Hello again and welcome to the WhatsNewAtImprovFriday, a blog that I [Jim Goodin] publish to help get the word out about the experimental New Music community ImprovFriday that resides on the Ning network.
ImprovFriday Radio host Paul Muller and myself have for some time done short ‘highlight’ reviews of the work produced by ImprovFriday member artists. Each weekend 35 to 40 of us get together and upload music and soundscapes that were created for the current weekend event thread. The musical work is produced under Creative Commons agreement and often moves beyond it’s original state to be included in mash-ups by other contributing members.
Reviews were the original foundation of this blog and continue to be part of it. Additionally I’m in the process of trying to include other ImprovFriday created content such as photographs and feature articles as well as ongoing news, IF hosted Video Concerts and project releases like the recent ImprovFriday 2 CD release on Amaranth Records. Btw re the above mentioned IF Video Concerts, Digitsignal, the NinJam quintet that all members (Peter Thörn, Jeff Duke, Steve Moyes, Ray Istorico and myself) are also members of ImprovFriday, was pleased to be hosted recently by ImprovFriday. Here’s a link to the archive of that show which featured the film work of Toshio Matsumoto. And another ‘btw’ I should mention several ImprovFriday member releases that have sprung up in recent weeks, Col[_;,;]lages produced by Jérôme Poirier, Bleep Hertz produced by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen and Growing Towards the Sun, an EP produced from a NinJam session by Steve Moyes and myself.
Okay promotion all out of the way and now back to the WhatsNew business at hand. For the last few weeks I’ve been behind getting an edition out. Paul who has been equally busy with church music projects, one of his principal muses, had gotten reviews done for two of the October weekends and had them in my queue. I had managed to get some of the work reviewed Halloween weekend which as you can imagine, particularly inspired. Then November came in and I was in a push to get the Steve Moyes interview finished for ImprovFriday Radio which is finally up and alive and with that said, I caught up for the moment and was able to do reviews for this recent weekend. So with that running train of thought this WhatsNewAtImprovFriday looks at the the event threads for October 14-16, 21-23, 28-30 and November 18-20. As custom I’ve included links with each title so you can check out the artist’s work.
Reviews: October 14-16
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 and 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 and Faith
Spamborilly and 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 and 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 and Benjamin Smith
Duet (mixed by Steve Layton) – Interesting mix of Ben’s gentle angst combined with Paul’s reassuring melody. Some striking combinations of notes as well. – Paul.
[._,,] (feat. 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 (feat. Pete Thórn 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 (feat. 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.
Reviews: October 21-23
Roger Sundström and Benjamin Smith (mix by Steve Layton)
The Nighthawks – Deep, warm guitar sounds against Ben’s airy keyboard. A pensive feel to this – very atmospheric. Nicely done by all. – Paul.
Greetings from Ghana – Good strong beat, intriguing vocals. Exotic feel – nice harmony at the end. – Paul.
Hoppsan (or: ‘whoops’) – Buzzing, an explosion and some tapping. Crackling like a bad audio cable, some vocal fragments. Like we are inside a radio being fixed. Interesting journey. – Paul.
Ben.improv.Oct.21.2010 – Boops and bleeps from Ben’s keyboard – been listening to Jukka maybe? Nice fast runs of scales and arpeggios. Overall sometimes a playful effect, sometimes drama and sometimes questions – like a story being told. – Paul.
I Gave It Up – Big sound – full string section. Lovely series of chords against a deep bass counterpoint. Lush, movie-soundtrack feel to this. Interesting chord sequence at the conclusion. – Paul.
Shane W. Cadman
Piece102210 – Interesting combination of tea kettle and drum kit. Some good cymbal work here. Did I hear a drum cadence from Band Dad? The heating of the kettle adds a sense of deadline to this – what will happen when it boils? – Paul.
Benjamin Smith and Shane Cadman (mix by Steve Layton)
The Rabbit’s Reflection – Ben’s keyboard provides a steady foundation and Shane’s drumming a fine counterpoint. Well-crafted mix. – Paul.
Luna Luna – Mechanical sounds and a low bassy string carrying a melody. Pretty good sound for wood and wire… – Paul.
tarkovs – Impressive series of drones complete with close-frequency beating. Plenty of volume, too – it fills your head! – Paul.
