Through us all, ImprovFriday

The worldwide web music collective known as ImprovFriday virtually gathered this past weekend as they do each and every weekend for their open call music thread. The community event challenges its artist community to upload newly created musical work for public release as either completed tracks or as pieces given up to be ‘mashed up’ and manipulated in to other compositional pieces. Twenty-four artists from around the world assembled and posted fifty-six new and introspectively innovative musical pieces between them, releasing to the world under Creative Commons license.

ImprovFriday member Paul Muller and myself [Jim Goodin] following each weekend thread event put together brief commentary reviews on each work submitted and publish here on the ‘WhatsNewatImprovFriday‘ blog to give wider visibility to the work being done by the ImprovFriday collective. Our thoughts follow. Each track is hyperlinked to its corresponding mp3 audio file so you can preview or download for later play or sharing.

By the way Paul and I host the monthly ImprovFriday Radio podcast available for free download from iTunes or Please check out our broadcasts and subscribe for future episodes.

Our commentary….

Bruce Hamilton
Parcel – A specially tuned piano provides bell-like tones, consonant chords. A kind of minor mode feel to this. – Paul. Dreamy microtonal piano, like Debussy through a kaleidoscope. – Jim

Augdemented – High, cool pitches accompanied by beeps and bubbles in the middle registers and scraps of radio dialog produce a strong sense of the otherworldly. Booming lower sounds towards the ending point to a return to normality with the sound of a plastic wrapper at the finish. – Paul. Really great, particularly the low fat tones mid way Bruce. – Jim

Even Cyborgs Get the Bluegreens – Featuring Juka-Pekka Kervinen, Steve Layton, Norbert Oldani & Bruce Hamilton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Trademark cyborg sounds from Jukka lead the way while a periodic clanking and bass sounds provide the early beat. At about 1:30 a serious groove gets going in the foreground. The finish is marked by a return of the clanks and a gradual diminuendo of the low sounds. – Paul. As I commented a lot on Jukka’s track from this later, bringing Steve’s wasps/jackets in as well as Norbert’s electronics created a cool segue and mix. – Jim

Stringth – Solidly metallic sounds at the opening shimmer like aluminum in the sun. A second, lower set of pitches joins in – drone like to produce a sense of defiance. The sudden finish is marked by a single strike of a cymbal. – Paul. Liquid, stretched tones, connected, languid with cool surprise on the end. – Jim

Inner Gateway – Featuring Kaven Allenson, Paul Muller, Ken Palmer & Bruce Hamilton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Buzzing, clarinets, keyboard, percussive sounds and drones all fight for dominance of the texture, but there seems to be no clear winner. An amazing mix of very different components! – Paul. Whirling spiral alchemy approaching, leading to a magical portal. – Jim

Em4IF – Seals, coastal birds, passing string band with a cool groove, what I would think of as the sound of a whale at times. Bruce you pained on the mix on this, clearly a lot of subtle tonality going on, good work placing.

J.C. Combs
Crazy Ass Music – Featuring Debussy, Ravel & Combs (Dedicated to Jacquelyn – Pieces of piano music interlaced with hums, footsteps and spoken text.) Reminds me of just a bit of a Prokofiev piano concerto. Sirens bring this interesting mix to a close. – Paul. Man your [JC] environ pieces just keep getting better and better JC. It’s almost like you’ve got the whole room miced, really great, love the subtle siren. – Jim

Alexandra Marculewicz Adshead
Ja! Eeh? no no – Is there anything more beautiful than a mother talking to her young one? The perfect intimate dialog, artfully arranged and something that simply can’t be improved upon. Well done! – Paul. Mother to child, language phonetics, also keep hearing in the phrasing, ‘to the moon!’. Creative and playful, reflective and palindromish. – Jim

Andrew McCance
IF – Balloons – Nice segue from Alexandra’s piece. We are inside the balloon being twisted into an animal shape, perhaps. The tension increases with each stretching sound. Lovely drone-like sounds until…. – Paul. Surreal. Feels like inside a balloon, floating and occasionally hitting the walls of the rubber surface. Good effect on the end Andy. – Jim

Steve Moyes
Paul (the Psychic
– Dramatic entrance on what must surely be an 8-string guitar 🙂 Pitch shift as the chords sound signifies we are in an undersea realm. Mysterious feel to this piece, we are truly in the presence of a sage and fortune-teller. A convincing portrait! – Paul. Agood welcome back piece here Steve, you’ve been missed. Grand canyon depth guitar strums ringing as their decay detunes back/forth. Explorations continue throughout the piece up and down the neck as almost in a gamelan style. – Jim

