I am two days into a nine day mix for this record. Very excited to show this music to whomever may listen when it is done.
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.
No, seriously? The last thing I remember was saying “I Do” in June.
So what has happened since then? Well, I went to Hawaii and lived on the ocean for two weeks. Then I did some consulting work. In October I rocked some Olga Bell Supernovas at Bard College and rekindled a love affair with bowed string instruments. I also started writing my music down for the first time since music college. It’s amazing what it does to your thought process – I immediately started thinking too hard about things, trying to be too “clever” and put in notes that were “cool.” Thankfully a night of listening to Low and Lightning Bolt kept me grounded.
I buttoned up some work on Animas Perdidas, the juggernaut of a documetary that my homegirl Monika Navarro made. It will be coming to an outlet somewhere near you, keep your eyes peeled at animasperdidas.com for up-to-the-minute information.
I’ve landed another sweet gig in film, and will drop more about it when I have more time, suffice to say it is shaping up to be an awesome film. Right now I’m in NYC rehearsing the Ainadamar circus for a performance in Carnegie Hall on Sunday, then it’s back to Boston for a few weeks of editing work, then recording overdubs for the aforementioned film, then editing and dubbing the film, then a few tours, one off concerts and a couple commissions and the next thing you know it’s July 2009.
Plans are in effect to record a bunch of material that is imploding from the SmOlga project for Carnegie Hall. I hope to record these songs in Brooklyn in July with an all star cast of associated players. There are a few of you out there that have been waiting for this shit for years.
So I’ll leave you with the newish track that is posted in the player to the left called “on the cob” … dirty, nasty, slow. Virtually all of this track is Nord Modular. I set out trying to make a track without playing one note on a keyboard. It’s all “virtual analog sequencers” having their controls automated. I can’t remember the last time I did that. Ok, ok, ok – /geekout.
So, Newbury Comix is turning 30 (i think) and I’m playing a laptop set at their Stoughton/Avon, MA store. My Brother-in-law happens to be the manager there, so I’m heading out to play a set of my slow-core drone stuff. I’ll be hitting it with fellow villain and Zer0GSounds labelmate Todd Gys and local Boston superhero Tiny Wight.
Again, don’t head to the store on Newbury Street and expect to see a keepalive set. The deal is going down at 6pm on Saturday the 13th of September. I’m not sure when I will go on, but if you’re coming out, let me know. Gys has promised to bring some of his glitchy space-dub championics so get ready.
That’s All folks.
So as a guy that has spent the better part of the last 20 years in front of a computer, I get a little tired of things coming and going. IUMA was supposed to change the world. MP3.com was supposed to be the end all and be all. These things have either died or failed and transformed into tools for monkeys.
So why does this concern me? Because I’m spending an evening that could probably be better spent doing dishes trying to hook together all the tools I use into one cohesive online profile for people to check out. I keep a profile on facebook, this blog, am a member of soundcloud, last.fm and I’m even still on myspace. Will these tools even be around in 2 years? How does a guy like me link them all together so that if (god forbid) someone was interested to listen to this music, it would stand as a body of work with tidbits of my “online profile” coming from each of these things.
I’m starting on this journey by trying to link my blog, soundcloud and facebook. I’ve uploaded songs to soundcloud (which is awesome by the way, you should try to weasel your way in) I have added them to a “set” which allows me to put them on my blog in the same little widget/player thingie. You see this to the left of what you’re reading now.
Is this player better than the simple flash player I was using before? Yes and no. It is not better because it’s not as low-impact (ie, it takes more resources and is bigger with more graphics, etc… I am a minimalist at heart). It is however much better because when I upload a song to soundcloud, I can with the click of a button add it to my blog as well. You can see the comments that other soundcloud users make on the song (if they ever do) and so on. This realtime linking, this “internet” if you will, is totally dope.
What I haven’t figured out how to do is get these songs to show up in my facebook profile. Not a really big deal, except a lot of people check facebook every day, and not a lot of people check my blog every day so in order to get more people over here to my blog where they can learn about my music and stuff, I need to post things on facebook.
