ASAC Videos: Pump Organ and No Mule

Thanks to Eric Hardiman for shooting and posting videos from Saturday’s Albany Sonic Arts Collective show.

This is the premiere of a soon-to-be-titled work built around the idea of treating a fader box as a set of pump organ pedals, rather than simple position sensors. Using Cycling ’74’s Max I can control the organ sounds with a variety of gestures: “pumping” the faders makes the sounds louder, rhythmic motion creates harmonics, sudden and abrupt changes add distortion and bite. The samples that appear at 5:30 are from a 2010 recording session with choreographer Jill Sigman (previous story here).

(Start at 1:32 to skip the embarrassing banter and the hopeless yet obligatory banjo tuning…)

“No Mule” is another brand-new tune. The rhythmic chopping effect is a kind of slow-motion walk through a live sample of the banjo. I add a few more live samples beginning at about 4:00 and get into full-on Steve Reich mode by 6:00.

Location Ensemble: Release, Review, Perform, Repeat…

I failed to mark the release of the Location Ensemble’s debut disc on Tape Drift (td49). Luckily it didn’t escape the attention of Andrew White at The Upstate Soundscape who posted a review of the release. He rightfully singles out drummer Matt Weston as “the unsung hero in this guitar ensemble”. Andrew describes my Six Chords Every Rock Guitarist Should Know as “…a dizzying sound that spirals up with sheets of sound whipping around, building up and then falling apart.” Sounds good to me.

Listen to Eric Hardiman’s Diversion #3 from the release here.

Location Ensemble will perform at Valentine’s on April 18, opening for Disappears (Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth and Brian Case of The Ponys) and Lotus Plaza (Lockett Pundt of Deerhunter). I’m unable to play with the group that night–but what’s one less electric guitar in a group of eight or nine?

51 3rd Recordings – Everyone Looks to a Sumatran, Virginian Curlew

Here are live recordings of my set from November’s show at 51 3rd Street that also included performances by Keir Neuringer and Rambutan (Eric Hardiman). It’s an eclectic set beginning with a slightly dysfunctional performance of

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Everyone Looks to the Sky

No one but me would know that the computer is responding to my playing differently than anticipated. Such is the fun of interactive computer music: you just have to work with it, ride with it, fight it, respond to the moment, change your plans. In this case, the conception of the piece is already so circumscribed that the content of the work is hardly changed, though the form is clearly different–and maybe more dramatic as a result.

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Batak Batak

A recent binge of Indonesian music led me to dust off this piece. I never felt I had worked out the sax part enough when the piece was new, which might account for why I shelved it. Revisiting the piece, I discovered very few indications of what I had intended for the sax part–little more than a scribbled microtonal scale. There’s clearly still work to do here, but I’m less bothered than I might have been in the past by the elliptical playing.

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East Virginia

This has become one of my go-to banjo pieces; a surefire way to find my place on the instrument.

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Curlew

A brand-new piece getting its first public airing. I learn so much by performing new material and can’t wait to revise this tune as a result. Yet another song with bird imagery (YASWBI).

Location Ensemble Catch-Up

Here’s the latest on all things Location Ensemble:

  • Read a review of our recent show at Saratoga Arts in Nippertown.
  • Listen to the recording of my piece Six Chords Every Rock Guitarist Should Know from the Saratoga Arts performance.

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  • Listen to an Upstate Soundscape broadcast featuring Eric Hardiman’s Diversion #3.

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

Location Ensemble at Saratoga Arts

On Saturday the Location Ensemble will premiere three pieces for multiple electric guitars, bass and drums at Saratoga Arts. 1983 (Jason Cosco) will provide live visuals.

Saturday November 12 @ 8pm
Saratoga Arts
320 Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY

Since joining to performing Rhys Chatham’s Guitar Trio last year, the group has been busy–writing and rehearsing new pieces and naming ourselves Location Ensemble. The group includes Tara Fracalossi, Howard Glassman, Eric Hardiman, Ray Hare, Holland Hopson, Thomas Lail, Jason Martin, Patrick Weklar and Matt Weston.

Here’s the score for my piece on the program: Six Chords Every Rock Guitarist Should Know, inspired by Michael Nyman’s “1-100” from Decay Music.

Bring hearing protection.

ASAC Presents DEEP FREEZE

The Albany Sonic Arts Collective presents their first concert of 2011 with performances by some of the Capital Region’s most exciting experimental musicians including Century Plants with Matt Weston, Holland Hopson, SoundBarn and Insect Posse.

DEEP FREEZE: Experimental Music for Snowy Times
Saturday, February 19
8:00 pm
Upstate Artists Guild
247 Lark St.
Albany NY
$5 suggested donation

This will be my first Albany show of 2011 and my last performance before heading to the Atlantic Center for the Arts for a residency with David Behrman (more on that later…). I’ll be performing a set of music for soprano sax and computer. My current plan includes a piece using a DIY plate reverb as the primary electronic sound source.

More about the artists after the jump…

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Benjamin Britten is Dead, Long Live Benjamin Britten


I’m looking forward to playing with soundBarn and Albany Sonic Arts Collective this Saturday at an event called “Benjamin Britten is Dead.” Saturday is the 34th anniversary of Britten’s death, but outside of that coincidence I don’t expect there to be much else in the way of Brittenalia. Performers will include Eric Hardiman, Ray Hare, Holland Hopson, Thomas Lail and Patrick Weklar. Live visuals by Tara Fracalossi. Here are the details:

Saturday December 4 @ 8 pm
The soundBarn
330 Maple Lane
Valatie NY 12184
south driveway
Free

Read more at the soundBarn blog.

Swallowtail and Guitar Trio Recordings

Tara Fracalossi and Thomas Lail slide up the neck during Swallowtail. Photo: Larissa Tapler

Here are recordings from last week’s soundBarn and Albany Sonic Arts Collective performance at the Arts Center Saratoga Springs. It was a great show all around: a good space, enthusiastic audience and focused performances. This is the definitive version of Swallowtail, and I think we’re all pleased with the performance of Rhys Chatham’s Guitar Trio.

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Swallowtail

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Guitar Trio Part 1

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Guitar Trio Part 2

Guitar Trio at Arts Center Saratoga Springs

Guitar Trio unleashed again.

Saturday November 20 @ 8pm
The Arts Center
320 Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY
$5
I’m looking forward to another great night with SoundBarn and members of the Albany Sonic Arts Collective. We’ll play Rhys Chatham’s Guitar Trio and my companion piece, Swallowtail. The ensemble includes the indefatigable Matt Weston on drums, Eric Hardiman on electric bass, and six electric guitars played by Matthew Ernst, Tara Fracalossi, Ray Hare, Thomas Lail, Patrick Wecklar, and myself.

Read more in The Saratogian preview article.

Bring hearing protection.