Nick Dunston is an acoustic and electroacoustic composer, improviser, and bassist. An “indispensable player on the New York avant-garde” (New York Times), his performances have also spanned a variety of venues and festivals across North America and Europe. He’s performed, toured, and recorded professionally with bands led by artists such as Marc Ribot, Ches Smith, Mary Halvorson, Imani Uzuri, Ingrid Laubrock, Tyshawn Sorey, Anna Webber, Amirtha Kidambi, and Vijay Iyer. In 2019 he released his debut album, Atlantic Extraction, which “features the unusual instrumentation of double bass, drums, electric guitar, flute, [and violin]- and his compositions put that configuration to imaginative use” (The Wire Magazine). In 2020, he released his sophomore album, Atlantic Extraction: Live at Threes, which “presents the musician’s command of his mercurial compositions. The unconventionally configured quintet nimbly shifts among stately chamber melodies, combative free passages and exhilarating steeplechases” (Downbeat Magazine). In addition to three studio albums released under his name, he has also been commissioned by artists such as Bang on a Can, Ex-Aequo, Johnny Gandelsman, T R O M P O, Joanna Mattrey, and Clifton Joey Guidry III.
His current projects as a leader include:
–Skultura, a Berlin-based quartet consisting of Cansu Tanrikulu on vocals and electronics, Eldar Tsalikov on woodwinds, Liz Kosack on synthesizers, and Nick Dunston on bass and electroacoustic sound sculptures.
–banjer, a solo project for prepared banjo and manipulated samples played back through the banjo via audio transducers. This project not only explores, deconstructs, and transfigures sonic meditations of the Afro-diasporic history of the instrument, but it also seeks to embody the ubiquitous roles Black people and other socially marginalized peoples have played in the development of sample-based music.
–La Operación, a trans-media-opera-in-progress that debuted at Roulette Intermedium (NYC) in 2019. Inspired by the 1982 documentary of the same name by Ana María García, La Operación is an abstracted digestion of a historical phenomenon involving racism and colorism in Puerto Rico, eugenics, medical malpractice, second-wave feminism, and American colonialism. La Operación is a chamber opera, involving an electroacoustic, dynamic cast of improvisers and live film.
–Atlantic Extraction, an internationally-based quintet consisting of Louna Dekker-Vargas on flutes, Ledah Finck on violin and viola, Tal Yahalom on guitar, Nick Dunston on bass, and Stephen Boegehold on drums. Atlantic Extraction has two critically-acclaimed releases under its name, Atlantic Extraction and Atlantic Extraction: Live at Threes.
photo by Una Stade