Sun Watchers is an improvisational new-music group centered around the husband-and-wife duo of vocalist Katie Eastburn and multi-instrumentalist Jim McHugh. Both Southerners born-and-raised, and currently based in New York, the duo uses the Sun Watchers aegis to guide a mutable and fluid rank of musicians toward divining the common sonic and spiritual ground shared by the great progenitors of free jazz, psychedelic rock, folk music and minimalist classical.
McHugh is an active player in the Brooklyn experimental scene — playing guitar in free-jazz sax legend Arthur Doyle’s NYC ensemble and the highly regarded free-rock band NYMPH, heading up the drone-based Golden Shafts of Light sound-installation project, acting as bassist for the Darmstadt “Classics of The Avant-Garde” annual performance of Terry Riley’s “In C”, and performing solo and in multiple capacities as a sideman for several improvisational groups.
From 2000-2007, Eastburn was vocalist, percussionist and songwriter for the Los Angeles-based trio Young People. She has choreographed, composed music and performed with the Leg and Pants Dans Theeatre, an avant-garde dance troupe that collaborated with Liars, Deerhoof and the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, among others. In 2006, Kill Rock Stars released her debut DVD, “Starter Set: New Dance and Music for the Camera”, featuring her original music and choreography. Most recently, Katie choreographed and produced the dance video “Watching Man Forever”, in support of drummer Kid Millions’ like-named minimalist-composition project. From 2003 to 2011 she led viBe SongMakers, a nonprofit organization through which teenage girls write, record, perform and release original pop songs in collaboration with adult mentor musicians. She currently performs around NYC as a solo artist and as a featured vocalist with Darmstadt, and acts as a recurring character in “Whispering Pines”, Shana Moulton and Nick Hallet’s multimedia modern opera. Currently, Katie works as a Registered Nurse of Psychiatry at the NYU Langone Medical Center.
For MSPS, Sun Watchers will include Katie’s uncle David Shouse, leader of Memphis lo-fi pioneers The Grifters. Shouse’s current project >mancontrol< uses material culled from thrift stores and homemade sound-and-light equipment to create intuitive, improvisational soundscapes.