Sunday, December 21, 2014

Cartoon Justice/Cosmists-Stork Club, Oakland CA; 12/20/14

Really strange gig, this one! To start, after members of Cartoon Justice and Cosmists assembled mid-afternoon at the Stork Club, we waited.....and waited.....and waited............
The show was supposed to start at 4PM, but neither booker nor sound engineer showed up. Eventually, at at 5:40PM, Greg of Cartoon Justice suggested that we just set up on the floor and play acoustic; this lead to some nice, short jamming by most members of CJ. During this impromptu configuration, the sound engineer finally showed up, at about 6:15PM. Hastily, we set up Cosmists, during which time it was decided that Mika and Kersti of Cartoon Justice would join in. We proceeded to play one improvisation, using more of Mika's stylistic themes, and then the three graphic charts that I composed for Cosmist's set. Things felt OK, particularly during the last chart, "Transforming Boulders Into Shards", which was led by Eli.
The gig ended with the booking agent telling me that that Stork Club ownership "never wants those guys (Cosmists) booked here again", so I guess that's some sort of karmic victory for someone!
An odd way to end the busy 2014 for me, but there were other events that happened which augured some interesting developments for 2015.
Anyway, Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, etc.!
See you next year!

Above: brief snippet of Cartoon Justice and Cosmists in action!
Below: more sound!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Cosmists and Cartoon Justice will play the Stork Club this Saturday!

In what will be our only gig of 2014, Cosmists will play at the Stork Club this Saturday, 12/20! Joining Andrew Joron and myself will be bass player Eli Pontecorvo. We're excited for this one, as Eli's bass adds a rich new element to our sound.
Since the above flyer was assembled, my good friend (and Eli's father) Mika Pontecorvo got his band Cartoon Justice on the bill. I will be playing drums with them as well.
The Stork Club is located at:
2330 Telegraph Ave.
Oakland 94612

This show will start at 4 PM, with five bands playing until 8:30 or so. Later on, my friend Dylan Haas's band Midnight Snackers will play! So many great reasons to head to the Stork Club!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Infinite Plastic Internal and Alphastare collaborations!

Jeff Alphastare and myself will be doing a show together in January of 2015. We got together last weekend and started preparing. Here are some results!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Earspray-Winters Tavern, Pacifica, CA; 11/16/14

Driving over the hill to Pacifica from SF, I was reflecting on the oddness of a Noise band playing at an established roadhouse; the fact that Earspray was to play in the early afternoon on a Sunday made the proposition even stranger, but Jack booked us for the day's Fog Music Concert, and we took the gig, so, what the hell, right?
I felt like our set definitely got to some sort of strange foggy energy going. Not too many were in attendance, but another reflection that I had was that we're doing it because we like it; at least, that's the case with me!
Thanks to Jack for booking us at Winters! Sorry that our draw was, like, two people. Hopefully they bought a few beers!

Below: Carlos and Ann set up their Earspray rigs

Below: Winters Tavern groovy old sign!

Above: my minimal amount of gear, I got some fog sounds!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Earspray will play in Pacifica tomorrow!

I'm looking forward to playing the Fog Music Concert at Winters Tavern with Earspray tomorrow, 11/16! You can probably tell what the theme for the show is!
We will be playing early, probably at 1 or 2 PM.
Winters Tavern is located at 1522 Francisco Blvd. in Pacifica!

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Ruminations-Luggage Store Gallery, SF CA; 11/13/14

Due to aggravating traffic conditions both on the approach to SF and within the City, I showed up for this gig pretty spazzed out and rattled. I told new Ruminations members, guitarist Jakob Pek and violinist Gabby Fluke-Mogul that I'd play mellow, but that concept flew out the window and onto Market St. faster than you can say "new IPO". Don't get me wrong, there were times when I chilled it and let everyone else lead, but I definitely felt a kind of "take control" energy come over myself at times. Thankfully, Rent pretty much encourages that attitude, and I'm grateful to him and Christina Stanley for putting up with it. It was tough to her Jakob's guitar at times, sadly.
I also added a new twist to my improvisational techniques, in that I brought some graphic scores that I've been working on, for use if and when the ideas started to dry up. They ended up being ignored, as I found plenty of fuel from Rent, Christina, Gabby, and Jakob.
Needless to say, I had a blast with the Ruminations, new lineup and all! Eat the Sun were phenomenal. Jason Hoopes is clearly a rising star in the bass world.

