Ecasound…

It’s the twenty-first century. We have the technology and the intellectual capability to not only conceptualize alternatives to the technologies of the last two hundred years (knobs and buttons) we can also implement those alternatives. Why are you working in a digital audio workstation that forces you into interfacing with it via photo-realistic psudo-representations of ancient technology?

In order to record and mix audio, it is not necessary to see how far to the left, right, up or down a virtual representation of a fader is. It’s audio. You’re supposed to be working with sound – not images. Likewise, if something is too loud (or not loud enough) you will only, properly, make corrections using your ears.

In the time that it takes the average DAW to open, i can record and mix a track in Ecasound. Not only that, the result sounds an awful lot better than what i’ve heard from many of the “industry standard”聽DAWs – all without the cost, clutter and distraction.

A three track mix with effects playing back in Ecasound.

A three track mix with effects playing back in Ecasound.

Terra firma…

Wow, it’s done. I’m back on land and preparing for the next phase. I spent the last two months on a cruise ship playing improvised music and popular songs from the mid-twentieth century with pianist Doru Apreotesei and vocalist Deborah Herbert. It was a fantastic time of growth and exploration. As mentioned in an earlier blog post, there will be sound clips from those gigs posted here from time to time in relation to various topics.

Now the work turns to preparing for a concert series that i’ll produce that focuses mostly on my presentation of solo works for bass. Some of the pieces i’ll perform have been composed for me. Some will be by composers i admire and have been greatly influenced by (e.g., Cage, Braxton, Sun Ra, Ayler). Stay tuned here for the where and when.

List of Sun Ra charts

Partial list of Sun Ra charts

Some music…

I’ll be starting to post some new music here now. By “new”, i mean clips from gigs that i’m doing currently. Most recently, i’ve been playing in duo with the pianist Doru Apreotesei. As i mentioned in my post “The Audience Gets It“, we’ve been playing – mostly – improvised music in an environment that is generally reserved for the squarest of square: a cruise ship piano bar. The track here is “Blue In Green” co-written by Miles Davis and Bill Evans.The playing on this clip is pretty “inside”. There will be others that aren’t 馃槈

The Manhattan Lounge on MS Color Magic where i'm working right now.

The Manhattan Lounge on MS Color Magic where i’m working right now.

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.聽 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 鈥渁 series of possible curve line sounds or curve line dynamic changes鈥 (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 馃檪

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I love southeast Asia

I live in Thailand. I love it. Thing is: there’s no Improvised Music scene here or anywhere else in southeast Asia. At least no evidence of anything that I would recognize as Improvised Music as we define it in the west. Why is this? Well, i’m no authority on the culture of this region so I don’t have a qualified answer to that question.

I do have an opinion about Improvisation here.

One thing that I can say is that art is a reflection of a culture. Free Jazz (and all of the improvised music forms that evolved from it) has the Black American experience of the mid-twentieth century at it’s root. The birth of Free Jazz was a political statement more than anything else. Given the nature of the people and their socio-economic circumstances, Free Jazz could only have happened where and when it did.

Thailand is a beautiful country. Politically, it is non-aligned making it a “third world country”. (The designation “third world country” doesn’t mean “impoverished” it means that the country politically is neither aligned with the “1st world” – the capitalist NATO countries nor the “2nd world” communist countries and the Soviet Union. It’s an old Cold War term.) People live very freely here. There’s no government in everyone’s business telling them how to live. There’s tons of music. Thailand is historically a very music rich country. Most Thais are proficient in some musical instrument and nearly everyone sings and dances.

kSo why no Free Jazz? Why no Improvised Music?

Probably because the people don’t feel repressed. The conditions that inspired and motivated the progenitors of Improvised Music in America just don’t exist here. Looking at this society objectively, one sees an impressively laid-back scene. No one appears to be highly concerned about anything. For good reason. Thailand is blessed with a wonderful climate and is very fertile. The population isn’t beyond the means of the land and the economy is comfortably stable and has been for a long time.

Ok, I didn’t grow up poor and Black in Chicago and I play Free Jazz. I do so because I hold the values that originally fueled the music sacred. I believe that the propagation of this music is the propagation of a belief system and its ideals. I believe these mores to be vital to surviving in the industrial west. These resources are not at all necessary in southeast Asia.

Which is totally ok with me. What do you think?

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