These works began last spring with recordings of Hank’s students reading phrases from his poem. This summer I edited the recordings, processed them beyond recognition, added more sounds, used the shape of each line from the poem to guide electronic improvisations, and otherwise had a great time designing sounds in the studio. Hank reigned it all in and helped me shape the material into three sections.
Check out the journal for a reproduction of Hank’s visual poetry, or listen to all the audio from the issue below (including a piece by Pauline Oliveros).
Left to Right: Anthony Braxton, Tim Feeney, Andrew Dewar
Last week I had the privilege of recording as part of a quartet with Anthony Braxton, Andrew Dewar and Tim Feeney. Braxton brought in four new pieces that explored novel ways for the four of us to work together, each piece proceeding a little further into the unknown. The sessions were intense—demanding focus and attention to the notation while also requiring us to be flexible and adventurous improvisers. An amazing experience.
Ornette Coleman had such an impact on my life as a saxophonist and composer. When he died last month I revisited his recordings, my memories of hearing him perform live and my experiences playing his music (mostly during ECFA’s ‘repertory’ phase–thanks Carl Smith!). That’s when I realized I’d never tried an Ornette tune on banjo.
This is a version of “Lonely Woman” from The Shape of Jazz to Come for clawhammer banjo. I chose this tune, in part, because Charlie Haden’s iconic pedal-point bass line suggested the drone string on a banjo. I bought this album as a freshman in college and remember listening to it again and again until the sheer mystery and befuddlement and out-of-tuneness of the songs gave way to familiarity, love and (hopefully) some understanding of how and why they work.
I’ll be performing as radicans at The Grocery tonight as part of their farewell event, Grocery a Go Go. I’ve got the four front windows wired for sound. Should be a treat for anyone passing by on the sidewalk.
Thanks for everything, Grocery. I’m gonna miss you.
The Sonic Frontiers Workshop Series at The Grocery concludes this week. I will present an introduction to interactive electronic music including a live performance or two. Then workshop attendees will create a one-night-only audio installation in The Grocery gallery using the Cycling ’74 Max modular programming environment. The Grocery will be closing its doors at the end of the month, so this is one of the last chances to come experience an important hub for cultural life in the Tuscaloosa area.
Sonic Frontiers Workshop #6
Wednesday June 10 7pm
900 Main Avenue
Bring an instrument/noisemaker, or just come to listen. No previous experience is necessary. The Grocery gets hot in the summer, so dress appropriately.
The Birmingham Art Music Alliance kicked off the Beyond 12, 2015 Tour featuring pianist Aron Kallay last night with a performance at the Hoover Library Theater. Aron will perform six more times through April 8. This tour features three premieres of pieces by Alabama-based composers including Monroe Golden, Brian Moon and myself.
My work is titled A History of Elevators in Film, and like all the pieces on the program it features a retuned and remapped piano keyboard. In my case, I’m using Max to retune and remap pitches on the fly in response to the pianist’s performance.
Tomorrow is the third installment of the Sonic Frontiers Workshop Series at The Grocery. I’ll lead an introduction to Cobra, a musical game created by composer, improviser and saxophonist John Zorn in the mid-eighties. Performers in Cobra use hand-signals and a set of colorful cards to cue ever-evolving musical combinations. Previous experience is not required, so bring an instrument or noisemaker to participate in this fun, fast-paced, sometimes hilarious way to make music together. (Of course, it’s also okay just to listen and watch if you want.)
Wednesday March 11 @ 7pm 900 Main Avenue
Northport AL 35476