Thanks so much to everyone who braved the cold and came out to see the band at Spectrum the other night. Our next show is Wednesday March 12 at Cake Shop. We’re learning a bunch of new music for it and reworking some older pieces, and I’m really excited to present what we’ve been working on lately. We’ll also be filming the whole thing, so look forward to some footage from that sometime in late March or early April. Brandon Seabrook and Ishmael are on the bill as well.
We’re headed into the studio in late March to record our debut album. There will be lots more exciting news about that later and I’m thrilled to finally get a high-quality document of this ensemble’s work.
Lastly, I’m moderating a panel discussion on February 12th in Greenpoint. It’s the inaugural meeting of what I anticipate will be a semi-regular event titled “Perspectives on Contemporary Improvisation.” It’s run through The Public School NYC, and it’s free and open to the public. The first round’s speakers will be Jesse Stacken, Courtney Bryan, and David Scanlon. Each will present a piece of music and discuss a wide range of issues pertinent to their compositional/performance practice; they will also have the opportunity to comment on each other’s work. My hope is that this will achieve a few goals: first and foremost, to explain and demystify the common and generic aspects of contemporary music which rely to some degree on improvisation. Second, to facilitate conversation between artists whose work has interesting intersections and points of divergence. And third, to disseminate music by artists whose work is a vital part of the New York City creative music scene.
The event starts at 7 pm at 155 Freeman St and is free and open to the public. Hope to see you there!
We’re at Douglass Street Music Collective on December 5th at 10 pm, along with two other exciting acts. Unsurprisingly I’m a big fan of Jersey Band so come early and hear Alex Hamlin and Josh Sinton make some amazing music. You can find the facebook event here.
Two shows coming up. The Will Mason Ensemble (newly expanded with the amazing Nina Moffitt on vocals) is playing at Spectrum at 9 pm on Sunday, October 27. Spectrum is a beautiful little space and they’ve been programming awesome and adventurous music. I’m excited to bring our group to their stage.
I’ll also be debuting a new project with David Bird on laptop and Austin Vaughn on drum set. (Double drums!) That’s at Freddy’s Bar on Tuesday October 22nd, at 8:30.
Thanks to all who came to the Downtown Music Gallery show. What a cool store, thanks to Bruce and company for being our hosts. I’m in Maine for the summer working on some new music. Big plans in store for the fall, so stay tuned.
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.