Emotobot – Flute-like electronic melody with busy background sounds that morphs into a rising humming, giving a sense of vast coordinated activity somewhere in the far future. – Paul.
Improvisation for Right Hand, in Standing Position – Pleasing single notes from the piano ring out in sequence. Quiet, introspective feel to this. Maybe a bit like Norbert’s piano piece. – Paul.
Roger “ErocNet” Sundström
Red Wave – Suble blend of sounds – expectant, vaguely sinister. Now a steady tone with percusive sound now and then – a communication of some kind? Mechanical sounds as if something metalic is being disassembled. Evokes a convincing sense of strangeness. – Paul.
Piano Improv. 10/21/10 – A simple line arcing upward – a questioning. Just the slightest hint of Monk at 2:00! Turns dramatic at about 3:15 – a sort of roiling feel here. Quiet ending is well crafted and suitably solemn. – Paul.
return of the spring – A definite froggy sound to this! We are beside a pond at dusk in springtime. – Paul.
querelle – Frenetic sound of orchestral elements. A bit like listening to a mirror fall and break into pieces but in slow motion – yet no chaotic. Nicely realized. – Paul.
Portrait of the sixth day of strike – Interesting mix of street strikers and musical elements – art on the spot and up to the minute! – Paul.
The Golden Ones (feat. Chris Vaisvil, Tom Izzo, Paul Muller, JC Combs and Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher)) – Beautiful orchestral beginning – Handel-like in its majesty. The piano adds a fine counterpoint over the sustaining drone. Would be a good track for a movie spectacular. Lovely mix of chords at 3:00 to the finish. – Paul.
unsold epilog – Intriguing title. Booming undercurrents, ringing sounds that slowly change – a definite sense of menace here. – Paul.
Ancient Evil (feat. Roger “Ecronet” Sundström, Grizzly and Andrew McCance (contributing artist/mixer/masher)) – Like we are standing over a deep, dark chasm – the birds screeching overhead and the wind moaning from below – but we can’t see the bottom. Convincing sense of awe here. – Paul.
The Clock Struck Thirteen – Light, yet metallic sound – very engaging. Like a wind chime, beautifully rendered. The chords form a fine background to the whirling melody. Some great keyboard work here and a lovely sound. Nicely done! – Paul.
Reviews: “Halloween” October 28-30
dery – Bruce excellent spooky Spike Jonesish lead in for the Halloween thread. Intense in a Monk kind of way. – Jim.
if20101028selfless – Chris that’s really rich and right of Hallow Eve’s ally. Really phantomish and ending chord sweep is worth the price of admission. – Jim.
Steve Layton & Peter Thörn
Baul Song – Excellent textures gentlemen. Love the contrast of the percussive plucks from Peter in parallel to Steve’s steel drum like bell tones. You guys are twin sons of different mom’s in a way. – Jim.
Doodles – Cool winds and sweeps Jeff, kind of like Steve Moshier slowed down re his Ghostbuster like sounds a few weeks ago. This one should be mashed (Mr Layton…). – Jim.
Landers Machine Shop 102310 – Lot going on here. Like a fusion of amby and tribal beat going on in a garage recorded from a distance. At a point there is a tremendous organic kind of Peter Gabriel Shock the Monkey thing going on in the drums/percussion that I love Kavin. – Jim.
Chinese Di Zi Flute w. Percussion – So much out of Mancini and Hatari here. Exotic Asian orchestration going on almost sublimingly Ken. Def’ly an east meets on the way to west in your themes. Sits perfect against a Saturday afternoon Tarzan at times. – Jim.
28 October 10 – Eric welcome to ImprovFriday. Pedal steel is new here I think re the sound and I happen to love it. Just floats about and you’ve carried that through here. Nice long John Caleish scape and I like how the the ‘steel’ voice emerges around 11 min and goes to the end. Good introduction to IF. – Jim.
some more unbridled noise – Peter welcome back! This reminds me of Shadowfax’s spin on Brown Rice. Great street beat kind of vibe going on in that same way. The voices and synth horn steer it well. Like the way the voices return subtly near the end. – Jim.
Roger “ErocNet” Sundström
Coold Night – A long dark highway, traffic far far distance. Excellent sweeping sounds and synthetic sounding cicada’s and some other night critters. – Jim.
