In this week’s WhatsNewAtImProvFriday I’m combining reviews from the ImprovFriday event threads of October 7 – 9 and October 14 – 16. If you just happened on to this blog and wondering what is ‘ImprovFriday‘(?) Well it’s an online community of musicians dedicated to creating thought provoking creative experimental music that largely falls in to the New Music genre. Each Thursday afternoon about 4pm PST through Saturday evening at 10pm PST, ImprovFriday hosts an open call forum event thread where musicians who have joined the collective which by the way is free, are invited to create and post for all to hear piece(s) of musical composition under the Creative Commons agreement to exist public to the world on it’s on or to be mashed or remixed by participants into other musical forms.
My name is Jim Goodin and I produce the WhatsNewAtImProvFriday blog which each publishing includes short review commentaries by Paul Muller and myself of work produced in recent threads. In addition this blog also functions to share visual imagery and thoughts/writings/news by member artists of ImprovFriday.
I was recently traveling to northern California for the Y2KX International Live Looping Festival held in Santa Cruz and wanted to share some about that in this week’s post as it involved in addition to myself, ImprovFriday member artists’ Jeff Duke and Gaetano Fontanazza who also attended and performed at the festival now in it’s 10th year.
The Y2KX International Live Looping Festival’s focus is on music created and performed by artists who use looping technology in a live performance. This concept involves through either or both hardware or software the manipulation of music or sound in a layering or recording then played back while the musician adds new elements to it. Y2KX as it’s known in short, was held October 13 – 18 and was founded/curated by Rick Walker. The festival was absolutely amazing and it was so good to have some focused time there this year, to perform with my duo Chinapainting and hangout, reconnect with fellow artists from around the Globe. Over the 6 days there were 70 looping artists from 17 countries represented by the event. Like ImprovFriday, Y2KX is made up of many member artists from the Loopers-Delight online community. I’m including several pictures from the fest in this post.
In addition to the performances at the 6 day event there several creators of technical products used in the making of live looping based music. Matthias Grob, one of the major pioneers of the ‘live looping’ movement and creator of Echoplex DP, was on hand at the festival along with Robert Amstadt of Looperlative and creator of the stereo looper, LP1 and Jeff Larson creator of the software looper Mobius, an 8-track software looper program given freely to the world. In the photo at right Bob and Matthias along with a casual gathering discuss Bob’s new prototype looper the LP2.
A wonderful sidebar about Y2KX and the three of us from ImprovFriday who were there is that it was our first time to meet in person. Jeff, Gaetano and I have known each other electronically and have actually created music together in the virtual performance projects Digitsignal and UsIt which are made possible by the Internet software NinJam allowing musical collaboration live in real time from multiple computer connections. It was a real honor to finally get to meet Jeff and Gaetano and go full circle from electronic to in person. My Chinapainting duo with guitarist/analog cassette tape looper Daryl Shawn began the same way in late 2006, a chance email led to our meeting and we worked together via NinJam over 3,000 miles before meeting in person 8 months later, when our duo did it’s first tour of the northeast.
In ImprovFriday news I want to announce the long awaited ImprovFriday 2 CD from the Amaranth label which grew out of the ongoing weekly ImprovFriday event threads is officially out. The 13 work ImprovFriday 2 includes an international roster of Steve Moyes (UK), Roger “Erocnet” Sundström (SW), Jeff Duke (US), Benjamin Smith (US), Paul H. Muller (US), Alexandra Marculewicz Adshead (US) and Johnny & Faith (US), Paul Hertz (US), Jim Goodin (US), Steve Layton (US), Lee Noyes (NZ), Jérôme Poirier (FR), Adam Kondor (HU) and Richard Lainhart (US). For a limited time the CD is available as a free download at http://amaranthsound.bandcamp.com/album/improvfriday-vol-2.
