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.

Improvising with Tim Feeney

Tomorrow is Tim Feeney’s Faculty Recital–sure to be great solo percussion. Tim, Andrew Dewar, Jubal Fulks and I will close the concert with an improvisation.

Wednesday January 16 2013
Tim Feeney Faculty Recital
Concert Hall Moody Music Building
Tuscaloosa AL

ASAC Presents Ben Miller, Holland Hopson, Barn Owl, Claymation

The Albany Sonic Arts Collective presents Ben Miller, Holland Hopson, Barn Owl and Claymation.

Saturday, June 16
8:00 pm
Upstate Artists Guild
247 Lark St.
Albany NY
$5 suggested donation

This will likely be my last ASAC show as an Albany resident. I’m pleased to share the occasion with:

Ben Miller – alto sax, tapes, the zoo, voice and projection in support of a new release on Living Records. Ben has performed at ASAC a few other times, and was formerly a member of Destroy All Monsters, Sproton Layer, and other units. He’s one of the best out there, and you shouldn’t miss this performance.

Barn Owl – amazing trio of improvising musicians extraordinaire. Matt Weston on drums/percussion, Andy Crespo on bass, and Chris Cooper on prepare guitar/electronics. You’re always in for a treat with these guys.

Claymation – solo electric guitar improvisation from C. Baird Buchanan. We’re excited to have Baird bring his solo project to ASAC for the first time.

 

ASAC Presents Suzanne Thorpe & Phillip Greenlief, Fossils from the Sun, Holland Hopson

The Albany Sonic Arts Collective presents Suzanne Thorpe and Phillip Greenlief, Fossils from the Sun, and Holland Hopson.

Saturday, April 7
8:00 pm
Upstate Artists Guild
247 Lark St.
Albany NY
$5 suggested donation

West Coast saxophonist Phillip Greenlief visits New York, and mixes it up with East Coast electroacoustic flutist Suzanne Thorpe. Together they explore what it sounds like when warm winds of the west meet cool breezes of the northeast, and the spaces in between, with electronics, singalongs, and improvisations.
Fossils from the Sun is Ray Hare’s way of moving our eardrums with guitar and/or voice and/or electronics.
ASAC will be unveiling new chairs for “enhanced listening comfort” (TM). To celebrate, I’ll perform 4 short pieces for amplified and processed folding chair.

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

My Own True Love

This month’s score from Post & Beam is My Own True Love.

Download the score as a pdf file: my-own-true-love.pdf
Download the score as a Lilypond .ly file: my-own-true-love.ly

Notes on My Own True Love

  • I found this melody in John and Alan Lomax’s Our Singing Country. I worked out the two-finger, thumb lead banjo part to highlight the double drones of the first and fifth string. The vocal style is haunted by the ghost of Roscoe Holcomb.
  • The electronics part uses an FFT freeze frame technique to create an evolving texture by extending a single frame of audio from the banjo (and sometimes voice). Applying pressure to force sensitive resistors mounted on the head and neck of the banjo changes the amplitude contour of the FFT synthesis, making the resulting sound smoother or spikier.

East Virginia

This month’s score from Post & Beam is East Virginia.

Download the score as a pdf file: east-virginia.pdf
Download the score as a Lilypond .ly file: east-virginia.ly

Notes on East Virginia

  • The banjo break at the beginning comes almost directly from Pete Seeger’s How to Play the 5-String Banjo. I worked out the banjo part in the verse by ear, following the melody and drawing inspiration from Buell Kazee’s recording on the Anthology of American Folk Music.
  • The electronics part uses multiple looping delays to create a rhythmic texture from the banjo. The timing for each delay line is based on the time between consecutive instances of a given note played by the banjo. One delay line changes every time the computer hears the note g , another changes when the computer hears f, another for b-flat, etc.
  • The tablature above more accurately represents how I’d play the tune on a fretted banjo. When I play the fretless banjo, as on the recording, I throw in more slides on the 3rd and 4th strings.

Post & Beam CD Countdown: Printing

Hot off the letterpress… Here’s a sneak peek at the cover art for my forthcoming CD of music for banjo and electronics titled Post & Beam.

Many thanks to Travis Weller–composer, designer, letterpress operator, more–for all he’s done for this project. (Especially in light of the Austin New Music Co-op’s upcoming concerts of Cardew’s “The Great Learning”. Wish I could be there!)

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.

Post and Beam CD Countdown: Sequencing

I recently finished sequencing the tracks for my upcoming Post and Beam CD. The hardest part was figuring out where to put the long form instrumental pieces like Telephone Temple and Spring Dissent (Bubbling) among the shorter, more song-based pieces. After auditioning countless combinations and creating crazy mind maps of relationships between pieces, I finally decided to jettison the instrumental pieces altogether.

I’m disappointed they didn’t make the cut partly because I wanted Post and Beam to represent a typical set of my current work for banjo and electronics. At the same time, I can’t deny that the album (Yes, I’m actually thinking of it like that; and yes, I do feel old sometimes.) works better without them.

The good news is that they’re not going away forever. I can easily imagine them as the foundation for my next CD, or as online bonus material. And the other good news is that with the sequencing done I can move along with mastering and sleeve design and … and …