Posts Tagged ‘latimes’

Bookmarks from September 6th through September 12th

Bookmarks from September 6th through September 12th

“When consumers purchase a download from iTunes, they are actually “licensing” the song for playback within certain boundaries. According to many label contracts, licenses are to be treated as splits, perhaps split 50/50 between artist and label. To date, that has not been the case as downloads via iTunes and other sites have been treated […]

Bookmarks from August 22nd through August 29th 2010

Bookmarks from August 22nd through August 29th 2010

“Not to mention that the undialectical shelving of alt-classical “between” pop music and classical music misses, as I think its leading lights would agree, the point: One respect in which alt-classical music most definitely is contemporary music is that its creators insist on it. Corey Dargel could very easily bill himself as a songwriter, period, […]

Bookmarks for August 23rd through August 29th []

Bookmarks for August 23rd through August 29th []

Bookmarks from August 23rd through August 29th:[]

  • How To: Find Out How Much Your Insurer Sucks -”When you’re shopping for an insurance company, check the insurer’s complaint record — especially if it’s a small insurer that’s offering a good rate, but you haven’t heard much about its reputation. Saving a few dollars per year in premiums can backfire if the insurer hassles you at claim time.” To access this information, go to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Consumer Information Source. Type in the name of the company, the state where you live and the type of insurance. (Under “statement type” and “business type,” click on “property/casualty” for home and auto insurance or “life, accident and health.”) The site then provides the insurer’s national complaint statistics.
  • The Industrial Jazz Group » Put Another Nickel In -”Donate $50,000, and get a copy of the new CD, the high five, the shout-out, the photo, the bit part, the personal liner note “thank you,” plus my Volvo Station Wagon, a historic vehicle which was used in seven IJG tours on the west coast (and which still displays some of the wear and tear from same).”
  • Stew is still stewing over L.A.’s snub of ‘Passing Strange’ — -”When were we going through the classic L.A. club grind,” he begins, speaking of his days this decade with the Negro Problem, “at a certain point, we were selling out Spaceland like you’re supposed to do. But when we didn’t get handed the brass ring of the major label deal and we didn’t get handed the brass ring of the hip, indie label deal, it was like a lot of the powers that be were sort of looking at us like . . . ‘what good are you guys?’ “
  • School board approves plan to open up schools to outsiders — -”The Los Angeles Board of Education voted today to open up 250 schools, including 50 new multimillion-dollar campuses, to outside charter operators and others. The move came after a nearly four-hour debate on a 6-1 vote, with board member Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte opposing. Under the proposal by board member Yolie Flores Aguilar, nonprofit charter groups and the mayor’s group that oversees 11 schools could compete for the chance to run these schools. Ultimately, it will be up to Supt. Ramon C. Cortines to select the winning bid for these campuses. Labor unions were especially opposed to the plan, with teachers union head A.J. Duffy saying the district needs to be collaborative if it wants to reform schools.”
  • Dream of a Common Language. Sueño de un Idioma Común.: Texas Monthly September 2009 -”In traditional bilingual classes, learning English is the top priority. The ultimate aim is to move kids out of non-English-speaking classrooms as quickly as possible. Students in dual language classes, on the other hand, are encouraged to keep their first language as they learn a second. And Ysleta’s program, called two-way dual language, is even more radical, because kids who speak only English are also encouraged to enroll. Everyone sits in the same classroom. Spanish-speaking kids are expected to help the English speakers in the early grades, which are taught mostly in Spanish. As more and more English is introduced into the classes, the roles are reversed. Even the teachers admit it can look like chaos to an outsider. “Dual language classes are very loud,” said Steven Vizcaino, who was an early student in the program and who graduated from Del Valle High in June. “Everyone is talking to everyone.”
  • Part 1: iTunes and the pen | theCLog -”What about all those other authors out there, banging away on their keyboards, giving life to characters, and telling stories that resonate in the lives of their readers? Do they need music to work? Is it simply a background, or does it find a way into their words? It wasn’t really a surprise to find a lot of the writers I spoke with had similar, lyric-less requirements when it comes to their own writing habits.”
  • Alexey Steele, Classical Underground impresario — – scott timburg on alexey steele’s los angeles classical underground series “Certainly, at the Classical Underground concerts, art and music seem vital indeed. Not only for the audience, but for the players. The August concert included an austere, resonant Bach Cello Suite, a Prokofiev piano sonata rendered with sterling clarity by a pianist raising money for her CD release, and several melodic pieces by lesser-known composers. Afterward, many of the musicians came back and played; the cellist improvised on Bach. (Some nights, these after parties go until dawn.) “I don’t play it! I don’t know notes!” Steele exclaims. “I didn’t get one music lesson in my life! And I need it. I’m proof that people need it. I’m living proof that classical music lives!”

