A 'Gathering' of it's Own – ImprovFriday

Welcome to this week’s edition of WhatsNewAtImProvFriday with a look back at the work created by ImprovFriday member artists the weekend of September 9 – 11, 2010. ImprovFriday member Paul Muller and myself [Jim Goodin] review the published work created each weekend known as the ImprovFriday event thread. We try to each review most or all of the contributed work. The bulk of the reviews this week are by Paul as I had too many agendas and did not get to review as much of the thread as I normally do.

In addition to the individual work and mash’s I would like to mention that two ImprovFriday members James Ross and yours truly went full circle from only knowing of each other virtually to discovering we both lived in Brooklyn, officially meeting last month at the Alex Carpenter/James Ross/Michael Vincent Waller New York area live show and ImprovFriday video webcast. We then decided to meet recently and improvise music together at my apartment in Brooklyn. Three pieces I edited from the jam and included in the weekend event thread. Paul was nice enough to include in his rundown, appreciated sir.

Another unique interaction that was submitted for the recent thread was the inclusion of a field recording by member Steve Moyes who lives in England. This particular recording which leads off the thread is from an annual meeting of an ongoing improvisational event known as ‘The Gathering‘ where musicians, singers, dancers and just about creative medium represented gather together and spontaneously interact in their chosen art together.

And now the reviews…

The Gathering
The Gathering in Cymru – with musical instruments – Featuring Maggie Nicols, Phil Hargreaves, Agnes Hay, David Perreko,David Paredes, Ricardo Marichall, Shirley Hall, Shellbell, Delyth Jones and Steve Moyes (performing artist and field recordist) – The sounds of a family gathering – with musical instruments. Very lively, nice clarinet, drum, piano and bass playing. Great vocals at 3:30. Sounds like a fun time. Paul. You enter a room, say nothing and begin to play at your instrument, sing, dance, improvise in some creative way. Others may be in motion already ‘creating’ so you respond to them. There is no structure no clear beginning or ending, this is the concept observed as the Editor’s note describes. This meeting of these musicians/performers was from the recent annual meeting. Spontaneous and spectacular… Jim. [Editor’s note – This session is a field recording captured live in Wales at the annual celebratory event know simply as ‘The Gathering’. A weekly version of ‘The Gathering’ happens in London.]

Charles A. Turner
Mutable Morning Mashup – Quiet, mysterious. Lovely chimes playing – then we are walking outside. More mystery, chimes and sweet string playing. Nice to hear from you again Charles. – Paul.

Lee Noyes and Adam Kondor
Etude – Featuring Adam Kondor and Lee Noyes – 11 IX 10 – Fun guys! Sort of chipmunk voices from a few weeks ago buried in there somewhere. Electronic manipulations with Lee ‘keeping time’ in a sense. Seeing images of a roller ball appearing amongst the squeaky wheel textures as the piece grows. chipmunk voices reappear but now remind me of Moshier’s ghost patch from couple months back. Boy do I have a vivid imagination! – Jim.

James Ross and Jim Goodin
Forging the Anvil – Featuring James Ross (guitar/loops/efx) and Jim Goodin (oud/efx/loops) – Jim is the hammer and James provides a beautiful background. An Asian feel to this. Good balance. – Paul.

Driving the Arrow through the Reef – Featuring James Ross (guitar/efx/loops) and Jim Goodin (oud/efx/loops) – A more amorphous texture against which Jim’s strumming is very effective at 0:45. Too short! – Paul.

Four Tales Four Truths – Featuring James Ross (guitar/efx/loops) and Jim Goodin (violin/efx) – The violin blends more into the texture here but emerges to provide a clear voice. Great pedal tone at 3:00. The violin is a great addition to James’ fine playing – I hope we will hear more. – Paul.

Michael Mjollnir
Ayahuasca – Sounds bigger than life in a way. Tremendous match with a sound of a tribal marching foundation about the electronica, somewhat moogish, somewhat ‘jukkaish’ Michael. Nice evolution in the melody line moving in and out of the rhythm. Nice thick ending pulse. – Jim.

