Mocha-Champa

Champa Moore came by my studio last Saturday for some experimentation and Ableton Live chat. We worked together at an iconic Houston coffee shop back in 1992(ish) and hadn’t seen each other since then. Through the powers of Facebook and the fact that we both live in NYC now, we managed to finally get together. What resulted was a quick run through of each other’s workflow followed by some inspired improvisation. Here’s a sample from our first jam:

Champa + Saw

Champa composed percussion and sampled sounds from his own body, then manned the APC40 while I improvised on the digital piano. I wish we had videoed this. Kinda funny to see the two of us squished back in my tiny space. My mind was blown, especially when he started tweaking and looping segments of what I had just played. The collaboration was magic and we are gonna do it again with hope for a live set at some point. So fun.

My ongoing collaboration with Misty Roses brought me to Joe McGinty‘s Carousel Studios in Greenpoint yesterday. We recorded Robert Conroy’s lead vocals along with some backing vocals by Anna Copa Cabanna for this cool tribute single we are all working on. The session was great and Joe’s studio is chock full of vintage synths that were so cool to check out. Dinner with Robert and Anna followed during which time I fell in gay love with Ms. Cabanna.

In podcast related news, I posted MikeyPod 164 which features an interview with Corey Dargel. I caught his set at (le) poisson rouge this week, too. Brilliant. I’m so looking forward to his new album.

This weekend promises lots of quality time with my ATTACK.WAV bandmates as we get ready for our gig on January 19th (check out the shows page for more info on that) and mouth related healing as I am having my last remaining wisdom tooth extracted today. Send love.

 

 

 

twenty thirteen

This is my year. I have declared it so. I am writing. I will be performing my original work, starting with a work in progress performance on April 17th at Judson Memorial Church’s legendary Magic Time (perhaps you’ve noticed it mentioned on the new “shows” page of this site).

As this piece reveals itself, I am getting closer and closer to being able to define or at least give a name to this type of work I am doing. Piano, stories, synths, sounds, and static. Maybe it will have a name soon.

This year holds more work with ATTACK.WAV for me, along with some new projects with Robert Conroy and Misty Roses.

Join me, won’t you?

 

 

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.

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.

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. 🙂