Bookmarks for August 9th through August 17th []

Bookmarks from August 9th through August 17th:[]

  • TRIUMPH OF HIS WILL: GQ Feature on Quentin Tarantino – “You can lie about a lot of things,” he says, “but your filmography doesn’t lie. It’s right there. And it doesn’t give a shit about why you did it.”
  • Clare Graham’s Wonderama – LA Times Magazine -”As for the question of art versus craft, Graham comes down definitively on one side. “I don’t like the terms outsider art, or naive art. What I do is craft,” he insists. “Fine art has a need to communicate something. My work is about simple processes done to the nth degree until the accumulation is significant.”
  • Lefsetz Letter » Amanda Palmer email; the new art of twitter and blogging – “BUT this is, hands fucking down, also why people listen, why they search, why they want art. connection = primary. music/art = secondary.”
  • Ready for the devil we don’t know -LA Times endorses a constitutional convention to fix CA budget mess -”A single initiative to end the current rule requiring a two-thirds supermajority of the Legislature to adopt a budget may be doomed at the ballot box. But opponents are more likely to accept the change if they can keep the supermajority to increase taxes and are assured that future taxes will no longer be disguised as “fees.”
  • Fieldnotes from a Rock Band Bar Night | – “Much to my surprise, the scene reminded me of the participatory tradition that was the focus of my first major research project: Sacred Harp singing, an American vernacular hymnody tradition that is open to anyone, regardless of perceived musical expertise, and that revolves around drop-in community “singings” rather than rehearsed performances for an audience. “
  • Views on Music and Life from an outpost.: Making the case for the musical amateur. -”think to say that people simply need more exposure to jazz, to classical music, etc- is only half-right. I think that people need to be directly involved. Make people an active part of any activity, and they are much more likely to stay engaged.”
  • This Blog Will Change the World: No neon arrows – “What we need here is a third option, one which avoids asserting the absolute superiority of any one musical style without sliding into relativism.”
    joey mariano [animal-style] demonstrates his GBC Gameboy Foot Controller
  • How American Health Care Killed My Father – The Atlantic (September 2009) -”Indeed, I suspect that our collective search for villains—for someone to blame—has distracted us and our political leaders from addressing the fundamental causes of our nation’s health-care crisis.”
  • A music lesson for LACMA’s film program | Culture Monster | Los Angeles Times – “It is not without a twang of envy that I watch the film community react to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s announcement that the 40-year-old film program would go the way of the even older Monday Evening Concerts, which was thrown out on the cold street three years ago.”
  • Cal State Fullerton abruptly begins canceling classes – College Life OC – -”Cal State Fullerton officials say the university has begun canceling classes, including those that were already underway, because its being required to make tens of millions of dollars in cuts to help the state balance its budget.”
  • WATTS ENSEMBLE: IF WE ALL GOT MOHAWKS -”What would I call the next punkest classical record? Fuck. I could tell you probably the Andy Kaufman of classical music, which is probably Terry Riley’s ‘In C.’ Don’t get me wrong—I love the piece but it almost feels like it’s daring you to like it. ‘In C’ is typically 45 minutes to an hour long and it’s everyone playing the phrases at the same tempo—but they play it staggered so it creates all these different patterns. It’s an amazing piece. But I’ve shown it to people before and they’re like, ‘Oh my God, this is driving me insane—I can’t deal with it.’ It’s kind of the same thing with Andy Kaufman. Some people were like, ‘Wow, this is fucking amazing’ and other people were like, ‘I can’t stand this guy.’”
  • The Fun Music Company Ultimate Flashcard Set -”In the Ultimate Instant Print Flashcard Set you get a comprehensive selection of printable flash cards that you print yourself, right from your computer.”
  • Create Digital Music » Hexagonal iPhone Sequencer-Rhythm Machine from Jordan Rudess -”Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess and developer Amidio have made a crazy-looking hexagonal sequencer for the iPhone. It comes with plenty of samples and factory sessions if you just want to play around…”
  • Terry Teachout Asks, Can Jazz Be Saved? – -”No, I don’t know how to get young people to start listening to jazz again. But I do know this: Any symphony orchestra that thinks it can appeal to under-30 listeners by suggesting that they should like Schubert and Stravinsky has already lost the battle. If you’re marketing Schubert and Stravinsky to those listeners, you have no choice but to start from scratch and make the case for the beauty of their music to otherwise intelligent people who simply don’t take it for granted. By the same token, jazz musicians who want to keep their own equally beautiful music alive and well have got to start thinking hard about how to pitch it to young listeners—not next month, not next week, but right now.”

