Saturday, February 18, 2006


Recently my friend Keith Kirchoff asked me what I thought of Chopin and I responded that he is one of those composers that I just like and that I don't think about why I like his work. This could be due to the fact that I associate my first memories of life with Chopin, where my father would play the piano and I would demand "dancing music" which was Chopin. But on musical terms I have been thinking through the fact the most of his output largely has the "Chopin sound" and that I consider that a fault in many modern composers. So I have been tossing the question around in my head and this AM as I listen to the second sonata and ballades I have figured out one key element of Chopin, the ringing. To my ears Chopin creates his dynamic tension by juxtaposing sonorities and indeed larger passages that take advantage of or work against the tendency of the piano to ring. I believe this tension and release is largely due to his observing the overtone series and/or working against it to build sonorities. While tonal harmony can lead to this in an incidental way, I hear a concerted effort in most Chopin to exploit this tendency. So while other composers also exploit this, I don't get the sense that it is as deliberate as with Chopin. I should submit that I know very little of his history other than his being a piano virtuoso of Polish origin who was alive from 1810-1849. My guess is that his using the ringing nature of the piano in a way that supports the overtone structure was largely based on intuition and not on scientific research and as I say, I don't know enough to say either way. The point though, is that however he got to this way of working, for my ear it defines his sound. Ciao

Friday, February 17, 2006

Friday Night!

Having returned to the working life ala 8-5, I get thrilled when Friday night rolls around. Working for and alcohol distributor, you get good presents for the weekend, well you buy yourself a present but still, they are good. So tonight is supposed to be our "party" and per usual with our Alaska parties, it looks pretty weak, the last one absolutely nobody showed up, I'm thinking we can beat that tonight! But I did get a highly recommended bottle of wine, so I will make an effort to record my thoughts about it once I have finished drinking it. The house is clean and there is a check on the way, how can you go wrong.

So, the strangest thing this week. I was interviewing for a position at the local Starbucks and wouldn't you know there was a wedding happening in the lobby of the Starbucks. That is almost as strange as putting nutmag on your coffee. Yes, five feet from me telling stories about the how I handled a strange situation in my working history two people are getting hitched. It was a pretty small event and in the time it took me to interview for the job, they went through the ritual. I didn't see if they kissed, but I did notice that one of the members of the party was back outside right after the event for a cigarette. How do I communicate what Alaska is like.... Well that is a pretty good start.

Here is what feel like a good Friday Night shot, the Rocket in Fremont at night. Fremont happens to be the center of the universe, although I did see a sculpture in New Mexico that was the center of the universe as well. Imagine that, two universes whose centers have such close proximity.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Welcome Back

We have returned to beautiful Anchorage and here you have Walter, so this is now officialy home. It is quite nice to be back, we are staying in UAA housing, I saw a moose literally 10 ft. from the front door yesterday. Correction, I was told to get on the other side of the street as I was walking back to MAT 5 and he pointed out the rather large creature looking to do som to me if I were to disturb his/her lunch. Thanks to the UAA Police, I didn't. I am back at Alaska Distributors for the week, that is the Alcohol distribution company that I seem to temp at A LOT!!!! Great people, and no, no benefits!

The last night in Seattle was amazing. We went out for a walk and as we were returning to our abode crossing the street, I recognized a fellow NEC masters student from last year. It turns out that Steve is touring with a band. So he slapped Christine and I on the guest list and we took in some beer and the show. It was at the High Dive which is a great place to take in a show and we really had a great time. It was wonderful to catch up with Steve and they did a great song and dance. New York Rock!

This weekend begins the Fur Rondy, it turns out that the guy who runs this thing works at AK Distributors, really great guy actually. Anyhow, Christine and I decided to have over all the med students for dinner on Friday and that it is the same day, I have been toying with themes for the party..... "the Acrylic Dispersion Festival or maybe a PETA party?? well probably not, but it will be fun all the same.

