About Me

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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving...

I went to upstate NY for Thanksgiving to see relatives and slept 10 hours straight the first night, more than I've managed to sleep on any night for a very long time. It was much needed. And now it's back to work. I just spent way too long figuring out how to mass email my friend list on Facebook and the best I could come up with was to just send a mass invite that I'm hoping won't get overlooked. If you're seeing this and I didn't email you the Facebook invite, then please don't be offended. Facebook has some things they need to iron out.

Meanwhile, that brings to light one of the things I need to work on figuring out...a good way to send a newsletter out monthly. I've had too many musical events lately that some of you have missed out on so I'm detecting a need for improvement there. Hopefully, with the release of the new website and subsequent rebranding of various web portals I subscribe to, I will add newsletter to the list of things to do.

Expect this blog to change a little too. I want to start offering music software tutorials as a way to drive more traffic to my site. I've already got a lot of content here which should look good for search engine indexing but I want more visibility definitely.

More on that later as it unfolds. Currently, looking for my copy of Ableton Live right now because I wanted to start tinkering with that today while I had the time. No luck so far so I may just be heading out of the house to meet with Pamela. We're going to be probably just hanging out and tossing around musical thoughts and debating the future performances of Teletextile and how they will go.

Half of me wants to clean this room up first before I leave, while I have a full day off, but it's such an overwhelming project. It will need to happen though. I just built one of these and it's sitting on my floor currently because I have nowhere to store it when I'm not using it. I am excited to have the portable sound booth action going on and am excited to try it but I have to wait for a smaller mic stand, which I just ordered, to come in the mail. Then, only then, oh finally, at last, for the love of god! can I actually start auditioning from home. And even then, I definitely want to eventually get a new audio interface because I'm oh so tired of the crap Tascam thing I got two years ago which lasted three months before crapping out the left channel output. It's usable now but wouldn't it be nice to maybe have something new and with a nicer preamp? And something I can eventually take out with me when I play live.

All this equipment lust has gotten me thinking about a site called Rocket Hub again. It's what they call a crowd funding site, where you can create a project, tell people about it, and solicit donations in exchange for incentives (in my case, things like a signed copy of the album I'm going to record next year, or perhaps I'll name a song after you or come play in your hometown...within the continental US of course and with the caveat that there'd better be a crowd there). Check it out...you'll be hearing more about it from me soon. I'm going to be honing my project description and the list of incentives and eventually publish it and let you all know about it.

For now, I think I'm going to go drain my brain and restart. Apparently a calming weekend upstate with my relatives isn't quite enough to fully relax and center me.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A weekend full of music...

Time to update on one busy and exciting weekend. First, there was the performance with Teletextile on Saturday night and then the world premier of my piano sketch titled, "The Way We Dream" at the Brooklyn Unitarian Church service Sunday morning.

The weeks leading up to the Teletextile show were so much fun. Practicing and bonding with a band again was really amazing. As I may have mentioned, I came in originally to arrange all of the vocal parts and to help Pamela with translating the recordings to the stage. I ended up singing in the backup group and playing Pamela's Wurlitzer on "I Don't Know How to Act Here." The show went well too and the group was really tight. The whole band consisted of myself and two to three other backup singers, also playing percussion, claps, foot stomps, etc., a guitarist, Pamela on vocals, harp, violin and guitar and a friend of Pamela who was brought in last minute to trigger samples and backing tracks...all of us wearing a motif of gold and feathers as per Pamela's request. Pictures might be forthcoming, though I'm not sure I saw anyone other than one person taking photographs in the crowd. One of my friends did snap this one though:



Other than playing most of the new EP, Pamela also played a few new songs, one called The Unknown, which had a pretty extensive backup vocal part. Another new one, called Fistfuls of Fire, had to be cut because the sound guy at Pianos was a bit of a stickler for time. Watch for this one at future Teletextile shows though, because it's really good.

I'm really excited to see where this goes, playing and helping out with this band because I'm meeting all sorts of musicians through Pam and already have some prospects for future jam sessions. More to come on that.

On Sunday morning, Bill Peek, the Brooklyn Unitarian Church's choir director premiered my piano sketch as a prelude to the morning service. It was quite exciting to hear it live. This particular piece is one of a handful that I wrote the same semester in graduate school when I was beginning my thesis and studying for my comprehensive exam so it, unfortunately, got swept under the rug for a while, as I was focusing on those two projects intensely. It took the possibility of it being performed to get it finished this year a few months ago and I took it to Bill about a month ago. He graciously accepted playing the piece for the church and took a few weeks to practice and solidify the piece. He played it very well. It was a nice interpretation. I'm always talking about how a piece always seems more real once it's been actually performed instead of just played back by a computer or plunked out by yours truly. Now this piece has life and hearing it yesterday morning makes me want to really work hard at getting the other piano sketches finished. "Quivering Filament of Incandescent Bulb," another of the three sketches written about the same time, was finished in early 2009, and revamped earlier this year while I was recovering from my computer virus. The final one, "Misery Pages," I now have incentive to finish because it will make the three into a whole cycle which can be performed together. So, that's my next project.

And with any luck, Tania, the pianist, will be playing them at one of her concerts soon. The upcoming one, on December 2nd at Fez Art Cafe in Brooklyn will feature my piano sketch no. 1 - "Snowfall" which will be its Brooklyn premier (having had its world premier at UNC Greensboro in the fall of 2005). If you're in New York, I expect you to try your hardest to make it to this concert, it's looking like it'll be a good one. Take a look at the Facebook page for Tania.

For now, I gotta run. Heading to work and thinking up more ideas for the new website. Coming soon. I'll be in touch.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Teletextile...

