I played my gig at Maybeck on Wednesday with David. We had a good handfull of people, about 20, which isn't bad considering the extremely short notice and which is half the capacity of the space. Reactions were mixed. My brother said, "that was . . . [long pause] . . . interesting." Somebody else characterized it as "f***ing awesome." we've been invited back, which is generally a good thing.
It's interesting to play an instrument where you can't really predict what it's going to do. I use a lot of chaos patching. (That is a situation with 3 oscillators, such that OscA frequency modulates OscB, which FMs OscC, which FMs OscA.) Chaos sometimes repeats along certain patterns, like a 7 note pattern, or more notes, or sometimes maps to no shape at all. A tiny knob twist changes everything. Add in an LFO and it goes from state to state and then back again (well, only back if your Oscs don't drift, and since mine are MOTM, they don't). In David's case, unpredictability came from complicated SuperCollider patches, which at one point spun out of control in a really interesting way.
On Thursday, I went to the opening night of the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival. (I think I've gone to every single one - tonight might be the only concert of it that I've ever skipped. huh.) The second piece was by Manuel Rocha, called Frost clear energy saver and involved, I swear to god, a refrigerator, miced and on stage. (Follow the link for a recording.) He wrote in the program notes that he become fascinated with the sound of his refrigerator. Interestingly, he also spent time in Paris, earning his PhD from Paris VIII. Cross-continent refrigerator love? It is a phenomenon? My jaw = dropped. Since he mixed it at Mills in 1991,
while I was a student there [Edit: before I was a student there], there's a chance that my refrigerator feelings were unconsciously influenced by a mostly-forgetton memory of that same piece.
The festival is super. All the pieces last night were cool. I'm only skipping tonight it because I haven't eaten dinner in the last several days. Tomorrow night, Matt Davignon is playing. He has an excellent new album out right now. Polly Moller has posted a review to her blog. It's a calm and gentle treatment of the drum machine, pulling out an unexpected energy which is soothing and unexpected. It's good music to listen to if you have (say) anxiety cuz it's interesting and cool, but won't freak
me you out.
Monday, August 21st
Is the afternoon that I fly back from Apple Valley (well, from Ontario, CA). I'll be playing tuba that evening with the Just in Time Quartet at the Temescal Café in Oakland, CA, provided, you know, no plane delays or terrorists. I'm brining no toothpaste, so as to avoid having to check a bag. (Who knew toothpaste was a security threat? Maybe somebody at the TSA just saw the first Austin Powers movie.) I'll be playing 7-9, which will be a loooong time for my chops, but hopefully some practicing + mouthpiece buzzing while in the south will get me in shape.