Fraction Theory
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Fraction Theory

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Band Folk Avant-garde


This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs


The best kept secret in music


Fraction Theory aren’t your typical warblers
“I think the folk music boat needs to be rocked again.” -Dann
It’s enough to send Pete Seeger off hunting for his trusty axe: When Fraction Theory make their debut at this year’s Philadelphia Folk Festival, there won’t be an acoustic guitar or warbly, hill-country voice to be found — just a drum kit and a turntable.

But the sounds that come from that unlikely setup won’t be at all unfamiliar to the die-hard folkies in the crowd. The Philly-based duo — drummer Gary Dann and DJ Nex Millen — are taking the iconic singers and songs of the 1960s folk scene and using them as source material for compositions and improvisations.

“The truest essence of folk music is to tell a story,” Dann says, “and I don’t doubt for a second that we’re telling a story.”

After their Folk Fest debut, Dann and Millen expect to branch beyond the folk world and incorporate myriad styles of music into their inventive mash-ups. For this occasion, though, Bob Dylan served as something of a model for unveiling a new vision in such a traditional venue.

“Since Dylan plugged in at Newport, folk music has been changing, moving ahead with different types of instruments,” Millen says. It’s about the message you’re sending out, no matter what instrument you’re playing.”

“In 1965, bringing out an electric guitar rocked the boat,” Dann continues. “And in a sense, I think maybe the folk music boat needs to be rocked again.”

Philadelphia Folk Fest
Friday-Sunday, Old Pool Farm, Schwenksville, $131 (four-day pass), individual tickets vary

SHAUN BRADY - Metro Newspaper


On June 1st, 2010, Fraction Theory officially released their album entitled, "Vol 1: Folk Theory" as a free digital download on their website,



This Philly based DJ/Producer and Drummer/Producer duo shows respect to their favorite traditional musicians by playfully layering samples with live instrumentation - masterfully performed with Nex Millen’s innovative turntable soundscapes and Gary Dann's freshly sliced beats on the drumset. The result is a head-nodding, danceable experience that bridges the gap between conventional organic music and modern instrumental hip hop/turnablism/electronic music. Although a basic structure exists to Fraction Theory's music, it is through improvisation that this experienced duo tips their hats in a musical conversation with the recordings of world-renowned singers, songwriters and musicians.

Millen and Dann met in 2006 through their mutual friend and tour pal Cee Knowledge, aka Doodlebug of the legendary jazz infused hiphop group Digable Planets. They both have toured internationally, each respectively providing the beat for the grammy winning cool like that trio's live shows.

Fraction Theory's mainstage performance at the 2009 Philadelphia Folk Festival was decribed as "showstealing" and "one of the best mainstage moments" of the festival by John Vettese at The Philadelphia City Paper.

Notable Quotes:
"I thought Fraction Theory's onstage presentation---creating new music using the elements of folk music as their base---was spectacular, and full of delightful surprises. These muscial innovators did a great job at this year's Philadelphia Folk Festival. And watching them work was truly inspirational." -Gene Shay, Co-founder of the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Festival MC and Radio Host

"The best mainstage moments were unexpected, coming from banjo virtuoso Tony Trischka (pictured at the top of this post), and experimental multimedia duo Fraction Theory. The latter’s showstealing Sunday performance snipped music by Joni Mitchell, Woody Guthrie and countless others from the 20th century folk pantheon, looping their instrumental sounds and vocal samples over a fierce contemporary backbeat. (Lundy says the performance was commissioned by PFF cochair David Baskin after Steve Earle snuck a DJ onstage for his 2008 set.)" -John Vettese, Philadelphia City Paper

“When I was originally asked bring the folk-DJ concept to life I wasn’t sure where to turn. It’s easy to find someone who has turntables, but it was the execution that scared me. Gary Dann took the bull by the horns with this one and helped me present what turned out to be one of the most talked-about performances at the 48th annual Philadelphia Folk Festival. Fraction Theory brought a new form of performance art to our stage...perfectly” - Jesse Lundy, Point Entertainment
Talent Booker for The Philadelphia Folk Festival

"Some will view their creations as a welcome bridge from the traditional to the contemporary and others will see and hear their music and visuals as a high–wire act precariously strung over a chasm of endless debate on “what is folk music?” I love their intent, admire their chutzpa and can't wait to hear and see more." - Paula Ballan, Program Director for The Long Island Folk Festival, Former Program Director for The Philadelphia Folk Festival