Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Pure Finder-Studio Grand, Oakland CA; 2/22/16

In some ways it's a miracle that this show happened at all: when Andrew Palmer and I arrived at Studio Grand, we spent over thirty minutes trying to get the damn space open; it seems that we could both use a bit of work on our skills with keys! After this prolonged struggle and a hasty call to Fernando, the booker for Oakland Freedom Jazz Society (then on the road up from Los Angeles), we somehow figured it out.
As an added bonus, there was actually a small audience to play to. It strikes me that, for Improvised Music, even when one person comes through the door of the venue, one feels inclined to walk around doing fist bumps in the air. I don't write this as any kind of value judgement, but just a simple observation. Fans of this type of music are picky, for sure, and rare is the act that can draw more than a few, and for me, even that feels lucky. Still, I enjoy playing the type of sounds that the Pure Finder plays.
Play we did, too: a nice 34-ish minute long set. Things flowed nicely in my opinion, with plenty of the requisite spaces and stops added to the busier moments. At times, I had fun dancing around my kit, along with getting long, ugly scraping sounds from metal rods on the sides of cymbals and drums, and a small gong.  Many of these sounds were fed back into Andrew's rig, which he then processed into his analog synth and shot through the PA. I recorded the set, but that was a bust; at best the recording sounds like we're playing at the bottom of an ocean.
Roger Kim's ensemble was quite impressive. Their use of composed pieces for guitar, clarinet, voices, and dancers was beautiful and humbling, the latter in the best possible way. I felt lucky to hear it!

As usual, big ups to Fernando for his adventurous and supportive booking!

Below: Andrew sets up, and my kit/percussion stuff

Above: Fernando, fresh off the 5 from Los Angeles!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Pure Finder tomorrow night!

Short notice here, but Pure Finder will play tomorrow night in Oakland!
Also on the bill will be Portrait Maker, featuring the music of Roger Kim.

Studio Grand
3234 Grand Ave.
Oakland CA 94610
9:30 PM

Art music in Oakland!

Surplus 1980-Salt Lick, Oakland CA; 2/20/16

Along with being very happy to play again with Surplus 1980, I was really jazzed on the Salt Lick space. With its cool DIY pace, funky art, and indoor quarter pipe for skating, there's just a lot to like about this spot in Oakland.
Surplus 1980 took some chances with our set this evening, trying out arrangements that were rehearsed earlier in the day! This kind of freaked me out a bit, but I think that we managed to get pretty close to nailing them. Newer songs are developing nicely.
I was stoked to have FINALLY played 99 Is Not 100 at an optimal level, along with everyone getting pretty crispy renditions of other, older tunes.
Many thanks to Josh from Salt Lick for loaning me his snare drum, a total life saver, as the one that I'd brought fell apart about one minute into our first song. Gnarly.
It was a pleasure to hear the Dark Wave of Esses and the Punk Rock of BAUS. Great show tonight, absolutely.

Below: Mel sets up, and Steven Lew

Below: shot from earlier in the day, most of Surplus 1980 trying to figure out new arrangements (photo courtesy of Bill Wolter, thanks, Bill!)

Below: Surplus 1980 live at Salt Lick

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Surplus 1980 plays this Saturday night in Oakland!

I'm stoked to announce that Surplus 1980 will play in Oakland this Saturday night! We will share a bill at Salt Lick with BAUS and Esses. Details here:

BAUS/Surplus 1980/Essess
Saturday 2/20/16
Salt Lick
411 2nd St.
Oakland CA 94607

If you're in Oakland that night, and you'd like to rock.......

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Friday, February 5, 2016

Cosmists-Luggage Store, SF CA; 2/5/16

Driving into San Francisco, Andrew and I were a bit worried about snarled traffic due to the Superbowl mania currently infecting the City, but, by some minor miracle, we were able to snag a space really close to the Luggage Store, pretty much right at 6th St. and Market. It seemed like a portent of a good night.
Indeed, a good night it was! Cosmists played two pieces: one from a score that I wrote, featuring colored, circular matrices that were used as guides for improvised playing, cues for poems, and short notated rhythmic cells. Using this method makes me very happy, and I felt that, for the most part, it worked really well. Cosmists were able to collectively produce about 32 minutes of interactive playing from this guide! I was happy with our ability to produce some really good silences, along with more active and busy spaces. Additionally, I enjoyed getting bowed and scraped sounds from my kit. Also great was the fact that Andrew and Collette both read their own poems! I read one by Tu Fu and one by Isaac Rosenberg. Our second, shorter piece, featured more scraping at the drum set and some more percussion from Collette.
We were really stoked to play with Ecosono Ensemble, who were incredible and intense in a very controlled, subdued way.
What a great night! Many thanks to Outsound for putting this coherent bill together!

Below: Andrew jokes around during sound check, and Collette's floor-based rig

Below: Cosmists' set up, and close up of my kit, which reminds me of kits of 1920's Jazz drummers!

Thanks to Collette for continuing to play with Cosmists!
Below: full photo of Cosmists, courtesy of Glen Whitehead. Thanks, Glen!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Cosmists this Thursday in SF!

Cosmists will play this Thursday, 2/4, at the Luggage Store in SF! We will be performing a piece that includes poetry, visual cues, and sketched rhythmic cells!
For this show, Cosmists will consist of Andrew Joron, Collette McCaslin, and myself. Also on the bill will be the Ecosono Ensemble.

Thu., 2/4/16
Luggage Store Gallery
1007 Market St.
SF CA 94103
8 PM Sharp
$6-12 Sliding Scale