False Harmonics #15: Webber/Morris Big Band and NOMON

False Harmonics is a musical series meant to explore new music and alternative approaches to composition, improvisation and performance. Join us on June 27 for the 15th iteration of False Harmonics, featuring performances from Webber/Morris Big Band and NOMON.

About the Artists

Anna Webber and Angela Morris, two composer-performers whose music overturns expectations for the jazz big band, have co-led this ensemble of stellar New York improvisers since 2015. Their critically acclaimed debut album, Both Are True (Greenleaf Music), was featured on several Best of 2020 lists including The New York Times, Bandcamp, and NPR. The band’s instrumentation is a jazz staple, but the composers’ respective pieces are equally rooted in minimalism, pop, noise, and other music of the past century or so. Integrating improvisation and composed material in unorthodox ways and using extra-musical sources—such as poetry or mathematics—to form the foundation of new works, the traditional big band sound mutates into something unpredictable. The saxophonists take turns filling the tenor chair while the other conducts her own works.

For this performance, the band will present works from their 2020 album Both Are True and newer works, including a suite of pieces in just intonation by Webber.

“Every time the saxophonists Anna Webber and Angela Morris create a piece of music together, they seem to be picking apart their 19-piece ensemble and reassembling it from scratch.” (The New York Times)

Shayna and Nava Dunkelman are musicians and percussionists currently based in Brooklyn, NY.

After spending years apart working on their own unique voices, they came together in 2018 to form NOMON.

Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan to an Indonesian mother and an American father, the sisters became multi-instrumentalists performing alongside their mother, a musician and composer active in Asia and the Middle East.

They are strongly drawn to the dance-like movements and flow of playing percussion. It is as visual as it is aural. The trajectory of the hands and sticks, the shift of body weight, the eyes aiming to strike - The physicality of the performance has a choreographic quality as it is. The body follows a sequence of movements when immersed in playing the array of percussive instruments surrounding it.

The music lives in the intersection of electronic soundscapes and intricately composed percussion parts. They combine drum machines, vocal samples, synth melodies and modular synthesizers triggered by analog sensors with carefully chosen percussion sounds to create a cohesive interweaving of the electronic and acoustic elements. The seamless blend of the two worlds is essential to their music.

When composing, they are inspired by industrial music, avant-garde percussion improvisation, rhythms and sounds from their cultural background (Japan and Indonesia) and contemporary electronic music that incorporates voices instrumentally.

They were recently seen performing at Brooklyn Museum (NY, First Saturday), Grey Area (SF hosted by CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts), The Green Space (NY, WNYC) to name a few. NOMON is the recipient of the latest NYFA Women's Fund 2023.