Sunday, January 28, 2007

more noise

I think all of my study of JS Bach is making me do things. It is 6:30 AM, I am tired, I was inspired. Listen


Tonight was the big night, a concert in LA and the artist was Toshimaru Nakamura along with Lewis Keller and Carole Kim. Toshimaru performs on a no input mixer, which means he cycles the output back into the input. He is quite fabulous and I highly recommend taking a listen , yeah for this! it's some of the greatest most inspirational and elegant sounds (if a bit overbearing at times) I have heard in a long time. It can be loud in concert, but it never surpassed what I have experienced with a concert orchestra.

Now.... The story. This is a 1 hour and 48 minute drive, to Disney Hall and it took 2 hours, because there was traffic. So we were right on time. I mean we arrived at 8:33 and the concert started at 8:30 (I hate myself). We even had a shirtless, homeless freaking out dude sighting on the way into the concert, so it felt very official. My compadre Nick and myself sit down behind a crowd of very cultured people, so cultured that the have the perfume to prove it. Needless to say they fidgeted and commented to each other before leaving in the middle of the second piece. Apparently they payed $18 dollars x4 for something they had no idea about and couldn't take it for what it was, it had to fit their notion of what it should be. Oh and they didn't have the decency to leave between pieces while other people were clapping. Fine, several people left. But then even better. The first set ends and people are applauding and from the back left corner we hear shouting, it turns out there are 2 people shouting, "You people are fucking idiots, this is a bunch of shit. You fucking idiots." Well, that was amazing. I have never been to a concert that elicited such an authentically human reaction. Mind you, this was a concert that they paid to see and they were upset that other people were enjoying it. Wow. Then I look over at this ruckus and who had slipped in late after parking the car only to sit in front of these possible psychopaths? Of course it was my wife. She informed Nick and I that she was rather concerned for her life during the minute of ranting or so.

The music? As I said Toshimaru is spectacular. While I liked some of the sounds and textures that Lewis Keller was able to create, there was a distinct aesthetic difference and I disliked that his control mechanism was so typical and predictable, even if the sounds always weren't. In general they worked well together. The video work by Carole Kim was great, there was never a moment that I felt I was not able to understand how these images were being created or imported and manipulated and combined, yet it always felt fresh and amazing. It played with issues of viscosity and balance of layered images combined with lighting and tasteful manipulation.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Noise Study

One of the tasks that I have undertaken this quarter is the consideration of what is interesting, or maybe more accurately, what makes something interesting. I spend a lot of time thinking about this, as any artist probably should at some point in their existence. I created a little noise study. This by no means is a complete answer, but I do find the sounds interesting, even if my technique of implementation seems a bit clumsy at times. As for my theory as to why this interesting... this study attempts to occupy the middle ground between chaos and absolute order. I think what is lacking is degrees of refinement.

noise study

Thursday, January 25, 2007

opening line

Some people thrive on being prisoners. They get convicted so they can go to jail.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Santa Barbara Premier

It happened tonight! The SB premiere. I am quite thrilled with not only my piece but also with the entire performance. The concert was organized by Scott Cazan. Props to him for a job well done. The concert was put on at a local arts collective, fishbon. This is an amazing group that puts together some great events. I can't wait to see some more!

The concert was very downtown complete with wine and beer afterward (Margaret, who manages the local co-op's made guacamole and my dearest made deviled eggs). Here is a shot of the corner where the cellist played, notice the box lit with red lamp! (Yeah he sat up there!)
Maybe I should explain that the violist and cellist were positioned in the front facing opposite corners and violinist was in the back, facing into the corner (They were all in their own space).

My composition is entitled "pq", which is short for physical quiet (pq looks much better, hence it is the title). The composition removes the ability for me the composer to control the vertical alignment of notes by having the performers control the rate at which they play their part be controlled by their breathing. The performers loose the ability to control their individual sounds because they are listening to music over headphones. In the end, the audience rationalizes and puts together the piece, based on the sounds that occur. I was particularly fortunate in this performance to have the piece end with an Amtrak come screaming by and sound it's horn. I could not have planned or imagined it any better than it did happen. Here I am working the sound board.

Finally I want to emphasize my confidence in realizing that I have ended up at the right school. Tonight, one of the composition faculty premiered on scratch turn table, for a piece he wrote, because he has been bugging his students to write for turntables and they haven't. So Jeremy Haladyna took it up!

Friday, January 05, 2007

For T & J

When I was young, it seems that all of my development and growing up, my entire experience as a youth, occurred during the summer. This is only what I felt, I am sure that I went to school and concertized during the winter months, but that all seems like a brief moment. What I really recall were the road trips. For those of you who have not partaken of a Jette road trip (for you by no means need to be a Jette for this) I will let you know that a great deal of ground was covered each day. This was driven almost exclusively by my father (I think mom drove once...) Mothers job was far worse, she had to maintain some semblance of peace in the car. While my grandmother reports that we were and still are all angels, I seem to remember some animated moments or maybe those were hours and I have to imagine they were felt more acutely by my parents, as the dynamics of the backseat were only of importance when they disrupted the my parents from concentrating on the trucks and gridlock traffic that occurs from time to time. At the end of each day, there was only one important thing that needed to be accounted for, does this motel have a swimming pool? I have to believe that this was the method and the means of ensuring that we behaved throughout the day.

After 500 miles with the Shermy packed to the hilt and the roof pack full, I arrived in Yreka CA. I am driving from Seattle to Santa Barbara. Yreka is like most every town that we ever stopped in during my childhood, small, hints of Americana (the town name spelled out in lights in front of bronze statue of a miner on an ass) a couple of known and unknown restaurants and motels. I check in at the front desk and in true Jette fashion get a mild discount, park the car and proceed to locate my room. 222, there on the second floor, at the end. As I ascend the outdoor concrete steps with the swaying fiberglass rain cover I glance to my right and realize that I have view onto the pool. It is January (al be it northern CA) so the pool is deserted and neglected. There is some moss on the bottom and the plastic chairs around the edge are dirty. Then it strikes me, all the pools and all of the motels that I have stayed at, they were all like this, probably built from the same blueprint to save money! But here I am, alone, without my brother and sister and myself asking mom if we can skip dinner and just go swimming. Even though there is a light layer of ice across the top, I know that we would still want in (Tim's lips always turned blue, even in the middle of summer in Arizona). But, now all I hear are the echoes of our rambunctious noise and gallant plans to swim, swim swim. This country is filled with places like this and some day they will no longer dominate the landscape of small out the way towns because gentrification will displace them, just as the family farm that once reigned across America has been displaced by corporate farms. Stairing out the window, at light reflecting off the ice. I am sure that if I punctured the ice it would release the joyous sounds of three kids exploring America, well the pools atleast.