Introspective Tonality and Distant Galaxies, All Witnessed on ImprovFriday

ImprovFriday artists returned to last weekend’s (September 2-4, 2010) thread with another round of creatively challenging ‘new’ music. This event was particularly filled with much tonality and a range of contrasts as the title suggests. Our community is growing in new people who are responding to this web space of collaborative energy and, hence, each weekend the thread grows in new directions with a familiar foundation of those who have been there throughout.

With this event, a good balance between short and long pieces, some subtle, some raw and pronounced and some very eloquent and beautiful. And with that, Paul Muller and my [Jim Goodin] commentaries begin, here on the WhatsNewAtImProvFriday blog. Please take the time to check out the hyper-linked pieces of each participating artist from the event represented below.

Jeff Fairbanks
Bryna – Nice orchestral sound! Cool syncopation, good percussion groove going. – Paul. Artful percussion foundation that is quite more with cool popish sounding synth melody weaving through. – Jim.

David John Baer McNicholas
War Cock – Growling, snarling noises. Suitably fierce living up to the title. – Paul. Sometimes for some of the IF pieces I Google the name to see what it suggests. It was interesting nothing perse comes from War Cock, all derivatives none of which rings the images this track yields which is like sounds of my old state mascot from Arkansas, the razorback. Woo pig souie! – Jim.

Eat Shit and Die – Snappy guitar playing and some drumming. A sort of happy-go-lucky feel to this. – Paul. Wildly felt acoustic guitar groove in a Django style at times joined by paced drums in synchronicity, all with the tried/true phrase that seems to suggest in our time, ‘in your face’. – Jim.

Crazy Bird – Crazy bird – All birds are slightly crazy. Very outdoors. – Paul. Environmental, perhaps in the zoo at feeding or cleaning time. – Jim.

Saint Lee Harvey Oswald – Stretched tuning on the guitar – some mean playing… Great chopping and cutting here. – Paul. More of the raw acoustic guitar work of ES&D but with nice manipulation and reverse filtering in the middle. The electronic artifacts are of interest. – Jim.

Bludgeoning the Faithful. – Strong percussive beat – exotic. Nice electronica groove. – Paul. Good street beat like a bucket drummer, leads to manipulation both in edits and pitch change but rhythm track really neat. – Jim

Paul Hertz
In D – Beautiful figure, repeated 🙂 Evolves introspectively. Good use of echo around 5:30. Lovely ending. Well done! – Paul. Sounds like an evolution of the piece you did from last week Paul, Minimalist, in some ways. Clearly evolving to next place but echoes the influence nicely. Like the pulse and approach. Organ cadenza over the pedal tone is neat. Moves into the land of Riley and Reich as it moves to the conclusion. – Jim.

Chris Vaisvil
When God Comes Down From Heaven – Interesting texture to this – strong beat. Faintly Celtic? – Paul. Anthemesque and great John Bonham influenced drums carrying through. – Jim.

Finding Objections – Impressive saxophone licks – a sort of roaring like a large animal. Electronic sounds appear. A sort of buzzing sound, like bees pervades. Builds interestingly around 8:00. Glides along on a variety of sounds – nicely crafted. – Paul. Demented almost inhaled sax tone speaking wildly of John Zorn at times and actually our brother Peter. Actually thought it was him as I like this kind of emotive tone a lot. Electronics echoing other brother Jukka. Sounds combine becoming human voice like at times, scratch wheels and reverse and stutters are cool, really John Zornish throughout to my ears Chris. – Jim.

http://clones.soonlabel.com/public/improvfriday/mando/bowed-mando-a… – String sounds that seem combined in some way with brass horns. Solemn melody – lovely chords. Chant-like. – Paul. Really spiritual Chris. Middle eastern quality in your bowed instrument plays well, occasional variation with percussive guitar adds. – Jim.

http://clones.soonlabel.com/public/improvfriday/mando/ebow-mando-al… – Strong flute sound here with accompanying strings. South Asian flavor to this. – Paul. Love this! Opening is as many of us who knew of him praising Michael and keeping his voice alive then it shifts to neat mix of Frippish eBowed tone but more metallic edge. But as it moves to conclusion becomes more flute and voice like moan, resolves nicely. – Jim.

http://clones.soonlabel.com/public/improvfriday/mando/bowed-mando-v… – Distant sound – singing? Strings? Interesting sound as they combine in echoes. Very cool cymbal. Good diminuendo on the finish. – Paul. Far away and over the hills. Synth or processed voice done minimally breaths well here. Good decay on end. – Jim.

http://clones.soonlabel.com/public/improvfriday/mando/bowed=mando=b… – Deep solo bass notes repeated provide a strong sound. – Paul. Cleanly plucked fretted electric bass, repeated sequences gradually evolving to fluid lines as the piece develops but never loses the sense of the initial foundation groove. – Jim.

