Many things–performances, learnings, plannings, recordings–in the past few weeks.
Let’s start with…
Got a few stuffed in the past few weeks. Nothing gigantic, but lots of fun. And hanging out with people making music is what it’s all about.
Green Mountain Mahler Festival, section bass. While this does break my rule on only performing in orchestras if there is a work by a living composer on the program, the GMMF is one of my favorite orchestras to play because there’s only ever one rehearsal. It’s a reading orchestra. In this instance, we read Ravel’s Le Valse, and Rhapsodie Espagnole.
My jazzish quintet, Made by Robots, played a show on WRUV 90.1FM and got to answer all sorts of fun questions with Dom the Barber.
Experimental soul band, the le duo, played a show at ArtsRiot here in Burlington as well.
One of my creative collaborators, Adam Ploof, and I did a whirlwind music-on-the-spot session for the Vermont Young Playwrights Festival. The festival featured ten minute plays be middle school and high school students, directed and acted by adults and advanced students. Adam and I were tasked with giving incidental music and the occasional sound cue for something like 15 plays over the two days. Which included spotting session, writing, rehearsing, and performing. Was it crazy? Yes indeed.
After Day One we realized it would be best to use my studio (which happens to be fairly near to the theater) as home base and just roll in for the different rehearsal blocks to grab a moment with playwrights/directors/actors. Then buzz out to get the actual writing and cue manufacture together.
Much fun. Glad to survive it.
Moving on to…
I’m not as good about getting out to shows as I’d like to be. I often sequester myself up working on stuff. This year I’m making an effort to change that up and get out more. Here’s what I’ve seen in this stretch of time:
Well first up without doubt is catching Joe Satriani at the Fargo Theater. Let me tell you this: If you are going to see Satriani, the place to see him is at the Fargo Theater. Lots of shiny, lots of shred. The band had fun and that was that. The drummer in his band was pretty outstanding. I was in Fargo to help take care of my dad who has cancer, so a night to listen to some guy scream along on the guitar was a welcome distraction.
Once I got back to Vermont I caught the last day of Waking Windows, a festival with thirty minute sets and takes over Winooski (aka The Brooklyn of Burlington) with all the locals and a few not-locals.
I was psyched to catch my friend Anne Decker’s TurnMusic stage where they did all manner of different chamber music pieces. It was good to hear the group in action. I’m looking forward to catching more of them next month.
Also at Waking Windows was my friend and fellow bassist Caroline O’Connor. Though her set for Waking Windows wasn’t on bass (she has a gorgeous new Creston Electric all sparkly and green) and was instead her first not-at-the-Radio-Bean debut of a loop-driven songwriting set in which she played guitar, sax, ran some percussion tracks and all sorts of vocal effects.
I spoke to her before the show and she was nervous about the tech, there’s always something when you start putting together a looper, a computer, and multiple instruments. But she nailed it and if there were big tech challenges I don’t remember them now. She has an album coming out soon, recorded with Ryan Power over at StuStuStudio. Looking forward to hearing that when it drops.
On next to…
I’m bundling all of the “carpet” tracks together into an EP. Well, a 60 or 70 minute EP because each track is cut to 10 minutes. But you get the idea. I just need to finish rendering the high res versions and hand them off for mastering. Watch this space.
I’ve found this group that does short compositional prompts and makes music based on that. It’s called Disquiet Junto. It’s been going on for a long time so it isn’t like some great big discovery. You’re probably saying “Oh Disquiet Junto, that’s old news Gahlord.” To which I say, sure sure it may be. But it’s new to me.
And I think it’s rad.
I’ve been making some music, learning some studio tricks, and adding something fun to perform to my list since submitting to the group. If you make music, I strongly suggest you give it a go. If you listen to music, I strongly suggest you listen to some of the very creative submissions.
Which brings us to…
Scheming and Planning Dept
A few things in the works. First up, I’ll be doing music for part of a play presented by Vermont Stage in their fundraiser. The play is A Number and the director I’m working with is experimental/avant stage artist Jordan Gullikson. The finished music part includes double bass + electronics, samples, live manipulation of actors’ voices, and probably more stuff that I haven’t thought of yet.
I’m really looking forward to it. I worked with Jordan in the Prague run of Cabaret Guignol and I value his commitment to the absurd/possible and his collaborative work style. I’ll write more about this project in the next couple weeks.
Also coming up is the inaugural Salon Frisson. This is a new event I’m hosting with a small team, dedicated to making collisions between different scenes in my town and to connecting creative work with new audiences, conversation, and all of that good stuff. I’ll be doing the performance at this one. Most likely performing Emil Tabakov’s “Motivi” (which I finally memorized, whew!) and premiere a work for double bass and electronics as yet to be determined (but probably either Source:(Insert) or SourceChord which will finally get a better name).
I was describing the stuff I’m working on to my friend Ross Crean and he said he’d noticed I was doing a lot of work recently. Very gratifying to hear, especially from a guy who is in the midst of recording an opera and doing a few premieres of his own!
I’ve been pretty busy, lots of interesting stuff in the works.