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Sep 022011

Dylan Simon, Ken Soper, Tony Youngblood

Ken Soper and Dylan Simon make analog synthesizer music . . . WITH THEIR MINDS!!!

Sabine Schlunk from Gallery F asked me to curate the music portion for the August 27th opening reception of the exhibition Figure 1: Scientists and Artists Picture the Intangible. The T.I. crew ended up doing a total of three improvs (the second, a jazz love letter to the planets helmed by Jamison Sevitts; the third, an ode to art and the philosophy of George Braque directed by Craig Schenker).

The first was “Brainwaves,” a collaboration between KEN SOPER, DYLAN SIMON, and myself. Ken has been experimenting with a Teletron — Robert Schneider’s hacked Mindflex toy that outputs one’s thoughts to control voltage. He put on a phenomenal proof-of-concept set at the Tim Kaiser Noa Noa house show earlier this year. For this performance, we decided to use TWO Teletrons. I very hastily hacked the one that’s been lying in my basement for a year, and Dylan Simon took the controls. The result is a visual and auditory experiment-gone-right. Enjoy.

Watch the below clip for a great introduction by Ken Soper. Stay tuned for podcasts of the night’s other two improvs.

Jul 182011

On June 11th, I performed my contribution to the JAPAN 2010 2011 show at Scarritt Bennett Center’s Gallery F live during the opening reception. I’ll be editing and reworking the show for a future Theatre Intangible episode. For now, I thought you might enjoy hearing the untouched original version. Rhendi Greenwell (cello) and Virgile Ganne (harp) played earlier in the night, and they were kind enough to take part in the performance. Forecasting is infinitely better for their input.


My piece is playing on continual loop at Gallery F until August 20th. If you have time, check out the show. The videos, photographs, sculptures, and paintings are some of the best I’ve seen at the gallery.

Here’s my artist statement:

The depth of the devastation wrought by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan hadn’t truly reached me until I began culling sound bites for this performance. Instead of a nation in crisis, here was one man crying in his apartment as bookcases fell around him — one American college student in Japan video-blogging about the scores of American-friendly “junkfood” remaining on the shelves after the other food was picked clean – or one devastated soy sauce business owner who faced a 5 year re-fermentation period before his product could be sold again.In my juxtapositions, you’ll see I am critical of nuclear energy; however, I am not against the power source. My true target is certainty. Beware those who are sure. Before the earthquake, many intelligent people were certain that nuclear power was safe. Many were scientists who were well-equipped with tools to compensate for certainty and other human biases. Nuclear energy WAS safe . . . as long as the world behaved as we expected it to. They failed to imagine the set of circumstances that played out in the Japanese reactors. If there is a lesson to be learned, it is this: We should explore new technologies, carefully weigh the costs and benefits against other methods, and proceed cautiously with great respect for that which we fail to take into account.

Tony Youngblood (Adventure Bomb) creates sound sculptures using field recordings, media clips, and samples culled from the day of the performance. The “scoop and loop” process weaves a one-time-only tapestry with no rehearsal. The result is raw, unrefined, and “of-the-moment.” The sound sculpture on exhibit was performed live at the opening reception on Saturday, June 11th and features Rhendi Greenwell on cello and Virgile Ganne on harp. You can hear more sculptures and live improvs at Tony’s experimental music podcast Theatre Intangible (http://www.theatreintangible.com).

Jun 202010

“French soldier in World War I preparing his correspondence ” (Soissons. Aisne. France. 1917). Courtesy of http://www.worldwaronecolorphotos.com

For podcast 24, we bring you Writing Home, a solo set I performed live in front of an audience at Scarritt Bennett Center Gallery F in Nashville on May 29th, 2010.  My set was part of an art installation called Writing Home, featuring hand-written responses to the prompt, “Write a letter home.”  (Find out more at our previous post here.)

For my set, I continued experimenting with my Scoop & Loop project (see podcast #8 Pit of Roar).  I recorded samples of the other musicians playing that night, sounds of nature, and short interviews with audience members answering the question, “What do you miss about home?”  The result is a pretty decent start to a live project I want to continue perfecting.  For the next iteration, I’d like to break up repetitive word samples by adding in pauses, take unmusical phrases and build melodies out of them, and make things generally flow better.

I did the live mixing and editing.  Writing Home features recorded samples of Gallery F. curator Sabine Schlunk, Maya Moore, Charlie Rauh, Ezzy Harrold, The Human Snowglobe JJ Jones, Brandon Donahue, Mike Hiegemann, Matt Christy, and Robert G. White Esq.  Thanks to Sabine Schlunk for inviting me to play, to the other performers, and to the very patient audience.

Before the show, hear a never-before-re-aired Theatre Intangible promo made during the WRVU-era improv Blind Strings, an episode made entirely with de-tuned string instruments.  Look for the full episode in the near future.

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