J.C. Combs
Jackie and the Beanstalk – Deep mysterious tones create an atmosphere of uncertainty. The sounds are almost like vibrations you can feel – like that very lowest note on the church organ. Voices appear with much echo. The booming is louder now – and pitches can be perceived, a sort of mournful chord. 60 Hz sounds are added and the intermittent clatter of something dropped. A good sonic portrait of what it must be like to enter the giant’s house at the top of the beanstalk. – Paul. Sense of ominous things about as if ants preparing for something deep and scary to wake up as they scurry about the underbrush. Clearly the giant is resting. I can see the shadows and I can see the plant-like tree towering into the clouds – I do have a vivid suggestive imagination. All aside, cool low-end with occasional metallic things beginning to creak as the piece progresses. The ‘hum’ weaves through as if leading us to climb and see. – Jim.

Glenn Weyant
http://www.sonicanta.com/audio/scuttling_mice_kestrel_and_glenn_wey… – Way fast violin and piano playing provide cool sounds. – Paul. Nice competitive frenetic dialog here Glenn. Like the fact the piano is sort of the in the forefront and the violin is almost ambiance but still very interesting figure and interplay. Well played. – Jim.

Kavin Allenson
Ursa Minor:3 Views – Fine guitar licks here – lovely playing. Beautiful chords in at 3:30. Effective use of echo. – Paul. Really beautiful and evocative Kavin. I hear where you have been and watch where you are going. – Jim.

Crychord Perfunkt – or otherworldly – feel to this. Cool use of the strings. – Paul. Electronic telephony, kind of the past and the not so past. Sets the stage in the beginning for interesting acoustic guitar workings later in the dialog. – Jim.

electric hair – Cool Kavin. Bit of Hendrix lurking and really nice mix of the one effect I can’t recall at this writing that’s part vocoder and part pitch mod and shoot what is it! I know it well and Jeff Duke is king of it. I digress, really cool modish track. – Jim.

Jukka-Pekka Kervinen
Deep Web – Wonderful mix of sounds in all registers. Ominous sounds – like being in a strange harbor at midnight. – Paul. Really beautiful Jukka. Nice departure from your more frenetic pace. Explore more like this though contrast is always good. Well done. – Jim.

Tenth Exit – Industrial sounds now – the distant hissing of torches cutting metal, low rumblings. – Paul. Darker mood but still nice exploring. Subtle movement in your tones. Has a good far away quality. – Jim.

JĂ©rĂ´me Poirier
To Trap a Mockingbird – Featuring Steve Moyes, Shane W. Cadman and JĂ©rĂ´me Poirier (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Busy guitar strings. Birdlike chirps emerge from a swirl of sound. – Paul. Pensive and spacious with great escalating electronica in the latter part. – Jim.

To Trap a Bellbird – Featuring Roger “ErocNet” Sundström, Benjamin Smith, Paul Hertz and JĂ©rĂ´me Poirier (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – More birdlike sounds – created effectively from chopped up keyboard pieces. – Paul. Constructed and creatively edited between the lovely Bell Labs piece of Roger’s and the exploring keys of Ben and Paul. – Jim.

Norbert Oldani
Melodic Imro. over an Ostinato – Shimmering sounds shoot out – light touch but lightning fast. Very nice. – Paul. Quasar like reverse envelope sounds weaving between western tonality and the Far East at times. Like the patch Norbert. – Jim.

Two Samples Multiplied Together – Low rumblings – the snorting of some great beast? – Paul. The razorback returns… – Jim.

Sample Cloud of an Ancient Greek Kithara – A very taught sound, almost percussive. – Paul. How did you get up in the clo…. sorry, pensive again interesting sound patch here. – Jim.

Shane W. Cadman
Piece090310 – The looping of the two guitar samples seem almost like a phasing effect. The echo adds effectively to what would seem to be straight-forward playing. Well-conceived. – Paul. I like all the guitar work you are doing these days Shane, different path than the first pieces I heard of yours when I first joined though all well done. Has a nice western feel in the High Noon. – Jim.