Also from ImprovFriday participating artist Jérôme Poirier, a recently launched net label he is piloting dubbed Three Legs Duck with a new release, Col[_;,;]lages. The 17 track work composed of ‘mash-ups‘ Jérôme created during 2010 from fragments and sections of works from ImprovFriday artists’ Kavin Allenson (US), Joseph Benzola (US), Canary Burton (US), Shane W. Cadman (US), J.C. Combs (US), Jeff Duke (US), Jeff Fairbanks (US), Gaetano “Pseudo” Fontanazza (IT), Jim Goodin (US), Bruce Hamilton (US), Paul Hertz (US), Greg Hooper (US), Tom Izzo (US), Johnny & Faith (US), Jukka-Pekka Kervinen (FI), Ádám Kondor (HU), Steve Layton (US), Jane Martin (US), Andrew McCance (UK), Steve Moshier (US), Steve Moyes (UK), Paul H. Muller (US), Lee Noyes (NZ), Norbert Oldani (US), Kenneth Palmer (US), David Perreko (CYI), Jérôme Poirier (FR), Dave Seidel (US), Benjamin Smith (US), Roger “ErocNet” Sundström (SW), Peter Thörn (SW), David Toub (US), Chris Vaisvil (US) and Glenn Weyant (US).And now commentary about some of excellent musical work created on two recent ImprovFriday threads. The following are only portions from these two weekend events and are not meant to be excluded out from the rest. Paul and I have been juggling a lot in various projects and have not been able to get around to commenting on all participating works however little by little we are gaining steam. Hyperlinks to the actual audio files are provided so you can go and check out the work. I do want to add a special thanks to Paul for juggling the bulk of the reviews published this time. With my schedule of late I was only able to do a few reviews which I did on the plane going out to California.
Love of Life – Featuring Vincent Poirier & Jérôme Poirier, Jeff Fairbanks, Paul Hertz, Benjamin Smith, Kavin Allenson, Steve Moyes, Shane Cadman and Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Steve sneaks one in! A lot going on in this piece – Ben’s piano catches my ear – a sort of landmark in the swirl of sound at 4:00 and 5:45. Kavin’s guitar riffs at 7:10 soar nicely over the chaos and take us out… – Paul.
Apple Stand Jam – Sounds like Saturday morning farmer’s market and acoustic fingersytle ambiance as a guitar but on the psaltry (plucked, I think it’s typically bowed so this is nice in this guitar like feel Chris). The psaltry starts as more background but evolves to more ivolved presence without seemingly varying the mix, quite nice. – Jim. The psaltry and some shopping. Lovely sounds come out of Chris’ home-made psaltry – a bit like Jim’s Oud and a bit like a guitar. Very domestic and friendly sounds from the apple stand mix nicely with the distant-sounding notes. The purring cat makes a great ending. – Paul.
Firm But Fair – Regal tones boom out – a sort of big-budget movie spectacular sound track from the future. The low booming adds to the imperial feel of this. The chanting at 3:00 reminds one of Tibet. Strong cresendo at 5:00 very powerful. Nice fade-away at the finish. – Paul.
_-_ – Featuring Bruce Hamilton, Benjamin Smith, Norbert Oldani, Peter Thorn & Jérôme Poirier (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Short piano notes, clipped vocalise all artfully arranged. A well-crafted example of musique concrete. Great title! – Jim.
Vincent Poirier & Jérôme Poirier
Ogress’ Thoughts – Some good, clean guitar licks at the start. Vocals added – all in an intriguing rhythm. Good ensemble here in what must be a difficult piece to perform. The female voice is lovely – not an ogress at all. A great improv. – Paul.
Peter’s Bleep Hertz – Excellent kit drumming Peter. You continue to be full of surprising directions. Good constant cymbal wash throughout and nice variety of ‘beats’ in this one. Jim. Great drumming here – maybe just a bit like Elvin Jones. A fine realization of Jukka’s graphical score. – Paul.
TELL BRUNHILDE ENRICO SAYS HELLO – Opera on IF! Caruso lives… Would love to hear Brunhilde’s answer. – Paul.
Shane W. Cadman
Piece100810 – Control of dynamics don’t seem to lend themselves to nuance, but this is a landmark piece IMO. Demonstration of the ability to produce art on a consumer device. Just might put music back in the hands of the people and out of the control of the experts. Nicely done. – Paul.
Hertz Bleep / Bleep Hertz – The culmination of Jukka’s graphical scores. Well done! – Paul.
Melange8 – Full sound, strong guitar and rhythm. Nice counterpoint. Could have gone along for much longer after the abrupt stop. – Paul.
Quagmire – A bit of the same texture as Jeff’s ‘melange8’ but more aggressive in the bass. A sense of being under attack. Relentless. – Paul.
Johnny & Faith
You’re The Lump In My Stew – Some beautiful soprano singing – now some electronica, now some cows. Very charming – I’d love to have dinner at Johnny & Faith’s house… – Paul.
Shades Of Messaien – Quiet, thoughtful, mysterious. Music that tiptoes into your ears. The texture is perfect. – Paul.
