I make music every year, but February’s annual RPM album creation was slightly different for me. After many years, I finally went for a new geographic locale, which is nice. Then there are the thoughts of starting a fresh career direction in life when there’s an apparent recession in the area. So I’ve discovered a few things recently:
bigger cities are artistically exciting and necessary for weird-scene seekers (yours truly)
money, earlier not a priority issue for me, is actually really important to extended survival
at my age, job seeking has become much pickier and more difficult
the need for specialized skills is immense, and I seem to have the wrong ones, or not quite enough of the right ones
Thus the title and inspiration behind my new release, Future Success Stories. A life in flux is scary business for anybody, but also liberating in its freedom to choose whichever path you wish. I wonder how long before I know where mine leads, and how much debt that requires? Ultimately, artistry is a road to poverty, but I rather enjoy making art because I can’t help myself. So for now I’ll just give you that something I love doing, and deal with figuring out my most desirable day job at a time in the not-so-distant future. What a story. Maybe I’ll make my own.
So, January 15th saw lots of movement and music for me with the culmination of many weeks of improv dance rehearsals. The 4th year BFA actors Movement class had a final performance at the University of Alberta, and I provided electronic music to accompany three improvised dance numbers. I was initially invited by my friend Gerry Morita from Mile Zero Dance, who was part of a revolving door of equally awesome Improv Choreographers for the course, including Jeannie Vandekerkhove and Amber Borotsik. I loved the idea of creating evolving compositions for the students to vibe on, as I’d been interested in exploring music for dance. Everyone was really receptive to the idea, and provided some good feedback on the direction I would eventually go with it. I utilized layers of percussion, atmospheric keys, glitchy effects, abrupt playback speeds, and vocal captures from a microphone. Big thanks to Aiden Ware and Andrea Murphy for tech assistance, Dance Choreographer Marie Nychka for the love, and finally to Joe, Maxwell, Dylan, Kabriel, Nikki, Morgan, Natalie, Bobbi, Hunter and Zvon, who kept me on my toes and made it a pleasure every day to be a part of it all. Great show!
Below are a couple of vids I was able to take of two of the improvisations. Enjoy!
Every two years in St. John’s, there’s a week-long summer event that sounds like bliss to my ears and gives meaning to the music I craft — Sound Symposium. If I’m not participating as an official artist on the program, I usually make a point of attending some featured performances and ASSUREDLY get to The Ship Pub for the featured Night Music events. This was the case for my immersion into Sound Symposium XVII, and it began with a scorching free show at Harbourside Park by fusion trio Big Space, with a repeat engagement for the evening’s Night Music. Anyone unfamiliar with the later bar show should know it opens with a set by the featured act, then follows with improvised jams including other musicians in attendance. This is where I like to include myself, and where I switch up my choice of instrument I select to bring each night. Circuit-bent Sound Machine, Spider-Man Voice Changer, Mattel Calliope, Roland sampler and Thingamagoop 2 were the choice standouts for certain! The Symposium is the only way for me to hear anything — sound poetry mulcher Chris Tonelli and Leatherback, jazz versions of Zep’s “Whole Lotta Love” (and nods to Barney Miller) by Curtis Andrews and Friends Like These, the exotic sounds of Boujou Badialy Cissoko‘s kora or Bart Hopkin‘s fascinatingly-built experimental instruments — and still get to freely chat and share company with those taking part in it. The Friday, July 11th Night Music was the tops with local sax quartet Ouroboros with special guest Jessica Lurie, and fuelled a frenzy of jamming afterwards, mostly with prepared guitar mangler Bill Horist. What a spirited (hic!) time had by all, and some friendly music-making made!
Fun with toys and lights…Jesse Stewart’s Reactable.
Big Space blazing hot at Harbourside Park.
Curtis Andrews and Friends Like These play a solid improv jazz set.
Sax groovin’ with Ouroboros and Jessica Lurie at Night Music.
Another installment of the MssngMrblz recurring event, Prototype 6, was just in time for our yearly summer sun! The hype was big for this one, including vinyl stickers, retro shades, t-shirts, hula hoops, silly string, the regular flashy lights and screens, and certainly stellar electronic music from all the performers rockin’ the stage. Yours truly was there with a last-minute opening performance, then followed by Georgie & JoMo, Elling Lien, MssngMrblz, PotemTole, DJ Alligator (of Rockafellers) and Worker. Click those names above to link up with some hot local music made here in St. John’s, and continue below for some photos of the Prototype 6 action. Until the next one, keep listening!
So now I’ve composed some “new music”. New, as in recent AND in genre. Musicworks magazine has this annual contest for Electronic Music compositions, and I decided to give it a shot. I’ve always enjoyed piecing together found sounds into music, so why not toss one of my monsters into the arena?