Jun 911, 2023

Terraforma invites Blank Forms: Organic Music Societies, Exotic Sin feat. TYSON, Still House Plants

Terraforma Festival, a three-day experimental music event taking place in the woodlands of the palatial grade Villa Arconati, has invited Blank Forms to participate in its 2023 iteration. On Saturday, June 10th, Naima Karlsson and Lawrence Kumpf will introduce their 2021 volume Blank Forms 06: Organic Music Societies, discussing jazz trumpeter Don Cherry and textile artist Moki Cherry’s unique mix of communal art, social and environmentalist activism, children’s education, and pan-ethnic expression. Blank Forms has also guest-curated two matinee performances: Karlsson and Kenichi Iwasa’s duo Exotic Sin will perform with TYSON on Saturday afternoon, and Still House Plants will play on Sunday, June 11th. 


With a contorted, cosmic sound that fuses the free-form expressions of spiritual jazz with the compositional strategies of classic minimalism, Exotic Sin—comprised of visual artist, archivist, and musician Naima Karlsson and multi-instrumentalist and improvisor Kenichi Iwasa—revels in the exhilaration of sonic contrast, all-the-while expanding the creative and instrumental output of Karlsson’s forebears, free jazz legend Don Cherry and visual artist-designer Moki Cherry. Initially joined in a tribute to Don and Moki, Karlsson and Iwasa subsequently formed Exotic Sin, redeploying the material legacy of Don—playing his trumpet and jerry-rigged “zen saxophones” alongside their own instruments, synthesizers, and Iwasa’s Yamaha keyboard—to make a sound entirely their own. Their commitment to tonal and stylistic juxtapositions, and their interdisciplinary roots, continues and updates the synergistic approach that defined Don and Moki’s art and life.

Still House Plants’ Finlay Clark, David Kennedy, and Jessica Hickie-Kallenbach began to write music together during their second year at the Glasgow School of Art, later joining the eclectic scene surrounding the city’s Green Door Studio and undertaking a six-month residency at London’s Cafe OTO. Factor in a semester spent living with an emo band in Chicago and the intimate aggregation of the trio’s sound heterodoxy—an astonishing cohabitation of fractured R&B, wistful sensitivity, and harmolodic guitar—begins to show its strands. With punk autonomy, Still House Plants cite the cut-up affect of UK garage as the impetus for their sparse treatment of chords and words as samples; stuttered, fragmented, and permuted by living drums, guitar, and Hickie-Kallenach’s unmistakable husky voice. On their last release, Fast Edit (Blank Forms Editions, 2020), things sit on top of each other, fall over one another, or click into place, with hearts on sleeves and spirits in motion.