Monday, March 19, 2007

Cookin' with gas

Ouch the last few days have been crazy busy... but I think I managed to juggle everything.

Friday was rehearsal with the PlayGround. That piece is coming together (at least the dance is coming together, my work is just beginning), but I felt quite good after this rehearsal - my first ideas for most of the sections actually worked pretty well. There are only a couple of sections of the piece that have to go back to the drawing board.

Saturday night, Eigenvalues had our second (or third?) show. We premiered two new pieces - one of them, O.C.D. (obsessive compulsive dog) went just fine. It will be even better when we get the film/video figured out. The other new one, Can I Get Some More Vocals in my Monitor Please?, had a few glitches. I pressed some wrong buttons with my feet. I'll get it worked out soon. Funny that I got it right several times in rehearsal and then missed it at the show. Oh well. Cameron was terrific. She says she gets all nervous about being on stage, but you'd never know it once the show starts.

Sunday night was the debut performance of the Low End String Quartet. That went super smoothly - no technical troubles, and the group did a great job (especially considering this was only the third day we've played together). I'm really excited about this ensemble, it's got great potential. Now I just have to write some more pieces.

We opened for Chris Black, who was excellent. He had some problem with his amp, so did his set totally acoustic, which was really cool. If you get a chance to hear this guy, don't miss it.

Whew. I made it through those couple of days. Figuring out what gear had to go to which gig was enough to make me dizzy, but in comparison, figuring out what notes to play when was just plain easy.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Upcoming Show: Chris Black, Low End String Quartet

Here's my press blurb for a very very very cool show that's coming up soon (Sunday, March 18) featuring Chris Black (bassist from Golden Arm Trio). He's driving all the way from Texas so I really need to get an audience for this one... please come out and tell your friends about it. The music is going to be dy-no-mite. Chris' songs are really great - dark / americana with some Tom Waits sort of aspects and some old-time blues aspects - and some drunkenness and lechery thrown in for good measure.

Oh, and I'm playing too... with my new string quartet.

Chris Black Photo

Improv Arts, Inc. presents:

Fiddling on the Fat Strings
featuring Chris Black and The Low End String Quartet

Who: Chris Black (from Austin, Texas), and the Low End String Quartet
When: Sunday, March 18, 2007, 9:00pm, $7
Where: Warehouse Next Door, 1017 7th Street NW, Washington DC 20001

“Bass! how low can you go?”
-- Chuck D

The bass violin goes by many names: Contrabass, Double Bass, Stand-up Bass, etc. Call it whatever you like, the important thing is that it sounds so damn good. Spend an evening with a few basses, and some of their smaller-stringed cousins.

Chris Black has played nearly every instrument you don't blow into with nearly every conflagration of degenerate sound junkies within shouting distance, starting out as upright bassist for Shoulders back in the early 90's. From there, he hopped continents and sat in with Parisian rockers Les Wampas for a couple of records and tours before returning to Texas to pursue his love of gambling. In 2000 he met Graham Reynolds of the Golden Arm Trio, and toured around the country as upright bassist and guitarist for that hair-raising improvisational eutastrophe.

“Jericho” is Chris Black's first solo release, and was recorded in living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms in Austin and Los Angeles with upright basses, banjos, guitars, accordions, kick drums, fiddles, pianos, saw blades, brake drums, tambourines and maracas acquired by chance, in situ, ad hoc, and Amen.

He's now in the midst of a national tour promoting the record. For his live solo show, Chris plays with an upright bass, overdriven acoustic guitar, banjo, and an assortment of other instruments. He loops the music live and on the fly, creating sounds and rhythms to sing against. It is boomy, dark, abused and simple. His songs are soaked in booze, sadness, and redemption.

Opening the show, will be the debut performance of the Low End String Quartet, an ensemble formed by composer / guitarist Jonathan Matis. The instrumentation differs from the standard string quartet model, adding a bass, dropping a violin, and swapping a guitar where the viola should be. This “new and improved” string quartet lineup is much better suited to clubs and bars than the classical model, and better equipped for rumbling your ribcage.

The group is staffed by a diverse bunch: jazz bassist Dan Barbiero; classical (although quite eclectic) cellist Jodi Beder; Matis on guitar, bringing his mixed bag of avant-rock, jazz, and post-classical influences; and another classical veteran, Andrea Vercoe on violin. They intend to rock.

Upcoming Show: Eigenvalues and more

We're going to have some new material to share. Hopefully we'll finish our piece about Wickett (the OCD dog) in time to include it on this program...

Stripey Socks Productions Presents:

Saturday, March 17, 2007
7:30pm sharp!
$7.00 / all ages
7014 Westmoreland Avenue
Takoma Park, MD
Jack Wright’s free jazz trio
Jack’s solo and combo performances have enlivened and enriched recent Electric Possible shows in DC and he’s performed around the country and overseas for many years now. If you’re not already hip to Jack’s work, have a look here:
Don’t take those words for it, come out and experience his sound and collaborators firsthand.
Weaving together original and found text with composed and improvised music, Cameron McPhee and Jonathan Matis compose and perform material blurring the boundaries between music and literary art in a way that retains the integrity of both the spoken language and the musical composition. Eigenvalues unites Matis's skill as a composer and musician with McPhee's training in the theater. Matis is a composer and performer who has performed and recorded with a variety of ensembles, and is a co-founder of the DC Improvisers Collective (DCIC), a quartet exploring the intersection of jazz, contemporary composition and experimental music. Cameron McPhee has performed on and written for the stage since she was a child and trained in theater at the New World Conservatory for the Arts,.
Washington, DC graphic designer Jeffrey Prosser created Mimeth in 2005 as an outlet for his sound experiments using urban field recordings. Sounds collected on Minidisc are layered and treated on the computer. In performance, Mimeth creates soundscapes which embrace elements of dub, drone and post rock, and recent work has seen the addition of string arrangements. Mimeth is excited to be collaborating with Ivan Khilko and Michael Hendley of Immanent Voiceless for this performance and other upcoming live projects.
Pat Gillis of Northern Machine and The Angus Brainpan returns to Sangha with further dispatches from the alchemical universe of melody-free electronic sound.