Bookmarks for July 16th through July 19th []

Bookmarks from July 16th through July 19th:[]

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  • WNYC – New Sounds: Minimalist Music Theatre (July 2009) -”Minimalist Music Theatre Hear some music theatre pieces on this New Sounds show. Listen to Philip Glass‘s recent release “Waiting for the Barbarians,” adapted from the novel by the South African writer and Nobel Prize Winner John Coetzee. Also, there’s music by Paul Bailey – his post-minimalist music theatre piece “Retrace our Steps.” He describes it as a four act vocal/instrumental spectacle based on texts by Gertrude Stein, Guy Debord and Jenny Bitner. The “alt-classical garage band” Paul Bailey Ensemble performs the work”
  • Big Brother Is Listening – The Classical Beat (Anne Midgette) – - -Anne Midgette neatly sums up “But statements like “Art Music is in many ways objectively superior to Pop ‘Music’” (note the quotes) make me grit my teeth and want to play Talking Heads albums really, really loudly. And this, from the FAQ, is just stupid: “The ‘music’ is melodically, harmonically, rhythmically, structurally, texturally, dynamically, thematically and conceptually barren compared to Art Music; it’s also spiritually and politically shabby by comparison. It’s short, trite and highly repetitive.” One is tempted to order a copy of Miles Davis’s “Kind of Blue” for the site’s editors, just for starters, but one wouldn’t know where to send it. Indeed, there’s something vaguely creepy about musoc’s deliberate anonymity, which is evidently part of its philosophy, though there are limits to how much an audience will care about what a website says if one doesn’t know who’s writing it.”
  • Celebrating Cronkite while ignoring what he did – Glenn Greenwald – – In the hours and hours of preening, ponderous, self-serving media tributes to Walter Cronkite, here is a clip you won’t see, in which Cronkite — when asked what is his biggest regret — says (h/t sysprog): What do I regret? Well, I regret that in our attempt to establish some standards, we didn’t make them stick. We couldn’t find a way to pass them on to another generation. It’s impossible even to imagine the likes of Brian Williams, Tom Brokaw and friends interrupting their pompously baritone, melodramatic, self-glorifying exploitation of Cronkite’s death to spend a second pondering what he meant by that.
  • Philip Glass to perform film, opera works at Hollywood Bowl – Los Angeles Times – With “Koyaanisqatsi” — the name means “life out of balance” in Hopi — Glass had more than two years to work on the score. “There was no one waiting for the film — there was no distributor! So we were left alone to make a film — which I realized later was a great luxury.” Today Glass is struck by how pertinent the film seems, at a time when its notions of the world’s interconnectedness and the runaway power of technology have gone mainstream. But the film’s identity has changed since its premiere in 1982.”When we first showed it,” he says, “people thought it was a head trip. People seriously thought you had to get high before you watched it. It wasn’t too long, only four or five years, for people to realize there was actually a movie.”
  • Guest Blog: The Actors Diet: How I’m Recovering – Carrots ‘N’ Cake -Guest Blog: The Actors Diet: How I’m Recovering “…I’ve been struggling with binge eating and anorexia for a while; if you read my bio on our blog page you’ll see a little more about my history with food. I know a lot of women look up to actresses, and there are plenty of them who are in great shape, healthfully (my co-blogger Christy being one of them). As somebody who has been celebrated for her figure (in my feature film debut I played a ballet dancer AND got naked), I am proof that sometimes it is a false ideal, even when you have all the resources available to you, like a personal trainer, meal deliveries, a shrink, hypnosis coach, a best friend who’s a nutritionist…I felt like I had legitimate reasons to obsess about my weight – after all, my career depended on it.”
  • Intolerable Beauty: Chris Jordan Photographs American Mass Consumption – Photographer Chris Jordan describes the photos in his series “Intolerable Beauty: Portraits of American Mass Consumption” as his “first foray into being an engaged artist.”
  • US State Department employees ask Hillary clinton for Firefox – Video – “Have you been trying to get your corporate IT staff to let you use Firefox or another web browser instead of Internet Explorer? Then you apparently know how a fair number of folks at the US State Deparment feel. At a recent town hall meeting with staff, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received a question from one government employee who wanted to know if they could “please” use Firefox instead of Internet Explorer. You can see the Q&A by skipping to the 26:32 point in the video above. ” []
  • Los Angeles News – Russian or Armenian Mob Used “Model Employee” Con at PCH Arco --
    An organized-crime ring that police believe is Russian or Armenian targeted a high-volume Redondo Beach Arco gas station, assigned a low-level soldier to infiltrate it and waited eight months while he worked himself into a position where he could implant a tiny, high-tech “skimmer” to steal customers’ credit-card information.
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Bookmarks for June 26th through June 29th []

