“Now What?”

Participated in a concert of “electronic music” last night titled “Now What?”. It was the brainchild of Peter Hamlin and the lineup included his visiting friend Sandy Nordahl (electric bass, keys and electronics), Brian Robison (Theremin and electronics), Kareem Khalifa (electric upright bass, oud and electronics), myself (fretless guitar and electronics) and Peter (keys, computer, harmonica, electronics).

The format was basically different combinations of the above musicians playing pieces that were mostly improvised with varying degrees of success. Since Brian, Kareem and I work together occasionally as a trio, we connected pretty well. And I was lucky to score a solo spot. Samples will be up on the Facebook page eventually.

Earlier in the day Peter, Sandy, Kareem and I were interviewed for a piece about the concert for WRMC. The interviewer was shocked to learn that Sandy and I were meeting for the very first time and planning on collaborating in concert later that evening. It gave us a chance to (try to) explain our approaches to performance and improvisation. An mp3 of the final radio piece can be heard

Sudden Return to 51 Main

Got an email on Friday from Kareem on behalf of the management of 51 Main. Apparently the performers booked for both Friday and Saturday night cancelled and they were anxious to fill those spots. As I’d been contemplating booking an evening for a couple solo sets I used this as the pointed stick to get me moving. I offered my services for the next night (Saturday) and suggested Kareem join me for one set. He jumped on board and we were good to go.

At some point during the morning on Saturday Kareem met up with Brian Robison (mutual friend and composer/thereminist/guitarist/synthesist mentioned here before) and it became apparent that adding him into the mix for that night would be a good idea. Kareem left a message on my voicemail making this suggestion. I got the message as I was driving up to the venue that evening. So it was a very pleasant surprise to walk in and see Kareem’s upright bass and Brian’s Moog synth set up in the “stage” area.

I dragged my rig in and set up between them. The first set was just me and an embarassing array of electronics doing my “Bill Frisell on acid” routine. The set was mostly improvised with one piece touching on a Zappa theme for a few minutes. It wasn’t the apex of my musical career but it wasn’t too bad.

After a short break the three of us launched into what felt like a pretty coherrent musical conversation. I was really enjoying getting to sit between these guys as we played – the best listening spot in the whole room. There were times where the sound of Brian’s Moog and my looped guitar sounded so similar it was hard to tell who was doing what. We wandered pretty far out and then meandered back (musically speaking). I love playing with improvisers who actually LISTEN. Fun stuff!