Those Who Are Found Where There Is Said to Be Nobody – Low solemn sounds – reminds me a bit of Jerome Poirier. A definite underworld feel to this. Effective interplay between the cello and higher strings. Well crafted – holds your attention for 9+ minutes. – Paul. Killer titling and lone cello drones. Great layers and patience awaiting ‘the sound’ eliciting ‘the speed of darkness’. Just beautiful density. – Jim

Shane W. Cadman
Piece071610 – Low buzz, middle string sounds and a high bell tone all start out this piece with a sense of expectation – where will they go? Each part slowly unfolds, almost independently of the others, but all within the framework of the overall piece. Good planning. – Paul. Mannheim Steamroller revisited! Really nice range of patches constantly evolving throughout to the water glass ending. – Jim

Jeff Duke & Lx Rudis
Lx_Rudis_Jeff_Duke_Ninjam_071710_edit1 – Nice ambient tones hover over an old recording that give way to a scary assortment of sounds. Some solid drumming at 4:30. The future watching over the past? – Paul

Lx_Rudis_Jeff_Duke_Ninjam_071710_edit2 – Creative use of sampling on both sections particularly the second along with Jeff’s ethereal washes, great NinJam guys. – Jim

Jeff Fairbanks
Bell – Featuring Steve Moshier & Jeff Fairbanks (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Something we probably won’t soon be hearing at Dodger Stadium. Amazing mix of the historical and new. A little JC Combs influence here? Nice mix. – Paul. Nice piece revisited. Loved it then and this remix is like early 60’s day TV to Spike Jones and on top of that it has this swaying ‘Bell’ like quality. – Jim

Melange6 – Pleasant piano melody with strings underneath and a rising bass line that eventually dominates. Almost Bach like by about 3:30. This piece really evolves. – Paul. Rising climbing steady enveloping. Lovely mix between the piano/celeste sounds and the low-end bass figure. Parallel statement to Layton’s Ballooning mash. – Jim

Dave Seidel
Apocalypse Garage #2 – Heavy electric motors here doing real work. Dave says: “Live in the garage, doors open, pointed towards to woods, recorded on a Zoom H4.” Stand back! – Paul. Noise and pedal master Dave is in the workshop again crafting a followup to his last weekends AG #1. This one no less sends visions of a shaping band
saw as well as the sound of a neon sign at end of the hall losing it’s ballast. – Jim

Roger “ErocNet” Sundström
1! – Knocking sounds with strong reverb and echo – we are in a pipe. Now a groaning, more clicks – something is in here with us? Builds a combination of tension and curiosity. – Paul. Sure I wanta say come on Roger rock! but clearly the R-man is continuing to explore space, lower tonality, found and in 1! some depth, breathing. Gotta be mashed with Lee I think. – Jim

Kryddorna – Talking, cooking? Ah, kryddorna means spices in Swedish… A bubbling sound but with low dramatic drone underneath – a sense that something important is happening just below the surface. Holds your interest. I will never take spices for granted again… – Paul. Rain. Ominous tones. – Jim

Help – Subtle and just winding down from the heat and crowds of Stockholm I think. Nice Asian like koto sound. Deep breaths Roger. – Jim

Horror Race – The sharpening of knives and things that go bump in the night. Darkness with mix of ambient tones and found objects clanging gently creating suspense. – Jim

Paul Hertz
If the Pattern Fits… – School is out! More happiness and sunshine from IF’s favorite student of mathematics. Light registration and the sweet notes rise out of the organ like so many butterflies. But a 3:30 there is the nagging suspicion that summer won’t last forever. At 5:00 it is clear that there must eventually be a return to responsibility and work. It is only July, but the summer is slipping away… – Paul. Really nice Paul, you continue to impress me with your ‘branching’ out in recent weeks, much smoother organ patches/tones and more spacial, as in the last two thread pieces. Keep going as they say… – Jim

Lee Noyes
35-51 InputLoop Electronics – Interesting sequence of tones, hums and clicks – like an old radio with a bad power supply. – Paul. Surface noise, vinyl, 1975, evolves to white then back. – Jim

48-11 InputLoop Electronics – Lee Noyes – sort of like sitting by an AM radio slightly tuned to the frequency in the old days of dials and the station begins to drift in. – Jim

42-60 Skin Scratch – Shuffling against the hum – we’re trying to fix that grounding problem… I usually have no luck with it either 🙂 – Paul. Gotta get you to NoiseFest Lee except you got to amp this stuff massive dB’s!

