Within a 'thread', July 8-10

4pm PST Thursday the thread arrived and the gathering of ImprovFriday kicked off an excellent weekend of creative music ranging from dense piano to ‘found’ compositions of the North to more gaming console beeps and bleeps to some wonderful mashes.

ImprovFriday colleague Paul [Muller] and myself once again offer our review comments on all who participated. Links are provided to each musician’s work and please do find time to follow through and check out all the wonderful sounds that took place in this recent open call event.

I decided to move away from the table format of this listing and hope that you will find this list easier to read and look through.

So let the reviews begin…

Roger “ErocNet” Sundström
Venus Fairytale – Deep, mysterious almost sub-sea. Sharp sounds at 3:00 add a tension to the soft background. – Paul

Journey to Venus – Cool, steady drone – a feeling like we are on the move. Love the organ-like sounds emerging from underneath. Subtle variances in texture very effective. The low rushing makes for a good finish. Beautifully done! – Paul

Ironstone – Singular, steady beat, soon accompanied at times by a low hum. Reminds me of some of Glenn W’s work with iron and cables. The sforzando at 2:45 very striking. – Paul

Birdfly – ‘Found’ textures and subtle tonality.  A wet cave, a hint of atmosphere not yet seen but approaching. – Jim

Adams Dance – featuring Adam Kondor, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen x 2 & Roger “ErocNet” Sundström (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Nice panning – great orchestral sounds. Jukka’s piece fits in perfectly at the dynamic chosen and gives a convincing dance beat that goes well with the spoken text. Love the mysterioso woodwind sounds. – Paul

Jukka-Pekka Kervinen & Adam Kondor
Slow Down (the more is the better) – Digital glitchcore to a sense of ‘tape’ rewind connecting pulsing samples. Good sense of visual motion in the rewind. – Jim

Even More – Continuing… Like the ‘edge’ and sudden ending. – Jim

Jérôme Poirier
Climbed – Wonderful contrast between the bass and upper register sounds. Now we have a conversation between the parts at 1:30… Nicely played. – Paul

Benjamin Smith & Lee Noyes
On the bridge – Exotic and effective blend – complex at times – all over the keyboard! Achieves a certain sense of alienation by about 3:00 PM – tension increases with sharply sounding strings. A strong sense of drama at 4:50 and 6:00 – surprising finish. – Paul

Ben Improv 5 July No.1 – Nice duo interplay between Ben’s minimalist repetitive cadence and Lee’s sparse drumming. Nice marching feeling density develops last couple of minutes. – Jim

Don Bplaektree with Ninjamers “Anonymouse” and “Noals”
Chimps – The gong sound is sudden and arresting. Convincing vocals on the chimps. As someone who has worked for peanuts, I can attest to the accuracy of the spoken text. – Paul

Steve Moshier
Exit on Venus – Instantly recognizable as classic Moshier – dynamic, resonant – full-spectrum helpings of sound. The recurring bell is
particularly effective in setting the mood. – Paul

Richard Lainhart
Endless Column – Light, airy and calm. Seems to hover in front of you, slowly unfolding ever upward. Beautifully realized. – Paul. Parthenon blue myst through the ‘columns’.  Nice tonal dissonance developing between the upper frequency patch(es). – Jim

Every Man for Himself and God Against All – An uncomfortable sound brimming with unrelieved tension. The composers instructions are as follows: “This should be listened to at the highest level you can tolerate.” But I didn’t have the courage! – Paul. (Richard is a NY’er he’ll get this). Seeing the DOT street sweepers in this along 7th ave here in the Slope.  Also elicits a sound of droning bagpipers in my head. – Jim

Norbert Oldani
Ghost Busters Find Slimmed Scales (A set of slimy improvised Scales) – More fine percussion from Norbert again this week. The fast-moving scales all have an interesting rhythm. The bassoon scale is very distinctive. It all ends as a sort of distant thunder… – Paul

Percussive Colors 3 – Nice variety of tempos, rhythms and textures. Convincing drum kit sound at 1:50. – Paul

