Below are my initial impressions of last night’s production of the the the Philip Glass/Robert Wilson/Lucinda Childs revival of their opera ‘Einstein on the Beach’. Overall the music has aged well but would be better with integrated dance and vocalists on same stage. The dance numbers are well realized but are not integrated into [...]
it’s been a while and things got complicated. i put the PBE on hiatus and focused on other things for a while. in the meantime this budget crisis is making hard to make a steady living. along the way there have been a few spurts and false starts trying to get back to making music again but I’m glad to report that I’m stating a new chapter in my life.
classes start Monday and if all goes well i should have a pretty good schedule for making music on a consistent basis (last semester i had a 5am call time every day with quite a bit more grading than usual that slowed my progress and was very frustrating). but the main news (at least for some of you who i haven’t seen in a while) is a that i’m going to be performing solo or very small group for the time being. the last few years i have spent quite a lot of time making music with a wide variety of controllers. these days my weapon of choice is the Maschine a 16 pad box that is mainly used as a drum or sample looper but i am mainly using it as a 2.1 octave melodic instrument.
this should give you a better idea of what i am doing and I’m going to be posting more of these on a regular basis
for me the ipod and the itunes playlist have been the most important technological innovation s and devices i have owned. after the first ipod came out i was finally able to study a huge variety of music on my long commute home each day without having be constantly swapping CD’s. it doesn’t sound like much but loading up the 15 different composers in a playlist to get an idea of how they all dealt with string ostinatos used to be a real pain in the ass (especially since many new music scores aren’t that available). these days still i don’t own a proper stereo and prefer to listen to music via my iphone when and wherever i want. Got my first Mac Tower in 2001 and mixed and recorded all 3 albums using your computers.
“That’s what a computer is to me: the computer is the most remarkable tool that we’ve ever come up with. It’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.”"[Y]ou can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” made with monome 64, press cafe, ableton live, and 13′ macbook pro (2011)
“That’s what a computer is to me: the computer is the most remarkable tool that we’ve ever come up with. It’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.”
“[Y]ou can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
made with monome 64, press cafe, ableton live, and 13′ macbook pro (2011)
out with the old and in with the new. i prefer to deal locally and in cash but might be able to ship for the right offer. Radial Pro D2 Direct Box $80 Radio Pro RMP Reamp Box $80 (or $150 for both) Akai APC 40 $250 ($275 with road case) Mbox 2 mini $75 [...]
after the last few years of dipping my toes into the world of making electronic music i finally have had the time to give it my full attention.
the explosion and rampant experimentation of form factor in iphone and ipad music apps have made it possible to get hands-on with a wide range of digital “controllers”. my thesis and starting point for this journey begins with an observation and a question:
it’s interesting that in the electronic music revolution during the last 50 years, much of the music has been performed (at least melodically) based on a 17th C technology (the keyboard)
the question i pose and am attempting to solve is that if you don’t make electronic music with a keyboard, then how will you make it?
i’m going to be interviewed and a guest DJ on Hobart Taylor’s KUCI radio show tomorrow from around 7-10am (the early bird gets the worm
here is the tentative playlist of the music i should be playing that represents some socal (-ish) music that is important to me.
Overture from “The Little Prince”, Lloyd Rodgers (Cartesian Reunion Memorial Orchestra)
Orlando, He Dead, Doug Hein (Cartesian Reunion Memorial Orchestra)
The Swing, Lloyd Rodgers (Lloyd Rodgers Group)
The Shade Never Was, Shane Cadman (The Illustrious Theatre Orchestra)
Wheelbarrow Walk, Michael Nyman (Michael Nyman Band)
Espresto, Jon Brenner
The Black Book, 3/10/01, Lloyd Rodgers
Liberation Technology, Killsonic Marching Group
Wandermix, Bruce Hamilton
Scale One, Paul Muller
ImAngryandYoubeToo, Adam Kondor
The Little Death: I Don’t Have any Fun, Matt Marks
Madison Square, Mikel Rouse
Music for Insomniacs, Shane Cadman
also here is a list of the track of mine i’ll probably play. i’ll add the links and some comments later (for all of the music on the page). in general much of this music can be found on the www.alt-classical.com or www.paulbailey.us websites right now.
my review of last saturday’s symphony concert of some lesser known music of philip glass is now online at sequenza 21. i’m still getting used to writing these and overall it was an interesting concert even though i didn’t think it featured much of his A list material. this was also my 2nd review for [...]
