Thursday, October 18, 2018

PureFinder-Studio Grand, Oakland CA; 10/15/18

A good year and a half had passed since our last PureFinder gig before last Monday's Studio Grand performance. As such, I was certainly ready to delve into our brand of Electro-Acoustic blending. In rehearsal, Andrew and I had decided to whittle our respective rigs down to quite minimal proportions. I simply brought my wind gong, with two contact mics; Andrew brought a couple of modular units and a mixer. Signals from the gong were sent into the electronics and processed, and we got into what I felt were some pretty thickened territories. Sounds that were scraped and knocked from the gong turned into any and all manner of burping, whirring, buzzing electronic tones. Our roughly twenty five minute set felt nicely varied to me as it made its way out into the the Studio Grand space with its freshly white painted walls. It seemed as though Andrew and I had really good concentration and focus, and the music reflected that. A very satisfying evening of Industrial-like moves from the newly arising PureFinder!

Below: minimal rigs in Oakland!


Friday, October 12, 2018

PureFinder this Monday in Oakland!

PureFinder will be playing this Monday evening in Oakland!

10/15/18
OFJS Presents
Alex Cohen
PureFinder
Studio Grand
3234 Grand Ave.
Oakland 94610
9:00 PM
$

It's been a minute since PureFinder have played out, and we're happy to be doing so again. 


Saturday, September 22, 2018

Cartoon Justice-Luggage Store Gallery, San Francisco; 9/20/18

A couple of things about the Luggage Store Gallery that musicians will always have to contend with: they'll never know which part of the building they'll be playing in, and, further, what type of art may or may not be playing among or even behind. Case in point: in order for Cartoon Justice to set up for our 9/20/18 gig there, Mika had to position himself behind a sculpture that, combined with its plinth, effectively blocked his sight line toward the rest of the band. Kind of a bummer, but unpredictability is pretty much guaranteed there. One has to learn to roll with it! Aside from that glitch, things went pretty well for us. We played a determined 38 plus or minus minute set, consisting of three sketches that had been rehearsed: one that started really sparse, lead by Mika's Mac-generated algorithms, another based very loosely on our Spirit Aligned Truth piece, and a last one inspired by Monk's classic Well You Needn't. The set had, for me, a really oozy rhythmic feel, with our quintet interacting really nicely. Lenny Gonzalez guested again on electric cello, and added cool weirdness with his pedaled-up axe. Eli and I mixed things up really well, I felt, and Kersti and Mika freaked out above it all. I'm never sure how people will respond to Cartoon Justice, but there were some folks in attendance, and they seemed to enjoy our set. For me, it was a satisfying Electro-Acoustic blend, and showed evident strides made as a unit. I felt like we played as a tight band, and I had a ton of fun within the music. Music can give such an uplifting, freeing feeling, and that was definitely my experience at the Luggage Store. This year has been good for Cartoon Justice, and this gig felt like a true reflection of that.

Below: Cartoon Justice set up around a sculpture; big red drum set

Above: Cartoon Justice at the end of a fun evening. Lenny did double duty, playing with How Are You Doing? after our set.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Cartoon Justice plays this week in SF!

Cartoon Justice will return to the Luggage Store this Thursday!
Details:

Thu., 9/20/18
Luggage Store Gallery
1007 Market St.
SF 94103
8PM
How Are Your Feeling
Cartoon Justice
$8-12 sliding scale



Sunday, September 16, 2018

Mika Pontecorvo/Mark Pino Duo-Bird & Beckett Books, San Francisco CA; 9/15/18

After a sleepy morning BART ride from Richmond to SF, I found myself at the great independent Bird & Beckett Books, Mika already there and set up. A few to get my small rig out and playable, and we were off.
This show was essentially a reprise of a gig last year at Adobe Books. That one was pretty tragic on account of a bum cable. Not so this time: we got clear signals from my mic'd waterphone (first set) and electric m'bira (second set). These sound sources were fed into Mika's "Slicer-Dicer" program, an algorithm that he's been developing for some time, and them pumped through the store's high quality speaker system. This being a set of Ambient music, we focused on slow, quieter, and very definitely well-spaced moves. I really enjoyed the challenge of playing with tons of space and getting it from just a few items. At one point, I was scraping a long screw across the head of the mic. It sounded really neat when shot back out from Mika's Mac! People drifted into the store, wandered around, looked at books; no one seemed that bothered by our sounds, so I figured it was a win.
A fine late morning/early afternoon of focused listening and interaction with my valued comrade Mika!
Many thanks to Andre Custodio and Bird & Beckett Books.

Below: Mika slicing and dicing; my small rig
Above: mic scrape!; saucers and books


Thursday, September 13, 2018

Ambient set with Mika Pontecorvo this Saturday in SF!

I will be making Ambient sounds with Mika Pontecorvo this Saturday, as part of Andre Custodio's Audible Method series!
Details:
Sat., 9/15/18
Bird & Beckett Books
653 Chenery St.
SF 94131
11AM to 1PM
Free!

Let's see where this one goes!

Friday, September 7, 2018

Bamboo Skin 4-tet-Luggage Store Gallery, SF CA; 9/6/18

Bamboo Skin 4-tet came together almost as a lark. John Vaughn mentioned to me in passing last July that he'd booked an evening at the Luggage Store and was interested in setting something up with me and possibly others. I immediately got Brandon Evans and Tim Orr on board; pretty awesome the way that those two responded so enthusiastically! Brandon and I were really stoked on our recent recording, on which I'd focused on small percussion and "little sounds", a la Art Ensemble and other AACM greats. Tim and John were equally enthused about this approach, so we went with it. Tim brought a floor tom, a snare, and several small cymbals, gongs, shakers and so forth. I brought a timbale set, a few gongs, some shakers, and other small stuff. John and Brandon brought alto, sopranino, and tenor saxes.
For our roughly forty minute set, we did three numbers from charts that John has written and one free improvisation. Right off the bat, I was a bit disconcerted with a pretty unfamiliar percussion set up. This feeling pretty much stayed with me throughout. Playing in the boom-ey upstairs portion of the Luggage Store added a bit of trepidation, as the sounds just careen around that big room. Tim and I's clattering, busy percussion seemed to lay down a busy bed upon which Brandon and John wailed in tandem and solo. Those guys sounded great, and I was just happy to be sharing the space with them. Brandon really shined on the free piece, getting into his extensive bag of extended technique. He loves playing his Chinese made tenor sax, and one can hear that clearly. John's really brave writing technique gave us all lots of room in which to play. These days, I'm quite enamored of it. A very cool mixture of simplicity and complex thought. The last tune, L.I.S. (Long Island Sucks) is his Punk Rock/Free Improvisation mix! Tough to play Punk without a bass drum, but, hey, I tried!
A fun, funky, musically challenging evening at a favorite haunt. If only the parking were easier at 6th St. and Market!

Below: stripped down kits; three of Bamboo Skin 4-tet get ready