The Art of Sound

I was honored to be asked to make noise with some old friends as part of an electronic music concert that was organized with several classes happening during Winter Term here at Middlebury College. Each of my co-conspirators are people I would drop everything for, grab the Stick and stompboxes and head into the musical unknown.

Sandy Nordahl – computer, keyboard, iPhone
Peter Hamlin – Roli keyboard with computer and visualizations
Matthew Evan Taylor – woodwinds, Boss RC300 Loop Station
Mark Christensen – Chapman Stick and effects, looping
Jack Tipper – computer, synth and custom-designed sounds

Performed live at Middlebury College’s Robison Hall, January 15, 2023.

Diving Into the Archive…

Ancient Audio Artifacts.

DAT, ADAT, Minidisc, Cassette, VHS; I am surrounded. Using my free time to sift thru the archive of my work from the last 35 years. So many forgotten moments, sessions, whole projects even, lost in the hazy mist of memory.

Until now. Among the projects being (re)discovered:

  • Multitracks of John Tower Group, Regional Science Fair, Christensen/Watts/Chestnut/Tan, and various albums for others.
  • 2-track recordings of gigs dating back to ’92.
  • An absolute treasure trove of Fools and Fodder relics (board tapes, demos, rough mixes and 2 different shows on video bookending the life of the band.
  • Hours and hours of 4 and 8-track sketches, demos, failed attempts and experiments.

All of these will eventually be transferred to a DAW/drive for long term storage and who knows? Some of it might see the light of day in some form or another. Actually, the Regional Science Fair gigs might make their way onto the band’s Sound Cloud page in case there’s anybody who wants to relive that mayhem. More on that soon.

Winooski Falls in Essex

While Radio Underground is on hiatus, in an effort to keep playing and not go bonkers, Arty and I have enlisted RU drummer Andrew Bedard and Bardela (R.I.P.) bassist Jeff Barrows to bring some of Arty’s newer songs to life. Originally conceived as a semi-autobiographical song cycle, Winooski Falls has also become the name of the band. The sound of the band can best be described as… well, it’s tough to describe. An Americana influenced singer/songwriter with an acoustic guitar accompanied by a jazz drummer, jam band bass player and a prog rock guitarist and sonic weirdo. You try and describe it.

We rolled out the new sound at the Double E in Essex to a crowded room that danced, cheered and sang along. We had our sound guy and human security blanket Bennett there so the sound was tight and the pressure low. A pretty good night. I hope we can get back there soon.

E #

If you looked at my bucket list, somewhere in the “Unrealistic Expectation” section, there is a short grouping of musicians I would love to play with. Among them is one Elliot Sharp. If that name is unfamiliar,take a few minutes now and Google him. I will wait.

Done? Good. Somehow the fates conspired move humanity in the direction to where my compadre Matthew Evan Taylor ends up teaching at the institution where my “day job” is and becomes an intermittent collaborator of mine in the Improvisatory Arts. He then brings his friend Elliott Sharp to teach a winter term class on improvisation/composition. Part of that course was the concluding concert where the class got to display some of the things they had learned. Part of that concert was a free improvisation by Elliott (clarinet), Matthew (saxophone), fellow musical adventurer Gahlord Dewald (upright bass) and yours truly (Stick and devices). Gahlord and I were invited as delegates from the local improvising music community.

Following that the class joined us on the stage with their instruments and Elliott lead the ensemble in a conducted improvisation. [from the interwebs: “Conducted improvisation is the act of providing a certain degree of instruction for improvisation to musicians in real time. Usually through various gestures.”]. Zappa did this a lot through the years and MY familiarity with approach came from him.

Both pieces were a blast to participate in and I thank E#, MET and the entire class of Composition Today for letting me tag along.