Percussive Colors 4 – We’re in Brazil! The light bell sounds are very effective. Good bongos at 1:30 – exotic flavor to this series. – Paul

Adam Kondor
Serres – Beautiful woodwind writing (and playing) here produces an ominous feel. The text adds a sense of urgency even without understanding the words. The guitar puts an exclamation point on the ending. Nicely done. – Paul

First Mix featuring Steve Moshier, Norbert Oldani, Bruce Hamilton, Steve Layton & Adam Kondor (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Opens with a wonderful electronic counterpoint against the expanding, rushing drone. A series of new sounds crowd in with a sort of pop back beat. The bassoon at 2:20 is a nice surprise and the steady pulse at the ending makes a good finishing touch. – Paul

Improbable Occurrences featuring Jukka-Pekka Kervinen 3x, Lee Noyes 2x, Peter Thörn, Paul Muller, Shane Cadman & Adam Kondor (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Jukka’s piece shoots its way into the foreground as the drone fades and re-emerges periodically. A complex, bubbling cauldron of sound swirls into the mix before the serene ending. The various pieces in this are nicely modulated and provide a recognizable structure. Well crafted! – Paul

Venus featuring Roger Sundström, Richard Lainhart, Paul Muller, Shane Cadman, Kavin Allenson, Jeff Fairbanks, man reciting a love poem by ‘Drummond’ from Heddy Honigmann’s film, plus some kabuki-noises and a nightingale floor and Adam Kondor (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Intriguing opening – built on a beautiful foundation from Richard’s ‘Endless Column’ esp as the text is heard. The changing dynamics are effectively used. Nice groove appears about 4:30 in the guitar. The bubbly last few seconds make a good finish. Very nice. – Paul

Two Pianos – featuring Benjamin Smith & Adam Kondor (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Weaving dialog back/forth between ostinato lines and angular scales and clusters winding down to the depths of their final ranges.  Wonderful blending of the lines. – Jim

Two Pianos & More – featuring Steve Layton, Benjamin Smith, Lee Noyes, Jérôme Poirier, Kenneth Palmer & Adam Kondor (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Love the space in the mix and the counterpoint between bass and violin almost indie of the piano yet together. Neat how it grows from there as other parts instruments enter. – Jim

Bouncing Phrygian Birdfly at the Sunshine – featuring J.C. Combs, Paul Hertz, Greg Hooper, Roger Sundström & Adam Kondor (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – James earthy piano like a searchlight in the dank wet cave of Adam’s detailed mash.  Jerome accordion enters nicely around the clatter of ‘found’ sound. – Jim

J.C. Combs
*A Quiet Phrygian Cap – Deep tones from the bottom of the piano. Spare, somber – but every note meaningful. A model of the virtues of simplicity. – Paul. Back of the room, earthy dirge like.  Interesting progression of initial bass line to sequencial series of musical figures. – Jim

Greg Hooper
First Legal Drink at the Sunshine – Like the series of raindrops pattering down at the start of a summer shower. Delicate, singular sounds, the pattern becoming more complex around 3:00 and a steady stream at 3:50. (Have I taken the rain metaphor too far? Is this about having a beer on your 21st birthday?) Very engaging and holds your interest for 4+ minutes with essentially the same texture. – Paul

Paul Hertz
Bouncing Rainchecks – Mischievous sounds from the lower registers of the organ combined with a middle counterpoint – we are outside on the playground and it is summer break. Now at 2:45 we get a series of pedal tones followed by playful notes that slowly evolve into a more serious melody – and by 5:00 we are in church hearing a restful prelude. The quiet finish completes the journey. – Paul. Paul’s organ seems to have left the church and moved into differrant textures more mellow flute like, still great weaving lines. – Jim

Kavin Allenson
come play – Strong rhythm and a variety of guitar sounds here combine into an effective mix. A definite 21st century feel. – Paul

Shane W. Cadman
Piece070910 – Distant beats and a flashing, rushing sound at the start give way to a gorgeous choir-like chant. A guitar drops a chain of singular notes overhead. A beautiful combination of sounds – introspective, reflective. – Paul