The Drone in My Life – Gradually growing tubular like synth waves in moderate rise/falls encircle contrasting piano breaks. Grows to more sweeping waves settling to an ending silence and natural white of the VirginAmerica plane I’m on while listening to the thread. – Jim. Mysterious booming underneath the soft piano solo. Tension builds from the dark horn tones and knocking. All the various sound sources compliment each other very well in this piece. Slow fade out is perfect. Very well done! – Paul.
Out Of Town – A fully-scored orchestra and piano concerto! But now some electronic sounds… Now some quiet organ playing… Now a chorus… At times it reminds me of ‘Close Encounters of a Third Kind’. A wonderful mix. Nobody knows how to mash an orchestra like Adam. – Paul.
Abused – Featuring Vincent Poirier & Jérôme Poirier-2x, Peter Thörn, Kavin Allenson, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, others and Adam Kondor (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Frenetic with a feeling of alt-jazz foundation and cool noisefloor. Crash cymbals are nice teather in this mash and growing edgy guitar as well. – Jim
Clear It – Very cool noise piece with good percussion in the mix. Tonality in a sweeping spacial melody emerges @1:30 and carries through. – Jim. A robust drone and some percussion underneath. Builds in level and pitch density. A sense of expectation from this… Cool ending. – Paul.
Page Three – More diverse electronica but here with a sustained undertone that induces a feeling of foreboding. A sort of reassuring repeating rhythm is detectable in a melody that floats unknowingly above. Well done. – Paul.
Blank Epilog – A return to some of the earlier energy you first brought to IF Jukka. Arcade in foundation with neat ‘noise’ added in. – Jim.
Ben.Improv.Oct.4.2010 – Tight piano clusters and melodic precision as this piece grows Ben. Feels romanticesque period in influence then moves to modern. Lower bass section neat in the latter moments. – Jim.
Ben.improv.Oct.6.2010 – A lovely starting melody of single notes, then counterpoint. Full use of the keyboard and some dramatic dynamics. A definite ‘autumn’ feel to this… – Paul.
Piano Improvisation on an Augmented Major Triad – Deep tones and the augmented triad provide a definite feeling of impending menace. – Paul.
Roger “ErocNet” Sundström
Mahalo Drone – A beautiful drone – I tried to use it in a mash but nothing seemed to match up to it well. Maybe next week… Your drone last week was good also – you have an ear for it! – Paul.
Brokedown Dub – E percussion and beats from Kavin’s in the between the strings world. Nice sweeps in the sounds that bring to mind the futuristic robots in the Star Wars bar scenes. – Jim.
Stacks – Lush, ringing guitar sounds and a light upper melody give a feeling of flying. Just getting up to speed when it ends! – Paul.
Taken to the White Bridge – Quiet beginning followed by some hair-raising metallic sounds. Very good quality in the high frequencies. Now the gong – sounds a bit like when you rub your finger on the top of a wet wine glass only deeper and richer in tones. – Paul.
Alexandra Marculewicz Adshead & Chris Becker
Sing Song Story Music Box Lullaby – Alexandra’s lovely voice comes through the processing and provides the focal point for listening. The external sounds are just like everyday distractions – when I heard the meow I went to the door and let our cat in. A sort of ‘Porgy & Bess’ feel at about 5:00… A beautiful piece. – Paul.
Stickschop – A brilliant adaption of the sound of chopping wood. It is as if we are 1 inch tall and are being buried in a flood of match sticks. The clacking of the woody pieces was wonderful in its randomness. Interestingly, when I mashed this with a drone the perception is suggested that there is an actual repeating rhythm. – Paul.
Johnny & Faith
Spamborilly & Roses – Nice big sound from J&F… Maybe just a bit like Alexandra & Chris’ piece at 1:30. Love the syncopated chimes and warm tones at the finish. – Paul.
Double Seam – Sweet sounding organ melody – perfectly suited to the cooler October weather. – Paul.
Brighter – Xaphoon rules! Nice interplay between the droning pitches – gives it a sort of three-dimensional effect. The tone entering at 2:20 adds a bit of tension. The overtones really began to dance for me at around 5:00. Nice fadeout at the finish. A well-concieved and executed piece. – Paul.
Richochet/Piano & Percussion – Some good piano playing with dramatic percussion – the overall effect is like stormy weather. – Paul.
Ob= – Good beat, catchy tune. A bit of Jukka’s influence, perhaps? The shrill woodwinds add tension. – Paul.
