Erik Ruin’s Ominous Cloud Ensemble

Friday, September 22

Fire Museum Presents:
Erik Ruin’s Ominous Cloud Ensemble
(live music with papercut animations)

Bill Hsu/Christopher Burns Duo
(electronic music with real-time video)


General admission $8–$18, NOTA
Click here for advance tickets

Erik Ruin’s Ominous Cloud Ensemble s an ever-evolving, collectively-improvising large ensemble for projections and music, led by visual artist Erik Ruin, recently lauded by the New York Times for his “spell-binding cut-paper animations.” Erik manipulates intricate paper-cuts and painted films on overhead projectors to create abstract landscapes and fragmentary scenes that are nonetheless charged with meaning, merging with music that ranges from dark atmospherics to ecstatic peaks of dissonance. Members of the ensemble include a rotating cast of Philly’s finest musicians, who have collaborated with everyone from Anthony Braxton to the Sun Ra Arkestra to Bardo Pond. Erik last showed his work at Studio 34 in January 2023 with an art show of papercuts, screenprints, and handmade books, plus an installation that transformed the space into a panoramic dreamscape with live music. This Ominous Cloud Ensemble performance will expand that ethereal liveness even further – see more here.


Bill Hsu/Christopher Burns/Noa Even/Thomas Kraines

Bill Hsu (San Francisco) and Christopher Burns (Philadelphia) have been making electronic audiovisual performances together for more than a decade. For this evening’s performance, they are joined onstage by Philly improvisers Noa Even (saxophones) and Thomas Kraines (cello). Expect restless exploration of sounds and textures from the outer reaches of electronic and instrumental technique, woven by the quartet into an organic conversation.

Bill Hsu creates and performs electronic music and real-time animation, building software systems which achieve the gestural and tactile qualities of acoustic musical instruments. He has built interactive pieces and installations in collaboration with Peter van Bergen, John Butcher, James Fei, Matt Heckert, Lynn Herschman, Jeremy Mende, and Gino Robair, among others, and performed in the US, Europe, Asia, and Australia. He is a founding member of the Beanbender’s collective, which organized 150 concerts of new music in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Christopher Burns is a composer, improviser, and music technologist. His current projects revolve around the creation and performance of new software-based musical instruments, designed to facilitate the layering and combination of patterns and gestures using a kaleidoscopic range of synthetic sounds. These instruments systematize Christopher’s favored compositional logics – approaches to variation, trajectory and form – and enable dynamic and expressive interactions with other musicians in the heat of collaborative improvisation.

Noa Even is a versatile saxophonist dedicated to the creation of new music through close collaboration with other artists, improvisation, and most recently, composition. As an improviser, she is interested in iteration, speech patterns, and other forms of vocalized communication, and exploring the idiomatic, tactile qualities of the saxophone. She performs in the duos Ogni Suono and Patchwork, both of which have released albums of commissioned music on New Focus Recordings. Noa lives in Philadelphia, teaches at Rowan University, and climbs rock walls for fun.

A member of the Daedalus Quartet, cellist Thomas Kraines has forged a multifaceted career as a cellist and composer, equally comfortable with avant-garde improvisation, new music, and traditional chamber music and solo repertoire. In addition to his work with the Daedalus Quartet, Mr. Kraines performs frequently with the Network for New Music, the Arcana Ensemble, Arcx Quartet, and in numerous other ensembles. An accomplished composer of chamber music, his works have been performed around the world by many artists including the English Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Kenneth Woods. He currently teaches at the University of Pennsylvania.

A collaboration between Fire Museum Presents and Studio 34, funding for this event provided by the Philadelphia Engagement Grant from Haverford College.

Accessibility: Located on the 2nd floor up a steep flight of stairs.