Bookmarks from June 26th through June 29th:[]

  • Los Angeles New Music Ensemble – looks like there is a new music group in town.  welcome aboard!  “The Los Angeles New Music Ensemble (LANME) is an organization created to promote new music, collaboration within the arts, the commissioning of new works, and the creation of multimedia presentations within innovative live performances. To further these goals, LANME is dedicated to learning and playing the best and most exciting new chamber music around.”
  • New school board members ready for challenge – LA Daily News -former John Marshall High School colleague Steve Zimmer is interviewed as he prepares to become a school board member. “Zimmer admits that scarier than dealing with a billion-dollar deficit is the idea of not being on the campus of Marshall every day. It will be interesting to see if someone immersed on the ground level can translate that experience to doing a good job on the board,” Zimmer said.” As a teacher, Zimmer has also been a very active member of United Teachers Los Angeles, which has prompted some to believe his vote will always follow the powerful union’s stance. I don’t accept that voting on the side of the union is siding against students,” he said “
  • laboratory tests of vegan restaurants in la | vegan food and living in Los Angeles -
    very interesting blog post that tests a number of LA restaurants to see if their food was really vegan. (fyi: i’m not and my wife is a pescatarian) although there were some meals that were obviously misrepresented as vegan, it seems the biggest culprit might be the mislabeling and mistranslation of food from the taiwan to us markets.
  • A Chapter from The Listen: Music for 18 Musicians – these excerpts are being touted as a new type of music criticism and a new way to attract audiences. i hate to throw a bucket of cold water on these ambitious young writer/composers, but the excerpts are overwritten and seem musically naive, trying to impress a faculty advisor in grad school. hence exhibit A and B: “
  • And now melody. And now melodies. The melodies here being the playings-out of the harmonies. The harmonies being the on-ringing of all the melodic notes” “
  • The harmonies are one harmony that absorbs the up-till-now waves of the other harmonies, that absorbs the leftover pulses. This accumulated on-ringing describes a recognizable environment… —a single addition to the bottom of the harmony—acts as a diaphragm, allowing this environment to open and to breathe in”
  • this play by play description doesn’t work for me and its certainly not the way i would want people to read about my music. i think a better tack would be to try and distill what makes these pieces great.
  • You balance the budget – Los Angeles Times -Try your hand at closing California’s budget shortfall, estimated at $24 billion. It’s not easy, but it can be done. Cut spending, raise taxes and/or borrow to get the state out of the red. For each choice — drawn from proposals from across the political spectrum — we’ve tried to give some sense of the effects. As you craft your proposal, the Deficit Meter will show your progress.
  • The tragic end of Michael Jackson: The Jeruselum Post – very tragic michael jackson quote that is further proof that fame is not a replacement for love “I am going to say something I have never said before and this is the truth. I have no reason to lie to you and God knows I am telling the truth. I think all my success and fame, and I have wanted it, I have wanted it because I wanted to be loved. That’s all. That’s the real truth. I wanted people to love me, truly love me, because I never really felt loved. I said I know I have an ability. Maybe if I sharpened my craft, maybe people will love me more. I just wanted to be loved, because I think it is very important to be loved and to tell people that you love them and to look in their eyes and say it.”
  • I’m in a band… -via S21, i’m glad to see other composer/performers starting their own groups
  • Just Released: “New World Ardor”- NetNewMusic – willam houston’s new (and very enjoyable) post-apocalypse party music. reminds me of john oswald’s ‘plunderphonics’

