From Tucson, experimental quartet Compersion sets Utah Museum of Contemporary Art for March 19 stop on western U.S. tour

The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (UMOCA) will be one of the stops for the western U.S. tour of Compersion, a Tuscon-based experimental quartet which incorporates strings, wind instruments and percussion into instrumental electro-acoustic topographies. Abstract in its aesthetic conception.

Compersion highlights improvisation and organic rhythmic expressions to emphasize the value of deep and immersive listening. Compersion will perform in the museum’s auditorium on March 19 at 7 p.m. The centerpiece of the ensemble’s tour will be the Treefort Music Festival in Boise, which runs March 20-24. Upcoming stops include San Francisco, Los Angeles, Ojai and Oakland in California, as well as Phoenix.   

The ensemble features a diverse instrumental palette, with Beck Turro (marimba and clarinet) CJ Boyd (upright and electric bass), Cecyl Ruehlen (bass clarinet and flute), Ryvyr Nyx (six-string violin).


An intermedia artist and woodwind player, Cecyl Ruehlen has taken an abstract approach, what he describes as highlighting “cycles of transformation and spatiality, take root as iterative, topographical devotionals.” In 2018, Ruehlen had an installation at UMOCA: GeoRhythmic Drift Music, in which he incorporated field experiments investigating VLF (very low frequency) radio emissions – a technology that was used primarily during the first half of the 20th century for naval communications and telemetry. Using handmade VLF receivers along with FM broadcast and digital live-streaming platforms along with unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), Ruehlen created impromptu sound art performances transmitted to remote listening stations. The aerial technology serves, as he describes it, as a courier system and an “acoustic prosthetic” that privileges the quadcopter as a tool for capturing the auditory potential of the atmosphere with the aid of extended, ground-to-sky antennas. 

Ruehlen’s work has been shown in numerous informal and formal spaces,including music venues, pop-up performance spaces, museums and galleries. He has published multimedia textual work with Incite: Journal of Experimental Media, Materialities of Literature – Impactum Journal and Lunamopolis Press. His recordings and performances have been featured on the BBC and NPR and has work in numerous collections including The Tate in London and The Whitney Museum / New School in New York. He has released albums for two decades, including recent issues on Shadowtrash Tape Group, Harmonic Ooze Records, Never Anything Records, Ingrown Records, Ephem-Aural Recordings, Falt Records, and 2182 Recordings.

Five years ago, he completed his doctorate in intermedia art, writing and performance at the University of Colorado. Currently residing in Tucson, he teaches sound technology and multimedia art courses for the University of Arizona’s School Of Information and participates in several musical groups, including Compersion and Ausect.

According to CJ Boyd’s bio, the bassist has been touring perpetually for the last 16 years. Incorporating improvisation into a “sparse, minimalist aesthetic,” he has been performed as a soloist and as a collaborator for live and recorded performances with such groups as the improvised chamber orchestra Kurva Choir as well as bands including Thor & Friends, Paleo, Harm, Molly Sullivan, Andrew Weathers Ensemble, Shy Hunters, and Real Live Tigers.

Five years ago, Boyd released an album, titled Kin Ships, featuring songs that were recorded in each state of the country along with the District of Columbia. This 10th anniversary project was the result of Boyd’s dedication to be always touring, as the songs were covers of a songwriter with whom he has shared the stage with and calls that specific state their home. Some 186 musicians were recorded in venues that ranged from a stairwell in Hawaii to a studio in Maine with the most current technology. Released through the Indiana-based record label Joyful Noise Recordings, the CD compilation included a book of photographs and extensive liner notes.

Besides being on permanent tour for over a decade, Boyd’s own tape label called Obsolete Media Objects has issued recordings by Balmorhea, Aisha Burns, Lung, Dolphin Midwives, Dilute, and Nelly Kate. Another project has been a weekly podcast he has hosted for six years, Worst Show Ever, which features musicians talking about unforgettable yet terrible experiences on the concert stage and while touring. Boyd relies on a van that runs on vegetable oil and diesel for his North American gigs.

With composition degrees from Rutgers University and Ithaca College, Beck Turro’s  orchestral and chamber music has been performed across the U.S. by ensembles and performers including Akropolis Reed Quintet, Kalliope Reed Quintet, Pedro Lopes Baptista, Decoda, subtle cheetah and the Denison Symphony Orchestra. The winner of several awards and commissions, Turro has works published under Akropolis Works and Trevco Music Publishing, as well as being self-published under Turro Music (ASCAP). 

Recent collaborations include an ambient project Beck Rose, in which Turro has combined classical piano and clarinet with electronics for performances in the Tucson area. Turro received a grant for the project from Church of Noise for their first recorded album: Beck Rose ft. Plant Candy – The Screening Room Set. Turro studied with Robert Aldridge, Jorge Grossmann, Evis Sammoutis, Brian Landrus and Vadim Neselovsky. In Tucson, they are teaching piano, theory and composition at Allegro Music, as well as playing marimba and clarinet for Compersion.

Inspired by their childhood fascination with fiddle playing by Nickel Creek and Riverdance, Ryvyr Nyx was classically trained in violin and viola. After college, Nyx expanded to a six-string violin with a full pedalboard of effects and a loop. In addition to performing with Compersion, Nyx performs with The Copper Queens, a queer protest hard-rock band that falls between Fleetwood Mac and Tool, in terms of style and musical character.

For tickets and more information, see the UMOCA website.

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