– 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.
“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 Margulies‘ Ableton 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.
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.
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. 🙂
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.
I finished the bulk of writing for “When It WIll Bloom” a couple of days ago. there is a whole second layer of the piece that needs to happen now, but it was nice to look at the finale file and hear it played back and think. Done! I am waiting to accumulate the cash to buy a copy of Ableton Live. I have been working off of a basic copy of Cubase, but Ableton seems to be more along the lines of what I want from a DAW, so if I am going to dig in to really learning, I want to get in with Ableton. It looks like it will give me the “live” kind of response I seem to work best with. Anyway, once I get Ableton I’ll work on the next phase of the piece. It will be cool to get it out of my head and recorded.
“When It Will Bloom” is going to be part of a larger piece (song cycle? performance art? not sure what it will turn into) – a collection of stories, songs, music, and sound that deals with intimacy and technology…..sorty, anyway. More will be revealed. I have fragments of two other pieces: “Mango” and “Apple.” Fruity!
I have a musical in the works….well, it’s been in the works for quite some time, but it looks like there is a theater that wants to produce it. I’ll write more details later, but for now, I find myself at the piano, or reading the script and hearing those nagging little voices in the back of my head asking me who I think I am. The music for this show needs to be jazz/blues tinged – a genre that scares the hell out of me. I think somewhere I harbor a belief that only certain people can write music like that, and that I most certainly not one of them. So, more than anything right now, this part of the process looks like it is going to be about shutting those voices up and getting on with it.
In some ways I think of this writing as history for a future time in my life when there is more of my music in the world. I guess it keeps me from feeling silly here in a public way about something that no one has access to. So nice to sort out what’s going on in my mind, anyway.
I’ve been chipping away at a rewrite of a piece I performed at DiverseWorks back in September. “When It Will Bloom.” I am wrapping it up now, so yesterday I decided to give the original a listen to remind myself how I ended the thing.
What I found interesting was that the “problems” with that version of the piece still seem to be there: just a couple of ideas that never get fully developed. Last time I listened to it, I did so with a highly critical ear and the whole thing made my skin crawl. “This thing just meanders along without going anywhere!”
But yesterday I realized that it still had something that the new version doesn’t. It moved me. Granted, the new version exists only in Finale so far and what I hear is the computer’s only slightly expressive playing of the piece, but yesterday I started to wonder if, in my eagerness to make something happen in the piece I took it to the other extreme and it’s all thought and no emotion.
I have a new computer on the way and this really excites me. My going-on-six-year-old MacBook Pro was really struggling with the recording for the yoga project and I have been wanting to dig deep into Ableton Live and Max for Live using Christopher Willits’What YOu Talkin’ Bout Willits? tutorials. The idea of combining clicky, staticy washes of loops with my stories and acousticy-synthy pieces really excites me.