I recently played my first “gig” in front of actual people at a place that is not the extra bedroom of my house. I was asked to play interstitial music for a salon organized by my favorite bookstore owner, Ann Tetreault, for her shop, The Spiral Bookcase, in the Manayunk neighborhood of Philadelphia. The idea of interstitials being in-between the authors who were reading from their books and talking about their work (full disclosure: I was one of those authors in my day-job role as a creator of children’s books). Of course, as I am a head case, I spent three weeks in deep anxiety about this. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to play some guitar, take in the modular synth, or learn some tunes on the accordion. In the end I decided to just pick some pedals, plug in the Jazzmaster, and improvise. And for the most part this is what I did.
This is audio recorded straight from the amp to a Zoom H4N recorder. All the extraneous and boring talky bits edited out.
I’d like to do this some more. I just need to work out the anxiety part.
I played a live performance on November 27 in New York City. This was the first time I’ve performed with anything more than an accordion in a live and public setting, and as small and esoteric as it was, it was thrilling.
My performance was part of a Disquiet Junto set at apexart, an art gallery just below Canal Street in Manhattan. Six contributors to the Disquiet Junto were asked to perform two works: one being something we’re currently working on, and another being a piece based on an earlier Junto, in which field recordings from department stores were utilized “to create pieces that interrogate the atmosphere and sounds of a department store as described in an Émile Zola novel.”
For the first part, I continued my explorations of my baritone ukulele sampled and looped with the Phonogene and the Tyme Sefari. This segued into the second part, for which I mainly used the Teenage Engineering OP-1 and its four tracks on the tape player. I’d previously loaded four earlier Junto field recordings from other Junto members, and layered them to create the chaos and mechanically-inspired noise of the Zola department store.
There were six performances that evening, of which I was the second. I was preceded by Kenneth Kirschner, and followed by Arcka, Ethan Hein, Joon Oluchi Lee and Roddy Schrock, and Tom Moody.
apexart shot video of the event and posted in on their website. I reposted it to Vimeo, which is here.
If you would rather just the audio:
Videos from each of the performances are on the apexart site, and is worth the time. Each artist used different tools and created something quite different from one another. I hope to get to do this kind of thing again. A lot. In fact I think I need to write a post specifically about playing live with this kind of equipment. Thanks to Marc for having me out, and to Arcka for sharing the ride and for the photo at the top of this post.
I’ve been invited to take part in a life Disquiet Junto event at ApexArt. in NYC next week, November 27, along with several other musicians. I’ll be creating an improvised composition based on one of the past Juntos, as well as a short performance of my own doing. I’m planning to bring a small case of modular synth gear, the OP-1, some guitar pedals, and a ukulele. We’ll see what happens.
This is the first time I’ll have attempted this, playing live, in front of people who aren’t my family.
Information about the event here.
Information about ApexArt.