Blac Buc, Blac Buc!!!

Bassist Jair-Rohm Parker Wells composes “Blac Buc” on the Buchla 200e

The realization of the multi-disciplinary work “Blac Buc” on the EMS Buchla 200e system.

Stockholm, Sweden

NS Designs bassist/Composer Jair-Rohm Parker Wells, in residency at EMS in Stockholm, Sweden, has crafted a significant social/political work utilizing the Buchla 200e modular synthesizer system.

The 50 minute multi-media/multi-disciplinary work is called “Blac Buc”. The title is a play on words referencing the Reconstruction era racial slur “Black Buck” and the name of the modular synthesizer system that the piece was realized on: the Buchla 200e modular synthesizer. The work promotes and inspires the consideration that Booker T. Washington’s “Atlanta Compromise” rather than W.E.B. Du Bois’ “Niagara Movement” held the best solution for post-Reconstruction America and the advancement of its Black people. The work was produced entirely using GNU, free and open source software. The completed work will be presented live as a fixed media performance incorporating projections, the voices of Ayn Rand, W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington, dance and live NS Designs bass. A CD of the music as well as digital downloads/streaming will also be available.

Quotes:

…thinking man’s hip hop with cascading political indignation BEN WATSON (Music journalist/AMM-All Stars)

Let it now be known that the modern day “Freak-Bass Philosopher” has arrived – Jair-Rohm Parker Wells. I remember the Buchla well from my days at NYU (in the mid-80s!), so to hear it today through Jair-Rohm’s impassioned and well-informed “techno-logical touch” is a welcome sonic sandwich. Blessings for Bass. Thank you, Mr. Parker Wells. MARQUE GILMORE the inna-most (DRUM-FM / Kult-U-Real™) – April, 2017

“For Jair-Rohm, being called a virtuoso is too limiting. It’s being current that makes what he does so relevant. I think the measure of an artist goes beyond the hands that make the art. Jair-Rohm just doesn’t play the instrument, he creates a language using it.” — JEFFERY HAYDEN SHURDUT (artist/ producer/ director)

…an innovative mix of electronica, EDM, jazz and spoken word that will move your feet and open your mind.” – KARL FURY (electronic musician)

Music where acoustic and electronic instruments meet ,and where you sometimes can´t hear the difference will be tommorrows music. This is a good example of it. Nice bassplaying. It fits perfectly into the machines groove.” — THOMAS KLINTEBY (Composer , musician in ‘Upside’)

…we experience the full range of pitch, timbre, precision, warmth, harmony and chaos, Whiteness, Blackness, noise and music that mirrors the complexity of 150 years of post-slavery social evolution. Prepare for a ride, and not one that brings you back safely to rest. It is meant to shake and move you to a different place, and regain lost momentum.” — LAWRENCE DE MARTIN (acoustic luthier)

“This is a fearless confrontation of history and music technology. It builds on the works of pioneers like Sun Ra & Joe McPhee in terrms of both the embeded social issues as well as the boundless experiments with sound.” — DAMON SMITH

Trailer

blac_buc

Jair-Rohm Parker Wells and NS Designs WAV electric upright bass at the Buchla 200e system at EMS Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo credit: Henrik Jonsson)

Getting ready…

I’ll be doing a solo set at Bitcoin Meets Art tomorrow (Saturday August 23rd) here in Stocholm. I’m posting a few tracks from my rehearsal. All recorded in Ecasound. The gear i’ll be using is (as always) my NSD WAV bass with the Glasser bow (German, of course), the magnificent Zoom B3 and my iPad Mini running Filtatron and Animoog. Please drop by if you can and tip 🙂

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“Salo”

“Klaus Kinski”

“Rachel”

“June Blue”

As promised in response to the comment by jazztraveler, here’s a recording of my tune “June Blue” from the cruise ship last month. This piece is characterized by a long, near-ambient improvisation followed by a brief improvisation on the chord changes of the theme, an open one chord improv section and ending with the “A” section of the actual theme. The order of these sections changed every night. Sometimes the theme would be sandwiched between two long improvisations. Sometimes the theme would only be stated once at the end of a long improvisation and so on. The combinations of theme/improvisation are endless.

Dynamics…

As with all Music, dynamics play a very important role in improvised music. Dynamics can (and should) be used very effectively as a structural/organizational device. We’re not just talking about volume here.  Getting back to an earlier post on this blog, eleven aspects of improvisation are delineated. Each of these parameters can be dynamically modulated. In other words, one can vary the amount of any of the defined parameters one utilizes in a phrase, note or statement. This is to apply Braxton‘s eleventh (of the twelve types) “Gradient Formings” – the serialization of dynamics.

One very, very good illustration of this is the “Pulse Track” of Braxton’s Composition #108B. This graphic score may be freely applied to volume and/or pitch.

Braxton describes #108B as “a series of possible curve line sounds or curve line dynamic changes” (311), implying that the lines can indicate pitch and/or volume… – Graham Lock

 

Composition 108B Pulse Track

Another album…

Here’s an album that i’m featured on. It’s by the German saxophonist Biggi Vinkeloe. There is some really amazing music by some of the most inspired improvisors around. The entire album is available as a free download. Check it out 🙂

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I have these ideas…

Improvised Music is what i do. I’ve been doing it a long time. During the
course of my journey, i’ve encountered many different methods of approaching the art of improvisation. Different architectonics. The results of these revelations are often labeled by the media as “Free Jazz“. Jazz rarely – if ever – has anything to do with the resulting Music. I’d like to share some of these manners of blueprinting and executing improvisations here in this blog. So, over the course of the next few posts, i hope to share some meaningful information about some of the methods i have used to solve the enigmatic questions that confront the improviser.

Anthony Braxton taught me a lot about strategy. His “Creative Orchestra
Music” (1976) was an important turning-point in my understanding of how group improvisations could be structured and directed. Prior to this, i had heard his “In The Tradition” recordings and “Five Pieces” (1975) as well as Albert Ayler’s work. Still, it was Braxton’s structuring and use of the orchestra on “Creative Orchestra Music” that opened my ears to the idea that there are more ways to realize group improvisations than just leaving a group of performers to forge ahead on their own. When i heard his “For Trio” (1978), the sky opened. This led me to have a closer look at his process. I discovered that Anthony had started the development of his approach by defining his “Twelve Language Types“. If you aren’t familiar with the “Twelve Language Types”, it’s a handy way that Anthony came up with to codify the twelve main language types that make up music. Once reduced to its constituent elements in this way, music could be plotted and executed. The point and advantage in this method is to obviate the contingency of running out of ideas or breaking the flow of an improvisation. While Braxton developed this technique for his solo performances, i found it very suited to group improvisations as well.

There are many different ways this method can be applied. As with most
everything, the best way to get a handle on it is to just experiment. Try
interpreting the symbols in different ways (backwards, inverted, etc). Assign different symbols to different registers, instruments, tempi, dynamics, etc. Believe me, these twelve – seemingly simple – symbols can go an incredibly long way.

If you’ve had any experience with Braxton’s Twelve Language Types or would like to discuss them, i’d love to hear from you here.

 

Braxton's Twelve Language Types

Braxton’s Twelve Language Types