Ha ha, this is sunny, I just realized that we are spending our valentines day evening on our computers, it is what we do apparently. How funny. Well we had a fabulous dinner and I am done with typing.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Computer All Day

The Fremont Monster, doesn't that just make you smile?

Today is the day where I enter the first draft of the score into the computer and create the second draft. The composition is for trumpet, trombone, piano and vibraphone and suspended cymbals. I am half way through and really over the whole "sitting in front of the computer" thing, but then that is why they make wine, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I met with Brian Chin and as the performer he was into it, that is fabulous and make me feel like all this work at least makes someone oustside of my head happy as well. Yeah!!!

The good part about putting the handwritten score into the computer is that I get to listen to music. I have been on a bit of a free jazz bender. I have really been into Jim Black's Alas No Axis. It is an amazing album, I really love the fact that it is on the edge of having a pulse the entire time, yet never does. Well there are brief moments, but for the most part it is continually shifting, quite astounding. I also have gotten into Annie Gosfield's "Blue Serge" off of Burnt Ivory and Loose Wires. A more riff oriented composition (certainly not free jazz, this is through composed) yet the large pallet of sounds keeps drawing me back and it is nice kick back into what is groove oriented in the way that minimalism might be called groove oriented. For me, Annie's music is more varied than the monolithic sound structures that minimalism harkens to ones mind. Fun Stuff.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

news today

So today is one of those perfect days, where I slept in because I was working all day yesterday and needed the rest and now that the trumpet piece has been finished, well for the first time, I will finish several more times, I can read the news and drink coffee. So here I am sitting outside at a cafe, with no jacket, soaking up the sun (not to much because I wouldn't be able to see my computer if that were the case) and flipping through the times headlines.

#1 "NATO and Protesters Clash in Afghanistan Over Cartoons " - And here we thought that art didn't matter any more and that people wouldn't die for it. Yes it is a bit more complicated, but ultimately people are dying for ideas and images, that sounds far more profound than anything I have scene in the news lately.

#2 "General Motors Cuts Dividend and Trims Executive Pay " - I like this one, they give up several billion in fringe benefits, I'm sure it doesn't even come to a percentage point and they get number three headline, talk about bang for your advertising dollar! Oh and the bit about "changed its health care and pension plans for retired workers." that is where the real savings are coming from and I''m guessing the people who rely on that are far more in need than the execs who will now have to tighten up the old budget in order to fund (fill in with what ever gratuitous behavior you like). But that is America, inherit and you shall succeed.

#3 "Record Sales of Sleeping Pills Are Causing Worries" - This I love, what does it say....well that there are record number of pills being prescribed and that "doctors may be ignoring other conditions, like depression, that might be the cause of sleeplessness." Why would everyone in America be so depressed when we have it all?

Ok this is getting to negative and I am really in a happy mood so I will drop it, but I just love it.

I will put a plug in for Coretta Scott King, while historians will teach you a lot about her, they may overlook that she attended (I never saw that she graduated) the New England Conservatory. Gotta spread the word that NEC has some historical highpoints.

Happy News....
Yesterdays Times "Canada to Shield 5 Million Forest Acres " - Thank good we have the Canadians to save this planet, well politically speaking. Our current elected theocracy is very intent on taking action in the opposite direction. All I can say is go be an eco tourist and support one of the greatest things to happen this year. Yeah for white bears!

And now a picture of Fremont...