Did I mention I've been busy? Yes, of course I have. Of all the projects on my plate, one that I didn't mention last time and one that is starting to take precedence over everything is that I'm currently doing some arranging for one Pamela Martinez and her band Teletextile. It's been a fun project so far, mainly arranging her background vocals for her rehearsals. Her recordings are well produced and rich with instrumentation and harmony so she's been looking for a way to get that translated to the live show. On November 20th at 8pm, the band is playing at Pianos on the LES, so if you're in New York you should try to come see it.

Excitingly, and as previously mentioned, that same weekend on Sunday morning, Bill Peek will be playing a piano sketch of mine titled, "The Way We Dream" as a prelude to the morning service at the First Unitarian Church in Brooklyn. Service starts at 11am sharp for those interested in coming just to hear the piece.

This morning I'm working the second to last overnight shift before I go back into my regular schedule. And I'm lacking a great deal of sleep right now but I feel pretty alive nonetheless. Quite surprised actually to not be rubbing my eyes as I type this. It's been a struggle to manage my time over the past few weeks but I must say that I'm coming out on top of that struggle. All thanks to the sense of routine that my yoga practice has instilled in me. It's remarkable how dedicated you can find yourself to something if you're paying for it...and here I was avoiding getting a gym membership thinking I didn't want to pay for something I wasn't sure I'd find the time for. Then I realized that simply making time for something that grounds me in some kind of routine helped everything else to fall into place.

Now, I don't know how much I've said about the Anusara Yoga studio in DUMBO that I've been a member of for almost two months, but it's a great place and all the teachers are really nice and experienced too. The location is nice too (I can gaze out at the Manhattan skyline from the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges on up to the Empire State Building and the rest of midtown from the wide windows on two sides of the studio). I've been deepening my practice as well and finding out I can do things I never imagined I could do...like Wheel Pose or Urdhva Dhanurasana for example. The first time I got up into that pose, I just felt this incredible rush and I was so aware of my body when I came out of it. Also, learning about proper alignment in these poses has really helped me get around problems I've been having with my knee. I'm finding that it's the best form of exercise for me, much better than running or lifting weights or even doing yoga on my own at home.

Another part of my routine is the Park Slope Food Co-op, catering to my need to be environmentally conscious and at the same time, not pay too much for organic groceries. It's not too far out of my way, in fact, closer than Trader Joe's and much more convenient to post yoga class grocery trips. I've worked two shifts there so far stocking and processing produce in the basement and enjoyed it both times, despite being so out of it the last time from having just woken up that I knocked over a box of mushrooms and spilled an entire crate of hot peppers within the first hour of my shift. Yikes, right?

So, my new routine has certainly helped with productivity and I've even had some great networking opportunities in the past week alone. On Sunday, my friend Anne, the co-owner of Tate Street Coffee House in Greensboro, NC, came to the city to run the NYC Marathon and later took a bunch of old coffee house employees out to dinner in the East Village. At the dinner I met the wife of one former employee who is an actor/dancer and we chatted for a long time and exchanged cards.

On Monday, I went with a friend to a silent auction for Forward Motion Theater and met another UNCG Alum who is a choreographer. Also exchanged cards.

And working with Pamela's band I've met some talented musicians too. I'm excited because any number of these connections could be beneficial and I can see new projects popping up everywhere.

Anyway, tomorrow morning, er, afternoon, when I wake up, I'm going to jump right into finishing the background vocal arrangement for Pamela and will probably meet with her at some point to go over some things. For now, I get back to work. And sleep is thankfully not far off either.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's good to have ideas...

It really is. I've been buzzing the past few days with them and trying to write them all down. Not just piece ideas but about new ways to realize pieces and perform pieces. I won't say much more because it's a new idea that I don't think anyone else has tried. But I will say that it's gotten me salivating over new software synths and hardware controllers.

But beyond that, I'm still in a stage where I can't get those things yet so I'm biding my time writing more music. Working on currently, and simultaneously: a new piece for Tania, the pianist, finishing an orchestral minimalist piece that was started earlier last year (this one is based on a simple rhythm that I derived from the sounds that water in a tea kettle made one morning after I placed it back on the stove top), the last part of a three song piano cycle, the first of which is being played on the 21st of November at the Brooklyn Unitarian Universalist Church and lastly a handful of electronic music ideas that are hanging loose and unfinished.

This is, believe it or not, how I prefer to work. It may not be very efficient but the combination of small steps on several projects and the prospect of having several options for what to work on on any given day, keeps my momentum up and keeps me from getting distracted.

Also, happening, is the new website...to be revealed soon. Hoping to get that off the ground soon because I've been out advertising that I do voice over now. I went to Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic the other day to see about volunteering there recording audio books for the print disabled. That seems like it'll be fun.

This'll have to be a short one because I'm heading off to work now. But more to report soon, for sure. It's getting cold in the city.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Blurb #21

Two blurbs in one month...Tim must be busy. I am. Just dropping in to mention the many amazing things that have happened and have been going on. First, things that are on my plate, projects, etc.: The Bulgarian piano player has agreed to premier one of my pieces on an upcoming concert probably on December 2nd, I have joined forces with a friend whose band needs some help with arrangements (more on this later), one of my newer piano sketches is being performed at church in three weeks and I'm finishing the rest of three piano sketches that were meant to be a cycle and will probably be performed together soon. Also, secondly, good news about what's been happening: I'm writing again (with some fantastic ideas regarding orchestra with electronics about which I'll not say much just yet), I keep making contacts both in VO and music and the new website will hopefully be revealed soon so I can start putting myself out there again.

For now, I just got back from voting for the first time in NYC and in NY State for that matter and I'm going to head off to yoga in a moment, sufficiently bleary eyed and not even sure why I didn't get much sleep last night...oh yeah, that's right, I work a god-awful shift that has me sleeping during the day. Oh well. Can't have everything.