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.

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?

Continue reading

Trash Tapes 1

Trash Tapes

Recently I decided to take an opportunity to join some local artists at Eastern Edge Gallery, and perform a sound art piece for their Annual Members Exhibition. I wanted to revisit the cassette tape’s role in history and in memories by using a couple of Sony Walkman players (Sport and classic 80’s Stereo models) routed through partially functioning outdated electronic equipment. The setup consisted of a busted Tascam Portastudio 246 with effects sends from a Digitech Delay rack into a small, crackly Realistic amp, which was output to a working Sony stereo able to record (to tape) the resulting performance. Playback of delay-warbled sections of early-1980’s cassettes (mostly recorded from vinyl by my uncle) in oddly familiar cacophony made for an interesting background for those gathered to see the other artworks featured in the gallery. Thanks to Michael Waterman and Kevin Hehir of Noice for their assistance. I returned Tuesday to listen back to the cassette of the night’s show (available as an installation for the week), and it sounds much clearer in headphones. This brings me to my closing message: somebody else’s trash is another’s art. I felt the need to get better utilization from my stack of archaic equipment and underused (yet “retro”) tapes, so I decided to fashion some new memories by destroying the old ones. And maybe a little more destruction or deconstruction is needed in these times of excess, instead of hoarding countless piles of vintage ‘stuff’ that you’ve outgrown. Some of these historical fragments of society have real value — at least in shaping who we are (or what we do) as people. Others are just sentimental junk we should throw away, or in my case, recycle one last time. Included are a few pics of the setup at Eastern Edge, and I may revisit the mangled tape theme for a future idea. I’ll keep you posted.

PLAY

Passion for sound art.

I read a good article my friend Gary James Joynes shared recently, by writer Geeta Dayal. Got me thinking about my role as a “dial twiddler” in the universe, and how I’ll never be happy doing anything otherwise. Isn’t this how an artist expresses oneself? By inventing and experimenting in their chosen medium, because it’s NECESSARY for personal satisfaction in their world. Not because anybody has to like it. Not everyone will. If there are those who appreciate (or pay you for) your creations, then give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. You made an artistic impression on an audience who gets your stuff. Sound artists have been messing around for centuries, with varied tools and results. Everyone has their own method. The fact of the matter is that sounds are heard differently by a multitude of different people (especially these days), no matter how they’re created. And I’ll do it till I’m dead.  End of story.  Here’s some art: