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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. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Rhythmic Movement

The show on Thursday night was a great success…and well attended.  The lead up to it was a bit stressful but the cathartic release of being on stage and performing my music made it all worth it.  This is, after all, something that Tania and I (mostly Tania) have been working on for months.  To see it all come together in a single night was a thing of beauty.  I wish some of you out of towners could have seen it.

That said, there was a professional video made and several other cameras in the house.  Some things are already on youtube.  Not my music, yet though. If more of you had shown up I might have had a guarantee that I'd at least have some pictures of my piece being performed.  As it stands all I can show you guys are post pictures and the video of the body painting. Which was a hit!

Anyway, Galapagos Art Space is a world class venue and I was so excited to be performing there.  I arrived a full 2 hours and 15 minutes before the show out of paranoia that anything could go wrong with the massive amount of technical elements we programmed into this show.  Luckily, the sound guy was so professional and efficient that I truly had nothing to worry about.  Our set up took so little time that we were almost done before Tania had even gotten there.  She arrived around 5:15 with the body painter and the model.

By then, I had a table set up with all my equipment on it, with everything plugged up to the sound system, plus the camera I borrowed from one Mohammad Maaty plugged up to the house projector, screen lowered, piano and microphone in place for Tania and tables ready for model and painter.  All we had to do was test the sound equipment and set up the camera.  All the video elements for the slideshow on the second half were with the tech guy already.

Hanging out backstage before the show was a lot of fun, too.  Tania, Derrick, the model Steffi and I had the whole place to ourselves and brought drinks from the bar back there while we waited.  I got to see the pre body painting body painting as well as watch most of the show from the wings of the stage too because I had to be there to operate the camera, which had to be panned from the model to Tania's back between pieces, and the projector, which had to have the video source switched from the stage.

The body painting to Erik Satie's music came directly after Tania's world premiere "Rhythmic Movement" and was followed by works by Ginastera, Kapustin and Vladigerov.  The body painting had to be my favorite part of the evening as far as what I experienced as an audience member.  It was really beautiful to watch Derrick being inspired to paint by Tania's performance of Satie's Gnossiennes.  And also kind of fun to watch the model trying to remain perfectly still while he essentially tickled her with a paint brush.

The intermission was brief and we moved on to even more exciting stuff.  Tania performed work by Frederico Mompou, a Spanish composer who writes in a beautiful post-impressionist style, accompanied by the work of photographer Jack Dzamba (the same who let us stay at his place in Boston).  This was great to finally see all put together because I witnessed the photo shoot and had only briefly listened to Tania rehearsing the pieces.  It's beautiful music and somewhere floating around is the artist's description of the significance of the images.  The two pieces were called "La Barca"(boat) and "Cuna" (cradle).

After this, Tania had the idea to improvise inside the piano and have me do some of the same stuff with my laptop that I'd be doing for my piece.  The potential of this exercise was endless and I found myself wishing for more time to develop the ideas.  Sampling whatever noises she made and then looping them and turning them into material that I could freely play with and then interact with what she was doing was so much fun.  Heck, it's such a fun medium to work in that I was messing around during sound check and accidentally recorded and looped a snipped of the sound of the audio guy moving the piano across the stage.  So, I played around with it and made some fantastic rhythms and tones out of essentially a loud screeching noise.

After this came Tania's interpretation of John Cage's 4'33" which involved me asking her to dance, dancing for a few seconds and then remaining completely still for the remainder of the piece while the sound of a clock ticking came from my computer.   Each of those elements lent personal significance to the piece for Tania and it all related to the show's theme of rhythmic movement.  It was also fun to get to do something different on stage that could essentially be classified as performance art.

My piece went quite well and it was so much fun to hear it through big speakers while we were performing.  We had two monitors on stage for us to hear my samples as I played them back.  One part of the piece involved me actually recording and looping Tania's performance so she could perform another part on top of it, essentially adding another piano layer to the piece.  This was the trickiest part and because if I didn't time it exactly right the loop would eventually slip out of rhythm with Tania.  It went great despite how little rehearsal time we really had with full sound.  As it was, we were rehearsing the piece with the tiny speakers on my laptop at Tania's place and Tania could barely hear the looped audio that I was playing back.

I learned a lot about the process of doing something like this, what works and what doesn't and thankfully this will not be the last time we perform this piece.  It can only get better!

Tania closed the concert with two pieces by Pancho and Alexander Vladigerov (two Bulgarian composers, father and son, respectively).  These are both pieces that I have seen Tania perform before several times and they are always crowd-pleasers and great choices to finish a show on.

After the show, we went out into the audience and greeted everyone, took photos and eventually, a smaller contingent of the group met at Superfine for some food and drinks.  Perfect, since I hadn't eaten anything substantial since my breakfast at 2pm!  Superfine is a really great restaurant that centers their menu around locally sourced ingredients from sustainable farms.  With an ever changing menu based on what ingredients are available, I happened to luck out that they had a steak au poivre on the menu (with gluten free fries…bonus!).  A pretty solid meal to celebrate our accomplishment, I think.

All day yesterday, I took it easy since a friend from Philly who had seen the concert was still in town and we spent the day jamming with my looping software and then hanging out with friends.  Then somehow I ended up at the world's douchiest bar, Turtle Bay for a happy hour with some friends.  (Notice, I did not link to it…seriously don't go here).  Today, I work until 5pm and then I'm going to a co worker's wedding in Mill Basin, Brooklyn.  So, that should be fun.  Pretty soon, I'll have pics and video from the concert posted up.

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