Just wanted to let you know I’ll be playing 2 shows this weekend (Long Beach and DTLA) with Chris Schalrb’s wonderful Psychic Temple project. It’s very interesting music that falls somewhere between the gaps of folk music, modal jazz, and the modular improvisation of Terry Riley. You can preview the music we will be performing on the show here.
Also my Alt-Classical EP is “officially” going to be released this coming Tuesday (02/16/11). You can download a copy for free at my SoundCloud and Bandcamp pages and it should be showing up at all the usual online sites (iTunes, Emusic, Rhapsody, Zune…) in the next few weeks.
this arrangement started as a personal transcription/score study (because many of nyman’s score are not available) of nyman’s fascinating and economical use of orchestration and uses most of the melodic materials from the original, freely combing them to create a bizzaro world second cousin. the results of what i learned by studying this piece were later explored and applied to my own chaconne based romp; “fearless leader”
this track is part of my upcoming alt-classical EP which will available in January.
my new Alt-Classical EP is coming out in january and while i’m finishing up the liner notes here is the first track. click below for links to the download and score.
Fearless Leader was partially inspired by a quote from the Hungarian composer Gyorgy Ligeti: “Now there is no taboo; everything is allowed. But one cannot simply go back to tonality, its just not the way. We must find a way of neither going back nor continuing the avant-garde. I am in a prison: one wall is the avant-garde, the other wall is the past, and I cannot escape.”
this piece was originally conceived as a modular improvisation (in the style of Terry Riley’s Tread on the Trail) but didn’t work as intended (modular improvisation and the resulting rhythmic syncopations didn’t mix well). the orchestration also went through quite a few revisions and for a long time i considered it the black sheep of my PBE repertoire. i guess it goes to show that sometimes you gotta stick with something until you get it right.
Fearless Leader (2006, revised Spring 2007)
clarinet, trombone, vibes, keyboard, electric guitar, bass guitar
this track is released via creative commons: attribution, noncommercial, and share alike which basically means to me feel to download, remix, mashup, deconstruct, etc… as long as you give me credit and don’t sell it. if you do i will have my critter army hunt you down and hug you until you change your ways.
a few weeks ago i thought i was actually done with the alt-c album. well… almost. i thought mixing was done and had a few tracks mastered and was feeling pretty good about the whole thing, that is before i started listening to the music on a variety of other sources (earbuds, car stereo, ipad [...]
if you haven’t listened to marc maron’s WTF podcast yet this interview might be a great place to start. i wasn’t expecting much b/c during the past year ihad stopped listening to “This American Life”. for me the show had become to precious; everyone learns a lesson, peoples lives are changed, all loose ends are tied up, but after listening to this interview i might give it another chance sometime in the future.
what was most fascinating about the show was how marc maron was able to get ira glass to open up about his creative process and even getting him to talk about how making a “This American Life” show is sometimes a drudgery (by sharing a great insight on how retelling a story based on work of an investigative reporter is as best like doing a very complex and time intensive ‘cover version’ of the original) it was also fascinating how Ira was also able to deconstruct what makes marc maron’s WTF podcast show feel so authentic.
overall an it was amazing conversation between two of the best ‘mic guys’ on the air/interwebs today. listening to them shooting the shit about the one thing they have in common; that they both only feel comfortable (and self actualized) talking to people from behind a mic.
