Friday, June 28, 2013

Song of Seikilos this Saturday

This Saturday, I'll be playing accordion, both with Saffron Parade Arabesque and a solo accordion/laptop set, at the Velaslavasay Panorama! It is all part of an event called Song of Seikilos:
"This evening's event will feature a number of distinguished and accomplished Southern Californian based performers playing traditional music from around the world. The Saffron Parade Arabesque Band presents elements of different music styles including classical Arabic music and jazz. Evan Haros and Brian Chann will present a traditional Indian Raga Bhairavi in a unique style that adheres to the essential elements of classical Raga and Taal traditions. Rahman Baranghoori will be singing classical Persian music with accompaniment. Composer and multi-instrumentalist Daniel Corral will present one of his own contemporary American compositions, and Syrian-based performer Lana Khalaf will sing in a traditional poetic form."
The show starts at 8pm, and tickets are $15. Hope to see you there!
1122 West 24th Street
Los Angeles, CA

Monday, June 24, 2013

Notations 3: Schankler and Travis

Here is the third installment of Notations! Inspired by Cage's 1969 bookNotations is a collection of graphic scores, hand drawn music calligraphy, computer code, compositional sketches, text scores, and other innovative forms of musical notation.

Every Monday we'll showcase notation by two different composers, primarily focusing on those local to Los Angeles. This week's composers are Isaac Schankler and Abby Travis.

All images used with permission, and copyright is retained by each image's respective creator. Click on the images to see a larger view.

Song from 28 Rooms by Isaac Schankler

Isaac Schankler is a composer, pianist, accordionist and electronic musician based in Los Angeles. His music is inspired by improvisation, indeterminacy, language, narrative, and puzzles. His recent projects include collaborations with writers (Light and Power, The Familiar Spirit), video artists (Sonderbauten, Blocking the Exits), computer scientists (Multimodal Interaction for Musical Improvisation), and video game designers (Analogue: A Hate Story, Depression Quest).

More info at isaacschankler.com

Mr. Here Right Now by Abby Travis

First coming into the public eye as the 16-year-old bass player in the garagey Lovedolls, L.A.-born-and-raised Abby Travis went on to become a much-favored session bassist/singer with Elastica and Beck at Lollapalooza ’95, then with an eclectic array including The Eagles of Death Metal, Masters of Reality, The Bangles, Exene Cervenka, Michael Penn, KMFDM, Butthole Surfer Gibby Haynes, Dee Dee Ramone, Vanessa Paradis and Spinal Tap. Travis is the current bassist in The Go Go's (2013) She has four critically acclaimed (Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, AP) full length solo releases: "The Abby TravisFoundation", "Cutthroat Standards & Black Pop", "Glittermouth", and "IV" She has appeared in several indie films, including Shadow Hours, Weathermen ’69 and The Book of Manson, and makes frequent appearances in theater roles; her musical catalogue was adapted for the 2009 drag queen musical Little Black Veil in Los Angeles.

More info at abbytravis.com

Saturday, June 22, 2013

CONCERT REVIEW: Partch Ensemble @ REDCAT

On June 7 and 8, John Schneider's Partch Ensemble presented Eroica Dances at REDCAT as part of Microfest. It was the debut concert of their newly built Marimba Eroica, a large 4-note marimba that is so low it straddles the fence of audible frequency. It is one step further in the gradual reconstruction of Partch's original instruments, and each accumulation opens up part of the composer's repertoire that the ensemble otherwise might not have performed.

The program consisted of the three parts of Plectra and Percussion Dances, and Dance Pantomime from Oedipus. The concert began with the surreal satire of Ring Around the Moon. This cartoonish piece brought to mind a hobo/Stalling reflection on Pierrot Lunaire, propelled by the narration of bass marimbist TJ Troy.

This was followed by Even Wild Horses, subtitled "Dance Music for an Absent Drama." A treatment of Rimbaud's A Season In Hell, this piece refracted Afro-American musical styles through the lense of the Partch multiverse over the course of three acts. Surprising grooves were concocted on a colorful variety of instrumentation. Act II brought out baritone Paul Berkolds, Ulrich Krieger on sax, and Derek Stein on adapted viola. A classy touch was Erin Barnes' gong notes announcing each new section.

After an intermission, the group played Dance Pantomime, an excerpt from Oedipus. A treatment of Yeats' translation of Sophocles, this piece is significant because of it's historical role in Partch's amazing life story. While in Europe on a Carnegie research grant in 1934, Partch met Yeats and got the poet's blessing to set his text to music. He also built his first 43-tone organ. Upon returning to the US in 1935, Partch embarked on his hobo journeys documented in Bitter Music, parting ways with Oedipus until 1951The chorus in this performance was wonderfully represented by Timur Bekbosunov and Argenta Walther.