Shane W. Cadman
Piece101510 – A beautiful piano solo – just right for the autumn. The raking of leaves adds atmosphere. – Paul.
Paul Hertz & Benjamin Smith
Duet – Featuring Paul Hertz, Benjamin Smith and Steve Layton (mixer) – Interesting mix of Ben’s gentle angst combined with Paul’s reassuring melody. Some striking combinations of notes as well. – Paul.
[._,,] – Featuring Bruce Hamilton, David Toub, Dave Seidel, Steve Moyes, Lee Noyes, Canary Burton, Jane Martin, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen and Jérôme Poirier(contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Another great title – someday Jerome will have to give us the code… The segments seem to be staged – so that each becomes a little surprise. Jerome creates each beat of the piece separately rather than just process or mix continuous streams together – very elegant technique and a valuable contribution to IF. – Paul.
IF – Wood Chopper Winter – Featuring Peter Thörn and Andrew McCance (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Chilly mix of a weather forecast and Peter’s sticks. Reminds me a bit of the descent into Nibelheim in ‘Das Rheingold’. Very atmospheric. – Paul.
Ben.improv.Oct.14.2010 – Something new from Ben in the way of processing and bending of pitches. Steady, deliberate and strong. Interesting evolution of the rhythm – becomes almost percussive by 5:00. At 6:30 it begins to resemble one of Jukka’s pieces. – Paul.
Fif – Wonderfully phased keyboard licks that slowly bend in pitch. Another interesting concept well-executed. – Paul.
Just a Bass – The king of distortion is in the house! Strong and fierce – like a dragon coming out of its lair. – Paul.
Tab Blank – Electronica but with processing that seems to add a certain depth to it. Three dimensional and very effective. – Paul.
2×5 – Featuring Paul Muller, Benjamin Smith and Adam Kondor (contributing artist/mixer/masher) – Quite a contrast here between ben’s percussive keyboard underneath the dreamy drone. Keeping the dynamics down on the keyboard is just right – it churns just underneath the surface. The ending is perfect. – Paul.
Time Trick – The sounds really pop out of the silences – clear and clean. Interesting mix. Listening to Jerome? Similar construction, I think… – Paul.
Piano Improv of a Japanese Mode – Like music for a puppet play – very evocative. Develops nicely and is well-played. – Paul.
Roger “ErocNet” Sundström
Droonimizimoo – Another fine drone from Roger – who is on a roll. Have enjoyed these for three weeks running. Good use of dynamics in this one. The lower pitches evolve into a wonderful cutting and buzzing sound. – Paul.
Wherever Your Imagination Takes You – Soothing electronic humming sounds contrast with an occasional high-pitched melody. Flows along like a shimmering metallic river – steady yet ever-changing. A leisurely cruise but never dull. – Paul.
Washed – Crackling, whirring and sundry sounds as if we are inside a small machine. Static with a sense of motion, but not of movement. – Paul.
As Paul and I actively participate in each weekend’s thread with our own work, here are the pieces we did for each of the events. We don’t as a rule publicly review each others work in fairness to the ImprovFriday community but we welcome your comments along with any other comments you care to express about WhatsNewAtImProvFriday. You may do so by replying to this edition at the comment link below. We appreciate your thoughts.
Elevator 3 – Featuring Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, J.C. Combs and Paul Muller (contributing artist/mixer/masher)
Drone Study #9
Shane’s Drone – Featuring Shane W. Cadman and Paul Muller (contributing artist/mixer/masher)
Mahalo Sticks – Featuring Peter Thörn, Roger “ErocNet” Sundström and Paul Muller (contributing artist/mixer/masher)
That’s it for this edition of WhatsNewAtImProvFriday. We at ImprovFriday greatly appreciate your interest in our community and the world of New Music. Please visit the ImprovFriday website at ImprovFriday.ning.com. You are welcome to create a free profile and tell us a bit about yourself and particularly if you are a musician working in experimental music we encourage you to come participate in our weekend event thread.
ImprovFriday has a monthly podcast series produced by Paul and myself. It’s available for download and subscription at Improvfridayradio.Podomatic.com or via iTunes, search ImprovFriday radio. The current episode features mixes and mashes created by ImprovFriday artists, J.C. Combs, Adam Kondor and Bruce Hamilton. A new episode featuring an in-depth interview with composer/guitarist/cellist/looper Steve Moyes of ImprovFriday will be posted soon.
Thanks again for joining us and we’ll see you on the next WhatsNewAtImProvFriday.
Jim & Paul