Sadness, Joy, Mystery and Beauty, ImprovFriday

Once again the WhatsNewAtImprovFriday review team of Goodin and Muller have cranked out another round of reviews of this past weekend’s ImprovFriday wide world web event open call new music forum thread, revealing the spontaneous work of the member artists who make it a weekly habit to gather together and create new, exciting music for posting on the ImprovFriday home portal. Many of these musical works once posted by their creators are then downloaded by other participating musicians and ‘mashed up’ or remixed to make new renderings of the original ideas, giving them another dimension of creativity and ‘spark’. So without further rambling read on and join us for the review…

Shawn W. Cadman (with Kalimba by Joshua Cadman, age eight)
Piece073010 – Sometimes there are no words. – Paul. Beautiful, subtle, saying goodbye and yet welcoming in with a new young life. Nice chose of instruments Joshua and wonderful you are joining your dad on this piece of music. Shane I’m sorry for the losses that you experienced this week, music is the healer. – Jim.

Dave Seidel
Sumeru – Lovely pattern of accelerating chime-like sounds. Surprisingly accessible given the unconventional tuning. Gonna save this somewhere for my friends who have never heard just intonation… – Paul. Dave love this and yes it’s very close to the hammered dulcimer or zither. Excellent that you delve in CSound, I’m curious about it and should explore. This floats really nice and complimented Steve’s Ricer well and viceversa. – Jim

Johnny and Faith
Faith Likes ImprovFirday – Faith makes a convincing case…. J&F
seem to have adapted nicely to the techno-industrial sounds we have been hearing here lately. – Paul. Spoken dialog like underwater with a cool effect, sensual overtones with nice floating decaying ending. Reverse is nice as things come to a close. – Jim

Jukka-Pekka Kervinen
PSG 08/01/10-#1 – Jukka wow like Johnny man welcome back, you guys have been missed. Great bouncy tones coming from your circuit boards. As I think about it this would have made a cook mash between you and Johnny. – Jim.

Greg Hooper
After Mail – Wonderful boingy tone and intriguing rhythm – too short! – Paul. Neat electro percussion sound as I’ve been playing the udu a lot which Greg’s sounds bring to mind. Assuming this is electro or sampled or could be pitched down kalimba. [ed note] Just noted in your shortY post that you were thinking about doing more short compositional forms and here we are, this one very haiku like – look forward to more. – Jim.

Steve Layton and Andrew McCance
Clear Lines – Sweet piano sounds start out light and sunny but slowly
darken. A little of Ben’s influence here? Melodies crossing each other –
but don’t clash. Comes in for a soft landing…Paul.
Love the name guys. So good to hear you both on ‘acoustic’ at least tones perhaps sampled but really complimentary lines, the brightness against the more dense close clusters. Would be neat with Ben’s touch after he gets his key’s back. – Jim.

Combs and Noyes
Wait A Minute Against this Tree – Space between spaces. Great sensitivity and patience with an almost ‘live’ feel at times. Point counterpoint, question answer. – Jim.

Thomas Bjørnseth & Lee Noyes
Etude for piano Aº34 & Improvised percussion – Hearing this back to back with J.C. and Lee’s ‘Wait a Minute…’ it’s wonderfully connected. The sentence continues. It would be interesting to hear these two mashes. Echoing sensitivity fellas and love the titles! – Jim.

Banko – Featuring Jeff Fairbanks and Bruce Hamilton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Wow, yet more of Jukka’s influence alternating with Jeff’s clean guitar – excellent contrast and nicely mixed. – Paul. Brilliant editing and turntable like scratch as well as great treatment of Jeff’s playful circus like piece. – Jim.

Kavin Allenson
Darganfod – Amazing guitar sounds with a great groove. The text provides an interesting commentary. – Paul.
Love this, tried to mash it without realizing that it was desired to be left as was, my bad as they say but infectious groove and feel speaks volumes Kavin and and the ending spoken part such a statement man, excellent! – Jim.