Bookmarks for the week: June 22nd through June 26th [];

Bookmarks from June 22nd through June 26th:[]

Bookmarks for 2009-05-03 []

These are my links for May 3rd: Mixed Messages – “ The revolutionary struggle of the cherries was squashed as they were trapped between two layers of chocolate. May their memory live on in your mouth!” Description of an ice cream flavor called Cherry Guevara, named after cult rebel Che Guevara. reblog: David Ocker, Quoted […]

Requiem for a High Homicide Enclave (05-16-2008)

Requiem for a High Homicide Enclave (05-16-2008)

Requiem for a High Homicide Enclave (Live at REDCAT 05-16-08) from paul bailey on Vimeo.
Requiem for a High Homicide Enclave is a mashup based on excerpts from the from the LA Times Homicide Report which documents every murder that takes place in Los Angeles County using blog posts, comments, and Google Maps combined with a deconstruction

sorry its taken a while to get this one up, that’s what a busy fall will do for you. this performance was based only one the LA county homicide statistics through may 16 2008. right now i’m planning to update the piece and perform it a few times in 2009, but this is complicated with the fact that the LATimes suspended the homicide blog in november. i have a few ideas of how i’m going to update it. we are also planning to get together this spring and make a proper recording.

the audio is from the premier performance of the requiem at the REDCAT spring studio spring studio last may at the roy and edna disney cal arts theater at disney hall) featuring my co-conspirators sylvia desrochers (soprano) paul cummings (bass) bruce gallego (electric guitar) and myself playing the korg kaossillator, and a macbook pro running ableton live triggering a deconstructed looping continuo (henry purcell’s man that is born of a woman) with a fcb1000 midi pedal.

Music: Henry Purcell/Paul Bailey
Video: Paul Bailey
Libretto: LA Times Homicide Blog

Requiem for a High Homicide Enclave

Requiem for a High Homicide Enclave

In spring 2008 i started writing Requiem for a High Homicide Enclave which is a deconstruction of Purcell’s Funeral Music for Queen Mary (1694) that is based on excerpts from the from the LA Times Homicide Report which documents every murder that takes place in Los Angeles County using blog posts, comments, and Google Maps.

we (sylvia desrochers (soprano) paul cummings (bass) bruce gallegos (electric guitar) and myself (laptop and kaossilator) premiered the piece at the REDCAT Spring Studio in may 2008.

