Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fall is here

Fall is here, huh? We spent last weekend enjoying the nice weather. We went apple picking with Jen and Trav and Jen's dad, who was in town for a visit. Now we have lots of apples so it's time to learn how to bake pie.

We also took our bikes out for a nice long ride on Sunday. There are miles and miles of nice trails from our neighborhood up to College Park and vicinity.

Some good news (and also sad news): Oreo is adopted. Her new name is "Scout" and she's shown here with her new sibling, Darcy. She lives at Andrews Air Force Base now. It's so sad to give her up, but nice to know that she's got a great permanent home. We did an enormous amount of vacuuming this past weekend and now the house looks like the humans outnumber the dogs again.

I'm hard at work (actually not so much... I'm procrastinating right now) re-arranging the music for "Nxt/Step" - the piece I wrote for Step Afrika. We're doing a new version with a jazz quartet as part of the upcoming Ellington Jazz Festival. Shows are Oct. 2 and 3 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sour Grapes

For several years now I've subscribed to a magazine called Signal To Noise, a publication that bills itself as, “the quarterly journal of improvised, experimental, and unusual music.” They do a fine job covering this terrain, and as far as I know it's a labor of love run by lovely people and filled with the work of lovely people who surely aren't motivated by money. This is all to say, it's a great magazine, and whatever I have to say about it is not meant as a criticism. This essay, like most everything I do, is all about me.

When each issue arrives, I eagerly flip through it. Quickly, I start to get bitter and defensive. I undergo a Kafka-esque transformation and soon resemble a certain fox. It gets harder to flip the pages with furry paws and no thumb, but I'm stubborn and I stick it out until the very last page. Muttering and grumbling over each glossy photo, and every superlative-laden blurb about every unshaven hipster doofus that they gush over for one reason or another. Sour grapes.

At long last, this cycle has been broken! The fall issue arrived in my mailbox this week, and in it there are two lovely features about me. No sour grapes necessary. There's even a glossy photo of me. Me me me. Finally.

Seriously, though... Marc Masters wrote a nice feature story about the DC “experimental scene,” and I'm included as well as many of the other people who, honestly, have a lot more to do with the scene than I do. But I'll happily take some credit. I am a sucker for acknowledgment.

There's also a short review of the DCIC cd included as well... and it's a pretty good review, I think:

DCIC is a guitar/electronics-reeds-drums trio with links to underground rock – guitarist Jonathan Matis recently toured with Fugazi bassist Joe Lally, drummer Ben Azzara was in Delta '72 – as well as jazz – they have performed with Greg Osby. They play in a hybrid language, slipping in the occasional rock chord as easily as they slide through textural explorations. Mike Sebastian's horns, and especially his exotically pitched saxello, are what makes their music stand out. He's as adept at tying knots in his own lines like Roscoe Mitchell as he is at reeling out an imploring, klezmer-tinged lament. At close to an hour, their debut overstays its welcome a bit, but there's enough happening here that I'd be happy to check them out if they came to my town.

-- Bill Meyer

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

LESQ recording session almost complete

I've been in the studio for the last two and a half days with the Low End String Quartet. We're recording at Inner Ear with TJ Lipple. I like TJ, but it sure is expensive to hang out with him.

Our tracking day went more smoothly than I expected. We got through everything with a little time to spare. The air conditioning wasn't working, so things got a little swampy. The string players had some interesting troubles with that. It turns out that bass rosin gets extra sticky; and one of Jodi's tuning pegs got stuck at one point. My bandmates were really great about it. We got through the day with nary a complaint about the heat, and everyone really worked hard.

Mixing is going well too... although it can be a tedious process. In a few weeks, hopefully, we'll get the mastering done and then I'll have some hot stuff to share.