Beat The Clock!

Last Sunday/Monday I entered this contest from Ableton. After downloading a bunch of loops and instruments, I had 24 hours to put together a track and submit it. You can listen to the results on here.

I had fun getting all 80s for a bit and screwing with things in Max for Live to get that crunchy messed up middle section. More details on the Soundcloud page. let me know what you think!

Zen Palate

Last night I found myself with about an hour to kill before a 9:15 meeting in Hell’s Kitchen and decided to run by Zen Palate for something to eat. I almost always go there when I am in the neighborhood. I have such fond memories of sitting at their counter during my first year in NYC. I didn’t really have a problem eating alone when I moved to New York, but now It’s a required skill. I’m often roaming the city alone with hours of hungry down time to kill between events, eating alone just happens. And it happens frequently.

Last night, however, I hesitated and almost didn’t go for the oddest of reasons: my phone battery was about to die.

That’s the interesting thing about dining out alone. I always want to be busy with something else. Some activity that says, “I just happen to be eating while doing this” instead of “I am a perpetually single, unloveable loser.”

5%.

“Just go eat.” I said this out loud as I wove through meandering tourists on 8th Ave and headed West. How bad could it be to just eat and be there alone?

It wasn’t terrible, but when that screen shut off and I was left facing an empty chair, a plate full of sesame medallions and the two page program from my friend’s (decidedly brilliant) one man show as my only companion I that the time had come to admit it:

I was alone.

I mean, I already knew it, but it hit me then how hard I try to avoid acknowledging this fact throughout the day. Text messaging my way down the sidewalk to the train. Facebooking a photo of the dinner I just made for myself. Searching #walkingdead while watching TV. I spend a lot of energy pretending not to be alone most of the time.

About a year ago (honestly, I have no concept for how long ago this was, but that sounds good) I was heading to Zen Palate in a similar situation (minus the exhausted phone battery) and there was a reasonably hot guy eyeing me on the street. I was flattered but kept moving, as I am want to do. Goddess forbid I should let anyone know I am even remotely interested. I went inside and sat at the counter and when I glanced outside, there he was. Cute. He stood there and I goofy smiled and then looked away. Then down at my well-charged phone. I looked up again and he was still there! Then back at the phone. And….

gone.

I don’t know if I was expecting him to just stand out there in the cold all night waiting for me, but I was a little offended that he was gone. I know, right?

So last night I faced that same window and kept thinking that he might come back. What? The thing is, I didn’t really expect that he would–not even in the slightest, I mean…come on. But still, every now and then I would see a person hesitate by the window and my heart would kind of jump and I’d think, “There he is! That one guy that thought I was hot enough to stand outside of the window and cruise me even though I looked way more interested in my iPhone.” There was something really sad to me about seeing myself like this.

I need a Kindle.

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!