Benjamin Smith
Ben.improv.Sep.9.2010 – Quiet, introspective then turns questioning with a series of dissonances. – Paul.

Ben.improv.Sep.11.2010 – Series of descending riffs, rumbling in the lower registers – a sort of musical approximation of collapse – held together by light airy notes. Very evocative of events on this date. – Paul.

Vincent Poirier and Jérôme Poirier
Enchanté – Lively singing and guitar strumming here. Reminds me a little of Alexandra’s pieces. Settles nicely at 4:00 with some sweet sounds. Who is the female singer? She is very good… – Paul.

Jeff Fairbanks
Ao – Exotic mix of bells and percussion. Fine repeating melody line 🙂 Has a nice groove going – too short! – Paul.

Peter Thörn
Boredom – Light solitary mechanical sounds, then some whirring – a likeable sound of precision. – Paul.

Knight Crossing – Featuring Chris Vaisvil and Peter Thörn (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Train crossing! Very close by – the trains must be passing over the microphone. The accompaniment adds to the ominous feel. Bells, horns – everything is telling me to step back! This piece gets the adrenalin moving. – Paul.

Mothers Out For Lunch – I’ve seen the photos but the sounds are amazing. Doesn’t do much for my appetite, I’m afraid… – Paul.

In Focus – Pretty interesting Peter. Really well recorded shutter and ‘motor drive’. The recoil sound wondering where that fits in the mix but it’s interesting it’s like reflected light coming back to the lens with the captured image. – Jim.

Kenneth Palmer
In The Flow – Active and engaging. Nice low bass and keyboard melody. Lively beat going here. – Paul.

Little Dragon – Another video this week! Congratulations for trying this – always seems like a lot of extra work. Clever puppetry there. Watching, you are not aware of the music – which means it is just right and serves the story being told. Nicely done. – Paul.

Chris Vaisvil
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10425628/mandolin20100908-r-only.mp3 – Nice solo playing. Clean sound – slow and serene. – Paul.

Make a Psaltry – Two voices – outside? Sounds like rocks moving. Very informative. Trying to buy some parts… but no luck. – Paul.

Playing with Tuning the Pairs of Strings Differently and Then Slowe… – Nice deep tones here. The tuning creates some beating between notes – cool. – Paul.

Straight Mandolin in a Minor Open Tuning and the Neighbor’s Dog Sin… – Good strumming – a sad tune. – Paul.

Playing with a Different Tuning and then Effects Added. My Least Fa… – The added effects create a pleasantly dense texture. – Paul.

Roger “ErocNet” Sundström
Vocal – Great vocal effects here – an alien feel to this. A sort of 50s science fiction atmosphere – very nice. – Paul.

SAZamanaZ – Cool groove going on. Some slick playing at 2:15. – Paul.

Cam Pop – Echoes a piece Steve Moyes did to me strangely called Mrs. Bridges from a ‘recycled’ record I produced. Feels nicely minimalistic and using what you have on hand. Fingersnap in color as well. – Jim.

David John Baer McNicholas
Rating Year and Title – Some tight playing here. Strumming is almost percussive. Effective even over a limited range. – Paul.

Bruce Hamilton
Still New – Featuring Tasha Warren and Bruce Hamilton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Interesting spinning sounds followed by clarinet tones – lovely playing. Dynamics are effective here. Good mix of processed sound and straight instrument sounds. – Paul.

Says They – Featuring Shane Cadman, JP Kervinen, Adam Kondor, Paul Muller, Ben Smith, Chris Vaisvil and Bruce Hamilton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Darth Vaderish opera not for the meek. Wagner meets Phantom open. Nice settling near end to dreaming Rhodes-esque keys and then Darth returns…ahhhhhhhh. – Jim.