you might want to check out marc maron’s interview with carlos mencia. it’s a pretty amazing q+a with mencia who over the course of two podcasts slow melts down and basically admits to stealing jokes and reveals himself as a narcissistic asshole who’s whole career has been built on manipulating his friends and fans.
it’s the type of content that you would never hear on radio.
a week ago i thought i was actually done with the alt-c album. well… almost. i thought i was done mixing had a few tracks mastered and was feeling pretty good about the whole thing, that is before i started listening to the music on a variety of other sources (earbuds, car stereo, ipad speakers). [...]
i really enjoyed rehearsal yesterday and after of summer of living in the past (mixing the alt-classical EP) it was great to start living in the present.
it was my second time playing with guitarist jeremy keller and not only it was starting to gel musically but we were also able to get beyond our training and technique to create an incredibly visceral electronic/ folk/modular improv performance.
i have always felt it was possible as duo or trio, but finding this hasn’t been easy. while i was talking to jeremy i found out he hasn’t really played much tonal music and although our musical instincts are puling us in opposite directions, i’m finding that the space between the seams very is invigorating and satisfying.
since yesterdays rehearsal the fact that i haven’t been able to stop listening to our rehearsal probably says a lot about what has been absent than anything else. it’s like dreaming your arm was missing and waking up realizing how lucky you are that it still works.
right now the hole in my soul has been temporarily filled
the mixing process has been keeping me busy every day of this summer and the main goal this time is to learn a higher level of mixing skills. for my first two albums my skills limited to mainly recreating a live performance, but this time i’m ‘the studio’ to create a unique sense of space and sound for each piece. the big change for me occurred this spring when i became more interested in photography and finally realized that photo editing programs like photoshop and aperture were just sophisticated equivalents and extensions of the traditional darkroom in which creation of a photograph didn’t end when the shutter clicked.
with that in mind i have been learning new techniques that are far beyond the limited mixing strategies i have used in the past (using mainly volume and reverb automation), and with the help of a few pros looking over my shoulder i’m learning to embrace the mixing process as an extension of each composition. please don’t think i’m attempting to create a george martin/phil spector/brian wilson production and the best way to describe my approach is that i’m using audio software (protools) as my darkroom to create a collection of music that is not a simulation of a live performance but really a ‘heightened reality’.
in the big picture i know this isn’t a new or earth shattering accomplishment (many rock bands have been doing this for years), but because all this music was created (composed, rehearsed, performed, recorded, and mixed) outside the usual channels of art-music presentation and the fact that i didn’t have to ask for ‘permission’ (through grants, commissions, and fundraising) shows that there are other ways to make art music outside the current long-running tradition of patronage and ‘working for the king’ the main example of why i’m calling the album ‘alt-classical’
didn’t get a lot of mixing done today. i have been finishing up mixing my ‘life’s too short’ track and needed a break from it so i decided to get started mixing my cover of weezer’s “sweater song”.
the arrangement pretty much evolves contrary to what you are probably expecting, swapping mandolin for electric guitar and passing the melody around through the ensemble gives it a real boho feeling and it’s been a fun way we have been ending most shows since the group started
the main problem today was that i got sidetracked worrying about whether the trombone fit well into the mix and since the the arrangement is pretty light and frothy i originally recorded it a bit away from the mic to get a more transparent sound (which i have since learned i could easily create with reverb plugin). so i spent my afternoon re-recording trombone, but now am having 2nd thoughts since the new recording that doesn’t sound much different.
so the plan for tomorrow (or monday b/c i have a few rehearsals) is to give it a fresh listen and see how things sound before i start making any big changes. right now i’m thinking i’ll probably use both tracks with one mixed low and slight delay (which will give it more stereo spread) and go from there. overall i think i the whole song is mixed too low (in the 2nd half) and need to get a better idea how to make the seams disappear (just like in counterpoint!)
this recording has been a long time in the making and i have avoided blogging much about it until i knew i was close to being able to release it. a lot has happened since i started recording it in 2007, but in many ways that is the reality of making DIY music; you go ahead one step at a time.
