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! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Infinite Plastic Internal will play in Oakland this Saturday!

I'm happy to be playing with my friend Jeff Klukowski's electronics project, Alphastare.
Infinite Plastic Internal will play at 5PM, followed by Alphastare. After that, we will do some collaborative work.
The Stork Club is located at 2330 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland.
I will have 7"s and cassettes for sale/trade.
Looking forward to this show! 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Failure Cock-The Lab, SF CA; 10/11/14

I have to say that any event that Grux and his crew are putting on, and I'm in. It's always a pleasure to share a room with the man's amazing artwork!
It was also great to play with so many creative Brutal Sound Artists. A fine evening of drone, robotics, scrawls, and screams was had.
For Failure Cock's set, we utilized the still-developing pan feedback flute, a small cymbaline, and old cymbals with grinders and contact mics.
I honestly could  have just stood back the whole time and listened to Scarp's loops. Really good stuff.
The pan feedback flute worked OK, but it still needs tweaking.
It was most fun grinding away at the cymbals; we got some really booming scrawls going. One person I spoke with said that he liked the Classic Industrial sound we were going for. I saw it more as trying to keep things really simplified, but can see his point.
What a great night in the Mission. Keep SF Weird.

Below: a small example of Grux's art work

Below: Failure Cock's full rig, and Scarp setting up, note pan feedback flute on work table

Bandcamp recording here:

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Do You Even Psychedelic? : Cloud Shepherd Interview with Andrew, Brian, Mark,...

Do You Even Psychedelic? : Cloud Shepherd Interview with Andrew, Brian, Mark,...: Living in the 21st century, the connection between man and sound can often be seen to of been forgotten, or at least misremembered. Ancie...

Friday, October 10, 2014

Failure Cock will play at the Lab tomorrow night!

Tomorrow night, Failure Cock will play at the Lab, as part of the Godwaffle Brutal Sound Effects Series!
The Lab is located at 2948 16th St. at Capp St., and the show starts at 8PM SHARP!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Rent Romus Life's Blood Ensemble-KZSU, Stanford; 10/8/14

It was cool to stand under the full moon at Stanford last night, and I was extremely excited to and honored to have the drum chair in the Life's Blood Ensemble! Filling in for Timothy Orr felt daunting!
We played six improvisational pieces, all cued from Kalevala-themed paintings done by Collette McCaslin. It seemed to me that we got into some pretty tranced out musical spaces, fitting, as one of the main focuses for Rent is the shamanic tradition embedded within the Kalevala. Of course, when Rent started getting seriously wild with his alto sax, I couldn't help but try and throw in some swinging riffage, but more often than not I tried to use space, leaving as much room as possible for the flutes of Mika Pontecorvo and Heikki Koskinen and delicate vocals of Ron Heglin and Bob Marsh.
At the end of our 50 minute set, I was dripping with sweat and pretty well gone. Hopefully others felt the same way!

Below: Life's Blood Ensemble sets up

Above: Rent Romus and his mighty alto
Below: traps, pre and post freak

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Playing tonight on KZSU!

This evening I'll be playing drums with Rent Romus's Life's Blood Ensemble! We will be playing Transitions of the Otherworld Cycle, improvised pieces based on certain aspects of the larger piece, which will be performed in its entirety later this month.
9-10 PM, PDT, 90.1 in the SF Bay Area, or streaming here:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Bridge of Crows-Makout Room; SF, CA 10/6/14

As I walked into the Makeout Room last night, I reflected that it was a place that I'd never been to, let alone played at. Seems odd, really, as it was in business during the 1990's.
I had a great time playing with Bridge of Crows. We had developed two themes in our rehearsal for this show. One, we seemed to stick with, the other may have gotten a bit lost in the shuffle. Our music felt loose and flow-ey to me; it was great to play along with Eli Pontecorvo's low electric bass tones. We even got a bit of a heckle, a drinkin' gal in a booth wanted us to play a song called Toxic by Britney Spears. Hopefully she wasn't trying to tell us that we'd poisoned her evening with our weirdness. You can't please everyone, I guess.
It was a real pleasure to play Jon Arkin's Sonor Jazz kit. Sweet! His band, Cabbages, Captain and King are super tight and precise, as are Earth Blind. Great instrumental music is happening in the Bay!

Below: Jon's kit. Thanks, Jon!

Above: Eli P's monster low end machine

Many thanks to the Bridge of Crows crew for letting me play with them! 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Earspray-Witch Room, NorCal Noisefest 14; Sacramento, CA 10/5/14

The Witch Room is an absolutely lovely and cool space. Above, an image of a particularly groovy feature of their smoking/lounging porch.
In the lead up to this show, I had been worried that the clockwork logistical nature of music festivals would bump up against Earspray's somewhat detailed set up needs; it takes a lot of time, generally, for us to get the video and electronics up and running. Placed against the tight scheduling, it seemed likely that we'd run up against a buzzsaw of frayed emotions. This indeed happened, sort of, but we were able to get our rigs  up and running.
For me, as with my last Noisefest appearance (2012 with an Andrew-less Cloud Shepherd), I wanted to get into the Noise spirit of the thing and be as noisy as possible. On account of Earspray bringing our own speakers, Ann and Carlos had no monitor mix, so, my noise somewhat overwhelmed their noise, at least on the stage of the Witch Room (which is GREAT!)
We concluded at the end of the day that we had no idea how we sounded.
On a more fun note, there was a guy giving Noise Haircuts, with his clippers plugged into a seriously squirrely amp and pedals. I had a Noise Beard Trim, and Ann had a Noise Haircut. That was surreally fun!

Below: Earspray/ MC Lob Instagon/Carlos/Mark Noise Rig

Below: Ann get a Noise Haircut!

It was great to hear all of the other acts on the bill. I particularly enjoyed Stolen Elk, Instagon, Deletist, and Big City Orchestra. Sacramento always seems like a very livable city. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Upcoming shows!

October will be a very busy month for me, as far as gigging goes. Upcoming, I have two shows in two days:

@Norcal Noisefest
Witch Room
1815 19th St.
Sacramento, CA

with Bridge of Crows
@the Makeout Room
3225 22nd St.

I'm looking forward to both of these appearances! More updates, reflections, etc. next week. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Crow Crash Radio-Jupiter, Berkeley; 10/1/14

The nice thing about playing at Berkeley's venerable Jupiter is the fact that you get at least three sets. This makes stretching out an imperative, and that Crow Crash Radio definitely did last night. I felt almost as if last Saturday's Oakland gig was a warm up for this short notice appearance. We just used the same set list, but took all kinds of liberties, stretching songs until their almost breaking points. One can't expect to be the center of attention at Jupiter, as its customers are dining and drinking, but that factor can be fine. When we play there, I feel that I can just quietly play and let anything happen in the music; I figure that the audience appreciates not being yelled at and harassed for attention. That's completely fine with me.
Thanks to Andrew for setting this one up.

Below: Crow Crash Radio at Jupiter

Below: best use for a flannel shirt during SF Bay Area "summer"