Drone Study #7 – Paul Muller – As a rule Paul and I normally don’t comment/review each other publicly but I felt this piece was a real departure from his norm and just love and applaud the new territory. Clearly the influences are there but isn’t that what it’s all about. – Jim

Kavin Allenson
8060710102 – Strong guitar entrance – echo used to good effect. Laid back, easy ambient sounds. Lovely. – Paul. Great atmospheric Kavin and gather it was live. Loved the density in the guitars as well as the vocalesque/spookiness blends. – Jim

502 Bad Gateway – Uptempo, distortion-filled and percussive, yet catchy for all of that. Sounds like Kavin has been listening to Jukka… – Paul.  As Paul might say, ‘been hanging out with Jukka, Kavin’. Sounds like he’s influenced you. Also a bit of seeing a street boombox here. – Jim

Adam Kondor
Pond Frog Plop – Piano opening filled with mystery. Dark, languid – we are in the forest at night. Not sure how the frog fits in… – Paul. Rose colored glasses and watercolor mists. – Jim

Volksmusik – A street parade breaks out – and we go from Brazil to Bavaria to Greece – and back again. Quite a commotion! – Paul. A bit of a walk across continental Europe I think. Creative blending as you define each week Adam. – Jim

Bowed Piano – Appropriate title – part cello, part accordion. Unusual texture gives an alien, disconnected feel to this. – Paul. Well done and difficult I’d think to easily bow piano strings. Like the depth and makes me think of cymbalum player Michael Masley who uses ‘bow hammers’ to ‘rub’ frequencies very similar on his hammered dulcimer cousin. Adam’s tones here are almost synthetic in nature also reminding me of sounds created by Steve Moshier a few weeks back. – Jim

Four-Part Polyphony in a Natural Ambience – Featuring Norbert Oldani’s voice (4x), Jim Goodin, Peter Thörn, Paul Hertz, Lee Noyes & Adam Kondor (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Norbert’s voice is distinctive and instantly likable. Paul’s light touch on the organ is the ideal background. Just listening to this brings a smile 🙂 – Paul. Wow this is marvelous! Flattered Adam, neat use of our podcast along with Peter’s spring birds and Lee’s downunder space. – Jim

Prayer – A great rushing and roar – Acts 2:2 perhaps? Convincingly powerful. – Paul. Spiritualism by the side of the road, Route 40 west, American dream… – Jim

Spirits in the Material World – featuring Steve Layton, Bruce Hamilton, Steve Moyes, Roger Sundström-2x, Paul Muller & Adam Kondor (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – The title fits this – clanking and percussive sounds are countered by the hovering drone. The pieces go together very well. Nice work! – Paul. Sweeping low end swirls with slight percussion like patches separating the wash. Nice to be reminded of the Police in name and in a sense suggests that period. – Jim

Steve Moshier
Where’s the Buckle? – Full-on sonics and percussion – classic Moshier. For all the sound and fury, a question seems to hang in the air. – Paul. Cool tubular on the edge color with metallic strikes. – Jim

Quickie in the Garbage Dump – Yikes! – Nice drumming. A
real wake-up. And fast. – Paul. Short piece but like where this is headed. Good energy in the percussion voice, maybe expand for next week? – Jim

Norbert Oldani
IF Piece 7/16/10 – An Early Music, Elizabethan feel to this – beautiful staccato counterpoint. The prologue to a Shakespeare play. – Paul. Reminds me of similar feel to Paul Hertz and also thinking ‘Dance of the
Sugar Plum Fairy’ maybe from a slight ‘bounce’ or beat you’re suggesting Norbert. – Jim

Sample Cloud of a Lobi Balafon – A sort of unstable, explosive feel to this. – Paul. Signs of radio activity, Geiger counter. – Jim

Sample Cloud of a Metal Bar – Metallic and static-like sounds accompanied by hums. – Paul. Star noise, nice evolving of a sound, kyma? – Jim

Steve Layton
Wasp Blues – ‘Flight of the Bumble Bee’ for trombones. Develops a nice groove. Embrace the hive… – Paul. Okay I hear more hornets here Steve but clearly there is a swarm going on, maybe Texas Yellow Jackets. The cool thing about it is it becomes like a frenetic string ensemble after a bit. Subtle piano like patch or other bowed sound emerges @2min. – Jim

Night forest – No quiet here – lots of beeps, clanks and sounds. Another insect perspective? – Paul.   Though I do see the flicker of the lightning bugs blinking about in the dusk of the forest I hear the sound of some critter tapping on a tree trunk, perhaps an evening woodpecker, also this muted percussive sound kept suggesting to me a spelunker, tapping the walls of a cave he found on the edge of the forest. – Jim

Run Over by the Wheels of Freedom – Bruce Hamilton, Steve Moshier, Jukaa-Pekka Kervinen, Jeff Fairbanks & Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Spacial and angelic, surreal and crossing dimensions. Playfulness between Steve M and Jeff is becoming very intertwined meaning muse like appreciation for each others journey, Bruce rounds out the ambience and Jukka jukkas the mix. Chief masher Dr Layton at the helm. –

Overhead – Featuring Kavin Allenson, Adam Kondor, JĂ©rĂ´me Poirier, Norbert Oldani & Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Seeing everything from the floating alien starship in ‘District 9’ to the RAF in WWII flying across the channel towards Europe. The thickness of the soundscape with the interim plucked guitar provides a nice contrast just before the end of the piece. – Jim

Ballooning – Featuring Steve Moyes, Andrew McCance, Paul Muller, Jim Goodin & Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Strong guitar offset by the busy woodwinds. Builds tension from the twisting and clanging sounds. – Paul. A range of tonality in this mash, from the circus like happy sound of the reeds to the darker clang of the guitar depth and metallic clang, maybe it’s symbolic of struggle over hardships with the balloon rising out of a rocky chasm and occasionally bumping the rocks as it climbs to freedom. – Jim

Miracles All – Featuring Lee Noyes x3, Adam Kondor, Bruce Hamilton, Jim Goodin & Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Lots o mystery in this one, much sublety in the synth/found work of Lee, Adam, Bruce and Steve which comes out really nice over phones and may the ‘miracles’ come to be. – Jim

La isla Bonita – Featuring Alexandra Markulewicz Adshead, Jeff Fairbanks, Shane Cadman, Kavin Allenson & Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Jeff’s piece fits perfectly under Alexandra’s dialog. Pure happiness here. – Paul. Really nice playful like Cirque du Soli opening with Alexandra’s vocalise underscored by fine orchestrations combined by Fairbanks/Cadman/Allenson/Layton. Nice drifting ending with subtle piano emerging. – Jim

Enchantments – Featuring Paul Hertz, Ken Palmer, Glenn Weyant, Steve Moshier, Adam Kondor & Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Sounds of a circus merry go round evolving to more darker imagery for a time emerging to the entrance into the halls of a cathedral. Quite visionary. – Jim

Work and Daydreams – Featuring Bruce Hamilton, Roger Sundström x2, Paul Muller, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Steve Moshier & Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Sounds like Friday afternoon – a sort of low-level agony replaced by the serenity of the weekend. Activities crowd in, even on a day off. – Paul. Similar ambience to Run Over but more mystery here and interesting percussion patch or sound (possibly organic possibly midi but then the midi guys say hey we’re organic!). The mystery moves to more of a probe testing soil samples as if landing on a foreign planet’s
soil. – Jim

Bloom – Featuring James Ross, Kavin Allenson, Paul Muller & Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – All the ambient in one place… Restful, slightly sad – but always holding your attention. – Paul. Half-speed, time-lapse, evolution of a flower slowly showing a bloom, petals unroll as fullness of plant life appears. Much beauty in the ambience between these four. – Jim

Glenn Weyant
The Fleeting Squeak – I think it’s well-tempered. Like hearing woodwinds warm up. Nicely played! – Paul. The Fleeting Squeak – Glenn Weyant – Manipulated or wind-blown screen door cascades the muse of those who will but only listen. – Jim

JĂ©rĂ´me Poirier
Portrait of DiCillo’s ‘When You’re Strange’ – Guitar plays while the crowd ignores. A solitary, almost lonely feel to this piece. – Paul. Nice subtle reference to the Door’s classic amidst environ sounds and rainstorms. Many good colors, somewhere Jim Morrison sings… – Jim

Jukka-Pekka Kervinen
PX #1 – Another tour de force of arcade sounds. – Paul. Visually these pieces are constantly suggesting particularly this one pinball and Space Invaders. From the editing/production standpoint highly creative Jukka. – Jim

SMS #1 – Interesting suggested or intended motif of a melody emerging that is alluring here. Like the forward/reverse sounds a lot which are a common element in your pieces I think. – Jim

Ken Palmer
Inner Sanctum – Exotic blend of orchestral music, gongs and strings. A bit of Adam’s influence here? Effectively generates a strong sense of uncertainty. Well crafted. – Paul. Inside the lab, constructing, tightening, a sense of building, a sense of mystery, a sense of madness. Well cast Ken. – Jim

James Ross
Wash – So few notes yet even at 25 min it does not seem long. Carefully paced – unfolding precisely. Slightly edgy, yet beautifully solemn. – Paul.  Floating out, lovely density, nice motif and just great dense ‘wash’.  Beautiful James. – Jim

Thanks for checking out our commentary on the ImprovFriday thread and please remember to follow and subscribe to the ImprovFriday Radio podcast on iTunes.

Visit ImprovFriday on the web at If you are a musician interested in New Music please come join us.

See you next week,

Jim & Paul


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