Concord Road

My good friend (and fellow Yoko Ono junkie) Jordan Scoggins asked me to write some music for a video series he is creating around his book Jordan’s Journey. Here’s the first result, Concord Road:

Jordan asked me to use some Sacred Harp recordings as a jumping off place, which gave me a good opportunity to hone my skills at warping loops in Ableton Live. I also used a couple of Ableton and Max For Live devices, most notably Beat Repeat on the bells and drums and Buffer Shuffler on the banjo you hear drifting in and out.

I like this piece, so I may build it into a stand alone piece as well….maybe an EP of everything I write for this series? Who knows!

Be sure to check out Jordan’s site for more information about his work!

rephrase

I can’t share the now finished short film “Rephrase” yet, but I can share the trailer. So excited to see my music used in this film. I loved the process of working with the creators of the film to write something that fit perfectly with their vision of the film. Any random folks out there who need music for something like this, just say the word. I’d love to do it again! This is my music you hear in the trailer.

into action

“Shadowing” had its first public performance this past week at Dixon Place and I am so delighted. I’ve been talking about and visualizing this move from “pianist-and-sometimes-composer” to “solo performer”for quite a while now. Though my energy has been used appropriately in terms of writing new material and rehearsing it, it wasn’t until I woke up Friday morning that I realized that I am now doing it. Right?

I’m going to put that piece on the shelf for now and get to work on a new one, it’s such a little embryo, I don’t think I’ll even mention more about it than that. I want to dive into some video work for this one though.

On the gear front, I bought an Akai APC40 last week and I’m having visions of improvising more er…. imporvisationally with Ableton. Still learning more and more about this brilliant software and so excited about it. I have a couple of pieces of music in the work for various other projects.

Life feels good and I wanted to check in. I have a video of the Dixon Place performance, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch it yet. Once I do, I think about sharing it. I’m really thinking, though, that this work isn’t ready to be seen in such a permanent state. Allowing it to exist in the memory is perfect for now.

rephrase

A couple of things:

I uploaded a new track to soundcloud. It’s music for a film called Rephrase by my friend Greg, I’ll, of course, update when there is news about how to see it. I was going to post the track here, but the soundcloud player looks hella ugly.

– I’m performing at Dixon Place on April 12 with Ivan Coyote, Rae Spoon and Lauren Hunter. We were all assembled by curatorial powerhouse Victoria Libertore. I am performing an original piece called “Shadowing,” which explores the conflict between simultaneously desiring solitude and intimacy. Combining text, found sound from the NYC subway, and and my own original music, what starts as a moment of journaling on the train becomes an exploration of relationships, creativity and spirituality.

-I’m reviving my podcast with an interview from Collin from ATTACK.WAV. Live it. Love it.

-Spell check has either given up on me or “curatorial” really is a word.

drop the marks

“My work” feels like such a pretentious/faker phrase to me. Maybe because I feel myself to be such a youngster in terms of what “my work” is. That’s been a challenge, I guess, as I’m pretty clear on what my work isn’t. That’s easy. What it is has to be defined more by “is” than “isn’t.” Not my forte.

For the past two weeks, it’s been the work of getting Billy Bishop Goes to War on its feet here at Unity Theater in Brenham. It’s such a great show and I am happy to be doing it again. I’m also happy to be getting pushed and directed a bit in this show. Like most theater gigs I do, I am spending the bulk of my time at the piano, but I get to do a little bit of acting and a lot of singing in this show, which I love. Especially the acting, as that is an area I want to bring into “my work” more and more and it’s also the area where I have the least amount of experience. I’m happy to be working with a director who is willing to push me out of my comfort zone instead of settling for a “pianist who acts a little” performance. I really want to grow in this area.

Inbetween, I’m working my way through Jon MarguliesAbleton Live 8 Power!, which is a fun read for such a tedious subject. The thing that’s tough is that I am not so much interested in learning as I am in knowing. I can’t wait to be done with this book, because I see Ableton as an instrument as much as a Digital Audio Workstation, but you gotta know the workings of it….yadda yadda. I would love to get back to my studio in NYC ready to just leap into work without feeling crippled by always having to refer to manuals. I can get there.

I want to keep updating here as a sort of history of the journey I am making to who knows where, and I really do get the sense that I am indeed headed somewhere, and it will be nice to be able to look back and see how I got there.