“At the end of the day” I probably should just shut up and write more music.
So next June (2009) I have a piece on the Chicago Symphony’s Music Now series. It will be a short-ish 10 minute chamber piece for roughly 10 instruments and a laptop. Needless to say I am very excited for it. STOKED! It’s going to be paired with Michael Ward-Bergemann’s “Three Roads” which is a gut wrenching piece that we did a couple years ago (one? two years? i forget) at Carnegie Hall’s Professional Training workshop series which I am applying to this year. Crossing my fingers on that one.
Congratulations to my bro’s who have also won commissions, Derrick and Gonzalo. Totally awesome.
In the meantime I am collecting my thoughts before the onslaught of the next few weeks. Ainadamar in Phoenix for a week, then the Youth Without Youth Suite in Holland, a jaunt to Switzerland for a wedding, back to Amsterdam, then to Athens, then to Boston, sleep, then get married. Good times will be had by all.
Yet another round of goodbyes wrapped up the most recent Ayre tour.
It’s always hard to say goodbye to the incredible people that I spent the last two weeks with. I have learned so much from them and love every moment spent making fun of ourselves, etc. I feel very lucky to have been involved with the project and can’t wait to do it again. Holland, here I come.
No rest for the wicked. I was in Boston for no more than 14 hours, and hopped on the train to Philadelphia. Wow. So Here I am, sitting in a fab 2br apartment. I can stumble out the door and eat at any one of the local establishments. (Today I ate at Little Pete’s an all nite diner stronghold in a truly gentrified neighborhood). There’s a Steinway in the next room begging me to write music on it. There’s the ubiquitous high speed connection that feeds me plenty of distraction and lets me sit on facebook for hours at a time. There’s even DirecTV satellite business happening.
But much more importantly there’s the Curtis School of Music around the corner. This school and these kids are pretty amazing. Every day things at the school stop dead for tea time. How cool is that? Anyway, I’ve been asked to man the laptop once again in their production of Ainadamar that’s going down at the Kimball Center here in Philadelphia. Good stuff.
In the meantime I am working on a couple deep techno tracks as well as formulating ideas for a couple big pieces that I will be writing this fall. More to follow.
So having just finished the first leg of the Ayre tour with the Orquestra Los Peligrinos or Marranos or whatever we’re called on a specific day, I can say truthfully that I love my job. Music has always brought me happiness, but it seems to keep getting better and I believe that the happiness infects other parts of my life.
We payed in Richmond, VA (Link to review of the performance) and then in Durham, NC at Duke. The performance at Duke was really energetic and I think we were really on. The first half of the concert is performed by the always spectacular Eighth Blackbird and features some amazing music by Henke and Crumb. I’m particularly fond of the Crumb – I had forgotten how beautiful the piece is. So now, I am in San Francisco chilling with the impossibly sick and flu-ridden Heemin Yang of UG fame for a few days before heading up to Seattle to continue the Ayre circus. Can’t wait.
Met up with an old friend last night which was really great. He convinced me to sign up for facebook. Oh how it pains me. But it’s like a drug.
So I went To Teddy Roosevelt High School in Albany park, Chicago today to do a quick little “masterclass” of sorts.
I went out with Gonzalo Grau, the Percussion player from the opera I’m here doing. We had a great time explaining Flamenco music to these kids and showing them what it’s like to look at the world through the eyes of an electronic musician – looking at how different sounds can be reinterpreted once they are inside a computer and you can have your way with them.
We used the sound of a kid hitting an empty box, dropping some pieces of metal on the floor, making sounds with their mouths, and shaking a bottle of gatorade. I was happy that these kids really dove into the idea and were totally stoked to see how I made the loop.
It really is awesome how Garage Band now ships with every new mac. Kids love being able to use tools that are given to them. That’s something that I never really realized. I have a lot of learning to do. Thankfully I will be doing two more of these little workshops while I’m here in Chicago. I hope to get a little deeper into the concepts behind reinterpreting things in your everyday life into works of art.
Thankfully my television just stopped working so now I might get some work done.