Transept in the Sound Temple – Beautiful tones rising up – a bit of James Ross’ influence here, I think… Very nice at about 3:00 with the deep pedal tone. Almost sorrowful at 4:30. Elegant ending. – Paul. Really rich and moving synth voices Kavin. Much ebb and flow and film score feeling here. A feeling akin to Pictures at an Exhibition re voice flowing like walking through a room of images. – Jim.

Steve Moyes
Lumpy – Booming bass bounces along with guitar accompaniment that builds up intriguingly in layers. Arrives at a complex texture with the bass holding everything together. At 4:00 the top layers are in conversation but by 5:00 all the voices are speaking at once in a sort of cacophony of guitars – we are rescued by the bass just before the sudden finish. – Paul. – Really cool Middle Eastern feeling in the guitar lines that starts very spacially apart from the lower foundation line but grows closer as the melodic line thickens. A feeling of ‘on the edge’ burning embers throughout Steve. Great gnarly tone develops in a third inner voice later in the piece. – Jim.

Jeff Duke
Strange Week in Lake Wobegone – Yeah, we’re definitely not in Minnesota… A bit of Dave Seidel and Lee Noyes’ industrial sounds have found their way into this one? Coming out of the Side-Track Tap, I saw these strange lights out over the lake…. – Paul. Sounds just like mosquitoes Jeff. Cool menacing feeling abounds in Garrison’s ‘above average’ world here. Monsters from the lake begin to emerge in the glitch about half way and grows more and more to the edge of glitch. Like it particularly the decay to nothingness on the end. – Jim.

Circus Krim – Sweet minimalist groove going here 🙂 Builds nicely. Too short! – Paul. You have defined a style Jeff, can always sense your sound almost before it happens, somewhat ethereal spacious and this one no less. Good vibe, the sounds hang, the journey begins.- Jim.

J.C. Combs
Wait a Minute – More economical piano from Mr. Combs… Intriguing, mysterious. – Paul. Floating tonal clusters in a spacial sea, drifting yet connected in a similar fashion to Beat poetry. Haunting final chord that drifts out questioning resolution. – Jim.

Thomas Bjørnseth
Etude for piano Aº34 – Nice segue from J.C. – could almost be part of the same piece. Well conceived and played. – Paul. Continuing in the outer schism of ‘found’ playing style if you will that I equally associate in both J.C.’s and Thomas’s fine approaches, Thomas lines to me move possibly towards an almost Monkish style allowing the spaces to connect the tones. In a sense this could be said about all music, it’s just with traditional and some other forms there are much more notes and much less space, perhaps a lesson. – Jim.

Lee Noyes
Oldani’s Sample Clouds & the Voice of Marshall Allen – Featuring Norbert Oldani, Marshall Allen and Lee Noyes (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – More electro-industrial sounds and good use of silences. Lightning fast cuts in the voice places add to sense of mystery.. – Paul.

Lee Noyes and Jim Goodin
Across the Seas, Across the World – Featuring Jim Goodin and Lee Noyes (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – I posted ‘Across the Field, Across the World’ in the final hour of the thread on Saturday night. Not too long after that half way around the world from downunder, Lee Noyes put his spin on it with a dulcimerish/gamelan sound, maybe some other percussion too, all of which took this piece on a new adventure. Some really neat high plucked sounds on the end. Thanks Lee for taking it ‘across the seas’. – Jim.

Benjamin Smith
Ben.improv.Jul.29.2010 – Ben gives us the 21st century accordion! (Maybe the best thing I have ever heard from an accordion.) Now some fast vibraphones – very well-played. Ben’s midi keyboard is out of commission and I believe this was recorded with a mic – bravo! – Paul. Nothing like having to take an instrument you normally play and due to some mechanical or electro mechanical issue I think in this case and work with it within new limitations. In this case I think it pushed Ben in some new directions. From micing the keyboards output it has brought in some ambience that’s not normally there so this track has a nice ‘live’ feel and suspect it is. Kudos Ben for meeting your obstacles and holding course. – Jim.