The concert ended with Castor & Pollux, which the Partch Ensemble has performed on numerous occasions. It is a stellar showcase of many of the instruments in the ensemble, giving the listener a chance to hear them in various pairings as well as in the context of the full group. It was the only memorized piece on the concert, and the tightness and energy of the playing gave it a feeling of being a welcome reprieve for the ensemble from the relative unfamiliarity of the rest of the program.

As is customary after the Partch Ensemble's annual summer REDCAT performances, the stage became a musical petting zoo post-performance. Much of the audience flooded onstage, as the performers watched over the instruments (and mic's) and fielded questions. Most were justifiably interested in the very large Marimba Eroica.

Being a 4-note instrument on the border of audibility, it is hard to "feature" the Marimba Eroica, per say. However, it definitely made it's presence known, both visually and aurally as does a timely bass drum and/or crash cymbal accent. While thrilled by the instrument, Partch lamented the necessary inefficiency of his original instrument design. In his Genesis of a Music, he states:
"A pipe for the lowest tone... would need to be some 12 feet high... and the player would have to stand on a riser nine feet high and use a ladder to get there....  
I have often dreamed of a private home with a stairway which is in reality a Marimba Eroica, with the longest block at the bottom and the shortest at the top, and with the type of resonator described above. The owner could stipulate his favorite scale, then could bounce up to bed at night hearing it and paddle down in the morning for breakfast hearing it. He would need to be athletic, since simple walking would dampen resonance. If he were very athletic, he could take two or three steps at a time and produce an arpeggio."

Monday, June 17, 2013

Notations 2: Catron and Valitutto

Here is the second installment of Notations! Inspired by Cage's 1969 bookNotations is a collection of graphic scores, hand drawn music calligraphy, computer code, compositional sketches, text scores, and other innovative forms of musical notation.

Every Monday we'll showcase notation by two different composers, primarily focusing on those local to Los Angeles. This week's composers are Jessica Catron and Richard Valitutto.

On the right side of the page there is now a link to a Notations page that shows all of the scores posted thus far. All images used with permission, and copyright is retained by each image's respective creator. Click on the images to see a larger view.

Insect Meditation by Jessica Catron
Jessica Catron is a cellist/vocalist/composer/educator. She has performed with an eclectic array of notable musical, visual, and multimedia artists. Catron received her B.M. in Cello Performance from the University of New Mexico and continued on to receive her M.F.A. in Cello Performance from the California Institute of the Arts.

Sketch by Richard Valitutto
Richard Valitutto is a Los Angeles-based piano soloist, accompanist, chamber musician, and composer. Richard is a member of the critically acclaimed wild Up Modern Music Collective as well as the new music quartet gnarwhallaby. For more info visit richardvalitutto.net.

Friday, June 14, 2013

2'42" Toronto

Here is another 2'42" video! I will post several more in the coming weeks. Please enjoy this eleventh installment of 2'42"



2'42" is an online series by Daniel Corral that reflects on the evolving nature of duration and form in this globalized new millenium.

A claim has been made that 2 minutes and 42 seconds is the perfect length for a pop song. This statement has been circling the internet, independently initiated by bloggers Joshua Allen and John Scalzi. It has been perpetuated by the likes of Boing BoingWiredNPR, and many more.

2'42" takes that statement to heart. Music written and/or recorded in cities around the world has been "corrected" to fit that "perfect pop song" length of 2:42. Each track is named after the city where its source material originated.

As each track is released, it will be available for free on sites like BandcampSoundcloudSonic SquirrelInternet ArchivesReverbnationYoutube, and Vimeo.


Previous installments of 2'42":

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Watch Brian Eno's Thursday Afternoon online

Brian Eno's Thursday Afternoon, made in 1984, consists of 7 vaguely Bill Viola-ish video paintings accompanied by a patently ambient soundtrack. According to iMDb, the piece is "presented in vertical format (the television or monitor needs to be turned on its side for proper viewing)." One can probably assume the same is true for your computer monitor.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Notations 1: Deyoe and Rosenzweig

I am excited to present the first installment of a weekly series called Notations! Inspired by Cage's 1969 bookNotations is a collection of graphic scores, hand drawn music calligraphy, computer code, compositional sketches, text scores, and other innovative forms of musical notation.

Every Monday we'll showcase notation by two different composers, primarily focusing on those local to Los Angeles. The first two composers are Nick Deyoe and Jake Rosenzweig.

All images used with permission, and copyright is retained by each image's respective creator. Click on the images to see a larger view.

Wir Aber Sketch 1 by Nick Deyoe
Nicholas Deyoe is a composer, conductor, and guitarist born in Colorado and currently living and working in Southern California. Drawn to sounds that are inherently physical, Nicholas strives to create music that engages listeners intellectually and emotionally by appealing to their inner physicality. His compositions make use of noise, delicacy, drama, fantasy, brutality, and lyricism to create a diverse sonic experience. 