Bruce Hamilton
Yeti Summer – Strong, piano-like yet metallic repeating passage combines with a strong, danceable beat. Some development occurs at 0:35 with the entry of a new voice, but at 1:12 this was just getting warmed up. – Paul

POV – Haiku of guitar gamelon and steel pan like patches floating on the water like skittering water spiders. – Jim

Heat Chill – Along the docks in a foreign port, air rises as a melodic motif emerges.  Freighter ship trails out to sea. – Jim

Mixed Drink featuring Jeff Fairbanks, Greg Hooper, Paul Muller, Ken Palmer & Bruce Hamilton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Tasty mix of ingredients that blend well. Nice groove here – I’m at an open-air bar on the beach. Takes a very interesting turn at 1:20 – I’m walking outside in the cool night air as the sounds of the party recede into the distance. Well done! – Paul. Nice ‘uptown’ sound.  Can’t help but think if Todd Rundgren here. – Jim

Your Cave or Mine featuring Kavin Allenson, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Paul Muller & Bruce Hamilton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Kavin’s 21st century guitar and J-P’s electronic sounds predominate and ultimately prevail. – Paul. Wow! Huge. Chasm sounds shooting all around Jukkas pinball like weather report bed.  Cool mash Mr Bruce. – Jim

Steve Layton
The Tunnel (1) – Reminds one of a train going through a tunnel – you can hear the rails going by and the wheels screeching – a subway ride maybe. Nicely minimalistic. A rising sense of expectation with an ominous feel to it. – Paul

The Tunnel (2) – OK, we’re back in the tunnel – now with a more dangerous bubbling sound. The title is very suggestive and adds to the tension – when are we getting out of here? Effectively claustrophobic! – Paul

La Légion étrangère featuring Adam Kondor, Bruce Hamilton, Richard Lainhart, Peter, Thörn, Steve Moshier & Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Adam’s clarinets and text form a background against which Richards’ ‘Column’ struggles. Some resemblance to Adam’s ‘Venus’ mix, given they share common parts. – Paul

Starburst featuring Kavin Allenson, Roger Sundström, Shane Cadman, Paul Muller, Jeff Fairbanks, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen & Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Kavin’s piece holds the focus, the drone sneaks in behind. The echo effect and Shane’s choir is effective. – Paul

Wrong Number – featuring Shane Cadman, Peter Thörn, Jeff Fairbanks, Steve Moshier & Steve Layton (contributing aritst/mixer/masher) – Great editing of the snippets in our lives.  Gary Neaumanish washes lace in/out like trying to cut the wires and do in the end. – Jim

Troll Harp – featuring Greg Hooper, Roger Sundström x 2, Norbert Oldani & Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – World textures with a heavy gamelan sound that is really cool. Nice ‘found’ textures from Mr Sundström I believe and good mix of organic and synthetic in the World colors. – Jim

Polarity – featuring Benjamin Smith, Norbert Oldani, Greg Hooper and Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Haunting, the wind, journeys through the snows, a balance of Ben’s piano and the synthetic sounds of Mr’s Oldani, Hooper and Layton grow in intensity and resolve to the eloquence of the solo piano. – Jim

Water Reflections – featuring Jim Goodin, Richard Lainhart, Roger Sundström & Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Metaphors of light from three spheres, blended from a wash of electronic purity and acoustic sounds. – Jim

Persephone of the Speakeasy – featuring Jérôme Poirier, J.C. Combs & Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – A feeling of Debussy and a Paris bistro on a lazy day with much melancholy floating about the sparse tones in the piano and violin which with the latter from time to time sounds a really cool high note. – Jim

Wat Phra Kaew – featuring Don Bplaektree, Anonymouse, Noals, Richard Lainhart, Bruce Hamilton, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Greg Hooper, Paul Muller & Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – The Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and the adjoining Grand Palace together form perhaps the greatest spectacle for the visitor to Bangkok. Despite the fact that the whole compound is so full of tourists you spend half the time trying to avoid getting in people’s photos, it’s still a pretty amazing place to visit. So says Google as I was mused to explore the title and I’d say the gentlemen mashed here have reached the ‘buddha’ in their collective tones. You can hear the wind blowing through the walls and objects of glass and metal clanging about the exotic tones. – Jim