Kenneth Palmer
Procession (edited) – Pizzicato strings – mysterious woodwind floats overhead. Cool piano part weaves in and out – percussion as well. Quite a production altogether – very nice orchestration here. – Paul. Really lovely floating and haunting orchestration Ken. Great balance between the plucked opening strings and the woodwind voices with echoing Paul’s comments about the piano, darting about between the lines with nice presence. Nice queue Ken. – Jim.

Jeff Fairbanks
iBank – Heavy-duty beats keep time while a reedy melody buzzes by. Almost rap-like by 1:30, but it definitely grooves. – Paul. Like a balance between ‘March of the Tin Soldiers’ and hip-hop! Cool groove Jeff with what sounds like kind of early Casio percussion. You have a great sense of playfulness in your work Jeff that’s almost cartoonish but like Cirque du Soleil stuff. – Jim.

Roger “ErocNet” Sundström
Drive Man – Dark, mysterious low rumbling sounds convincingly sinister. – Paul. Ghostly higher voice floats throughout over the low sub frequency wash that I bet would sound really cool at high volume over speakers that would respond to it. Near end an almost wolf like voice harkens as the low wash pores about like the ‘dark smoke’ in Lost. Nice mood Roger. – Jim.

ImproSound 1 – Heavy-duty industrial motor sounds and rapping provide a menacing feel – but I’m not sure why… – Paul. It feels that we are in some kind of workshop or more so large warehouse. The sounds of the motor or some kind of vacuum device to my ears like an air vault or hydraulic device labors off/on. The mystery presence of random tapping approaches and goes. – Jim.

ImproSound 2 – Softer sounds at first but now an even bigger motor! We must be inside a steel mill, at least, yet it produces a sort of empty feeling… – Paul. Maybe all these sounds Roger is I don’t know getting ready to switch out the engine block in his car (grins) but not quite ready. The piece begins in silence and then we are greeted by a wind like rush that again feels/sounds like hydraulics about, then a sudden crash as if something is seating. Both these pieces are sensitively miced and prepped Roger. You continue to bring new sounds to the thread each week and are clearly working to push your envelope, all in neat ways. – Jim.

Paul Hertz
Mutation Toccata – Rhythmic notes bounce along with pedal tones added at about 1:30 that develop a nice contrast. Introspective by about 5:00. Surprising ending. – Paul. Subtle linear growing lines from Paul’s signature organ. As he’s been in recent weeks less cathedral-like and more spacious, searching. This one on the edge of ‘phantom’ grows with tension with clusters entering midway that suggest a bit of pop color in the harmonies to my ears then returns to linear lines winding down and then ‘surprise’! – Jim.

Peter Thörn
Pumps on line – Interesting collection of repeating sounds – like a dragon snoring. – Paul. Peter sounds like you’ve been in Roger’s machine shop! Clearly rhythm in the machine and the repetitive pattern ranges to a snarling dog to the grunting pig. Would be interesting to reverse delay that pattern and see what you get. As always Peter you are as Roger constantly experimenting with what is around you and Lee here too. – Jim.

Pseudo (Gaetano Fontanazza)
Mellowing Tides – Lovely warm sound – like watching a sunset on a summer beach. You can hear the sea birds at 3:20. Apt title. – Paul. Love the reverse sounds in this track Gaetano. As if crying seagulls flying just off the shore. The tide is calm this evening. A loan ship is voyaging its way to port. Lovely and visual sweeping groove here. You and Mr Duke are each charting a serene course, so much color in each of you individually and with UsIt, happening guys. This track brings that to mind. – Jim.

Bruce Hamilton
Boons – Softly beautiful sounds rise up accompanied by an electric motor – a day spent working happily around the house. Somewhat more intense by 2:30 – must be quite a project – yet restful and relaxing for all of that. – Paul. Epic like piece, a bit of ‘How the West Was Won’ in feel and spirit. Nice mix of percussive hits off the top and what’s the vacuum cleaner like thing going about? Love the reverse which always creates a great vibe, greatest effect ever realized I think. Know this isn’t a mash but I hear all kinds of folks in it so influence speaks of Jeff, Roger and Lee to my most immediate ears/thoughts. – Jim.

line Pumpercar – Featuring Steve Layton, Peter Thörn and Bruce Hamilton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – An opening like a prehistoric bird or a tower crier in Iran calling to morning prayer. Glimpses of Steve’s piano take this to like morning accompanying light then the noises of the day encircle the setting, drone of life symbolized in Peter’s machine animals. – Jim.