More info at nicholasdeyoe.com

Alpha Male by Jake Rosenzweig
(it can also be read upside down)
Jake Rosenzweig is a musician primarily concerned with structured improvisation and surreal juxtapositions of musical materials. He holds an MFA in Jazz Bass from the California Institute of the Arts and currently lives in Los Angeles. Other projects include Stupid Man Suit, The Sogo Takeover, The Storytelling Band, Lumber Party, and Rosie Cromwell.

More info at jakeinternet.com

Saturday, June 8, 2013

2'42" Istanbul

It has been a while since I posted a 2'42" piece, but I have a few more to share! I'm going to post more in the coming weeks. Please enjoy this tenth installment of 2'42"



2'42" is an online series by Daniel Corral that reflects on the evolving nature of duration and form in this globalized new millenium.

A claim has been made that 2 minutes and 42 seconds is the perfect length for a pop song. This statement has been circling the internet, independently initiated by bloggers Joshua Allen and John Scalzi. It has been perpetuated by the likes of Boing BoingWiredNPR, and many more.

2'42" takes that statement to heart. Music written and/or recorded in cities around the world has been "corrected" to fit that "perfect pop song" length of 2:42. Each track is named after the city where its source material originated.

As each track is released, it will be available for free on sites like BandcampSoundcloudSonic SquirrelInternet ArchivesReverbnationYoutube, and Vimeo.


Previous installments of 2'42":

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Alan Watts' 1959 TV show: Eastern Wisdom and Modern Life

In 1959-1960, Alan Watts recorded two seasons of a TV show called Eastern Wisdom and Modern Life for KQED. For many members of its American audience, it was their first experience with Eastern philosophy. 

Here is a YouTube playlist with thirteen full episodes of this amazingly articulate show. Five episodes are missing, and one I could only find in two parts.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Song of Yourselves

On May 24 and 25, John Hogan presented Song of Yourselves at Automata. Described as "an Irish Wake of sorts for American Exceptionalism," it featured creative re-contextualizations of right-wing speeches, Allen Ginsberg/Lenny Bruce/Johanna Went-style performances, and audience karaoke.

Hogan's performance seemed to border on extremely relaxed and extremely nervous, maintaining an informal air throughout the piece. Brian Ramisch helped him with musical accompaniment and moral support, and the pair backed the performances with acoustic and electric guitars, banjo, cassette recordings of noisy guitar feedback, and a few other implements.

A cutout Walt Whitman headshot overlooked the proceedings, adorned by decorative American flags, as Hogan read an excerpt from Leaves of Grass. Ann Romney's speech at the 2012 RNC was transformed into a Woody Guthrie-esque folk song - showcasing what scripted political rhetoric has learned from folk music rabble rousers (and vice-versa).

Clint Eastwood's infamous empty chair speech was recited while wearing a cutout Eastwood mask. This happened in real-time as Hogan listened to Eastwood's speech on headphones (gleaning the timing from the original), including all um's, er's, and awkward pauses. As Hogan gesticulated emphatically, the awkward moments were made all the more potent by the intimacy of the space.

Though these famous speeches were great to hear in their re-contextualized forms, the original texts in the piece (or ones I didn't recognize) were the most interesting. Beat-inspired sardonic memoirs of suburban malaise, they presented a reflective further dissemination of Whitman.

Transitions from one scene to the next were facilitated by audience karaoke, which people could sign up for when they picked up their ticket before the show. The karaoke was run from a laptop on stage, with the lyrics projected on the side wall. A limited selection of "Contextually Appropriate Pop Songs" were offered, including all-American fare such as Dancing in the DarkSolitary Man, or Welcome to the Jungle. Mere set change slight-of-hand, or a much deeper commentary on the commercial compartmentalization of Whitman's barbaric yawp? You decide.

Considering some Republicans' inability to fathom having lost the 2012 presidential election, I'd think that many would find these re-framed campaign speeches funny if not enlightening. Even if you're not as staunchly liberal as one might assume an audience at an experimental puppet theater would be, Song of Yourselves is a moving poetic rendering of this transitional period for the American Man.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

High Voltage accepting submissions

The Electric Lodge in Venice is now excepting submissions for the Fall / Winter installment of their new performance series HIGH VOLTAGE. This late night series is an effort to create new opportunities for both emerging and established L.A. based artists. This years pilot series participants included Leslie Gray (puppetry), Daniel Corral (music & spoken word), Rebecca Papas (dance), Shoji Yamaski (dance), Susan Lynch (theater), Melanie McGray (dance), Kevin Williamson & Laurel Tentindo (dance), and The Decisive Instant (live music).
Performances/Installations/Happenings should be minimal tech, in a “pop-up " fashion to take place in the lodge's large street-level dance studio. HIGH VOLTAGE performances are presented by Electric Lodge on the first Friday of every month to coincide with First Fridays. All disciplines are encouraged to apply.
Each project selected for the program is provided rehearsal space and tech time. If your vision of the piece cannot be realized in this short time, the work might best be presented through another Electric Lodge program. For more information, visit www.electriclodge.org