Saturday, February 4, 2017

Ear Spray-KZSU Day of Noise 2017, 2/4/17; Stanford CA

Now that I live in northwest Contra Costa County, Stanford is not exactly right around the corner, but seeing as that Ear Spray's 10 AM set time necessitated my very early departure from home, the drive was a breeze. Really pretty, too, on account of all the recent rain. The East Bay hills have that wonderful shimmery green hue that I just love.
It was really fun to see friends and acquaintances from the Noise and Improvised Music scenes once I arrived at KZSU's studio. Hell, seeing Matt Davignon's David Bowie impression, after I was enthusing about having just listened to the Blackstar for the first time, was worth the drive all by itself!
I was really excited to be playing a percussion instrument made by Dan Gottwald. This bell tree type of piece was given to me by Bob Marsh last year as he was leaving California. Owing to its somewhat cumbersome and fragile nature, I've never really taken it out in public, but it seemed like the relatively safe, controlled environment of a radio studio would be fine for its use.
Ear Spray had sketched out a thirty minute piece in rehearsal, featuring the Gottwald piece roughly the ten minute mark. We spent the time previous to that mark building Noise washes with Carlos's electronics and Ann's vocals and mic'd cymbal scrapings. As this was going on, I was ruminating on Noise as an approach to thought: "what does it mean, what are its implications" type of stuff. As these thoughts were jumping around my noggin, I was also beating upon the 18" roto tom that I'd brought; hopefully that sound was able to impart some of the ruminations. Who knows, really? At the appointed cue, I got a fun solo in on the bell tree, lasting about four minutes. Its aluminum bells are somewhat thick, so they're kind of challenging to get clear tones from. I used several striking implements, including a chain at one point, which seemed to work OK.
After the bell tree solo Ear Spray played with volume and textures, all leading up to a planned hard stop at thirty minutes. Kinda rough there, but oh well. It seemed as though we all had a good time. Hopefully our Noise sat right with KZSU's Noise fans.

Below: David Slusser does his thing at KZSU: it's good to see friends
Above: roto tom and Dan Gottwald bell tree instrument
Below: Carlos sets up
Above: moody Stanford shot

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