Commission Music

Commission Music
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Sunday, 13 April 2003

April 11, 2003

We really did not do much today. Woke up late. Walked to Jack Straw to see if anyone wanted to have breakfast with us. Heather did, but she was the only one there, so we went to breakfast without her, but brought her back a muffin. Then we did laundry. Then we called Ellen to try to get her to have lunch with us, but she was busy. So we walked back to JS and got Joan and Heather to take us to lunch. Then, after they went back to work, we called Tiffany and Ed and got coffee and looked at area music shops. I saw minidisc player, but it had no digital outs. Stupid consumer stuff.

Then we went to the Meet the Artist Night at JS. The first artist was Folasayo Dele-Ogunrinde, a poet. Her poems were short and about wisdom and inspriation, but mostly about love. She was excellent at presenting her poems, with great emoting. Christi bought her book. The second artist was Ben Larson. He's a evolutionary scientist who beleives that music can evolve like living organisms in people's mind. To demonstrate this theory, he gave a theme to three different musicians and asken them to interpret it. He played us a tape of the original theme and the re-interpretation. Then he did some computer loop-based thing to it that sounded granular. It was interesting, but I still don't see the advantage to doing live laptop music than just making a tape ahead of time. The tape and the laptop have equal performance value as far as giving the audience something to look at and you can slave over a tape and make it perfect. Why not play a tape while checking your email? But this made me think that it would be interesting to do re-sampling stuff live. With an ensemble and a laptop. Like Tones. It would be just like playing a tape with an ensemble, but more interactive and hence, has the laptop and the performance aspect. And it's interesting to re-assmble sounds in tape, so it's also interesting to re-assemble sounds as they happen. Something to think about.

At the intermission, I discovered that the woman sitting behind me was a Mills alum. She talked about seeing John Cage play piano in the Mills concert hall in 1951. She also said that then all the "Mills Girls" got to play one piece from their senior concert on KPFA radio. This explains all the Mills names in the KPFA tape archive. Very exciting.

The next artist was Hannah Palin. She did a this American Life-esque radio segment called The Day My Mother's Head Exploded which was about how her mother had a brain aneurism 15 years ago and survived, but changed completely. She played the radio segment. In it she described her experiences in the hospital with her mother. And how her mom changed and stuff. It was funny and poingant and interesting, but it was hard to listen to.

The last guy was a vocalist who recorded traditional ballads and his own lyrics in a folk style. One of the tapes he played was one of the same songs that Ellen played us a recording of herself singing. They both used a similar vocal style. It's not a song I had heard before, nor a style that I was familiar with. So it was nice to hear this guy, even though his songs were longer than radio-ready format and it made me appreciate Ellen's music more. cool.

I talked to Hannah Palin and her mother a bit afterwards. We talked about her experiences a bit more. Then we changed the subject to alternative brain healing technigues. Crystals, candles, St. John the Baptist. It's a lot easier to talk about St. John the Baptist than hospital scenes. But she told me that she cried when doing the show even though it was 15 years later and her mom survived. Scars.

The Christi and I went back to our hotel room and watched When Harry Met Sally. I'm ready to go home, I think. But I'm not going home. I'm going to Connecticut with all my Seattle springtime clothes and none of my wintery clothes, while my poor sousaphone sits at home unplayed.

I've only ever watched when Harry Met Sally on vacation. It must get played on hotel cable a lot.

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