Lee Noyes
The Crosswise Pattern of Things Now – The Crosswise Pattern of Things Now – Interesting mix of bumps and liquid sounds separated by silences. Pre or post-quake? Chirps and beeps, but very quiet. Like we are observing some feral activity. – Paul. Nice mix of sudden bursts and pans on the opening moments. As always much patience between your negative space and the sudden contrast Lee. Like the bass bump sound that is the bolder contrast. – Jim.

Bruce Hamilton
Kjash – Keyboard tones with echo produce a solemn melody. Now a flute joins in – short notes on the edge of the phrase. Now electronic sounds – a chilled feeling to this. A return of the keyboard riff ends the piece. – Paul. Def’ly ‘electro acoustic’ in feel and timbre. Sense of space by somewhat planned erratic pulsed. Calculated and well done Dr. Bruce. – Jim.

Still New Part 1 (rough) – Featuring Tasha Warren and Bruce Hamilton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Really cool Bruce. The opening mist like ambiance began to suggest something almost ‘Lost’ like as I watched two episodes this AM with my son then the clarinet sound enters which was really the cooler of cool. Quite fluid and acoustic with occasional electronica feel. – Jim.

Adam Kondor
Mozart Chiaroscuro – Mozart played on tablesaws! Reminds me of certain orchestra rehearsals of long ago… An aggressive sound produced by seemingly polite melodies. – Paul. Like traffic going backwards, the tape is rewound, the strings sound great in both directions! – Jim.

Bowles in Tangier – Featuring Benjamin Smith, Peter Thörn, Steve Layton, Norbert Oldani and Adam Kondor (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – A delicate sound, like wind chimes to which keyboard and sitar added. The sound seems to float and hover in front of you. The piano and sitar trade off, each going their own way. Exotic, relaxing. – Paul. Wild mash Adam, love the real sense of east meets west that comes out of this. Peter’s sitar like stuff is really strong. The chimes floating through equally. Good ending. – Jim.

Found Object – We are in the movie ‘The Seven Samaria’ – suitably exotic. – Paul. Almost comical and can’t help but think of the Monty Python here doing their spin of the Samaria. – Jim.

Guarded Optimism – Featuring Roger Sundström, Benjamin Smith, Bruce Hamilton, Lee Noyes, Kenneth Palmer, JP Kervinen, the voice of Martin Rees and Adam Kondor (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Nice glass-like tone at the opening. Soft notes by Ben Smith. Very atmospheric. interweaving of the piano pieces very effective. Turns ominous at 6:45 – the carefree feel of the keyboard pieces has left us. The text only amplifies the new mood. – Paul. Nice scape with a feel for post 60 Sci-Fi. Academic voice over or inclusion is a feel you bring to several mashes well Adam, always introspective and subtle message within. The snyth like ambient voices had a certain ‘haunt’ underscoring the minimalist uncertain narrative. – Jim.

DelphiIN – Processed speech! Can’t quite make out what is being said… Sounds political, but voiced by space creatures. A lot of Jukka-Pekka type sounds here… – Paul. Rather serious narrative commentary on the World in recent years by paradoxically playful Alvin and Chipmonk guy with a cool metalesque foundation. – Jim.

DRAMA – The Beatles tune and voices, followed by a beautiful choir at the finish – too short. – Paul. Nice weave, love the choir at end. – Jim.

Steve Layton
Reee! – Sharp cutting and pasting here – has the sound of musique concrete. Approximates some of Jukka-Pekka’s sounds but these have a softer edge. – Paul. Audio frequencies bouncing off the stellar surface like rain coming down. – Jim.

Piano Dream with Rider – Featuring Benjamin Smith, Roger Sundström x2, Kavin Allenson, Peter Thörn, Adam Kondor and Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Sleek piano notes surrounded by lush orchestral chords. Beautifully atmospheric. Now voices, horses and a saxophone – a disruption of some sort. But the mood is restored and glides to the finish. The pieces for this mix were well-chosen. – Paul. Pristine piano lines encircled by haunting voices and saxophone. Piano grows in intensity acting like a flashlight looking through a mysterious chamber. – Jim.

