Sunday, May 24, 2015

Next Now's All Tomorrow's After Parties-Berkeley Arts Festival Building, Berkeley CA; 5/22-24, 2015

I was very fortunate to be involved in many projects over Next Now's Spring 2015 All Tomorrow's After Parties, and it's always inspiring and humbling to see and hear so many great SF Bay Area improvisers and artists!
The rundown on sets that I was involved with:

Primoria-this group featured Mika and Kersti of Cartoon Justice and myself. We played to a couple of film collages. Mika played guitar, Kersti played saxophone, and I played Handsoniq and a cymbal, and the bottom of a mic stand. It was really enjoyable to try and coax the maximum amount of sound from the cymbal; I used a long screw and a pair of Vic Firth Dreadlocks, along with a drum stick, to do so. The best parts for me were the ones in which we got this kind of melt-down sound, notes and tones slowly oozing out of the p.a. It was also quite fun to scrape the mic stand bottom with the screw, from which a high pitch ping emanated. Mika got cool sounds from placing a metal bowl atop his guitar strings.

Below: Primoria set up and my gear

Below: video excerpt (courtesy of Russell Ward, thanks, Russell!)

Alphastare vs. Infinite Plastic Internal-I basically got really tripped out for this set, going for full on Butoh mode, along with playing waterphone, cymbal, chain, and roto toms. Did I mention that I tripped out? Uh, yeah! Jeff did some really sweet sound mixing, utilizing a bass amp for a really effective low end pummel and pushing all sounds through a Moogerfooger. What a gas! We dedicated the set to Bob Moog, whose birthday was 5/23.

Below: Alphastare vs. Infinite Plastic Internal

Below: video!

Wild Card Set-a fun jam that featured Mika Pontecorvo on Handsoniq, Monica Berini on frame drum, Jeff Klukowski on electronics, Amy Reed on guitar, and me on percussion. It felt cohesive and jammy, in a good way!

Below: wild card!
Below: video!

Cloud Shepherd-Cloud Shepherd did a real about face from our last Berkeley Arts Festival show, and went back to the improvisational Jazz/Electro-Acoustic mode. Sheila Bosco joined us, and her sounds added something really special. There was a cohesiveness to our thirty minute piece that was very groovy. We actually played some grooves! Grooves, and freak outs, and quiet, flute-driven parts. Hooray! Cloud Shepherd returns! Thanks, Sheila, and welcome aboard! Did anyone take photos?

Cartoon Cloud-this grouping was sort of ad hoc, as a scheduled performance featuring Mika Pontecorvo, Ann O'Rourke, Jack Hertz, and myself was cancelled due to injury. Mika asked Andrew to join us for a reprise of our Cloud Cartoon set at the Stork Club last year while Ann projected her videos onto the walls of Berkeley Arts Festival. We did one sort of Fusion-ey jam, with lots of space and beats. I actually played a normal drum set! The vibe was loose and flowing, and we managed to keep it going for a nice long while. Ann's vids are getting more and more detailed and meticulous, which makes her justifiably proud.

Below: Cartoon Cloud sets up!

Above: Drums! Below: Sound!

Wild Card Sets-I actually played two of these on Sunday. The first featured Jacob Pek, Kersti Abrams, Eli Pontecorvo, and myself. I had a lot of fun rolling a floor tom tom across the great, resonant hardwood of the Berkeley Arts Festival building. Nice, rumbling tone. The next one, lead by Sung Kim, and featuring Aaron Levin, Mika Pontecorvo, and me, was LOUD. Very loud. I have no idea what I did!

Bridge of Crows-my final performance of the festival occurred with Bridge of Crows, and featured a guest appearance by Bob Marsh on cello. We played two pieces, each to accompany films by Mika. They started out somewhat subtle, but developed into some pretty heavy, spaced-out movements. Master Drummer Donald Robinson complimented me on my playing, which pretty much made the weekend for me!

Below: Bob and Kersti set up for Bridge of Crows

In closing I just want to say how great a weekend it was at Berkeley Arts Festival. So much great sound by so many different people. Big ups to Mika, Kersti, and Eli, who spent probably 24 of the last 72 hours there, running things smoothly. It was a pleasure!

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