Horror Soundscape – Good one, somewhere around the moors there in the old country. Something is breathing in there I think meaning as a subtle critter. Excellent scream on Sasha’s part ‘dad’. Very minimal collage but quite effective in the suspense level Andrew. – Jim.
The Secret Chamber of Dr. X – Wow J.C. you commented on Friday you have your work cut out for you re being pleased with the thread performances and you did it man, excellent! Love the throb going on near and to the end. Spooky early on, a real Hallows here. – Jim.
Mrs. Phasma (feat. Paul Hertz, Jim Goodin, Jeff Duke, Benjamin Smith, Steve Moyes, Roger Sundström, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen and Steve Layton (contributing artist/mixer/masher)) – Great stuff to be part of here and Steve thanks for mashing me in. This is in a very dark but beautiful place. Like looking through black light, lovely here with an edge. – Jim.
Hallowmas – Man this is rich and so subtle Paul. Really lovely. I’ve never known organ color till I’ve heard what you’ve produced on ImprovFriday. Great color and feeling throughout. – Jim.
Ben.Improv.October.30.2010 – Great separation between the harmonic structure and the high floating melody on this one, very flute like on the high end but pointed and nice Rhodes color in the chordal clusters. Nice spooky beautiful stuff Ben. – Jim.
Reviews: November 18-20
Richard Sanderson – 1st time participant
Blotter – Richard welcome! Excellent to have you here. Blotter echoes a techno jungle with it’s metallic underscore and interspersed accordion voices emerging. In a sense this leads in to Shane’s junglesque scape coming up. – Jim.
Shane W. Cadman
Piece111910 – Shane this on is really rich. Has a great explored feel for Africa balancing the kalimba or vibes voice with the great sense of environmental. Very spiritual track plus the birds in the mix perked my cat’s ears up in ‘belief’. – Jim.
Object – Eloquent James, floating and sperical with your usual sense of spiritualism. It has a sense of a suspended oblisk as in 2001. – Jim.
Kenneth Palmer and James Dillon
Trialogue – Your touch seems so incredibly lite on the keys Ken, a feeling of afar in this one and a sense of time, haunting I often hear in your work. Welcome James on his part of this collaboration. – Jim.
dober – Riveting Bruce. I hear the Reich energy from your recent Inadaba participation. Like the sense of how this one kind of hovers low as in a starship searching the field to land. – Jim.
Ben.improv.Nov.19.2010Like a Rhodes on speed Ben. Dig it. Feels like an aural light show or streaming through the dark tunnel in Space Mountain as the strobing lights are blurring by you. You like several are branching out in to some new territory it seems and that’s really great to see though your pure intense acoustic tones are always appreciated. – Jim.
IF- Piano Improv. 18-11-2010 – Peaceful and tremendous touch Andy. Gentle Bill Evans space in your tones. Nice to hear you in this setting contrasting your larger orchestral works. – Jim.
jo – Poppish beat and kind a feeling of a mix of GameBoy and ‘noise’. Nice rising of dissonance as the piece grows. For some reason think early Casio sounds. – Jim.
Dialektik – Adam your sense of both ‘internationalism’ and ‘nationalism’ in your mixes is amazing, this one particularly. Lovely use of Joan Baez in there or similar. Also feels like a foretelling in it’s scope. – Jim.
lil boys room – Very creative Peter. Playful in a ‘Johnny and Faith’ kind of groove, also cool Gil Scott Heronish bass line going on. – jim.
Johnny and Faith
Arguing Ourselves to Sleep – A sense of ‘landing’ throughout your piece J and F. Descending tones and ghostly voices hover throughout and strangely not as playful as norm guys. – Jim.
A Question About Coloured Lights – Think I can see Santa in this one Steve (grins). Lovely noise happening on this that I wonder if it’s all cello induced as I hear it in the latter parts. Sounds like some stretching as well. – Jim.
Cup O’ Joe – Love the panning in this one Jeff as always, imaging is your forte. It is in another terrestrial which is very much your sound. – Jim.
[,;;.] (feat. Steve Moyes, Richard Sanderson, Lee Noyes, Bruce Hamilton, Norbert Oldani and Jérôme Poirier (contributing artist/mixer/masher)) – Creative editing as always Jerome. Voice reminds me of Max Headroom from the 80’s which is timely with the GameBoy present here as well. – Jim.
