Capital M
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Capital M

Band Rock Avant-garde


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Concert blurb"

A floor-cleaner, or a dessert topping? Vocalist-composer Ian Moss has it both ways: his Capital M is both a crack new-music ensemble and a convincing rock band. Tonight the group celebrates a new self-titled, self-released CD, which contains a heady mix of riffs and Reich (Steve, not Sacred). - Time Out New York

"There Stands the Glass"

The joint was packed for Capital M's world premieres extravanganza at The Cutting Room last night. Granted, it's not a huge room and many of the attendees seem to be friends of one or another of the seven composers whose works were presented--Jennifer Fitzgerald, Stefan Zeniuk, David Claman, Capital M capo Ian Moss, Monika Heidemann, Bradley Kemp, and Frank J. Oteri. But, there was tremendous enthusiasm and receptivity for the new pieces which suggests that the kind of experimental, genre-bending music that Capital M is pioneering holds great promise for audience-building for "serious" music among people who cut their musical teeth on rock. The program was extremely daring and diverse--like watching circus perfomers walking the high wire without a net--but never less than thoroughly engaging. The composers all took risks and the Capital M gang played with genuine commitment. This stuff is not easy to play and they did a superb job.

My one critical observation is that the pieces that worked best were those that displayed rock attributes--primitive, free, loud, dissonant--rather than those that simply adapted conservatory techniques to traditional rock instruments. The piece that best captured the rock spirit was Frank J. Oteri's Imagined Overtures, especially the third movement which employed three guitars--one tuned regularly, one tuned a sixth tone higher and the other, a sixth tone lower--to create the ugliest, rawest, most dissonant chord yet heard on Planet Earth. Backed by a pounding, relentless drum beat, the piece built to a shattering, earth-moving (you should forgive the word) climax. It was sophisticated without sacrificing the raw power that gives rock its inherent strength.

And, it was the only piece that made me want to scream afterwards: "And there ain't nothing I can do about it." -

"The Future is Here"

It’s too late to stop pop and classical music from interbreeding. There’s just too much of it going on, and it goes way beyond the obvious, well-publicized crossovers (Orfa Harnoy putting out a CD of Beatles songs, Michael Bolton singing opera arias, etc., etc., etc., etc.). The good stuff has a real artistic edge. I’m thinking of Capital M, a New York rock band, which commissioned seven pieces from seven classical composers, and premiered them in March. -


Capital M - September 27, 2005
(34-minute EP/LP)


Feeling a bit camera shy


“Both a crack new-music ensemble and a convincing rock band”
–Steve Smith, Time Out New York

Capital M is a unique electric chamber ensemble that lives between the edges of contemporary classical music, hard rock, and creative improvisation. Guided by influences as diverse as Steve Reich and Musicians, King Crimson, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and Japanese avant-jazz guitarist Uchihashi Kazuhisa, composer and bandleader Ian Moss fuses advanced compositional techniques with the visceral thrill of metal and the improvisational freedom of experimental jazz for an unprecedented combination of grit and grace. Though the music of Capital M occupies the enigmatic territory between several genres, the band always strives to integrate its disparate influences fully and naturally into the musical and concertgoing experience.

The band’s signature piece, “Drum Cells,” which was originally written for one of Yale University’s legendary all-night New Music Marathon concerts in spring 2002, is emblematic of this approach. Variable in length, the piece consists of a series of one- to two-measure “cells” that band members repeat an unspecified number of times and piece together in unpredictable ways. With the vast majority of the musical material in the piece coming from the slow Chicago blues tradition, the music sounds strangely familiar despite its rhythmic displacement. The effect is of a music that wants to make sense but never quite gets there—making the band’s sudden transition to a full-on, speed-punk groove halfway through all the more shocking when it happens.

Or take “Reinventing the Wheel,” the first track from Capital M’s self-titled debut album, which may be the first rock song ever to combine mathematical process music, free improvisation, chance procedures, and normal through-composed music in the same piece. Despite its internal complexity, the end result is surprising in its tightly cohesive, even danceable, jam-band-esque vibe.

Current members of Capital M include Ian Moss, processed vocals; Mike Gamble, electric guitar; John Hadfield, drums; Peter Hess, reeds; Brad Kemp, bass; and Kyle Sanna, electric guitar. Capital M’s musicians possess extensive classical training and have played in such diverse ensembles as the Michael Gordon Philharmonic, Jerseyband, Ethos Percussion Group, Mark Gould’s Pink Baby Monster, World/Inferno Friendship Society, Anti-Social Music, and Music from China. Capital M was originally formed in May 2004, and made its debut as part of Frank J. Oteri’s “21st Century Schizoid Music” concert series at Cornelia Street Café. Subsequent appearances have included the 2006 Full Force Festival (curated by John Zorn), the 2005 CMJ Music Marathon, an Eastern Seaboard tour in August 2005, and a CD release party at the Knitting Factory with Elliott Sharp. Capital M presented its first annual World Premieres Extravaganza at the Cutting Room in March 2006, featuring new works by Frank J. Oteri, David Claman, Monika Heidemann, Jennifer Fitzgerald, Bradley Kemp, and Ian Moss.

“A real artistic edge”
–Greg Sandow,

“The kind of experimental, genre-bending music that Capital M is pioneering holds great promise for audience-building for 'serious' music among people who cut their musical teeth on rock....extremely daring and diverse...thoroughly engaging. The composers all took risks and the Capital M gang played with genuine commitment.”

–Jerry Bowles,