i am planning to record the piece in spring 2009 and are scheduling performances for 2009-2010.

video is under construction and shall return soon. until then you can listen to the audio of the premier performance

zeitgeist (nov 2008)

personal zeitgeist, late fall 2008

  1. the economy is really bad right now. none of the schools i work at are willing to schedule spring classes until they know more about the CA state budget cuts. we usually know our classes by the 2nd week of september, and have already cut the spring schedule by about 25%. right now it looks like another 30% might be cut.  everybody keeps saying if the money is not there, then its not there.
  2. another warning sign about the economy on last week’s left, right, and center podcast i heard very intelligent
    mature adults sound scared for the first time in my life. when all three of them agree, it cannot be good.
  3. Do we really know who the real Obama is?  I get the feeling he has been gaming the system (in a positive way) to get himself elected and will hopefully be much more liberal and progressive then he has let on. my guess is that he has had the best poker face ever for the last two years.
  4. the la times discontinued its homicide blog. this is wrong for so many reasons, but it was probably one of the only things the LA times could do to help this city save its soul (and any other large homicide enclave) by bearing witness to the many minority homicides that happen every day and go unreported because they do not affect the middle or upper class. just as i was getting a handle on how many years that we have ignored this problem, the paper pulls the plug. of course this doesn’t change my plans, it only doubles my effort
  5. charter schools might be the only way to save public education. this semester has been less monkey business and more teaching than any secondary school i have taught. most of the success goes to the small school community, its small enough were everybody feels responsible for their actions.  the obvious problem to this reform is that you cannot turn all schools into charters. also the la times highlights a report stating that charter schools are leading the pack in improving achievement scores in poor children.
  6. baby mozart was a scam! via new yorker “As children explore their environment by themselves—making decisions, taking chances, coping with any attendant anxiety or frustration—their neurological equipment becomes increasingly sophisticated, Marano says. “Dendrites sprout. Synapses form.” If, on the other hand, children are protected from such trial-and-error learning, their nervous systems “literally shrink.”
  7. meme for alex shapiro coming soon…

dead to me

latimes music critic chris pasles is one of the 80 people either taking a buyout or being fired. Be the first to like. Like Unlike

RealNewMusic 2008

RealNewMusic 2008 Saturday, June 21, 2008, 7:00 pm Tickets $10.00 / $7.50 / $5.00 (students & seniors) The Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts Whittier College, 6760 Painter Ave., Whittier Box Office: 562.907.4203 Google map to the Shannon Center featuring: PBE is an alt-classical garage band that plays the music of a variety […]

high homicide enclave, 01/01/08-06/15/08

i just got done updating my custom google maps of the la county homicide statistics from 01/01/2008-06/14/2008. since the beginning of the year there have been 362 homicides in los angeles county. View Larger Map so far this year the homicide rate is actually down 5% for the year. this time last year there were […]

he was mad against this life

REDCAT Spring StudioMay 17 & 18, 2008, 8:30 pmRoy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater631 W 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 The latest edition of REDCAT’s ongoing performance series brings together a dynamic range of six emerging and established Los Angeles artists to launch new projects, investigate new forms and experiment with new ideas. Curated by […]

it was my third year

as i said before requiem for a high homicide enclave is my attempt to make sense of the latimes homicide report. i first encountered the blog, comments and maps reading about the death of los angeles high school band member michael pena and reading his story it brought back a lot of memories that i […]

the police and the mayor

Today at 4pm I’m going to talk with Martin Perlich about my REQUIEM FOR A HIGH HOMICIDE ENCLAVE and its source material; the latimes homicide report, blog comments and google maps on KCSN 88.5 (05/14/08) Be the first to like. Like Unlike

breeding stock

i just heard from martin perlich that next week’s pledge-drive at KCSN has been canceled and this probably signals the university wanting to change the format and ship all the programming to a syndicate like minnesota public radio. most of this town is already run from elsewhere, we have seen how that is working with […]