Capillarity – Paul man the organ sounds so haunting and like Ken above, like you are barely touching the keys and just floating about. Really is a wide range of expression you bring to the instrument. This piece has both a sense of mystery and the circus with nice dark color. – Jim.
Tchaikovsky in the Afternoon – Such an extended treatise going on here Chief. Distant piano early on sounds just like the ‘afternoon’ and the space stretched tones as it grows. Reverse envelope on the ending evolution is really great. Kept awaiting the ‘cannons’ btw. – Jim.
Florida Invocation – What a welcome to Florida. Pensive and pointed Steve. I hear Bruce’s influence here or maybe it’s just the sunshine. Jim.
quick ex #3 – Jukka your noise/game techno and other pieces have really evolved here since you joined IF a few months ago. They are always inventive and this one no less, like the noise floor among it’s space like robotic beeps and washes. Would be cool to have a video of you doing one of your pieces to see how you work. – Jim.
Andy’s Object (feat. Andrew McCance, James Ross and Paul Muller (contributing artist/mixer/masher)) – Beautiful mash Paul. Two splendid textural pieces both with plenty of space in the mix joined together really nicely. Jim’s suspended mobile like floor and Andy’s sparse piano work, when the harmonies come together in this one some cool colors are happening. – Jim.
Roger “ErocNet” Sundström
Room 4 – Really delicate and spiritual Roger. Sounds of a sterile landscape ring throughout this one’s tonality, maybe it’s the northern winter skies there. Like it. – Jim.
Bell Improvisation – Rings true and no pun intended Norbert. Wondering if this is ‘real’ or Kyma generated. Like the colors going on as the bells get thick over the synth ostinoto. – Jim.
For Piano, Choir, Percussion and Electronics – Great balance in the ensemble Chris. Sounds like ‘Norbert’s bells’ are ringing in this one. Sounds of space the final frontier but still present organic color in the darkness particularly. Fine texture. – Jim.
9′ 23″ – Lee welcome back. Nice to hear your return imagination and sense of patience and space. Sounds like going through an airlock or decompression chamber. – Jim.
pod mind – Kind of like modern Hendrix here Kav. I need to go back and read your post about this but wondering by the title if it was done via some of iPhone/iTouch music apps. Very cool rushing wind of a track. – Jim.
And though Paul and I don’t review each others work in the Whats New blog beyond mashes, I do post links to our solo weekly thread participations at the bottom of each publishing. Here were our works from the recent threads. Thanks for listening as always.
Drone Study #9
Shane’s Drone (feat. Shane Cadman and Paul Muller (contributing artist/mixer/masher))
Mahalo Sticks (feat. Peter Thörn, Roger Sundström and Paul Muller (contributing artist/mixer/masher))
Ambient Study 3#
Andy’s Ambient (feat. Andy McCance and Paul Muller (contributing artist/mixer/masher))
Ambient Study 1
Ambient Study 2
The Horror of the Dark of Night (feat. Jim Goodin, Andy McCance and Paul Muller (contributing artist/mixer/masher))
Bells and Bones (feat. Eric Gross, Benjamin Smith and Paul Muller (contributing artist/mixer/masher))
Well once again thanks for following WhatsNewAtImprovFriday. Much good is coming from this community and though my publishing has been a bit erratic of late I’m really trying to give some needed visibility to the fine New Music that is being crafted each weekend by the 35-40 participating artists. Thanks for following us in the ImprovFriday world, I hope you feel broadened by coming along with us.
Remember our ImprovFriday Radio podcast series at http://improvfridayradio.podomatic.com. Paul and myself trade off each month with him doing an overview feature of several artists’ works from the community and the next month I take one artist and do an in-depth interview and feature of a few pieces of their music. The current episode features ImprovFriday member artist, guitarist/cellist/looper/computer musician Steve Moyes of England. Check out the episode at the above link or if you are an avid iTunes user you can search ImprovFriday Radio and subscribe to our series.
Lastly come visit the ImprovFriday website at http://improvfriday.ning.com, get to know us and if you are musician or sound artist working in exploratory interesting music then consider joining and participating in our weekend music threads.
Keep the ears open…
Jim and Paul