Trom – Featuring Paul H. Muller and Bruce Hamilton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Echos add layer on layer. A deep pedal sound rises up from below intermittently adding mass to the frothy surface texture. Smooths out nicely at the end. Creative use of material that already sounds busy… – Paul. Sophisticated rumblings of an urban landscape, people moving, riveting lower pulses augmented by edgee treble patch, nice shift in mood at end to ambient sweep and distant voice. – .Jim.

Guide – Featuring Kavin Allenson, Jeff Duke, Pseudo, Ben Smith and Bruce Hamilton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Ben’s accordion dances around a bright lovely background – great segue into some beautiful repeating guitar parts. Very attractive piece. – Paul. Intricate workings in this ambient sweep between minimalist steady backdrop of guitar voicing, lovely synth washes and Ben’s searching accordion voice or patch floating about the surface as if a searchlight on the water looking for land. Mood reminds me of the great Andy Summers-Robert Fripp duo albums of late 80’s. – Jim.

Yip – Featuring Miles Hamilton-Sommer and Bruce Hamilton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Percussive sounds abound – now cheering! Quiets at 1:30 and we hear a piano accompanying an emerging violin player. Too short! – Paul. Beat and kind of electro pop groove with contrasting last third of the piece with sudden change to gentle piano and ambience voices as if closing the door on the room. – Jim.

Andrew McCance
IF – Dreams Part 1 – Put Away the Day – Solemn piano chords in slow progression. A bit of Thomas Bjørnseth, perhaps? Beautifully realized – perfect for watching the sun set. – Paul. Put away the day into the twilight, reflective piano reflecting modern but with clear hold on the traditions. – Jim.

IF – Dreams Part 2 – To Whom it may Concern – To Whom it may Concern – More quiet piano music now with cello. Perfectly matched melody with the accompaniment – very evocative. Andrew could write for TV and movies. – Paul. The suite continues, exploring piano as if it looking about the room and thinking about the time spent, lovely cello emerges to begin painting the canvas. – Jim.

IF – Dreams Part 3 – Deep Cells – Something completely different from parts 1 & 2, incorporating many of the industrial sounds we have heard on IF. A low rumbling and a rushing sound change in intensity, leaves one with a solitary feeling. – Paul. A wind storm outside is coming on, weather man had called for possible gale conditions. Traffic on the highway nearby goes by, splashing surface water about. Low rumbling voice starts to emerge suggesting what’s next! – Jim.

IF – Inside the Mind of ImprovFriday – Dreams Part 4 – Spoken text underlain by a busy electronic foundation – definitely futuristic. Nice dramatic entrance of strings at 1:35. More great orchestral licks start at 2:40 and build to the climax. An impressive series of pieces. – Paul. Hearing voices beginning as if alone in your own quietness but convinced you’re hearing voices around you then this killer killer string arrangement emerges that just makes your hair stand, just killer arrangement Andy. – Jim.

Steve Moshier
Uncertainty Principle – Uncertainty Principle – A great vortex of sound – gives you a feeling of hearing randomness in action, as the title suggests. Like hearing a fractal… – Paul. Man Steve you get the ghostliess patches. Kind of like a street beat afro feeling happening with spirits about in the concrete canyon. – Jim.

Loose Change – extraterrestrial mood going on, exploring sounds as if life entering a strange room. Nice dark mysterious mood and strangely I want to comment on the pulsing like cricket sounds which I wouldn’t think would be ‘extraterrestrial’ but doesn’t matter, like em! – Jim.

