The last week and a half has been highly productive, though I have to admit, it has also been quite exhausting and so my planned blog for last week has morphed into a late blog for this week.
Last week, I went down to Naples to introduce students to experimental music making devices, thanks to an invitation from Barron Collier High School's Orchestra Director, Jordan Lamb. I played for the students using my small format setup (mini grand toy piano, Mother 32, Organelle, and Indian Harmonium) along with a visual synthesizer. I also, brought down two 25-key tabletop toy pianos, my Wiimote/Wii Balance Board interactive synthesizer rig, and a theremin. After performing for the students and fielding many insightful questions about music for commodity and art music, I allowed them to have "petting zoo time." It was interesting and amusing to see how following initial teenage reluctance, they embraced the instruments with childlike creativity and had a wonderful time. I have to say that I felt completely worn out and yet fully energized by this experience. I love to perform and create works for dance as well as film, but introducing other people to different ways of thinking about music is always a highly rewarding aspect of my life as a performer.
The past week has also, been full of album planning. Erich and I mapped out a summer recording schedule and came up with the title for the Baker-Bargainer Duo's first full-length album. I should mention that we have a unique way of coming up with titles for pieces and albums... we start tearing apart my library and opening to random pages in books to find fragments of sentences that we find particularly appealing. I'll reveal the title in a later blog post but after reviewing several books including: The Andy Warhol Diaries, The Zombie Survival Guide, Psychology of Music, and a variety of other titles; we settled on a passage from *The Bible*!
As if planning to record a duo album wasn't enough to fill my plate, I finally became highly inspired yesterday for a new solo concept album. I have been reading an incredibly thought provoking book called Digital Stockholm Syndrome in the Post-Ontological Age by Mark Jarzombek, which I picked up last month while I was in NYC for a performance and lecture. All of a sudden, I happened upon a phrase "Microbes + Algorithms = Life" and this resounded with me in a deep manner. As I sat at Bandit Coffee enjoying my typical Kyoto drip iced coffee and lavender macarons, the words kept drawing me in... the multitude of people in the coffee shop began to melt away, and it was if I was being physically pulled into the pages of the book through a tunnel. I kept reading over the equation over and over again, then the paragraph directly above it, then the passages right below it... the narrative came to me as if from another dimension beyond myself... I had begun to completely envision the flow of the album and the instrumentation... I could hear... I could feel the vibrations of the music, the text coursing through my veins, I could see the choreography and visual performance aspects, and then... RogueDance's Artistic Director, Kellie Harmon brought me out of my trance! It was time to work on RogueDance planning and branding.
Later that evening I downloaded a new minimalist word processing program and began fleshing out further details for my upcoming solo album. I have to say, I am absolutely in love with the minimalist markdown method of writing and the focus feature of the program. My ideas are flowing so seamlessly because I am not hindered by formatting and other elements on the screen. Tuesday, while at work, I was completely able to finish the outline for the album in both text and musical form, thanks to the new interface, there were no distractions to hinder my progress.
While productivity and the ability to be a self-starter has never been much of an issue for me, the structure of having to maintain a regular blog has also caused me to delve back into a project in which my participation over the past year has been quite spotty. The Iteration Project, founded by the wonderful Harper Addison in Tennessee, gives participants a prompt each week and then asks them to interpret the prompt in any medium of their choosing. The prompt for the week of April 10 was *Falling* and, I took on the task of interpreting the prompt as well as experimenting with my new gear to create a short piece, which I then posted on Soundcloud. My interpretation of falling came more from the idea of "falling from grace" and those that fall from grace in our society are seen as outcasts. While I didn't broach the subject further, on a publicly traceable platform, I did ruminate on the subject of falling from favor throughout the week. How often in our lives do we fall from the grace of our friends, loved ones, and professional colleagues? Quite often throughout our lives, because nobody on this earth is perfect... How do we rebuild our reputation after a fall from grace? Can we rebuild our relationships after a fall from grace? These last two questions are highly subjective and do not have universal answers... thus leading me to an intellectual impasse.
Perhaps, this impasse is a great place to stop for the time being... for now, I leave you with my product of Iteration 30: Falling.