You will notice some changes these next few weeks. Probably most unnerving will be my mug up there on the top left. Sorry. I am watching you. I aim to compile a bunch of music that I’ve written over the years and put it into an easily downloadable format and basically answer all those questions of “how to I listen to your music?” And, I made it so the soundcloud player up there can keep playing while you surf around the site so as to not interrupt your jams.
I have also added a PayPal “Donate” button. This is me jumping on the bandwagon trying to make it big on the internet. If you listen to the music and enjoy it, please drop me a little something in the PayPal box. My thanks will be yours.
One of my favorite performances of 2010 was January’s jaunt up to Hamilton, Ontario to perform at the What Next? festival. Not only were the performances well thought out but they were full of people eager to enjoy music of any persuasion. People got down to everything.
This year I’ve been asked back to fill out an evening of Brass chamber music in a church. I love performing in Churches, and can’t wait to do this one. I’ll bring my laptop and a bunch of sheets of music and see who I can’t find to play along with me. I’m putting together a set of old and new music – about half of it will be stuff nobody’s ever heard, and the other half is all remixed for performance in such a live space.
So I’m super stoked on a project I’ve been working on recently. I’m mixing the new record for Anti-Social Music, a group of musicians that don’t care what you or I think. Seriously tho, get ready for some excellent music – this stuff is hot. One of my favorite quotes about them from the Pitchfork people – “On the cutting edge of making your friends and neighbors feel awkward is the New York City collective Anti-Social Music.”
While I can appreciate their sentiment, I hardly feel like this record will make you feel awkward – on the contrary I think it will make you rock.
Yeah, and I’m sorry I forget to post things on my blog ever.
So back when I wasn’t out of my mind I would sometimes record music just because I could and I wanted to. I would even record things that I didn’t think were totally awesome. These are some of those things. I thought it a shame to let them go on deaf ears, so I’ve made a little soundcloud set to put them all here on the bloggy blog.
So, here they is. All recorded between 2006 and 2008 in Somerville MA with nothing but an SM57 and a laptop. You’ll notice many mistakes and missed notes as well as lots of thing that don’t make sense… I hadn’t really worked em out.
Ok, so my life has been anything but quiet, but my blog here has been pretty dead. I’m in the midst of catching up on everything that didn’t happen in 2009 when I was on the road constantly, as well as when the little man was born. But that doesn’t mean things stopped completely.
In June, I’m headed out on the road with the Klezmer Madness, and then back to Chicago for some work in the public schools. Definitely looking forward to that. Then it’s back to the kitchen with big man Osvaldo Golijov for some new music involving some of my absolute favorite peeps including MJWB, Jamey Haddad and Kayhan Kalhor. Needless to say I am honored to be sitting next to these people and it makes me realize that things are good.
January saw me travelling for a quick bit, for two things. First off, was the world premiere of my newest piece of music titled Those Eyelashes Stay With Me, a sweet little ditty for my wife. This was part of the What Next Festival in Hamilton Ontario. (Facebook is here). The festival promoters and staff did an EXCELLENT job getting this thing together. The first time this had been done in Hamilton and they filled the seats even for panel discussions. If only there was that kind of interest everywhere.
Commissioned by the great James Sommerville – local hero here in Boston, this piece was slated for French Horn, Clarinet, and Bass Clarinet. Quite an odd mesh of sound, but it works. James remarked during the concert that he didn’t know of any other pieces for the same instrumentation. One audience member mentioned that he had a sample on one of his records that was quite close, but I’m not sure how it differed.
In any event, the piece went off quite well, if not for my mistakes, but such is the case when you’re not just pushing play on the laptop (or any other instrument for that matter). Many thanks to the players James, Steve and Michele – they really dove into my ideas and weren’t scared. Also thanks to Martin Van de Ven for the photograph.
After that bit of hooliganism, I headed south to Georgia to perform some sweet music from the big man Osvaldo Goljiov. This time around it was the suite from Youth Without Youth, the film by Francis Ford Coppola. It was received quite warmly, and I think it finally came of age with help from the brilliant Mr. Spano.
So now it’s back to diaper duty and planning to finish a record of material. I’m thinking two “sides” with different singers on each side – collaborations… lots of strings. I don’t know yet. More details when I get a second to think.
I’m also working on a new piece with Cambridge composer Shirish Korde. We are doing some really cool things with prerecorded voices and rhythms. Really looking forward to seeing this one happen.
So what does burning the candle at both ends get you? Unexpected results I guess. Last week I predicted that I would be writing a slow soft reserved piece about the birth of my son for this What Next? Festival in Canada. Now I’m working on a raucous burner complete with jazz college chords and big beats. Tentatively titled “Those Eyelashes Stay With Me” we’ll see if I have the cajones to stick with it.
I think I have just finished the ending, now It’s just tidying up some horn melodies and then notating the whole thing. Then I’ll hit it with a scalpel and cut up the parts that aren’t necessary.
Now that I’ve made it through the hellzone of months 0 to 3 with the little guy, it’s time to start thinking about music again. Next up on the table for me is a commission for the What Next? festival in Hamilton, Ontario. It will be a piece for electronics and Horn, which also includes Bass Clarinet and Clarinet. Listeners can most likely expect a very reserved relaxing piece – judging by where I’m at now with the piece.
At the moment, I’m trying not to write the piece about the birth of my son, Samuel, but it’s pretty friggin hard. The event and its aftermath (ie: completely changing my life around to take care of him) has had a pretty big effect on me and how I look at things. It’s also given me a shorter fuse, which some people might view as a good thing with regard to my music. I might actually have some shifts of mood all within one piece (which is very weird for me).
Anyway, that’s what’s going on here. The performance in Canada is scheduled for January 23rd at 10:30 in the evening for all you party people in the Toronto area. Hopefully it will come out great and there will be more performances of it. I absolutely love hanging with Jamie, the horn player that commissioned the piece.
I’m headed off to Chicago to work with the Chicago Symphony’s amazing musicians on their MusicNOW series. They have commissioned a piece of music from me for two cellos, viola, piano, marimba and laptop. It’s called Self Destruct, written about stress, and how it either ruins things or creates things. Those of you in the Chicago area, please come check it out – I’m really really looking forward to this performance.
I’m in the process now of re-dubbing all the electronic parts so that they can be performed live with the musicians. This is always an exciting part of the process for me, because I end up changing things at the last minute which is of course not advised. Somehow I love the uncertainty.
You can see photos from my recent performance at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall on facebook if you are a member. It went very well, and Olga and I have vowed to make it happen again, hopefully with more music. Keep your eyes peeled.
Yo kids, just wanted to give you the heads up here in case you forgot: some of my new music is being premiered at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall this Sunday at 3 in the afternoon. It’s the stuff I’ve been working on with Olga Bell which I’m totally stoked on. I am actually on my way to rehearsal right now.
The pieces is called Three Songs, which is really generic because the three songs are really separate little songs that are meant to stand on their own. They are for Voice, Guitar, Laptop, Percussion, Piano, 2 Cellos, Viola and Double Bass. Truly a cool sounding ensemble – I hope y’all can make it out to check it.