Monday, February 1, 2021

A Couple of Sessions in the Time of COVID

 There is occasionally some music work that happens in the ongoing crisis. Actually, in reality some people have been continuously working, but they are they anointed few with home studios and big time hookups. For the rest of us, gigs are extremely rare. I did manage to do two recording projects at the end of January. One for a project of  Woody Aplanalp's and one for  Vinny Golia. Woody's was stacking a few passes for a pop song. A really good song. I think people will like it, if they manage to get the project out into the world. That is always the challenge, getting it out into the world. Vinny's is a large project. He has realized the large ensemble portion of the piece on with samples and synthesizer, then sent some of those files out to various folks and asked us to improvise over them. Then he is going to select and mix those in for the final composition. I will be interested to hear how this turns out. The ensemble parts are very dense. It was a challenge to figure out how to place any improvisation into it. But I managed. Who knows what he will actually use? I decided to go over to Wayne Peet's to record my contributions. It was just easier that way. 

The other news from the end of the month is that I assembled the electric bike and have had a few rides on it. I like it. It will take a while to get used to it. I have to get used to just riding a bike again and then there is the added aspect of the power provided by the electric motor. Riding it is not intuitive, I can tell you that. 

Woody sets the mics.

Doing a vocal for Vinny's project from Wayne's remote studio.

The e-bike. 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Elephants in the Room - Divoc Lockdown! Divoc!

 Karl Evangelista of Grex has been curating online music festivals during the reduced live activity necessitated by the COVID crisis. He asked me to contribute something for Lockdown Festival IV. 20 - 30 minutes was the requested length. You could live-stream or send in something pre-recorded. I opted for the latter. It took a lot of work and despite the many steps involved in creating a video piece, it was largely improvised, even in the editing. Especially in the editing. Other than the final portion that I play on cimbasso, it was all editing. That final piece on cimbasso btw, is Fanfare COVID-19, which I wrote on commission to be part of a project by Mia Kuwada. It is for any single instrument and is available if you want it. Just drop me a line. The festival was streamed on New Year's Day, January 1, 2021.

To get background shots for the video, I took a trip to Joshua Tree and the Salton Sea. By the time I got to Joshua Tree, I was pretty clear in my mind that its particular style of desert had too much life going on for what I wanted. I really wanted those shores of dead fish, images that are burned in our minds of the Salton Sea. But I was at the monument so figured I should take a least some shots. Good decision. On walking to "my spot," (I have a spot I always go to in Joshua Tree) I came upon a recently dead cottontail rabbit. I have no idea what killed it. There were no bite marks, no sign of a struggle, so it wasn't some other animal's dinner. Maybe just old age or a heart attack. Who knows. But it was perfect. Definitely made the trip to Joshua Tree worthwhile. 

Then I headed south to Mecca. You have to go through Mecca to get to the Salton Sea. There were not hundreds of dead fish on the shores of the sea. That only happens in die-off events. But I did have some excitement. I stepped into what can only be called quicksand. It was up to my middle thigh. Both legs. I was alone. Just like in the old jungle movies and westerns. And I did what they did to get out. Laid the upper part of my body flat. I was able to work my way out. It was not fun. It is a good story now, but I am not a believer in dying for my art. At least not by that method. Click here for a YouTube video on how to get out of it. 

Here is the link for my piece Elephants in the Room - Divoc Lockdown! Divoc!:

Some screenshots from the video:

Pigs, Pigs, Oh! Those Tasty Pigs

 So, it is a new year. 2021. I'm going to give this another go after a very long break. Here in Los Angeles we are in the middle of a huge COVID-19 spike. 318 deaths so far today in L.A. County. Needless to say there has been no work really since this has started. No music work, no food work. The odd outdoor music job here and there. I think I've only done three since last March, 2020. Anything else I do is online. 

2020 was going to be a big year for me. I won't go into details now. That would take too long. What I want to do with this blog right now is just short entries. Some links. Some photos. That way I have a chance of keeping it going. 

2020 was going to be a big year for me. One of those biggies was that Southland Ensemble was going to do a program dedicated to my works. Didn't/couldn't happen. But through an offshoot of theirs, the Middle Ear Project, they are doing video productions of six of the solo works and one ensemble work. They've produced and released three of the solo works and later this month will release the ensemble work, Pigs, Pigs, Oh! Those Tasty Pigs. The musical performances are excellent. As impressive is their embracing and exploitation of the video medium. They make the musical pieces into video works. I am very pleased. 

Here are links to the three solo pieces:

Vespertilio Murinus - Lied Der Naab

Procyon lotor– Überall Hänge Ich Meinen Hut ist Haus:

My Head Is Always Down For I No Longer Look For You

The release of Pigs, Pigs, Oh! Those Tasty Pigs is coming up. Here is the link (useless by the time you read this) to that happening:

Actually, it is not useless, because you can subscribe for upcoming productions/concerts. I suppose it is possible that once you do that, you'll have access to past presentations, but I am not sure. 

Here are some shots and maybe videos from the promo efforts for Pigs. I am hoping that it is easier to embed vids on here now than it used to be. If not, you won't see them. 

They had me make a postcard. It is a perk for their subscribers.

And they had me record an introduction to the piece. 

And finally, a little bit of the piece: