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 

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