Rick-noodles

Home Safe And Sound

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’d returned safely to the ‘City Of Legends’, St. John’s, from my exploratory sojourn in Western Canada. And as much as I feel slightly defeated by my inability to securely transplant into those new surroundings, I feel okay about it because I am here. Not much has changed in six months, but enough for me to notice — the downtown construction of new buildings continues, and the landscape of businesses shifts ever-so-slightly. The things that haven’t changed are what keep me smiling here, which I’ll outline for you now.

Last week, after a rousing Beatles jam session with my good pals in Ad Lib To Fade (as a seven-year garage jam band drummer), I wanted to drop in on some Water Street sounds. I’d been curious to see how The Black Sheep was doing with their now regular lineup of musicians, and to hear how the room felt. My buddy Brad Jefford was playing guitar with his latest jazz trio ‘plus’ for his fresh Wednesday jam location, and they were really cooking, nestled in the front corner and mere feet away from my lean-to at the bar. I could see why musicians were playing there, cozy and intimate as it was with the patrons inside. It was also the week we hosted the East Coast Music Awards, so there were some early bodies floating about. Splendid time out.

On Friday I managed to catch some of the Rising Star Showcase at The Ship Pub, a favourite haunt. It was okay, but lacked the vibe I wanted. It certainly wasn’t like the ECMA’s I recalled from years ago. Saturday night was a better story. I crashed for the weekend with my friends Jon and Lo, and we went for supper at the Adelaide Oyster House, a new spot for downtown dining. The food was scrumptious, and the company was hilarious. Then we made it up the hill and out of the busy part of downtown for the busiest, strangest, non-ECMA show in the city. The hardened Peter Easton Pub, a live music venue in a previous life, now had party people spilling out into the street for Green & Gold, The Novaks and The Mark Bragg Band. I think the gig was more for the crowded spectacle than anything else, but what a time! A time enjoyed with more close friends I encountered there.

That’s what it comes down to — my close friends and family, good musical experiences and stimulating environments. Those are the important things I notice here that haven’t changed, and make me smile. The welcoming people that make my hometown what it is, and the community that has graciously accepted me back into the fold. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here making my way in this world. One day I’ll repay everyone in kind, and let’s say it’ll be sooner than later. Thanks for the support, everybody.

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Movement And Music

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All together now…dance!

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!

Prototype 6! Grab Yr Shades!

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Have you seen Prototype?

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 & JoMoElling LienMssngMrblzPotemTole,  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!

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New Music, Built-In.

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?

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No Challenge?

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That’s MiddleF…and Launchpad (Mini). Or one badass long-playing album!

RPM Challenge 2014 has got to be some of the most prolific work I’ve crafted thus far, but has it been challenging? I did get an early start in February working with Ableton Live and the Launchpad Mini/LaunchControl in set preparation for Prototype 5, which I deemed productive idea creation for the album. There was, however, plenty of downtime for birthdays, family visits, nights out to party, watching the tube, etc. Instead of being stressed about being behind in the recording process, I took time out on a couple of weekdays (mostly in the last week) to finish up some working projects and polish the mixes. I also managed to record a Robot Scout session for RPM submission, too. Does it mean I like to procrastinate until the final possible minute? No, but it does seem to end up close to the wire most of the time. It’s always challenging to create under a deadline, but these days I’ve streamlined the process to make it easier to operate quickly and efficiently. Hence, I can afford to take my time with some things or choose to break from it with the knowledge that it’s simple to come back to. I’ve done the RPM Challenge for a number of years now, and likely would have made yearly records anyway, even if no challenge existed. We make our own challenges, and I consider this one to be more of a necessity.  I make art, and that doesn’t change. The challenge is making art you’re happy with. And even though I endorse a certain amount of improvisation in much of my work, it’s satisfying when it sounds composed.

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