Will Romano and Jim Goodin
Walk With Me – More lovely guitar playing – we have been lucky this week. Nice layering with a woodwind sound, then percussion added into the mix as the intensity builds, yet without becoming strident. Sustains the mood beautifully, even with all that is going on. Percussion really takes over the texture at 5:00 but still supports the original mood set
by the guitars. Guitars seem to lose their way at 6:00 but come back into sync by 6:45 most effectively. All the stops are out by 7:45 but the piece is still under control. From 8:45 the guitars glide slowly back to earth. I really like this piece. – Paul. I can’t really comment on this as too vested of course but I do want to add that I’m proud to introduce Will to this community, really creative guy with a great sense of keeping the ‘organic’ in his process of fine drumming. Paul thanks for the nice words. – Jim.

Norbert Oldani
Vocalization 2 – Mysterious low opening, now joined by voices – charmingly medieval in character. Crusaders back from Jerusalem? – Paul. Angelic, almost boy choir voices suggesting other times. Nice melodic development Norbert. – Jim.

SampleCloud of Trombones – Nice drum work here. More string-like than brassy. – Paul. Sort of a continuous passing forth of horn like samples and drums samples, a horn and drum corp. Are these made in Kyma by chance Norbert? – Jim.

SampleCloud of ? – Machine-like rolling sounds – with a crisply played snare drum. – Paul. Metallic to concrete like sound envelop starts with snare drum taking over and continuing in a para or flama rhythmic cast. – Jim.

SampleCloud of a Bucket – Hard to describe, like footsteps on stonework with reverb – and very short. – Paul. Walking in snow to me, crunch, crunch. Wonder if these 4 pieces are part of similar ideas Greg was working on for ShortY posts? – Jim.

Steve Layton
Ricercare – Delicate piano playing with pleasingly complex melodies weaving around each other. Nice touch. – Paul. What can I say but love this and have listened to this week in several settings as various including myself have taken Steve’s lovely kind of Bill Evanish track and evolved something new. When I first heard this the other day think on Saturday, I just thought wow Steve so great to hear you out of the electronics for a moment. – Jim.

In Flanders Field – Featuring Andy McCance, Adam Kondor, Norbert Oldani, Bruce Hamilton and Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – In the halls of Harry Potter, mystery about and also beginning of a holiday mass. Lovely piano and voice intermingling throughout, drum samples coming in are cool and takes this to new places. Also overall vibe feels like post-war England but maybe that’s the titling which I happen to love for the name is associated with a traditional Scots tune I think. – Jim.

Bad Trip – Featuring Paul Muller, Bruce Hamilton, Steve Moshier, Peter Thörn, Norbert Oldani and Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – “This is your brain on drugs” – accurately depicted. – Paul. Evil sounding Mercedes MaCambridge voice down in the mix, kind of like Alien. Great alchemy of evil here gentlemen. – jim.

Bird of the Mesa – Featuring Benjamin Smith, Jeff Duke, Gaetano Fontanazza, Kavin Allenson and Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Ben’s bird-like accordion holds this together while the background gathers darkly. Gaetano’s sea gulls close this out nicely. – Paul. The ‘Bird’ flies through several gardens here. Ben’s pinch-hitting on not his traditional instrument provides a haunting sort knarly like tone bouncing around amongst the varying colours of the mesa orchestrated by Jeff, Gaetano and Kavin. Kind of rain forest mood throughout. – Jim.

Generator – Featuring Jim Goodin, Roger Sundström, Will Romano, Gaetano Fontanazza, Peter Thörn, Shane Cadman and Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – This piece owes a lot to the mood of ‘Walk With Me’ yet manages to enhance it with the added material. This is the best mix I have heard from Steve since I can remember. Beautiful and affecting. – Paul. Steve thanks for taking our track to new places and spreading Will’s work a bit more here. – Jim.

Carnival Overload – Featuring Jeff Fairbanks, Ken Palmer, Shane Cadman, Roger Sundström, Jeff Duke and Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Bolero like opening, kind of mix between spooky clowns about in a festive circus atmosphere. @3:30 mood moves to more ambient feel as repeating guitar develops. I mentioned Cirque du Soleil earlier in another piece’s feeling, this mash suggests that as well. – Jim.

