Zach Hobin did an awesome job performing my piece at Spectrum; I’m hoping to have a recording soon. Many thanks to everyone who came out! The sextet is playing at Downtown Music Gallery on June 2nd at 6 pm. It’s a free show in a great record store. It’d be great to see you there. After that I’m in Maine until August, but we’ve got lots of exciting things planned for the fall.
Thanks to everyone who came out to Freddy’s last week; it was such an amazing show. Nate Wooley and Rafiq Bhatia are making hands down some of the most interesting music in jazz and it was a pleasure to share the evening with them. I’ve posted clips from our set on the “Music” page; check them out.
I’m off to Stony Brook this weekend to present at the Music Theory Society of New York State, which has a number of presentations that I’m really excited to hear. My paper’s at 9 am on a Sunday, and we’ll be listening to Dillinger Escape Plan and Liturgy. Ought to be bracing!
As of now the sextet’s next hit is June 2nd at Downtown Music Gallery. On May 16th a piece for solo bass (with added percussion) that I wrote is being played by longtime collaborator and frighteningly talented musician Zach Hobin at Spectrum.
This Saturday I’m playing with the sextet at Freddy’s Backroom in Brooklyn. We’re playing at 11 pm, and we’re lucky enough to be joined by two other amazing groups: at 10 pm, Nate Wooley’s Quintet Omega is performing songs from a newly-recorded second album, and then after us at midnight longtime friend Rafiq Bhatia is playing in a new trio featuring the incomparable musician Tyshawn Sorey on drums.
The show is 21+ and there’s a suggested donation of $10. More info is on the facebook event page here. Come hang!
I’m happy to announce two of what I hope will be a handful of shows over the next several months. On March 23rd we’re at Freddy’s Bar in South Slope; Nate Wooley‘s amazing quintet is sharing the bill with us, and Rafiq Bhatia will also be performing. Then on June 2nd we’ll be at the legendary Downtown Music Gallery playing a free show at 6 pm. Hope to see you there!
Sincere thanks to everyone who came out last Thursday. We had a great time and it was nice to see so many old friends there. Josh Sinton’s Caput Suffere were amazing and I’m looking forward to seeing them again in the future!
I’ve posted one of the four songs we played, “Finn,” in the music section, as well as the beginning and end of another, “Dixfield: The Only One.” I’ve also posted a few photos. I hope you enjoy, and I’m looking forward to having another show very soon. Check back for updates.
Next Thursday is the first performance of my new sextet. (You can find the facebook event here.) We’ll be playing at 8 at the Douglass St Music Collective. Josh Sinton, our gracious host, will be playing at 9:30 with what promises to be an amazing ensemble. And a number of friends from NYC and elsewhere are coming into town for the weekend, so it’ll be a nice reunion for all of us. Come hang out and enjoy warm company and interesting music.
It’s been a real privilege working with this band to get this music together. In three lengthy and grueling rehearsals we’ve managed to nail down an hour of very challenging music. The end of one of the songs features a coda that rapidly alternates between 5:3, 7:3, and 6/8 rhythms. At our last rehearsal this section was described by the band as “fairly straightforward, considering.” I don’t know how I’ve managed to happen upon a group of players who feel like that constitutes straightforward music, but I’m very fortunate.
(As a footnote, our oboist, Stuart Breczinski, got a nice mention in the New York Times last week. How much overlap exists between the Bach/Gluck crowd and the spectral free-improv crowd remains to be seen. Will his “soft-toned, eloquent” playing cut through two distorted electric guitars and an over-caffeinated drummer? You’ll have to attend to find out!)
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I also learned recently that I’ll be presenting a paper at the 2013 conference of the Music Theory Society of New York State, at Stony Brook University. The paper is titled “Sonic Transgression in Recent Extreme Metal,” and it’s a first step towards investigating my larger interest in the cognition of complex music. I’ll be talking about pieces by Vital Remains, Dillinger Escape Plan, and Liturgy in light of psychological research on meter and tempo. The argument in a nutshell is that many of these extreme metal pieces do some degree of cognitive violence to us by forcing us out of our psychophysical comfort zones, and that this is in line with the ideology of the extreme metal community. I also explore the fact that Liturgy’s music does generally fall within our psychophysical preferences as far as meter and tempo are concerned, and talk about what that might mean for their reception (which has been overwhelmingly positive in the mainstream press and alarmingly negative among traditional fans of extreme metal.) Liturgy and Dillinger are two of my favorite musical acts, and it’s been fun to transcribe their music and deal with it in such detail. Hunter Hunt-Hendrix and Greg Fox (now of Zs) have also both been kind enough to talk to me about their experience writing and playing this music.
I’m excited to announce that the Will Mason Sextet will have its debut at Douglass Street Music Collective on Thursday, December 13th at 8 pm. More details are on the “Shows” page.
I’m being joined by some amazing musicians for this gig: Stuart Breczinski (oboe), Danny Fisher-Lochhead (alto sax), Andrew Smiley (guitar), Travis Reuter (guitar), and Dan Stein (bass).
Really excited to hear how this turns out. I wrote the music for this group this past summer, while I was living in a cabin in northern Maine without electricity or running water. It was the first time I’ve composed a significant amount of music away from either a computer program or a piano, and I think that a lot of half-formed ideas I’d had in my head about how to combine notated and indeterminate material solidified as a result of the freedom that pencil and paper affords.
If you like math metal, microtones, free improvisation, and electric guitars, there’ll be something here for you. If you’re part of the 95% of the population that doesn’t like those things, you should come anyway because the Douglass Street Music Collective is a happening space full of great people.
Welcome to my blog and music portfolio. I hope to keep this page current with news about performances and compositions of mine, as well as occasional blog posts about subjects of interest.