Entries tagged with “Text Scores”.

Collins Pub

Saturday, October 9th, 2010 8:00 PM
Collins Pub

526 Second Ave

Eye Music, the group that I play graphic and textual scores with, has a gig at Collins Pub this Saturday.  This is our second show in the last month and features completely new material for this show. Scores include  Toshi Ichiyanagi’s Sapporo, David Toop’s Lizard Music plus pieces by group members Mike Shannon and Amy Denio.  This also is our first show outside of the wonderful new music cloister that is the Chapel Performance Space.  I’ve never been to Collins Pub, but looking at their menu it looks like they have a pretty decent beer selection and the food sounds pretty classy. So come on down and listen to some experimental music as you hoist a pint.

Complete concert details can be found on the Eye Music page.

Eye Music Ensemble
Eye Music Ensemble holding Sapporo
My Prepared Wire Strung Harp. Click for more sizes
My Prepared Wire Strung Harp

We had a pretty good crowd at the Eye Music show on Thursday, something certainly not to be counted in a mid-week show late in the “holiday season”.  The performances were overall quite nice I thought, my favorites of those I was involved in was Cornelius Cardew’s Tiger’s Mind, which I’ve wanted to play for a long time.  This piece is a textual piece, a poetic little scenario with six characters each played by one of the musicians. Like the script in a play Cardew’s score  includes character notes for each character with motivations, interactions with the other characters and interesting little asides. The interpretation instructions for the piece suggest you begin with a fixed sextet and do a line by line almost literal interpretation of the piece. As you become more familiar with the piece you can work more with the characters nature as outline in the character notes and eventually you stop directly assigning the characters and the players do so themselves. Thus there could be multiple players assigned to each character but as long as they treat the other players as the other characters it all works out.  This piece is basically Cardew’s exploration of improvisation, almost a step by step process from set parts to working with the other players directly.  A great piece that I for one would like to play a lot more.

The Tiger’s Mind

The tiger fights the mind that loves the circle that traps the tiger. The circle is perfect and outside time. The wind blows dust in tigers’ eyes. Amy reflects, relaxes with her mind, which puts out buds (emulates the tree). Amy jumps through the circle and comforts the tiger. The tiger sleeps in the tree. High wind. Amy climbs the tree, which groans in the wind and succumbs. The tiger burns.

The tiger burns and sniffs the wind for news. He storms at the circle; if inside to get out, if outside to get in. Amy sleeps while the tiger hunts. She dreams of the wind, which then comes and wakes her. The tree trips Amy in the dark and in her fall she recognizes her mind. The mind, rocked by the wind tittering in the leaves of the tree, and strangled by the circle, goes on the nod. The circle is trying to teach its secrets to the tree. The tree laughs at the mind and at the tiger fighting it.

We played just the Nightpiece (Cardew specifies that the two parts are to be played on different days) and our performance of the piece was delicate, sensitive and I thought really beautiful. Not to say that it was reductionist in any way, the score certainly calls for more aggressive playing at times: The Tiger burns; He Storms at the circle; The Tree Trips Amy in the darkThe Mind, rocked by by the Wind…and strangled by the circle; the tiger fighting it. The sleeping Amy, the padding of the hunting tiger, the wind tittering and so on, certainly sets a dreamy and floating stage out of which these points of action arise.

My Table of Manipulators. Click for more sizes
My Table of Manipulators

The bulk of the second set was a performance from the entire ensemble of Earle Brown’s December 1952, one of the pieces from his Folio. I love this piece and have played it with the Seattle Improv Meeting as well as with Eye Music. This was the first time I’ve performed it live though and this was my other favorite performance of the evening.  The score (which you can sort of make out on the cover of the program up there), implies spaciousness, sounds coming as discrete events twinkling out of a sea of silence. The loose “instructions” that Brown includes with the piece are almost entirely about space, approaches for navigating through the events. With sounds completely open and the diverse setups of the ensemble which was in a circle around the audience it really was a sea of sounds that came out of the resonant space of the Chapel. The score indicates that at least in one interpretation the thicker line indicate dynamics, so it wasn’t just a uniform wash of tiny sounds. No there were passages of loud and dense events that due to the nature of the score and the fact that you can play it at any orientation, not to mention the differing pace of each performer, meant they could come at any time throughout the performance of the piece. Overlapping events, loud or quiet would occasionally reach a level of actual density, but more often then not they would provide that joyous collision of sound that combined exceed the glory of the original sounds.  We played this piece for a half an hour, which really is a good duration for the piece, allowing for a nice separation of the sounds but again thanks to the size of the ensemble and the differences in the performers there were never extended periods of absolute silence. Enough I think to allow the very positive addition of the other sounds audible from the performance space but not to a degree that that becomes the piece.