Beach – Featuring Gaetano Fontanazza, Greg Hooper, Jim Goodin and Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Despite having a part in this (thanks Steve) and should downplay ‘back patting’ I do dig this mash a lot. G’s sweeping backwards fluid scape is like the ocean and Greg’s electro acoustic maybe organic synth tones adding separation are nice and as said organic. Then there’s this guy ‘caterwauling’ in the depths, oh that’s me, ha! – Jim.

China, What Happened? – Featuring Steve Moyes, Peter Thörn, Adam Kondor, Johnny & Faith and Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Growing Adam’s fine environmental aural documentary piece in a wider World feel with Steve’s menacing Middle Eastern feel guitar, Peter’s ‘growls’, Johnny and Faith’s erotic tones and Captain Layton at the helm of the ship charting for seas afar. – Jim.

Steve Layton, Dave Seidel & Jim Goodin
Thousand Years, Thousand Smiles – Featuring Steve Layton, Dave Seidel and Jim Goodin (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Okay really had fun with this one and can’t in good faith comment but will say thanks Steve and Dave for blending so well in what feels all acoustic tones given the fine in disguise CSound dulcimer tones. – JIm.

Adam Kondor
Microexpressions – Complex piano playing and percussion underneath spoken text provides a feeling of alienation. Wonderful orchestral hits and other sounds add to the mix. Well crafted! – Paul. Detailed and ornate visual landscape. Good contrasting orchestral hits that echo early Sci Fi sound queues. – Jim.

The Canonic Mingus Tapestry (feat. Charlie Mingus – Contrabass) – Could be another part of ‘Microexpressions’ – bass sounds intermixed with orchestral sounds form a complex texture. – Paul. Good to resurface Charlie M Adam. His classic bowing and phrasing abound here surrounded by interesting vibe from you. – Jim.

Beautiful Transition – The birds win again. – Paul. Interlude, nice birds and quick edit of the sample on tail end setting the stage nicely when this is heard in sequence as it is in this playlist, stay tuned. – Jim.

What Happened In China – Explanation of the Cultural Revolution by talking heads who happen to be the same person. The aloofness of the speaker from the reality is chilling. – Paul. Wonderful edits and a brief but effective aural documentary statement. Can almost see Mao Tse-tung in this Truman Capote like narrative. – Jim.

For Sophie Podolski – Featuring Steve Layton, Andrew McCance, Jim Goodin, Benjamin Smith, Paul Herz, Roger Sundström, Jeff Duke, Bruce Hamilton, Kavin Allenson, Greg Hooper and Adam Kondor (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Lovely piano playing mixed with strings, voices and a squeeze box create a very exotic atmosphere. At 4:50 I thought I heard Paul Hertz and by 6:00 we are in space. Interesting, liquidy sounds at the end. – Paul. Adam said he was heading in a mass mash of everyone but stopped early and then decided to post as is. Glad you did Adam. It’s a true sounding painting to the soul that you honored in naming. Led me to Google and find out who was Sophie. For those that don’t know as I didn’t, she was a Belgian poet and designer who battled schizophrenia and died early following a suicide attempt in 1974. I search for some text from her published works, ‘The Country Where Everything is Permitted’ published in her lifetime and the ‘Snow Queen’ published after her death but found no examples. Now knowing all this reveals a great deal of her troubled life in Adam’s mash of those of us included. Beautiful mash and honoring of her Adam. – Jim.

And as another thread review closes know that the new ImprovFriday open call thread music event is about to kick off in a couple of hours. If this writing sparks your interest for the work of those represented or New Music in general do check out this weekend’s event at ImprovFriday.ning.com.

Also please consider subscribing to our ImprovFriday Radio podcast series via iTunes or at it’s home at ImprovFridayRadio.podomatic.com. The series published monthly features overviews of the works of ImprovFriday member artists and focused interviews with them.

Many thanks for following ImprovFriday and the WhatsNewAtImprovFriday blog.

Happy week and weekend,

Jim & Paul

One thought on “Sadness, Joy, Mystery and Beauty, ImprovFriday

  1. Henry Mayors

    This is great info. I just absolutely love coming to your blog and checking what you have to say. Please never stop writing your bog. Your information and content is so great and I have been telling all my friends about it.

    Reply

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