The Best St. Louis Noise/Experimental Concerts: December 2014

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Roscoe Mitchell performs December 5 at the Stage at KDHX. - PRESS PHOTO FROM THE AACM WEBSITE

"Noise" has become a blanket term for bands that explore and experiment around the beaten path. The genre, like others, is huge and diverse but not without its share of hangups. That's why we're here. Every month, we supply a short list of sure bets in St. Louis, ranging from needlessly complex to minimalist drone. Connect the weird to your ears.

While last month brought a solid 30-day stretch for fans of experimental sound, December offers a sparse selection of shows. What's that whole phrase about quantity and quality? November had a wealth of both, but this month brings the free-jazz luminary Roscoe Mitchell, the psychedelic buzzing of Bitchin Bajas and a showcase of seven local artists. Gorge on great shows and ring in the new year fat and happy.

New Music Circle presents: Roscoe Mitchell and Craig Taborn Friday, December 5 The Stage at KDHX 7:30 p.m. | $15-$25 A fixture in American free-jazz, Roscoe Mitchell has produced more than five decades' worth of distinct compositions and improvised music. His seminal work, 1966's Sound, is a highly influential record throughout the greater experimental music community. To this day, his involvement in the Association for Advancement of Creative Musicians and the Art Ensemble of Chicago continues to inform Mitchell's groundbreaking style of disparate playing. By taking a minimalist approach to saxophone, he ensures that every note feels heavy and deliberate. On this night, Mitchell will perform in a special duo with renowned New York pianist Craig Taborn.

Bitchin Bajas w/ Circuit Des Yeux, Ghost Ice Wednesday, December 10 Plush 9 p.m. | $10 Straight from the brain of Chicago's Cooper Crain, known best for his work with Cave, Bitchin Bajas locks neo-hippy soundscape into beats. Musical pieces drone on in loops while a stray woodwind fights against murky keys. Keys populate the sound, adding tonal guidance to a spacey group who manages, just barely, to stay grounded here on Earth. Once a solo endeavor, Bitchin Bajas now works through a trio, indulging with deep psychedelia. Luckily these hippies eschew the drum circle (or any sort of percussion, really) allowing for focused tones from tape machines and time-warped electronics.

The Society for Creative Survival presents: SOLILOQUY w/ David Scott Parker, Henry Claude, Alex Cunningham, George Sams, Tracy Andreotti, Dave Stone, Greg Mills Tuesday, December 16 Tavern of Fine Arts 7:30 p.m. | free SOLILOQUY is the second event in a new series that aims to spotlight experimental artists -- both old and new. This showcase of consecutive solo performances, led by David Scott Parker, features local players with varying degrees of skill and experience. From the whirling saxophone of Dave Stone to Tracy Andreotti's screaming cello, this event shows the shape of St. Louis experimental music -- all in a few hours' time. While the event is free to attend, bring a fistful of dollars for the Society for Creative Survival's *ahem* survival.

Think I left something out? Piss off! No, actually, you're probably right. I usually cap this column at three or four shows. Share what you know in the comments below. For the future, drop me a line any time at joseph.hess@riverfronttimes.com

Joseph Hess is the clubs editor for the Riverfront Times. When he's not writing for RFT, he's hosting the experimental rock show Wrong Division over at KDHX (88.1 FM). Visit his personal blog here for more on this city's DIY and experimental music. Or stalk him on Twitter.

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