Strate Dance – Featuring Shane Cadman, JP Kervinen, Adam Kondor, Paul Muller, Ben Smith, Chris Vaisvil and Bruce Hamilton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Dig it! Love the intense wildly guitar rhythm action against the pulsing keys and other sounds. Nice phasing sound in the processing as the piece grows. Ending comes a bit pre-mature but still cool groove in this one Bruce. – Jim.

Johnny and Faith
Empty Sky – Beautiful clear piano sounds – optimistic, turning pensive. Wonderful accompaniment at 1:00 yields a more solitary feel. very good, if a bit out of character for Johnny and Faith 🙂 – Paul. I would totally underscore Paul’s comments, this is wonderful and such out of the what we’ve come to know of Johnny’s psychy here at IF. Good when one steps outside a bit sometimes. – Jim.

Jukka-Pekka Kervinen
Music for Gameboy #1– Space the final frontier and these are the voyages of Jukka-Pekka Kervinen! Nice amby feel in the electronics here that gives that ‘Star Trekish’ feeling referenced. – Jim.

Music for Gameboy #2 – Nice ‘noise’ in this one and a good sense of motion to it. – Jim.

Music for Gameboy #4 – More use of ‘noise’ in the sounds and mix here, think this is a good contrasting technique in your work Jukka – Keep exploring. – Jim.

Music for Gameboy #5 – Definite minimalist groove here – repetition and phasing! Steve Reich meets the Mario Bros. Very good! – Paul. I would agree Paul this is excellent, nice sense of ‘song’ in this work Jukka. Very TV like sound akin to one of the cop and drama shows of our time. As said keep exploring. – Jim.

Music for Gameboy #8 – Another nice sense of ‘song’ and dimension in this one. Great depth in the frequencies. – Jim.

Music for Gameboy #9 – Cool colors and a great sense of rolling effect in this one and again a good sense of song elements this week Jukka. – Jim.

Jukka-Pekka Kirviven and Paul Muller
Offset Gameboy #5 – Featuring Jukka-Pekka Kervinen x2 and Paul Muller (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Wonderful muse interwoven between Paul’s sensitivity to ‘song’ and synth voices and Jukka’s sensitivity to electronica and manipulation. Great mash Paul. – Jim.

J.C. Combs
Guitar Warmup at the Mirage – Some good strumming here – gets a groove going around which other guitar tones join in to build to the finish. Great stuff. – Paul.

Norbert Oldani
Study for W.W. and Trumpet – Good realization with recurring theme. The trumpet sounds like it was lifted from a Mariachi sample – very bright. The second theme is more intense and a bit faster – crisp notes. Nicely realized. – Paul.

Canada River Rapids – Another walk in the woods with Norbert – captures the rushing water nicely. Very pleasant, relaxing sounds – Paul.

Piano Fantasy – Thinking a lot about Eric Satie here as well as a hint of jazz color from the extended harmonies or maybe it’s just all impressionistic which is grand. Lovely feeling and structure and space. Would like to hear more piano work like this Norbert. – Jim.

Glenn Weyant
I-CHING RADIO CHAOS CONSTRUCTION TUCSON 9/9/10 – We’ve all heard this but it makes for interesting listening. Curious why there is comparatively little Spanish…. So many voices out there in the dark waiting to be heard… – Paul.

Adam Kondor
Slow Transformation – Featuring Jim Goodin, Shane Cadman, Paul Muller, Paul Hertz and Adam Kondor (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Lower tones provide a dark nebulous background against which the strings draw sharp, disconcerting, scissors-like strokes. The clarinet struggles against the strings and slowly emerges along with Paul Hertz’s organ riffs – which eventually dominate. Nice transforming mix. – Paul.

Etude – More electronic vocalise! High, busy voices as if in an argument. Low drumming sounds predominate at 2:00 with nervous strings playing rapidly underneath. Provides a sense of performance stress – trying to get it right while contending with outside thoughts and comments. Interesting… – Paul.

