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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. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Molecules...

Well, the rest of my day after that last blog in Philly was really fun.  So fun I forgot to blog about it.  I decided on the Eastern State Penitentiary for my afternoon activity.  I opted for an immensely informative guided tour and, after it was done, walked around a little on my own, saw Al Capone's cell, learned about the tunnel escape and took a ton of pictures.

Afterward Virginia and I met up and had a bite at, you guessed it, the only place I eat in West Philadelphia: OCF.  Luckily, she had to be somewhere relatively near where I had to go for Darcy's dance performance, so we opted to walk it, a good 4 1/2 miles, because that's what we do when we're together.  Funny, I avoided taking public transit for most of the weekend, except for one bus ride to Center City Friday night.  Cabs are really cheap there compared to NYC as well, so it was tempting, a lot of the time, to just take a cab.  The walk was much preferred though.  I got to see (and smell) a lot of the city I might not have seen had I taken the bus.  Seriously, South Street in Old City was buzzing with activity and smelled strongly of cheesesteaks. 

Anyway, Darcy's dance performance was at Christ Church Neighborhood House in Old City, right next to one of the oldest buildings in Philly, a church, that, when it was built was the highest structure in the 13 colonies for a number of years (I think I heard one of the guys there say 40 years, can't remember).  The dance actually started out in the courtyard of the church and featured video projections of footage shot in the Redwood Forest in California, as well as music composed by Andrea Clearfield, featuring field recordings from the Redwood Forest, violin and didgeridoo.  The music was emanating from a couple of boom boxes, some nestled in the bushes, others carried by the dancers.  One dancer recited poetry through a bullhorn by Quintan Ana Wikswo with themes of destruction of natural habitats and the ills of colonialism.  After the courtyard, the dancers led us up to a space on the third floor of the neighboring building, a dark theater space with no fourth wall (we were standing around the dancers as they performed) and sheets hung from the ceiling.  Overall, I thought it was a pretty compelling piece and really enjoyed the dancers' performances. 

Here are a few pics taken in Old City and around the Church.  That night we cabbed it back to Darcy's apartment where her new roommate had a house warming party of sorts in full swing, complete with wine and a spread of gluten free food (she's gluten intolerant, too).  Met some nice people, had some good food and conversation and then slept it all off.  After one more breakfast at OCF, I snagged a cab to the train station and headed back to NYC for my performance. 

It went really well, by the way.  Only, I forgot to hit record.  MC took video of most of it and I ended up with some extra time last night to re record it at home and edit it a little.  Just posted it to soundcloud too.



The audience enjoyed it and gave me some good pointers, all stuff that I was thinking was wrong with the piece, i.e. there wasn't enough of a build (I still don't think there is). I can't remember what else right now but I have since come up with a few more critiques like the fact that it's kind of long right now but as the song congeals a little more, I will be able to scale back the length of it and still effectively cover all the things I want cover.  There are essentially four different loop layers each with harmonies and syncopated counter melodies built into them, so the overall number of layers tops something like 10-16 depending on which harmonies I play.  The only real ramp up in the intensity of the piece comes with the introduction of a sixteenth note pulse drone on the lowest guitar string, which, when I recorded this version, I layered harmonies on top of.

I solo melodically over the cacophony of layers at least a couple of times throughout and only the first one on this version was pre composed.  The rest were improvised.  The distortion effect on the backwards loop is something I'm still toying with a little.  It's still kind of unpredictable because I've been recording it silently and not fading it up until it's been effected with the reverse function and the distortion patch that I'm using from Native Instruments.  I'm using my controller to change one of the parameters which, as far as I can tell is a sub audio control wave (for those of you who know anything about sound synthesis).  Anyway, once it's up in the mix, I am getting some wicked awesome sounds.  Later in the piece I even slow it and another one of the actual loop tracks down by half to get some even cooler contrast to the rhythmic drive of the piece.

In later versions of the piece, I'm going to focus on ways to ramp up the intensity even more, possibly exploring drones with syncopation in them.  Syncopation is lovely.  Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the piece.

The rest of MC's salon was great.  She danced, Morgana Rose danced, Gilbert-Michel Rolle, the tenor, a Swiss man actually from MC's hometown, sang a few French Renaissance pieces a capella, Lacy and I did three songs scattered throughout the performance and lastly a man whose name I can't recall now came and gave us an impromptu poetry reading.  Lost of wine and good conversation followed and then I went home ate dinner and watched Breaking Bad's finale.  Great ending!

I'll keep updating as I record new versions of the song, Molecules, and I will even be writing some more and trying them out on you guys and also performing again at the next Marie-Christine Giordano artists salon.  By the way, I still don't know exactly why the piece is called Molecules. 

Also, as the week goes on I've been working a lot more on the recording of Amanda Brecker's song, "Another Day in the Life."  It's going well and tomorrow we'll finish up recording backing vocals and vocal effects and hopefully, I'll manage to record the two guitar interludes.  Updates on that as well once it's finished and mastered. For now, it's back to work!

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