tagged x2

i’m it. and since i’m done for the night i can play along with this meme… 1. pick up the nearest book. ok, on my left is my full bookcase… that’s shooting fish in the barrel. many a book i could pull show how “serious” i am. (ohh… rameau’s treatise on harmony would make me […]

requiem for a high homicide enclave

requeim for a homicide crime enclave from paul bailey on Vimeo. (trailer) Requiem for a High Homicide Enclave is a deconstruction of Purcell’s Funeral Music for Queen Mary (1694) based on excerpts from the from the LA Times Homicide Report which documents every murder that takes place in Los Angeles County using blog posts, comments, […]


Since January 2008 there have been 222 homicides in LA county. I’m not sure what to do about it, but I can’t stop thinking about it. It started when I came across the LA times Homicide Report (blog). For over a year reporter Jill Leovy and Rueben Vives had a simple and horrendous task, to […]

carne asada is not a crime

Dear Supervisor Molina, I am writing to express serious concern regarding the actions you have taken against the taco trucks in our neighborhoods. As a member of the Eastside community, I greatly value our local street vendors–for their food, service, and especially culture. Taco trucks fill many voids left by traditional restaurants, whether it is […]

carrot or sticks?

on august 16th 2007 michael pena was killed. the police still don’t have a suspect or a motive in his death, but what is clear in the la times article by sam quinones, is that michael led a double life as a los angeles high school music student and tagger who recently dropped out of […]

Ensemble's Mix Is A Classic Alternative: Josef Woodard/LAtimes (2005)

Ensemble's Mix Is A Classic Alternative: Josef Woodard/LAtimes (2005)

Los Angeles Times, January 21st, 2005
(Copyright (c) 2005 Los Angeles Times)

“After his concert at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday, Paul Bailey spoke to the audience about his ongoing adventure, the Paul Bailey Ensemble — an “alternative classical garage band.”

Fair enough: The cheeky description points to the group’s self- reliant, can-do spirit and its intention to mix high and low culture, art and pop. Fittingly, the setting was the casual Sierra Room, where the audience sat at tables as if in a new-music cabaret.

A balanced grouping of strings, woodwinds, guitar, bass, keyboard, vibraphone and sometimes vocalists, the ensemble consists of classically trained and impressively focused players who create an appealing, collective sound. Bailey, a trombonist, educator and composer, formed the group in 2002 as a do-it-yourself forum outside the usual and limited channels of classical music presentation.

Stylistically, the ensemble is very much locked into the Minimalist groove. The Cerritos concert was well-stocked with repetitive lines, easygoing tonalities, and undulating cascades of eighth notes, reminding us of the comforting, even old-fashioned, charm of the Minimalist style.

In the concert’s first half, instrumental pieces from Bailey’s suite “Summerland” and guitarist Sean R. Ferguson’s “Chopping Tool” offered their rhythmically chugging energies, more about ensemble machinery than melodic or thematic development. These fed directly from the inspirational trough of such classic Minimalist recordings as Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians” and Philip Glass’ “Glassworks.” The inclusion of electric guitar ( Ferguson ) and bass (Matt Menaged) nudge the sound more toward a rock aesthetic, thanks to our associative connection with those tools.

This program’s main attraction came after intermission, with the world premiere of Bailey’s ambitious “Retrace Our Steps,” ostensibly written for mezzo-soprano Nicole Baker. She sang key parts in the four-movement work, with text that included cryptic poetics by Gertrude Stein and socio-philosophical tracts by Guy Debord and Jenny Bitner. But Baker ultimately became a team player and folded into the democratic mesh of the ensemble’s conjuring of nine instrumentalists and four additional vocalists.

One unsettling aspect of an otherwise engaging concert was the canned texture of sound processed through microphones, allowing acoustic instruments to compete with electronic ones. Then again, that is a hallmark of Minimalism, which borrows from pop’s sound palette and equipment list on the path to a new classical paradigm. In short, the Paul Bailey Ensemble is out of the garage and on the way up.”