as i have alluded to in a previous post i’m in the final stages of mixing and in general it’s very strange to be spending so much time listening to recording sessions that are from a few years ago. i feel like i’m spending all my time hanging out with a holodeck version of my band that i start up on my macbook every morning. the other day when i was talking to scott mcintosh (clarinet) i hadn’t realized that we really hadn’t spoken for a few weeks since i have been listening to him play every day.
the most surprising thing about editing and mixing music is the strange intimacy you develop with the performances. during the process you become aware of everybody’s musical strengths and weaknesses which goes far beyond our relationship as bandmates in rehearsals. it’s a strange place to be in, repeatedly listening to a single moment of time when in reality the all of the band have moved on with their life (i have to remind myself of that in rehearsals). as for editing and mixing my playing, having that kind of self awareness is problematic and is a big reason why i need to take a 3-6 month break between each stage of the process (recording, editing, and mixing) so that i can get some emotional distance from my own performance (and in general each composition). it’s not easy and i’m not usually happy with my trombone sound, but the good news is that on this album i finally have found a ‘good enough’ trombone sound where i don’t cringe everytime i hear myself play.
at this point of the summer it feels like i have been rehearsing every day (with my holodeck band) and i’m getting pretty excited as i get closer to taking this recording from ‘rehearsal’ to ‘performance’. i’m also looking forward to finally being in a place where i feel comfortable sharing more about my DIY process and the how this album was made
summer is going mostly well. i started by cleaning out the garage to create a makeshift studio/rehearsal space and although it’s nothing fancy it was good enough to finish the final pickup recordings of my alt-classcial album. editing is done and i’m working on the final mixes. additionally like i did on ‘retrace our steps’ [...]
importing posts now. much more work than it should be. when i went to import my wordpress xml file it was too big. plan b spent an evening trying to edit php.ini files on my server to find out bluehost doesn’t allow this plan c i used a windows program (wrx file splitter) to split [...]
actually the site is going to be temporarily down as i try and figure out how to clean out the recent hacker attack on my server. wish me luck and hope to be back soon! Be the first to like. Like Unlike
“Well, I can’t say that it hasn’t been a blast, because it has. But it has been decided that this blog has lived its span and that we can better serve you at www.ocregister.com/arts.”
this is depressing.
limiting the OC Register’s arts bloggers to writing reviews and color pieces is definitely a step backward.
especially in journalism the blog functions best in which thoughts, ideas, and commentary are posted that may not quite fit into the ever shrinking daily newspaper (does anybody actually read the physical kind anymore?). it also creates conversations (the “Should I review Bocelli” post is a great example of this) that help define and connect the broader arts community as a whole.
but of course if you are reading this on my blog you already “get it”
summer is here and i’m actually think it might be productive. it’s not like i don’t need the break, i’m just not that productive when i don’t have any real structure to my day. overall the last few years have been a little too much drama for me and it’s time to “get my house in order” (literally as well as figuratively).
1st up is cleaning out my garage and turning it into a rehearsal studio/performance space. over the last few years i have definitely outgrown my “office” and now that i’m teaching private students at the house i need a bigger space to work in. after editing and mixing three albums (not to mention most of the composing that i do at home)i also have to admit that i really need a change of scenery. even though i wasn’t writing that much music this past year i found it very hard to want to sit down at my desk to do anything creative so i ventured out anywhere i could think of as an alternative creative space (including different rooms in the house) and came to the conclusion that having a larger space in my garage should do the trick for now. it will also allow me to setup and properly practice with the all the gear i’m using with my “music for controllers” setup. instead making music through headphones i really have needed to spend the time figuring out how to play these pieces “live” and have come to realize it’s much more involved than when I just played trombone.
the main problem is getting a proper balance when you are mixing live acoustic instruments (trombone, voice) and controllers (kaossilator, drone/scruti box, buddha machine, ableton live, launchpad, etc…). i also have realized that mixing electric and acoustic instruments without sound reinforcement can be very a very disjointed listening experience in a live performance and in many ways my even though much of this music is not technically hard to perform my “practicing” centers around how to setup gear, mics, and amps which means that i have to pretty much be practicing/performing with a stereo/PA system to make my performances aurally make sense.
