxophonist/clarinetist Matt Bauder's acoustic jazz quintet. "-All Music (http://www.allmusic.com/artist/tomas-fujiwara-mn0000909926/biography)
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• Show Bio for Mary Halvorson
"One of improvised music's most in-demand guitarists, Mary Halvorson has been active in New York since 2002, following jazz studies at Wesleyan University and the New School. Critics have called her "a singular talent" (Lloyd Sachs, JazzTimes), "NYC's least-predictable improviser" (Howard Mandel, City Arts), "one of the most exciting and original guitarists in jazz-or otherwise" (Steve Dollar, Wall Street Journal), and "one of today's most formidable bandleaders" (Francis Davis, Village Voice). The Philadelphia City Paper's Shaun Brady adds, "Halvorson has been steadily reshaping the sound of jazz guitar in recent years with her elastic, sometimes-fluid, sometimes-shredding, wholly unique style."
After three years of study with visionary composer and saxophonist Anthony Braxton, Ms. Halvorson became an active member of several of his bands, including his trio, septet and 12+1tet. To date, she appears on six of Mr. Braxton's recordings. Ms. Halvorson has also performed alongside iconic guitarist Marc Ribot, in his bands Sun Ship and The Young Philadelphians, and with the bassist Trevor Dunn in his Trio-Convulsant. Over the past decade she has worked with such diverse bandleaders as Tim Berne, Taylor Ho Bynum, Tomas Fujiwara, Ingrid Laubrock, Myra Melford, Jason Moran, Joe Morris, Tom Rainey and Mike Reed.
As a bandleader and composer, one of Ms. Halvorson's primary outlets is her longstanding trio, featuring bassist John Hébert and drummer Ches Smith. Since their 2008 debut album, Dragon's Head, the band has been recognized as a rising star jazz band by Downbeat Magazine for five consecutive years. Ms. Halvorson's quintet, which adds trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson and alto saxophonist Jon Irabagon to the trio, has released two critically acclaimed albums on the Firehouse 12 label: Saturn Sings and Bending Bridges. Most recently she has added two additional band members-tenor saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and trombonist Jacob Garchik-to form a septet, featured on her 2013 release Illusionary Sea. Ms. Halvorson also co-leads a longstanding chamber-jazz duo with violist Jessica Pavone, the avant-rock band People and the collective ensembles Thumbscrew and Secret Keeper."-Mary Halvorson Website (http://www.maryhalvorson.com/bio/)
^ Hide Bio for Mary Halvorson
• Show Bio for Tim Dahl
"Tim Dahl is a professional electric and double bass player, vocalist, keyboardist and composer living in New York City. He is best known as the bass player of the noise-rock band Child Abuse and Lydia Lunch's Retrovirus. He also writes and performs for the jazz ensemble Pulverize The Sound.
Dahl has toured extensively throughout North and South America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. He has performed with many notable musicians, composers and performers including Yusef Lateef, Archie Shepp, Eugene Chadbourne, Tatsuya Yoshida, Von Freeman, Stanley Jordan, Mary Halvorson, Malcolm Mooney, Marc Ribot, Brian Chase, Hamid Drake, Elliott Sharp, Weasel Walter, Marni Nixon, Peter Evans, Kevin Shea, Mick Barr, Lydia Lunch, Jan Terri, The Bureau of Atomic Tourism, Ava Mendoza etc.
As a bass player he is notable for unique style and technical savviness. Clifford Allen of Tiny Mixtapes' wrote "Tim Dahl [...] approaches his well-worn axe with a battery of pedals and loops, combining determinate speed with murkier sonics to create a landscape not unlike a harsh, speed-freak variant on Hugh Hopper."
Dahl currently lives in Brooklyn and is an active member in the music scene there."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Dahl)
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At The Squid's Ear!
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Song Based Music
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
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Shipping Weight: 1.00 units
Quantity in Basket: None
Label: Lock Step Records
Catalog ID: LKSTP 022
Squidco Product Code: 17961
Packaging: Cardstock gatefold foldover
Recorded by Clay Holley at Studio 75 and Truth and Soul Mixing.
Erin Flannery-soprano saxophone
Deanna Neil-soprano saxophone
Lisa Komara-mezzo-soprano saxophone
Jason Cady-clarinet, synthesizer
Joe Bergen-vibraphone, percussion
Tomas Fujiwara-drum set
Mary Halvorson-electric guitar
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1. Happiness Is The Problem - Act I 21:52
2. Happiness Is The Problem - Act II 20:43