Sunday, February 05, 2006


Too bad for the Hawks and their 12th dude. Even the donation of one Green Bays greatest coaches couldn't help them. I suppose I should care as I am in Seattle, but it was far more enjoyable to do my dishes and make a really nice dinner. One week left here in Seattle and then back to AK. I am psyched to get back actually, now that my applications are done and it is time to do the sit and wait.
This has been the weekend of toys. It comes on the heals of getting hooked on a PS2 game, which has made me strongly consider getting a PSP. Pathetic, but the game is astounding. I blame Yvonne entirely! I joined Flexcar and had the pleasure of using one this weekend in order to get one of my two new toys, a new cell phone! Yes, I know, the old wone was still not totally dead, but it has been in service for 5 years and is currently held together with packaging tape and has a wonderous safety bingo sticker upon it. But I need more room for contacts and it was begining to give me the "I'm about to die vibe, you better move on before I die." It was a good little phone, and I will miss it, but the new one is small and powerful, which I am sure will help me to get cancer all the quicker! YEAH!!! The other toy was the arival of the Motu 896. I made the aquaintance of Sophia Chen she is a researcher at UCSD in the grad program. She is the dear friend of Yvonne Lee. Sophia and I have had wonderful chats about all matter of cosmic problems, one which was that here 896 was feeling neglected as she had to dedicate her life and time to scientific research. I assured her that I would help her in any way possible and so she has asked me to walk, play and water the 896.... well metaphorically speaking. So, upon returing to AK, I am planning some recording projects. It will be a blast!

In other news, I am in the middle of a piece for trumpet, trombone, piano and vibraphone and I am happy to report that it is getting to the point where it scares me. Which means I am doing something interesting. I am meeting with Brian Chin this week to discuss the work, as he has comissioned it and it is at the stage where we can perfect it. Yeah, I still like working closely with performers to craft a piece that makes them and me happy. Ah, so idealistic.

Questions? Comments? Send them to Krishna, as he is working the front office for me this week.

Friday, February 03, 2006

the new red sox

Aproximately 24 hours ago I was on the MT174 from the airpot to downtown Seattle when it was pulled over to the side of the road so the police could be called and a gentleman could be removed. Ah to return to Seattle! Just off the plane and already it is alive. But I digress..... At the begining of that trip I was in Boston and I had to pass through the infamous Logan International Security TSA System, no worries there. As I pass through the metal dtector the security offficial looks at me and asks if I am a big Yankees fan to which I reply, "the biggest in this whole town." Of course I have been to BU and know better, there are actually people in BOS who like the Yankees, but I digress...... At first I thought it just idle chitchat with which the Security Official was amusing himself, but then it dawned on me, that my decrepid beated old red Sox hat belies my underlying irrational mysticism. And that with this new era, that of no reverse curse, it is time to move into the new era and divorce myself from the ties of the past and realize that I can indeed wash the hat and Sox will still win/loose no matter what the charm, the ritual or the alignment of the stars. Well, Mr Security Personel, I submit to you that this could be the case and infact probably is, but it is no where as near as fun. WWJD? He would sell out, cut the hair and go to NYC. What will the rest of us do? What is neccesary! But your point is noted.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


I was in NYC visiting Columbia catching up with friends. The morning that I left I took the subway down from Harlem to the edge of China town. There I got off and walked east to the Fung Wah bus depot. Well that is a bit of an overstatement, the "depot" is a window to the street, with a small room behind it, about the size of a closet. After you purchase your ticket, you wait on the corner for the bus to pull up. But, as I said I had to walk east and as I was walking east I was taking in NYC waking up, it must have been 8AM or so. Something happened, it was rather unremarkable, but it happened. I had a piece of paper wrap around my leg having been blown by the wind. I got the sense that it wanted to hold me. That is grabbing out from the sidewalk or gutter into which it had been cast, reaching clutching for any warmth or life that would acknowledge it. And then I looked around at the rest of the trash and thought how lonely it must be, to be floating around the street, on the side of the highway, despised by all that see it and waiting to be shoved into a container then jammed into a place where it can be forgotten.

I felt bad for the garbage and I still do. New York was beautiful and the trip was wonderful.

Juxtaposition in art (and life), frees the mind to consider what is really there. It is how trash can be scene with love and compassion and with an appreciation of the intricate wonder that it is in form and spirit.