First half of the year has been full. Let’s do the rundown in no particular order:
Lots of performance. Never feels that way when it’s happening but looking back over it, a bunch of fun work. A nice mix of electric bass, upright bass, free improvisation, notey music, lots of ensemble work.
Solo PaBU: A run through of a new piece for my “Source” collection of etudes for instrument and electronics, plus a dry run of all the logistics of hauling the double bass and modular setup. Worked pretty good aside from the parking ticket I got during load in (I think I can get the city to drop the parking ticket though). In addition, I got some great feedback about theatricality in performance–things I hadn’t considered but had a (useful) emotional impact on the performance. I often don’t think enough about that sort of thing, but I do think it’s important as an aspect of genuine physical presence.
Jules’ birthday: This was awhile ago but I forgot to mention it. It was fun to jam with old friends in a living room. The conviviality of things is a big part of what music is for in my opinion. Not that things always have to be pretty or nice or whatever, but when we gather as humans it’s this sound we make together and explore together and celebrate our survival for another year for another time as we orbit in the dark.
Threes PaBU serial: The first debut of Threes trio with Greg Davis on guitar, JB Ledoux on drums, and me on double bass. A chance to make some noise at the BCA.
Threes Light Club: The second debut of Threes. We got some video of this from Jay which I’ll get around to posting.
the le duo Waking Windows: In among the beer tanks, we premiered JB Ledoux’s graphical score “Squirrel Milk” (a work which would receive it’s second performance just one day later in a private setting with members of Tredici Bacci).
TURNmusic at Burlington public library: As part of a traveling Smithsonian exhibit about the human body, I enjoyed playing Music for Heart and Breath and also Eve Beglarian’s “I am really a very simple person.”
TURNmusic at Green Mountain Club: Same set as the library show but in the beautiful room at the Green Mountain club. Definitely nice to get a second time through. Also to hear more of the rest of the show.
Creston videos: my friend Creston makes guitars. He’s been making videos lately and he asked me to play the basses he made for me as well as a crazy eight-string bass he’s making for another player. I’m sure I’ll post here when it gets done.
So much good music in my ears as well. Much continued thinking on drama and presentation and the feel of people together listening and making music.
Waking Windows Signal series: an afternoon of delay and reverb from Seth Chrisman, Danial Wyche Ensemble, and Lea Bertucci. Listening to this I had lots of thoughts on layers, especially as I work on my own bass + modular projects, using long stretches of time to build and settle.
PaBU: The open, welcoming spirit of Pushing a Brain Uphill (which I played as well) was something to keep for other projects. Also seeing Bromp and Chavez and pretty much everyone on the day’s program was awesome.
VCME: A concert of music and poetry, arranged in a palindromic form made a work containing the poetry of one person and the music of several composers feel unified and complete. A great project to hear.
Padme Newsome’s 2 Moon Opera: A great dramatic reading of an opera in the woods of Vermont.
The Rhythm Method: A rare performance of Andrew Norman etudes for quartet and the textures of Tonia Ko were especially interesting to feel in my ears. This group is a great example of people taking extended technique and sound to the next level. I was very glad to catch this show.
PaBU serial: When Threes had their first debut we were opening for flute/electronics mastermind Bonnie Kane. Her music was a mind melting mix of flute and encapsulated electronics. I hope she’ll make a recording of this sometime.
Martinu viola: Got to see my friend Liz Reid play this with the Burlington Chamber Orchestra. Couldn’t stay for the whole show but it was good to show face for this one. And always good to hear her play.
There might be too many things in the hopper right now. But I wouldn’t give any of them up either. Here are some of them:
The Yes &: Anne Lanzilotti and I have been making viola + modular electronics live improvisation recordings every six weeks or so. We’ll soon be releasing some of them. The process of recording, selecting, mixing has been so fulfilling. This project has several dimensions and we’ve been focusing primarily on the musical aspects, which feels good.
Down Cellar: One of my primary collaborators, Adam Ploof, and I have been making how-to videos on creative music making and production. Haven’t released any yet (mostly because I haven’t had time to edit) but there are four or five pieces ready to go, each with a handful of videos. Hopefully this summer will see the initial batch get released. Everything from straight-ahead blues to crazy modular improvisations and everything in between.
Commissions: Last year I commissioned a bunch of new works for double bass from composers Alexandra Gardner, Anne Lanzilottie, Ross Crean, Stephanie Meyers, Jessica Rudman, and a couple others. I’m starting to dig in on them and get them ready for premiere in the Fall of this year.
Dripline: One project that I haven’t been putting enough time into yet this year is wrapping up some of the awesome collaborations I’ve done with Eric Segalstead. A great collection of very whack dance-ish produced pieces.
Keeping a studio as an instrument is an effort. Not just financially (every mic stand that gets janked around roughly, every cable that is treated poorly, and so on) but in terms of the time to wire in the parts and select the right things for the kinds of music I make and the kinds of music my friends make.
I don’t keep a studio as a commercial thing–recording bands and such. I keep it as a musical tool, as an instrument in and of itself. I think of the labs of Delia Derbyshire as an example. The tools I have are more for creative sound manipulation and documentation. So everything that gets added requires some sort of workaround from the “normal” production-oriented applications. It’s an interesting challenge balancing the space, slots, plugs, money, utility on things.
This period of time has seen some big changes in the studio in terms of my channel count and also some of the processing capabilities. I try not to say “I’m almost done” because I know it’s just a matter of time before I find one other thing to try to cram in. But it really does feel like I’m in the home stretch. All of the basics are handled and now it’s just fine tuning. And trying to sell off the stuff that it turns out I didn’t need.
There’s a lot in the near future: New Music Gathering will see me perform a new work for double bass + modular electronics, the le duo will turn 10 and have a bash, and I’ll be organizing that Fall tour. So keep in touch, get on the contact list, and catch you ’round the digitsphere.
–Gahlord Dewald, Thoughtfaucet, Burlington VT, May 2017