All in a all a good evening of music and one I was proud to participate in. The other pieces were great as well and everything was done well. The audience was very respectful and seemed to be enjoying themselves. Thanks to all for a good evening.

EyeMusic 2009 concert poster. Click for more sizes
EyeMusic 2009 concert poster

The second general Eye Music concert coming up in a couple of weeks once again at the Chapel Performance Space in Seattle WA . The concert takes place Thursday December 17th 2009 and will feature performances of graphic and textual scores by Mieko Shiomi, William Hellerman, Cornelius Cardew, Boguslaw Schaffer, Greg Bright, Malcolm Goldstein and Earle Brown. Poster and text by Eric Lanzillotta.

Full program details:

December 17th 2009
Chapel Performance Space at the Good Shepherd Center
4649 Sunnyside Ave. N (corner of 50th, in Wallingford)

Performing the following graphical and textual pieces:

  • Mieko Shiomi Boundary Music (a Fluxus piece from the 1960’s)
  • William Hellerman Circle Music 1 (a graphic quartet presented in two versions)
  • Cornelius Cardew Sextet: The Tiger’s Mind (a poetic textual score that Cardew wrote initially for AMM)
  • Boguslaw Schaffer Free Form I ( a Polish exploration of symbols, lines, letters, & words)
  • Greg Bright Labyrinth II ( Scratch piece; an aural game of concentration)
  • Earle Brown December 1952 (From Folio; one of the most well known graphic scores from this contemporary of John Cage, Morton Feldman and Christian Wolff
  • Malcolm Goldstein Yoshi’s Morning Song (A Graphic representation of children’s song)

as performed by:

Eric Lanzillotta, Dean Moore, David Stanford, Jonathan Way, Esther Sugai, Amy Denio, Stuart Dempster, Robert j Kirkpatrick, Carl Lierman, Susie Kozawa, Mike Shannon and Dave Knott (more details and bios on the Eye Music site).

Julie Davidows score

Julie Davidow's score

As promised, my report on the closing party and performances of the Scores exhibition at the Lawrimore Project. I had poked around on the Lawrimore Project website as well as the site from the curator, Volume, prior to the show and the score posted above was the one that was leading my list of ones I wanted to perform.  I scrambled around Monday morning getting ready (I’ve not been playing out much for the last 6 months or so, so I’d developed a really non-portable studio setup) but was still able to make it to the gallery 45 minutes early.  There was only one other performer there at that point so I was able to get my pick of scores.  A quick survey revealed to me that my research was correct and that the score that appealed most to both my visual aesthetics as well as having the best musical possibilities was Julie Davidow’s score.  Scott Lawrimore, the gallery owner, helped me locate a table and power and then left me to set up. I got myself setup and then spent a bit more time working out an approach to the score. After I’d spent a lot of time looking at it and thinking about it I finally read the card with the title and description. This turned out to be: Evidence of Tudor in a Throusand Plateaus (a mashup in 3 movements). Well this was pretty amazing in my mind that this score was directly inspired by an experience the artist had with a score dedicated to David Tudor. I consider David Tudor a major influence and hero and I feel it’s no coincidence that this was the score which captured my attention.

By this time most of the other performers had arrived, selected their score and were setting up.  All told there were to be eight performers, most of them solo but there was one duo. Apart from the performers and Scott I’d say there was another dozen people there, a mix of art patrons and music aficionados.  The first performer was Emily Pothast of the band Midday Veil and also of the art focused blog, Translinguistic Other.  She was playing a piece by Steven Hull that directly referenced John Cage, including images from Fontana Mix as part of it. This piece was a tall black boxy sculpture with a train that would run through it and then out on the gallery floor. Emily was doing these wordless layered vocal drones that seemed to follow the path of the train and as it would disappear from her view she would stop.  This was quite nice and seemed to be a direct attempt to realize the score. A video of Emily’s performance can be found on Vimeo.  I should mention that not being familiar with the music of any of the people who performed my main interest was the degree to which they tried to play the score.

