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Music for Hard Times

San Francisco-based instrument inventor Tom Nunn & New Zealand electric bassist Paul Winstanley present their duo Music for Hard Times in an evening of improvised performance.

Bassist and improviser Paul Winstanley was working in the capacity of a sound technician when he first met Tom Nunn at an instrument inventors symposium in Auckland and was pleased to renew their friendship when he relocated to San Francisco. In June of 2010, Paul and Tom began improvising together as a duo and, over the months, an exciting musical rapport developed. Paul considers Music for Hard Times a great opportunity to play with instruments almost completely devoid of idiomatic reference, allowing him to extend and refine his extended sounds and improvising approaches to establish a group aesthetic which accommodates the particular strengths of Tom's unique instruments. Tom sees Music for Hard Times as a unique chance to develop a long-term relationship with another musician who truly understands how to work with his instruments, and to document the music on an almost weekly basis over the last five years.

MFHT has produced a number of limited-run CDs and has posted three recordings online at and

Saturday, February 20
Doors at 7:30; music at 8pm
$10/8 students & ESS members


About the artists

Paul Winstanley is an improvising electric bass player from New Zealand who specializes in extended techniques for that instrument. In addition to trying to make his bass sound like electronics he is interested in making electronic music that sounds like natural environments. He has several solo projects including Sci Hi (electronic feedback), Speed Cook (music from sound samples and non-musical sounds) and The Complete Recordings (artificial simulations of field recordings). Paul lived in Auckland, New Zealand for 10 years where he was part of the growing local and national experimental/improvising music scene, playing in groups w/luminaries like instrument inventor Phil Dadson, percussionist John Bell, radical concert brass band The NZ Dominion Centenary Concert Band, folk icon Fats White, abstract electronic supergroup Plains and improvising electronic trio Audible 3.

Tom Nunn has designed, built and performed with original musical instruments since 1976, and has built over 250 instruments. His instruments typically utilize commonly available materials, are sculptural in appearance, utilize contact microphones for amplification, and are designed specifically for improvisation with elements of ambiguity, unpredictability and nonlinearity. Tom has performed extensively throughout the San Francisco Bay Area for over 30 years, as well as in other parts of the U.S., Canada, Europe, and New Zealand, both as soloist and with other musicians. Tom also performs with T.D. SKATCHIT, RTD3, and GHOST IN THE HOUSE and has appeared on a number of recordings, including his solo CD, Identity (2007), T.D. Skatchit & Company (2009), Skatch Migration (2010), Skatch Surveillance (2012), and Ear of the Storm (2013) (Edgetone Records). In 1998, he self-published WISDOM OF THE IMPULSE: ON THE NATURE OF MUSICAL FREE IMPROVISATION.