New York musician RAFT, né Patrick Noecker, has played with bands like These Are Powers, Liars, and n0 things. As RAFT, he performs live minimal soundscapes, with ephemeral textures created by iPhone apps, phone messages, customized guitars, pedals and samplers. His approach is rooted in a quiet spiritualness and desire to unify community around music.
Inspired, in part, by the positive activism of Occupy Wall Street, he created a series of one-night only performances in January of last year called ASSEMBLE. Artists and musicians are invited to perform rehearsed or improvised pieces with him in a two turn round-robin and then a final improvised group jam in the final set. “It’s like the experimental version of passing around the acoustic guitar at a dinner party,” says RAFT. “ And the improvised group piece at the end of the night unifies all the voices and creates a very temporary band, kinda like a one night stand band.”
So far, the evenings have taken place in New York and D.C., and have previously featured folks such as artist and experimental turntablist Maria Chavez, Brian Chase of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Alexandra Drewchin Jr. of Eartheater and Guardian Alien, Taraka Larson of Prince Rama, Bob Boilen, and Sam Hilmer of Diamond Terrifier/Zs.
RAFT’s upcoming ASSEMBLE X, will take place this Saturday, May 11 in the Knockdown Center, a former glass and door factory turned sprawling cultural incubator in Maspeth, Queens. Sixteen performers will simultaneously play the notes of A and E, while RAFT orchestrates musical changes and pauses to them by text message. ASSEMBLE collaborator and video artist Matthew Caron, with Peter Shapiro, Eric Drasin, Reid Bingham, Sofy Yuditskaya and Matt Romain of Fast Food Music Video handle the kaleidoscopic visuals throughout the night. Contortionist and ‘unique yoga dancer’ Amazing Amy performs with the Ash Can Orchestra.
Below is a video by Matthew Caron from Assemble V: