Doubling Down on #NoBanNoWall – Friday Feb. 3

Friday February 3, I’ll join Bandcamp’s #NoBanNoWall initiative. Bandcamp will donate 100% of their profits to the ACLU. I’ll donate 200% of mine. Over 200 other artists and labels will also participate.

Now’s a great time to pick up some

Appalachian electronica

Duchampian esoterica

windblown ambience

or sax skronk

and skuffle.

All for a good cause, of course.

Fencepost vs. Fencepost

IMG_1562

vs.

One is a refreshing pale ale from Back Forty Beer Co. with a modest alcohol content and an American hop profile: a touch of pine. The other is a wintry meditation on mortality from Post & Beam with an intoxicating Pythagorean minor third: slightly lower than equal tempered. Both are Alabama natives wistfully recalling a vanishing rural past.

This fall when I plow the fields under I’ll be thinking only of you.

 

Sonic Frontiers Presents Holland Hopson and Justin Peake

I’m excited to perform next week as part of the Sonic Frontiers season. I plan to play a set of pieces for banjo and electronics drawing from the material on Post & Beam, adding a few new twists, and hopefully including one or two “sound bug” pieces from my Radicans project.

Also on the bill is Justin Peake, a New Orleans based percussionist/composer known for his work as Beautiful Bells. Justin is a Tuscaloosa native, so this will be a homecoming performance for him.

I think it’s going to be a great night!

Thursday March 7 2013 at 7:30pm
Bama Theatre Greensboro Room
600 Greensboro Ave.
Tuscaloosa AL
Admission is Free.

Justin Peake – Workshop at Badabum Atelier from Michelle Ettlin on Vimeo.

Wind Whistling in Overhead Wires: Soundtrack Companion to The Observers

Wind Whistling in Overhead Wires is a collection of field recordings and outtakes from my work on Jacqueline Goss’s film The Observers.

This is a pay-what-you-wish (starting at free!), digital download release on Bandcamp. I made the field recordings during our two amazing shoots at the top of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire (see these previous posts). I processed some of the sounds using custom effects developed with Cycling 74’s Max software and added a few instruments in the studio. I chose my favorite sounds and sketches that didn’t make it into the final film and sequenced them to create a continuous 20-minute piece (though some of the tracks work well on their own, particularly Downslope Flow). Enjoy!

Keir Neuringer, Holland Hopson, Rambutan, Living Things at 51 3rd

Tomorrow night! I went halfway around the world to Sydney, Australia where I heard about Keir Neuringer who only lives a few hours away. His last appearance at 51 3rd was great. I’m looking forward to hearing him play again.

Wednesday 11/30/11 @ 8pm
51 3rd St.
Troy, NY (former Troy Bike Rescue)

KEIR NEURINGER
composes & improvises acoustic & electronic music, writes socio-political performance texts & essays, & creates interdisciplinary artworks. Keir will play farfisa organ & drums (at the same time!), sing, and play saxophone & electronic…s. intense post-punk songwriter, playing songs off the new Afghanistan album Conquistadors.

HOLLAND HOPSON
is a local avant-gardist and member of the Albany Sonic Arts Collective. Well-versed in a wide variety of musical styles, from the most traditional to the most experimental, Holland will sew together these different musical worlds with pieces for solo banjo and electronics (off his 2011 release Post & Beam), as well as pieces for solo saxophone and electronics.

RAMBUTAN
is local noise/drone wizard Eric Hardiman, member of the Albany Sonic Arts Collective, local psych-rock collective Burnt Hills, and proprietor of TAPE DRIFT records, Albany’s most experimental music label. Eric will be performing a mind-bending set of improvised solo electronics…

intermission videos by LIVING THINGS

Fencepost

This month’s score from Post & Beam is Fencepost. This is the last song I wrote for the record and has become the sleeper hit of the release.

Download the score as a pdf file: fencepost.pdf
Download the score as a Lilypond .ly file: fencepost.ly

Notes on Fencepost

  • The cFCFAb tuning is one I came to after trying a more standard minor (fCFAbC) or sawmill (cFCFG) tuning. I use a Pythagorean temperament based on F which doesn’t change the tuning of the C’s and F’s very much, but makes the Ab significantly flatter than an equal-tempered Ab.
  • The whooshing, windy sound throughout (heard prominently during the intro) is generated by walking on a pair of foot pedals, almost the way you would pump an old pump organ. (You can see this motion in the video.)
  • While recording, I kept missing the foot pedals and accidentally stepping on a mic stand instead. I decided to embrace the resulting bass drum thumps and include them in the piece.
  • Yet another song with bird imagery (YASWBI).

Post & Beam

I’m a little late posting this on my own blog, but here it is!

Post & Beam

I chose to use Bandcamp for this release because they now support pay-what-you-wish pricing (including FREE!) along with sales of physical media. So far, I’ve been surprised by how many people are buying the physical CD over just the download. I’ve also been surprised by how few people are choosing to pay $0.00 for the album. (Go on…it’s OK!) Most people are sending some of their hard-earned $freedom$ my way in exchange for my music, and I appreciate it. Everything I earn supports the creation and sharing of more music. Bandcamp and PayPal get their share, and the rest goes toward that next imagined sound.

Ten Years of One 4 One

One 4 One is now available for download at Bandcamp!

Today marks the ten-year anniversary of One 4 One, the live recording of a set I performed at the Arts Center in Troy NY as part of the Impulse/Response series. The album had previously been available via Amie Street (RIP).

One 4 One includes 5 pieces for extended soprano saxophone and computer, and one piece for sipsi and computer. All of the pieces involve some degree of interactivity–the computer responds to the live instrument, and the performer responds to the computer’s output–made possible by custom software written with Cycling 74‘s Max. The name of the album is a pun on the date, of course, and it also refers to mapping inputs to outputs.

Amie Street Closed

Online music marketplace Amie Street (amiestreet.com) closed today. Amie Street pages now redirect to amazon.com.

I’m sad to see Amie Street go. It was an interesting model for online music sales: all music began free and the price of each track rose according to its popularity. There was an active social network that allowed users to follow each other’s interests as well as artists and labels. And most importantly for me, anyone could upload music to sell on the site, which led to an interesting community of music lovers and music makers. (How often did I log on to discover the frighteningly prolific Crimson Razorback or Robert Waddington had posted yet another track?)

I had two recordings available on Amie Street: Maps and one 4 one. At the time Amie Street closed down, Maps was selling for a whopping $1.15 and one 4 one was currently at $0.45. Neither record earned enough royalties to warrant a check from Amie Street, but given a long enough tail I could imagine a dollar or two coming in every so often. Neither is currently available on amazon.com. For online distribution of my music, it looks like I’ll rely more and more on bandcamp.

When I heard the news that Amie Street would be closing I did a quick inventory of the music I purchased on the site: (in order, roughly, from most recent to least recent purchases)

  • Denseland
  • A Broken Consort
  • Prefuse 73
  • Charlie Barnet
  • Animal Collective
  • Grizzly Bear
  • Four Tet
  • 20 Minute Loop
  • Sunn 0)))
  • Kathryn Williams
  • Dirty Projectors
  • Sebadoh
  • Collections of Colonies of Bees
  • Faron Young
  • John Berndt
  • Katy Moffatt
  • Erik Friedlander
  • Lou Reed
  • Citymusic Cleveland
  • Nico Muhly
  • The Cave Singers
  • Matmos
  • Mouse on Mars
  • Michael Bullock
  • Clogs
  • Charlie Hunter (the banjo player)
  • Hem
  • Twelve 20 Six
  • The Be Good Tanyas
  • Cecil Taylor

And an untold number of other artists whose work I heard but didn’t keep around. It sounds cruel, but the point of a site like amie street is exactly this kind of exposure–which is likely what I’ll miss the most.