Good for Cows

Devin Hoff, bass; Ches Smith, drums.

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Good for Cows began as a duo in 1999 when Devin Hoff (string bass) and Ches
Smith (drums) would meet regularly to work on musical ideas from a rhythm
section’s perspective. At first the two focused on creative interpretations
of jazz compositions, particularly the music of Thelonious Monk, Ornette
Coleman, and Charles Mingus. It wasn’t long before their shared love of
independent rock (“punk”) bands such as Black Flag, Minutemen, and Minor
Threat began to inform the duo’s sound in their use of timbre, aggressive
energy, and personal voice. Equally important were devices such as
multidirectional rhythm, aural cues, and in-the-moment investigations of
distinctive sound worlds gleaned from study of contemporary
composer/performers Anthony Braxton, Vijay Iyer, Cecil Taylor, and Fred
Frith. Good for Cows have since written numerous compositions and
improvisations, searching for the strengths of the spare bass and drums
instrumentation. They released their self-titled debut CD in 2001 (Evander
Music), and a follow up, “Less Than or Equal to” on (former Deerhoof
guitarist) Rob Fisk’s Free Porcupine Society label in summer 2003. Good for
Cows continues to tour nationally and perform in their native San Francisco
Bay Area.

Devin Hoff performs internationally and records with the Nels Cline Singers.He leads his own group featuring Carla Kihlstedt and Marika Hughes. He
has recorded with Ben Goldberg, Xiu Xiu, Graham Connah, Will Bernard, and
Carla Bozulich. He has performed with Vijay Iyer, John Tchichai, Harvey
Wainapel, Ron Miles and Steven Bernstein.

Ches Smith composes for Theory of Ruin, the Mitch Marcus Quintet, and the
Graham Connah group. He has toured nationally and internationally with Mr.
Bungle, Ben Goldberg, Carla Bozulich, and Mike Park. He has recorded with
the Abel-Steinberg-Winant Trio, Tom Waits, Xiu Xiu, Ben Goldberg, Secret
Chiefs 3, Will Bernard and Theory of Ruin. He has performed in concert
under the direction of John Zorn, Wadada Leo Smith, and Pauline Oliveros.
He also performs with Trevor Dunn, Annie Gosfield, Nels Cline, John Schott,
Hal Stein, Jim Campilongo, and the Rova Saxophone quartet.