Bump Drift – Featuring Lee Noyes, Kavin Allenson, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen and Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Lee’s piece adds mystery to this right away. Like drifting on a slow river at night. Jukka’s sounds end it on a strong note. – Paul. Things that go ‘bump’ in the night. Exploring. Sounds bit like sharpening things. Nice balance of electronic with acoustic sounds throughout. – Jim.

Forward – Featuring Paul Hertz, Steve Moyes, Peter Thörn, Chris Vaisvil and Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – The organ figure keeps us on a steady course while the strings weave their light melodies. At about 4:30 a sort of ghostly choir rises from below. At 5:50 the organ becomes more animated and, joined by voices, a nice groove results. The organ returns to a soft, slow pedal tone to finish. – Paul. The minimalist quality in Paul’s organ moves this mash nicely along enhanced by Peter’s sleigh sounds. The guitar work and synth voices enter for a nice ending in the ‘forward’ motion it all suggests. – Jim.

Gardens of Babble On – Featuring David John Baer McNicholas, Adam Kondor, Chris Vaisvil, Kavin Allenson and Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Ghost voices with darkness circling around acoustic frenzy, pulsed by slight funk lines in the bass. – Jim.

Skybridge – Featuring Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Kavin Allenson, Shane Cadman and Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Floating over imagination Steve. Like the guitar interplay and sense of a thing from above that your foundation gives. Nice decay out ending as if going in to the mist… Jim.

Traveler’s March – Featuring Adam Kondor, Jim Goodin, Chris Vaisvil and Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Nice to be included in this and love the way you grew the density of this Steve. Good sense of sureality in Adam and Chris’s orchestration and wash. – Jim.

Benjamin Smith
Ben.improv.Sep.1.2010 – Soft, solitary notes produce a mysterious feel. Reminds me of Thomas Bjornseth’s piano pieces (where has he been, anyway?) Solid playing here – a sort of question and answer dialogue at about 3:40. Thunderous towards the finish. Well-crafted. – Paul. Wow Ben has his keys back or something new. Excellent pristine acoustic piano piece, shines like the sun all through, delicate at first, really tasteful notes and then grows to beating the hell out of keys with tremendous passion. Welcome home Ben! – Jim.

Ben.improv.Sep.2.2010.a – Electric keyboard generates a subdued, solemn feeling. Quiet, introspective with just a hint of anxiety. The ending is like a music box running down. – Paul. Contrast but lovely exploring on a Rhodes like patch, soft and mellow as if looking under every leaf, every object about the room for that thing that I misplaced, was never there, was… – Jim.

Ben.improv.Sep.2.2010 – Music for the inside of computers! Interesting tones – metallic and echoey producing a shimmering texture. As the pitches get higher a sense of uncertainty increases. Lovely chord at the finish. – Paul. Steve Layton influence here to my ears and particularly in the synth patch. Has feeling in the lines of falling down like water in a waterfall. Good sense of the duality of the hands in this piece. Fall like the rain Ben. – Jim.

Roger “ErocNet” Sundström
The Light – Bright guitar and electronic sounds – wonderful, sunny feeling here. – Paul. The light delicate warm inviting. Cool blend figerpicked uke or guitar with reverse electronics. Good one Roger. – Jim.

The Light 2 – like staring at the sun. You can feel the light hammering at you! The slight changes in dynamic levels are effective. Lovely chord at 2:00. Beautifully realized – a brilliant piece! – Paul.

Bell Sound Studie – Bell tones reduced to their sinusoidal essence – ringing then slowly fading away. Almost like hearing sound in a vacuum – if that were possible. Interesting interaction with the overtones. A lonely feeling in this piece – reminds me of ‘2001 – A Space Odyssey’ sequences. Holds your interest over the duration. – Paul. Love this. First heard it on portable coming home and the way the sounds started were in the back behind my ears in the headphones. It was unclear for several moments whether I was hearing environmental along my walk or recording from the phones. Sneaks in like the warm fog. – Jim.

Vapor Anguish – Featuring Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Paul Muller, Shane W. Cadman, Norbert Oldani x2, Peter Thörn and Roger “ErocNet” Sundström (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Some serious guitar strumming in the opening along with Jukka’s electronic effects builds tension. Shimmering chimes provide the vapor. Anguish indeed! – Paul. Sort of Good Bad and the Ugly like theme over space age electric the Asian like koto patch enters with neat acoustic slide guitar section and gutter electronics that takes is home. – Jim.