Below: the horns of Rent Romus, and Christina Stanley in silver and gold light
Above: Cloud Kit, Ruminations-style
Below: Graphic scores for "just in case" reference

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Ruminations will play this Thursday!

I'm looking forward to playing this Thursday with Rent Romus the Ruminations! We'll play at the Luggage Store Gallery on 11/13!
The Luggage Store is located at 1007 Market St. at 6th., and we'll play at 8PM sharp!
Hope to see some folks there! 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Infinite Plastic Internal guesting with Alphastare video!

Alphastare Stork Club Pt. 3 from Alphastare on Vimeo.

This footage from the Stork Club, Oakland CA 10/18/14.
Thanks to Alphastare for letting me sit in, and to Monica Berini for filming! 

Cloud Shepherd-Bird & Beckett, SF CA; 11/9/14

The men of Cloud Shepherd had a great time playing for the benefit of Poet David Meltzer last night at Bird & Beckett!
We played for almost thirty minutes, which, compared to recent shows, was pretty epic. It seemed as though we incorporated small duets into the two individual pieces that were conjured, but also had a lot of good full ensemble blasting.
It was great fun to hear the assembled poets pay tribute to David, and especially to see the man himself up and about in great spirits.
Many thanks to Rabbles for playing as well! Cool, low key, almost acoustic jams from their long lasting SF Punk/Folk ensemble!

Below: Cloud Shepherd set up and smile

Above: Brian dials things in
Below: Cloud Kit and books, David Meltzer in a fine mood while Jamie plays on!
I hope that we raised a ton of money to help defray the massive costs for David's cancer treatments! 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Cloud Shepherd will play this Sunday!

Cloud Shepherd is pleased to be playing a benefit show/poetry reading for David Meltzer this Sunday, 11/9/14, at Bird & Beckett Books in San Francisco!
Bird & Beckett is located at:
653 Chenery St.
SF CA 94131
The show starts at 7:30 PM. All proceeds go to David Meltzer's medical bill payments. A fun show for a very good guy's benefit! 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Bridge of Crows-Studio Grand, Oakland CA; 11/5/14

I was definitely stoked to be playing in the Grand Lake District of Oakland last night! So many years after living in that area, it felt like a cool homecoming.
Cool also to be playing with Mika Pontecorvo's Bridge of Crows! I very much liked being part of the eclectic mixture of personnel therein.
We played two pieces, both improvisations from sketches. The first utilized close mic'ing of cymbals and rocks, along with sax, clarinet, flute, guitar, bass, and electronics. Our goal was to simply let the sounds unfold within the envelope of electronic treatments created by Mika. It felt good! The second was a cover of James Blood Ulmer's Are You Glad To Be In America, Mika's statement about his feelings on current events. I've been an Ulmer fan for years, so playing that tune was a gas, even though I only knew we were doing it about five minutes into it!
Many thanks to Rob Pumpelly for letting me use his great, funky kit as a backline! His band with Karl Evangelista, Tracy Hui, and Nick Obando slayed!
Studio Grand and Oakland Freedom Jazz Society-do check them both out!

Below: Mika and Eli, father and son improv team
Above: funky old kit!
Below: Bridge of Crows full; photo by Russell Ward. Thanks, Russell!
Many thanks to Mika, Kersti, Greg, and Eli of Bridge of Crows!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I will play with Bridge of Crows this Wednesday!

I'm happy and looking forward to be playing with Bridge of Crows this Wednesday, 11/5 in Oakland!
The show will be at Studio Grand, 3235 Grand Ave. We will be opening for the Evangelista/Hui/Obando/Pumpelly Quartet, and the admission fee will be $8-15 sliding. Bridge of Crows will play at 9:30 PM.
Oakland/East Bay pals, come on out! It'll be fun! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Rent Romus' Life's Blood Ensemble-The Otherworld Cycle; SF Community Music Center, SF CA; 10/25-26/14

As I contemplate this last weekend's proceedings with The Life's Blood Ensemble, I feel senses of both happiness and relief.
Relieved, in that I can let go of a determined obsession with the music of The Otherworld Cycle. Its music has been exploding in my brain for weeks now, essentially since the first day that Rent Romus sent out the charts. I spent as much time as possible studying the notations and paintings that make up the composition.
Happiness from the the fact that we actually did it! Just getting to that point was a tale unto itself, with ensemble members appearing and disappearing, breaking down in tears, and Lord knows what other private emotional battles.

