BRAINSTUN: a perspective by Michael Hicks I have been listening to Christian Asplund's music for almost twenty years. It has evolved, no doubt-better voice leading, counterpoint, etc. But what I cherish about it is that it has never lost it's intrinsic point of view, so beautifully idiosyncratic that I have never heard two people describe it the same way. That's good (for Christian, for music). I'll just say that his compositions hover between serious and playful attitudes just as Cage's, Zappa's, Zorn's, or even Carl Stalling's do. There is an acute learnedness tainted with sarcasm, sometimes an almost cloying sweetness shot through with a Varese-like intensity. Yes, I know: postmodernism. But more important, as Laurie Anderson-another in this pantheon of 'attitudists'-once said of Cage: 'He makes me smile. I trust that.' Brainstun is both a distillation and flowering of Asplund's already large collected opus. A distillation because one finds here microcosms of what one can hear in his operas and orchestral pieces (equally unclassifiable but more overtly 'legit' in their trappings). A flowering because this powerful quartet not only behaves with the same attitude as Asplund but shapes the music equally with him, intelligently yet with an almost Talking Headslevel groove. Each player's performative conviction and conversance with styles makes the quartet collectively a perfect match for Asplund's charts. Philip Glass, free jazz, Bartok, hiphop, and on and on-trying to list the influences is to pollute the intuitive synthesis they make-or, more precisely, it (one organism) makes. So just listen: Brainstun thinks with it's guts. BIOS CHRISTIAN ASPLUND (viola and piano) is a true crossover artist; his music has been heard in rock and jazz clubs and festivals, college radio stations, and independent record labels, as well as concert halls and theaters. Christian Asplund has been composing and performing prolifically his own unique brand of music for several years. His music is informed by diverse influences in Euro-American classical music, avant garde jazz, hip hop, non-western musics, and by his idiosyncratic religious and political views. In 1994 he formed, with Lara Candland and two other composers, Seattle Experimental Opera, a pioneer in the field of guerilla opera. Seattle Experimental Opera produced 5 of Asplund's operas since it's inception and has received grants and rave reviews. A sampling of adjectives used to describe his music in the press includes 'superb, rhythmically toothy, ethereal, mesmerizing, otherworldly, irreverent, over-the-edge, captivating, creepy, intelligent, and just plain absolutely beautiful. His 100+ compositions include pieces in virtually every medium of concert music, and jazz. He currently divides his time between composition, improvisation, and teaching at the Brigham Young University. GREG CAMPBELL plays drums, percussion, and French horn in Seattle and sometimes in other places. He has studied with Dave Holland, Bob Moses, and Tom Collier, and performed with George Russell, Stuart Dempster, Wolfgang Fuchs, Michael Bisio, Bill Smith, Luc Houtkamp, Seattle EXperimental Opera, Wayne Horvitz, Jessica Lurie's Motorbison, and Project W, among other projects. MATTHEW SPERRY's recent work with free improvised and experimental chamber music includes recordings and/or concerts with Anthony Braxton (Six Compositions [GTM] 2001, on Rastascan), John Butcher (12 Milagritos, on Spool) Gail Brand (SuperModel SuperModel, to be released by Eminem records), John Shiurba (Triplicate, to be released by Spool) and Gino Robair (Buddy Systems, on Meniscus). He is also working extensively in the realms of subterranean pop (Hedwig and the Angry Inch- San Francisco production, Tom Waits, Erika Luckett), Klezmer music and experimental chamber works. His improvisational work is featured in numerous collaborations on the Limited Sedition label w(ww.limitedsedition.com). He played in some of the more notorious Seattle ensembles during the 90's, including Seattle Experimental Opera, Black Cat Orchestra, The Long String Instrument Band, Seattle Creative Orchestra, Brainstun, iv bricoleurs, Gamelan Pacifica and he has played more Christian Asplund compositions than anybody else, except Christian himself. He currently resides in Oakland, CA where he plays regularly with Dan Plonsey's large group Daniel Popsicle and many other experimental projects. Sperry also composes music for Leapfrog toys. A Seattle bred composer and woodwinder, JESSICA LURIE performs and records worldwide with the bass, sax, and drums trio Living Daylights, the all-woman sax and percussion quartet The Billies (formerly The Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet), her own internationally based band The Jessica Lurie Ensemble (which performs in trio, quartet or quintet) and the New York based Balkan band Sheqer. She has collaborated with local and national artists such as Bill Frisell, The Indigo Girls, Danijel Zezelj & Petikat, Amy Denio, Pat Grainey Dance Company, Scott Amendola, Eyvind Kang, and Wayne Horvitz. Lurie has received grants to compose for small and large ensembles, dance, film, and international multi-media performances, and has led workshops internationally on improvisation and composition. With visual artist Danijel Zezelj she co-created 6 multi-media performances, presented in Italy, Croatia, and the United States. Her musical experience also includes work with Booker T. Jones, Sleater Kinney, the Berkeley Symphony, Steven Berstein, Charlie Hunter, Leo Neocentelli, Maceo Parker, Paul McCandless, Fareed Haque, and Robert Walter. She has produced 16 CDs altogether to date, solo or in collaboration with others. Her newest solo CD, 'Zipa!Buka!' was released March 2002 and a duo collaborative CD 'School Of One' with drummer Will Dowd was released September 2002. Two new projects, a collaboration with Slovenian band Lolita and her European trio (Marco Siniscalco and Zeno de Rossi) each recorded in April 2003, and hope to have the releases out in the Fall. She currently lives in Brooklyn.