with all that being said (and after trying to mostly “practice” at other locations) the reality is that the setup and teardown of this technological spectacle (a few amps, mic/stand, laptop/keyboard stand/table, MOTU traveller(digital/audio interface), and 2 pedal boards) can take almost as long as the rehearsal so for the time being i’m going to be only performing solo or with whomever musicians that can make it to the 90042 for a weekly rehearsal.
after driving down to fullerton and back for the last 20 years for PBE and DIE rehearsals can really take it’s toll and at this point in my life i think it’s only natural to change things up and make music in a different way. to me it’s kinda funny b/c on one hand i know there are a lot of people who over the past few years have been introduced to my “Retrace Our Steps/PBE 1.0″ music who really wish i was making more music with the larger group and really like the strings/winds/rock band orchestration. there are also another group who have only seen the “PBE 2.0 rock band” (as we jokingly called it) and keep asking when that group is going to perform again. all i can say is that part of making alt-classical music is not really having the control to make those choices which leaves me to make music with the equipment and musicians that are available (and not continually banging my trying to fit a round peg in a square hole)
the good news is that if all goes well I should be performing on a regular basis soon. when and if there will be a PBE 3.0 is yet to be seen. right now one step at a time is fine with me.
it’s really sad and horrible and reading further introduced me to a whole new understanding of how the brass band culture and music education are intertwined in NOLA.
“Such large, ambitious marching bands have become a relative anomaly in a city famous for its second-lines, brass bands and musical luminaries, however. More than four years after Hurricane Katrina, band leaders say they are fighting to ensure the tradition thrives in a dramatically altered public school landscape.”
obviously Katrina has made things more difficult, but not in ways you might think
“Several forces have depleted the ranks of the city’s marching bands. First, fewer students now live in the city, as the overall population has dropped since Katrina. And several high schools with vibrant marching bands, including Kennedy High School near the lakefront, did not reopen after the storm.Moreover, the city’s public high schools tend to be much smaller than before the storm. And many remain in a state of flux as some of the low-performing schools phase out grade by grade, with new programs taking their place.”
…”Carnival parades are required by law to feature at least seven marching bands, a tradition that has helped foster a vibrant band culture at many of the city’s schools for decades.“Hopefully, in the very, very near future we can get more students from the middle schools and junior highs to come in and help bring our programs alive,” said Keith Thomas, the new band director at John McDonogh High School.John McDonogh’s band will not march this year, giving Thomas time to recruit new members and better prepare the current musicians.“They are just not ready to be on the street yet,” he said.Thomas noted that many students lost sight of the tradition after so much personal turmoil, including the post-storm scattering of relatives, mentors and band leaders who inspired many children to pick up an instrument in the first place.“We have kids who really don’t know what they want to do,” he said. “One day they want to march and the next day they don’t. You’ve got to sell it. You’ve got to make them believe in the program.”
Now Playing one of my favorite iPhone/iPad apps that was an easy way to check on local movie times and reviews is “currently down due to a request by a data provider”.
on one hand i think it was free, but the idea of an app becoming persona non grata without any notice from apple strikes me as unacceptable.
it seems to me that if you are going to have a walled garden software platform then you when you choose to remove something an explanation is due (especially since they have been there since the beginning). an email explaining the problem would be a good start.
granted this hasn’t happened that much with the apps i use on a regular basis. but what if this happened to one of the many music apps i use to perform with? i suppose that might be a little far fetched, but it’s giving me another reason to consider switching to an Google based smartphone after my contract expires in july.
i just got this email from the developer, Cyrus Najmabadi.
“I had to take the app offline due to one of the data providers demanding
more money to license their data. I’m trying to work through the issue
i hope he can come up with a solution that makes financial sense for him.