Pearson Wallace-Hoyt and Jon Sargent performing Nina Katchadourian's score

This performance was followed by the only duo performance, Pearson Wallace-Hoyt and Jon Sargent performing a score that was six pieces of paper about different birds and birdsong. They were playing tapes through effects and later some vocals and guitar work. This was in a sort of crunchy, noisy droney tradition at first which seemed a bit removed from how I recalled the scores. As an aside it should be noted that not many of these scores seemed to be made with music making in mind. They are art pieces with presumably some connection to music in the artists mind, but they are not like a musician attempting to make a piece of music that is best represented graphically.  Anyway as their set proceeded they began to add various sequels and squawks of feedback and distressed electronics that I felt could be thought of as a reading of that score.  Sort of in the vein of the abstract sounds that Tudor used in his Rainforest to so well capture that environment.  This duo was followed by David Golightly, also of Midday Veil, who did a short solo analog synth performance to a score by Laetitia Sonami that was a Flycatcher complete with flies. He was using an Octave CAT to created a sputtery layered environment that could evoke with gridwork of the piece with a few events perhaps representing the flies. A nice short little piece that you can watch in it’s entirety on Vimeo.

Amplfied Wire Strung Harp with Preperations and simple electronics

Amplified Wire Strung Harp with preparations and simple electronics

I was up after David and while I can’t really comment on my performance I can say how it went for me.  As I sat down I forget to setup a timepiece so I wasn’t really able to judge how I was going. In my experience without using a set time for a graphic score you don’t tend to pace it right.  This piece was in three panels with some common elements between them, but also different tones and feels. Its primary element is a wandering webwork that runs through it.  Personally I felt I rushed the piece at first giving a bit of short shrift to the first panel. I eased back and did better in the later two, but it was hard to sense how it was progressing. My favorite part of the piece was the last panel with its vast expanses of white space.  I interpreted this with a  new approach that I’ve been working with where instead of using silence directly I try to create something that would resemble what you experience when there is silence.

Wyndel Hunt and Fallen Fruit

Wyndel Hunt and Fallen Fruit

Following my performance was Wyndel Hunt tackling Fallen Fruit. This piece, which formed such a striking backdrop for the  Trimpin film panel a few weeks back, is one of the better pieces of art in the exhibit in my opinion.  I can’t see I see it much as a score and based on the process it was created (a group gets together with various jars of jam and jellies and has a “jam session” ha. ha.) I’m not sure how much of that was intended. Wyndel did an interesting interpretation on it that began with a lot of vocal samples, manipulated and distorted and then added rather noisy, perhaps a bit in the Thurston Moore vein, guitar on top of this.  Hard to directly relate the voices to the score though a friend suggested that evoked the group process behind it, but the cascading washes of guitar certainly could be read as following the lines of the image.

While everything was fairly free form w/r/t the performances Scott had decided on an order for us to play. He’d annouced the next performer and the artwork they’d be performing in between each piece.  Mixing it up a bit from the arranged orderd, next up was yet another member of Midday Veil, Simon Henneman doing a solo sax take on a video piece by Monique Jenkinson. This video piece seemed about as far from a music score as you could get, but it was a piece that could use a soundtrack, so perhaps if you think of a film as a score for its soundtrack it works that way. It featured images of a woman from the head down, sort of stripping, or dancing or something. It had a very noir-ish feel to it and Henneman responded with a pretty smokey, bluesy sound. Toward the end of the film he strayed into skronkier territory with sheets of wails and some sharper attacks.  I felt this all worked quite well as a soundtrack to the film.

Timm Mason plays a score by David Schafer

Timm Mason plays a score by David Schafer

The final performance was Timm Mason who did a solo guitar read of a painting of text by David Schafer.  He used the tiniest little practice amp, a little round thing at the end of a chord he tossed away from himself. He appeared to read the entire score and play chords in an angular style as he read.  The tiny little amp made this very tinny and distorted it somewhat, but it was a sort of off the cuff, fairly straight chording with perhaps a nod to Derek Bailey.  A valid approach to the piece for sure, but it seemed to go on and on. Judge for yourself though, a video has been posted of his performance on Vimeo.

After this it was snacks and drinks in the back gallery and Midday Veil did a bit of playing in a side gallery.  I mostly packed up and talked to some of the people who I knew from the Eye Music group. All in all it was a pretty good time and certainly an interesting experience. Only afterward did I recall that this was actually the first solo performance I’ve done. Sure I’ve done two one minute solos and I did play solo at the end of the Vancouver New Music Treatise, but this was the first time in this sort of situation. Must have been why I felt so nervous.

See all my pictures from this event on my Flickr Page.
Find out more about this exhibition at the Scores page on the Lawrimore Project website and at Volume.
Video’s from this event on Vimeo.