I’m Happy – Featuring David John Baer McNicholas, Adam Kondor x3 and Roger “ErocNet” Sundström (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – You are happy there Roger! This is neat, almost Pee Wee Playhouse in mood and equally cool street beat at the same time. Heck throw in the Tubbies as well. Nice groove. – Jim.

Slow-reacting Substance A – Manipulated are pitched down possibly processed prepared guitar and am thinking of that huge harp exhibit in California that’s like part of the landscape and huge. This sounds that way like it’s almost ‘found’ or part of another process. Neat. – Jim.

The First Electric Beard of an Adolescent Boy – Featuring Kavin Allenson, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Chris Vaisvil and Roger “ErocNet” Sundström (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – First electric beard really nice ring mod leading in to ambient wash of electronics, drone and decaying voice. – Jim.

The Devil With the Three Golden Hairs – Featuring J.C. Combs, Bruce Hamilton, Peter Thörn and Roger “ErocNet” Sundström (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Like time-lapse footage of beams of light sweeping across a canyon landscape, almost like a search light in the fog. As in ‘Jack’ one senses the greater presence below albeit good or bad. – Jim.

Peter Thörn
Fate – Distant busy string sounds create a sense of frenetic activity. The fates are weaving their cloth of history. – Paul. Wonderful raga fused tone going on here Peter. Definite sitar vibe and authentic feel, you really have this well and have impressed me with it as long as I’ve known you. It is indeed ‘Fate’. – Jim.

Spirits – Strumming chime-like sounds provide a sense of airy lightness, as if hovering in the air. Ephemeral, like sleigh bells off in a distant wood – was it really there at all? – Paul. Christmas… – Jim.

Poem – Sitars provide a distinctly North Indian feel to this. A story being told here and towards the end it almost seems like the sitar is speaking. – Paul. Peter this is marvelous. Didn’t know you had a sitar and wondering if you are getting this from your fretless guitar and some manipulation. In a sense the surprise is better as it’s just really nice feed for raga which you seem to be there subconsciously. – Jim.

Passing By – Passing by hammered dulcimer sounds like wind chimes blowing against each other in resounding chorus. – Jim.

Object Found – I did a piece early on in IF that Joseph Benzola exclaimed I sounded like Don Cherry. This is what I think here Pete. Really fluid voice like horn which is so you and the animated cultural voice blending in is indeed the ‘object found’. – Jim.

Kenneth Palmer
A Candle Thing – Video! Nice mix of music box and piano. A warm feel to this music. At times the music follows the dancing flame. Perfect ending. – Paul. A new step in our world here at IF Ken! The film is really nice, almost more within the shadows of the flame than the flame and lovely score which is your penchant, balance between keys and orchestration really nice. – Jim.

Dance Project – Simply beautiful. – Paul. Wow! Tremendous moves in the young woman’s balance between dance and yoga. The first time when she descends in a roll to the floor and your strings beautifully follow Ken is the peak. Nice exploring in your well placed orchestration throughout her moves. Nice ending release into black. – Jim.

Though we don’t review each others work via this blog Paul and I do participate in every ImprovFriday thread. These were our pieces from last weekend’s event.

Paul Muller
Labor Day

Jim Goodin
Approaching

Thanks so much for following ImprovFriday via this blog. We hope you find it challenging and interesting. ImprovFriday is a very vibrant and active community of musicians who are committed to creating and publishing new musical content every week which keeps this thread flowing.

In addition to the WhatsNewAtImProvFriday blog you should also check out the monthly ImprovFriday Radio podcast series on Podomatic.com and also accessible on iTunes. The recent August episode hosted by Paul featured the mash work of Bruce Hamilton, J.C. Combs and Adam Kondor. The September episode (soon to be posted) will feature and in-depth interview with ImprovFriday member artist Steve Moyes of the U.K. i interviewed Steve a couple of weeks back via Skype so please join me for a look at the work of Steve, a fine multi-instrumentalist and looping musician. The ImprovFriday Radio podcast is located at ImprovFridayRadio.Podomatic.Com.

Lastly please visit the world of ImprovFriday on the Ning network at ImprovFriday.Ning.Com and we’ll see you next week on WhatsNewAtImProvFriday for a look at the thread event of September 9 – 11.

Cheers,

Jim and Paul
ImprovFriday Radio - Jim Goodin & Paul Muller

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