Ghost Piano – Some powerful drumming (Elvin Jones?) with piano licks here and there. Great stuff – just 38 seconds and so full of energy. – Paul.

Cecil – This is kind of like a waterfall of tone and friction which with name I was thinking of jazzer Cecil Taylor and near the end that seemed true. – Jim.

Shane W. Cadman
Piece090910 – Beautiful deep luminous tones. Good use of echo. – Paul.

Paul Hertz
No Such Arrangement – Wonderful whirling of 16th notes flying from the organ. Epic playing and a nice groove here. We’ll make a minimalist of him yet! 🙂 – Paul.

Kavin Allenson
Psychles – Great playing as usual. Strong chords and fast single notes with an almost vocal undercurrent – a cool combination. – Paul.

Tonepool – A feeling of water droplets dropping into a larger body of water repeatedly gradually getting wider and wider displacement on the water’s surface, then they stop and the wave patterns vary about as they morph to other things and places. Nice electronica here Kavin. – Jim.

James Ross
September – The guitar entry at 2:50 is beautiful – works well against the moving line. Low chords now at 4:00 add depth. A good start – could go longer! – Paul.

Steve Layton
Hunter Hunted – A sort of birdlike sound – we are deep in the forest. Deep echo-y tones suggest a stalking of some kind, just behind us. Builds a sense of uncomfortableness – like a big cat watching its prey… – Paul.

Some Drums – Crisp sounds – nicely realized. Good tone and rhythms. Vaguely Peruvian? Makes you want to get up and dance! – Paul.

Waterfall – Bubbly sound and descending tones convincingly evoke a flowing stream and the gentle tumbling of a waterfall. More of a Hawaiian or tropical waterfall. – Paul.

Restless Natives – Featuring David John Baer McNicholas, Peter Thörn, Vincent Poirier, Jérôme Poirier and Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Like the djemba or like drum which holds the glue nicely in this piece amongst the spontaneous colorful voices and effects of the camera. Very African to me as opposed to native American which I was expecting from the title. – Jim.

Well that’s the run down this week. Paul thank you for being consistent and doing most of this. My apologies to the artists I didn’t a chance to cover but I believe between the two of us we got to everyone at least once this thread. It was a huge amazing body of work, congrats to all who participated. We always try to cover all if possible, some weeks the thread is just so abundant but that’s the wonderful beauty of it and keep it up folks all of you, we will get to you. Lots of love to all.

Paul and I don’t publicly comment on each others work unless it’s in a mash as in mine this week. We do however link to our work from the thread as we each do individual pieces each week. Here are the links to Paul’s.

Paul Muller
Dance to the End of Summer
Nine Years On

Reminder for the ImprovFriday Radio podcast series that Paul and I take turns hosting. It’s available for hearing on Podomatic at http://improvfridayradio.podomatic.com and is also on iTunes. Listen and subscribe from either online resource. The September episode is overdue, going to be an interview I did with Steve Moyes and I will get it up and posted soon, I promise. In the mean time Paul’s August feature on mixes/mashes is the present with works by J.C. Combs, Bruce Hamilton and Adam Kondor. Check it out.

As always visit the world of ImprovFriday, the web community of creators and listeners of ‘New Music’, at http://improvfriday.ning.com.

See you next week,

Jim and Paul
ImprovFriday Radio - Jim Goodin & Paul Muller


One thought on “A 'Gathering' of it's Own – ImprovFriday

  1. Jérôme Poirier

    Thanks !
    The female singer at the end is a member of a chamber pop trio I’m playing with. She’s an amazing viola player and got indeed a beautiful voice. Jasmine can be heard on back vocals in the song “Bullshits” here (no explorer please) :

    But sure it’s miles away from new music, hehe 🙂

    Enchanté – Lively singing and guitar strumming here. Reminds me a little of Alexandra’s pieces. Settles nicely at 4:00 with some sweet sounds. Who is the female singer? She is very good… – Paul.


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