Vu-Karpen Project in Concert

Improvised Music Project Festival Event
MPfest IV: Vu-Karpen Project
May 12, 2012 - 7:30 PM
Glenn Hughes Penthouse Theatre
Suggested donation

The Improvised Music Project (IMP) presents the Vu-Karpen Project in the final evening of IMPfest IV. Seattle group Chemical Clock, featuring students from the UW Jazz Studies Program, is also on the bill. Details at

Vu-Karpen Project

The Vu-Karpen Project is a highly experimental ensemble, formed to explore and invent new methods of creating works of complex, instinctive, and dramatic new music. The project, which also includes live computer interaction, seeks to make some important discoveries while developing an exciting concert-length work built on the foundations and traditions of Jazz and Western Classical Art Music.

The project is led by two University of Washington School of Music faculty, both internationally renowned for their innovative music making: Cuong Vu, a trail-blazing Jazz trumpeter/band leader/composer, and Richard Karpen, a leading composer and computer music pioneer who also plays piano in the ensemble. The Project also includes Ted Poor on drums and Luke Bergman on electric bass. Ted Poor is rapidly becoming widely admired and sought after internationally for his powerful, virtuosic, and intellectually intense drumming. Luke Bergman is a rising star in the Jazz scene and a graduate of the UW Jazz Studies Program. 

Chemical Clock

Cameron Sharif, Ray Larsen, Evan Woodle and Mark Hunter are Chemical Clock. Finding themselves together within the darkened recesses of the University of Washington's music building, these four undergraduates united in their common desire to experiment in new musical territories — the bleeding-edge kind of stuff they’d never learn about in jazz college.

Under the influence of professor Cuong Vu, who fervently supported their artistic explorations, Chemical Clock has taken to it in earnest since the early days of 2009. Of their sound: this quartet is decidedly more "dance club" than "jazz club." Combining elements of electronica and rock with jazz-informed improvisational sensibilities, it’s no straightforward task to adequately describe the Chemical Clock canon.

To behold, their live thing is a heavy-hitting, beat-laden, thrash-and-bash spectacle. You’d sooner envision yourself bobbing and flailing amid the crowd along to the Clock’s jams before you’d consider taking a seat for a polite listening session at some genteel supper joint (you know, maybe over an exorbitantly-priced hummus platter or something). With effected and reverberant trumpeting, bit-crushed keys, explosive drum-setsmanship and ironclad bass-work, Chemical Clock pilots their way through nigh-unnavigable passages of composition, deftly maneuvering through sinewy melodic channels with studied fluency. In tandem, the ensemble whiplashes to and fro betwixt convulsive improvisation and calculated musical constructions with a coherency that often seems telepathic.

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