Below: charts and paintings

Even with all of the effort, we obviously could have put in more; to say that there were no mistakes, at least in my playing, would be a fib. One musician I spoke with commented that I was playing 6/8 during the 5/4 Broken Knife section, and another suggested that the ensemble was "just banging on bells for an hour". I appreciate and respect the objective criticism, but, still I'm proud of our work.
On a more emotional, touchy-feely side, I feel that the group hit some really high emotional marks, particularly during the purely improvised pieces and the On the Other Side/Vaka vanha Vainamoinen closing section.
I was also really stoked and honored to play with Timothy Orr and Suki O'Kane in the rhythm section. Most definitely a great learning experience for me. Thanks, Tim and Suki!
Most of all, thanks to Rent Romus for asking me to participate in the Otherworld Cycle. Hopefully we'll do it again, but only after a few weeks' respite! My brain needs time to relax!

Below: Suki and Tim

Above: some of my gear; note custom made bells by designer/musician Sung Kim

*top photo courtesy of Doug Lynner 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Earspray-Luggage Store Gallery, SF CA; 10/23/14

Some shows have a certain psychological element of transcendence, and last night's Earspray show was a fine example of that for me.
After the initial kvetching and high strung interactions of the set up, which I realize more and more is just a given, due to Ann's meticulous plans, and, as such, totally acceptable, we played what for me was a great set.
I dispensed with the recent electronics on my end, instead focusing on percussion, plate, and waterphone. The waterphone felt particularly tasty to me.
Said transcendent vibe arouse after about five minutes of improvisation. At that time, I felt like Ann, Carlos, and I were able to get to some deep, primordial zone of sound. Wonderful.
Ricardo D'Orlando and Dani Cardevore played really inspired sets, too.
Man, what a fun night.

Below:  My Earspray rigs

Below: Ann and Carlos post freak

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Upcoming gigs!

Busy October 2014 rolls along steadily, with two gigs happening  this week!

First, Earspray will play at the Luggage Store! 
We will play at 8:40 on Thursday, 10/23. The Luggage Store is located at:
1007 Market St. at 6th.

Next, I'll be a member of Rent Romus's expanded Life's Blood Ensemble for the premier of his Otherworld Cycle. The Otherworld Cycle is based upon the Finnish Kalevala, Karelian folk music, and the shamanic singing of the Sami people in rural northern Finland. 

Their will be three performances of the Otherworld Cycle this weekend, all at the SF Community Music Center. 
Show times are Saturday, 10/25 at 8PM, and Sunday, 10/26 at 3PM. 
The SF Community Music Center is located at 544 Capp St. in  the Mission. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

One more Infinite Plastic Internal photo set!

Probably beating a dead horse, but Roxy Roller was kind enough to take and send these photos to me, so, what the hell.......

Enough, already, I know.
Many thanks to Roxy Roller.
Below: photo by Michael Lowe-Grandi. Thanks, Michael!

Infinite Plastic Internal (feat.Jim Ryan) Stork Club Oakland Ca. Oct 2014

Thanks to Alphastare for doing this great, creative edit of Jim and IPI's set!

Jeff, you rule!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Infinite Plastic Internal w/ Jim Ryan; Stork Club, Oakland, CA 10/18/14

I had been very much looking forward to this show for a few reasons. First, I sort of love the Stork Club, despite its dive bar vibe. Second, I managed to convince Jim Ryan to play! Last but not least, the bill was put together by Jeff Klukowski, Alphastare main man and all around good guy.

Jim and I cooked up a set that revolved around his kalimba and my electronics, punctuated by woodwinds/drum set interaction and one a capella song, Julius Ceaser (Memento Hodie) by Nico.
It was challenging to try and sing in public, but I felt as though I got through it alright. We also experienced some small technical glitches, but encountering and overcoming those sorts of issues can be what makes the experience worthwhile.

It was great fun to jam out Free Jazz style with Jim on tenor sax and flute, that's for sure.
Thanks, Jim!

Below: scenes from the Stork Club

Below: paying tribute to Nico

As advertised, Infinite Plastic Internal and Alphastare did some collaborative work at the end of the evening, which was great, noisy and gong-ed fun! Thanks, Jeff!

Below: Infinite Plastic Alphastare

Many thanks to all who attended, and thanks to Melissa for taking these photos!