That’s what my lady voices are telling me anyway.

lunch and judy

Though my activity here has been sparse, my creative life has been steadily blossoming. I’m happy to say that my free time has been filled up with more creating and less Judge Judy-ing. I miss her, but even she would want it this way. Here’s what’s up:

On Monday, I head back to Texas to remount Billy Bishop Goes To War at Unity Theater in Brenham. When I left Texas, I often said the main thing I was going to miss was Unity Theater, such a lovely energy there and my favorite place to work in Texas. I love this show, because I get to do more than just play the piano, it’s an interesting take on how war affects an individual, and it is also the show that introduced me to my dear friend Jim Johnson (you should check out his work at AccentHelp if you haven’t already). I’m so excited to be on this stage I love with a friend I love doing a show that I love. Come see it, Texans!

I just finished composing a piece of music for a short film. I don’t really have any information to share yet, other than the fact that I was invited to the project by my friend Greg McGoon and it has been an absolute pleasure working with him. I can share that it is my first project that I created from beginning to end with Ableton Live and I desperately want to lay this application down by the fire and make sweet love to it. I feel so inspired by how easy it is to use how it facilitates experimentation and enables me to quickly put things in my head into the computer and shuffle bits around and…and…and..and. LOVE. To think I have only just begun to learn everything it can do…

Victoria Libertore has invited me to perform my piece “Shadowing” at Dixon Place on April 12th, which blows my mind with excitement. It’s a seven minute piece which is a chapter of a full length piece that is in the works. This is a brand new (to me) way of performing and writing in which I am combining original music and sound with spoken word.I’d love to have your support at this performance, as I move forward with this stuff, it will be great to have feedback from the outside world.

Finally, it’s snowing here in Brooklyn! I love the snow and I’m happy mother nature got one storm in for me before I headed off to Texas.

Happy New Year!

shedding shadows

I just finished a six-week Archetypal Performance workshop with the brilliant Victoria Libertore which, along with inspiring me to experiment with some new perspectives on performance, gave me the impetus to create a new piece: “Shadowing I.” Looks like it is the second in what will be an evening length performance of live music, storytelling/memoir work and movement and who knows what else is going to show up. I am feeling super inspired and motivated to shed the dross that I keep my mind preoccupied with instead of creating new work.

I have a couple of new projects in the works with Robert Conroy of Misty Roses, we opened for Patrick Wolf at (le) poisson rouge a few weeks ago and found some cool energy together that we are going to continue to pursue. So, keep an eye out for that stuff.

I completed a demo for “When It Will Bloom” about a month ago, and never bothered to post it here. Instrumentation is piano, synth/laptop, string quartet and oboe. There is a text component that doesn’t feel quite right for recording, but I think this stands on its own pretty well. I would love to start performing these bits of things as they are completed, so if you have any ideas for venues, that would rock.

Listen to the piece here, give me some feedback and have a loverly day. 🙂

seeds

I couldn’t wait. I bought a copy of Ableton Suite 8. It’s kind of mind-blowingly great and while the onboard lessons and online tutorials I’ve found are quite helpful, I have a ton to learn. I love it though, and it already feels much more intuitive that programs I have used before. I went ahead and sequenced in all of the parts for “When It WIll Bloom” and am working out the drummy/samply/loopy/glitchy stuff I have in my mind. My vision about this project is to record the whole album with live instruments (string and woodwinds, primarily with me on piano), so it’s still a little unrewarding to hear computerized version, especially of the string quartet. Somehow, sampled oboe and piano are much more tolerable. I think the strings on my keyboard are quite good, but it’s hard to play them the way a real string player would do it. I just keep reminding myself that what i am doing right now is creating demos and this isn’t the finished product.

Writing still on the musical that I don’t want to name for the theater that shall also remain nameless. The closing song started to come to me tonight and I wrote what seem to be a sort of verse or two. not perfectly happy with the lyrics, but extremely happy with these moments at the piano where I feel myself clicking in (or maybe just getting out of the way) and letting the music happen.

I have one more week of full on teaching and then free time opens up for the summer. I have a couple of pianist gigs this summer, a show for the New York Musical Theater Festival, and my friend Steven’s one man show, Methtacular! looks like it is a go, though I don’t think I can officially talk details about that either. I am also visualizing my life in which I work only as a composer/performer. Feel free to join me in this. 🙂

So movement forward is happening. I am always thinking about writing music with a passion I have not felt for a long time. I love this.

In other news, this new Elan Tamara is really lovely.