Jukka-Pekka Kervinen
PT impro #1 – Nice collection of beeps and tones, yet it all forms a comprehensible texture. – Paul

Atari 2600 impro #1 – Love the deep bass part with the high-pitch beeps floating above. 23d century disco music in the middle has a convincing beat and pleasantly syncopated melody. – Paul. Dig this a lot and can’t help from envisioning Weather Report album Black Market here. – Jim

YM2413 Impro #1 – Sort of like an orbital robot just landed on the lunar surface probing the surface for electrons or some such. Not as busy as some other trax of Jukka’s more sparse among the beeps and bleeps. – Jim

Mix #1 – featuring Steve Layton, Norbert Oldani, Adam Kondor, Roger Sundström & Jukka-Pekka Kervinen (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Strobe light on the dance floor, freezing dancers, dj backwards motion turntables, quick edit pulses – creative! – Jim

SMS 07/10/10-#1 – visions of wandering the hallways in a museum after hours. A loan exit sign with a bulb going out flickers off/on. – Jim

Mix #2 & Mix #3 – featuring Steve Layton(2), Norbert Oldani(2), Adam Kondor(2), Roger Sundström(2), Bruce Hamilton(3) & Jukka-Pekka Kervinen(2)(3) (contributing artist/mixer/masher) –  A sense of live editing and the shuttle back/forth refining edit points, defining as the.process goes. Occasional voice samples contrast nicely. – Jim

Jeff Fairbanks
Melange5 – Great layering here – with an admirable minimalistic sensibility. Optimistic and sunny, yet not saccharine. The toy piano at the end is inspired. – Paul

Peter Thörn
Relayed – The title suggests the clattering of relays – interesting random patterns, perhaps a telephone exchange. The light hum just below the surface adds to the industrial feel. Has a retro avaunt guard feel, if that’s possible. – Paul

NORA me and ADAM – featuring Adam Kondor & Peter Thörn (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Like an early ’60’s TV sound que for an afternoon mystery. Peter’s subtle saxophone weaves through the various string and piano pulses as if charting a course, never overpowering as if threading a needle and doing a weave. – Jim

Lee Noyes
8 Divisions – Quiet and simple yet expressive – more from the physics lab? Impressive use of silence in the last minute. – Paul

Silver Haired – Nice ringing tones over quite a range of frequencies and dynamic levels – very deliberate feel to this. Noticing now that Lee uses silence as effectively as anyone. – Paul

Benjamin Smith
Ben.improv.Jul.5.2010 – Dark feel to this abetted by the sustained keyboard sound. Nice contrast between the high and low registers at 2:00. Some quick passage work at about 3:00 well played. The ending is like a question mark hanging in the air… – Paul

Ben.improv.Jul.5.2010.a – This piece is a bit more contained than Jul.5.2010, yet produces a similar feeling of uncertainty – it could be two movements from the same piece. – Paul. Density and intensity right on in the opening lines, i.e. passion. The shift to more like modern classical later provides an interesting contrast. Good stuff all around Ben. – Jim

Kenneth Palmer
Fracas /Piano-Accordian Jazz Improv – Love the soft drone-like foundation. Percussion keeps good time allowing the accordion and keyboard to interact without constraint. Not a slow piece, but the effect is somewhat somber overall. – Paul

A reminder that our ImprovFriday Radio podcast has moved over to Podomatic.com which we are quite excited about. ImprovFriday Radio’s new channel page is http://improvfridayradio.podomatic.com so please pay us a visit and Subscribe. ImprovFriday Radio through the Podomatic channel will be accessible as well in iTunes very soon.

The new weekend ImprovFriday thread is just about to start. Hopefully the reviews of this recent thread have intrigued your curiosity and appetite for the wonderful collective energy that is going on at ImprovFriday. Our website is http://improvfriday.ning.com. We invite you to visit our community of eclectic New Music artists and come back next week to Whats New at ImprovFriday to catch a look at the next ImprovFriday thread.

Jim & Paul


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