Thursday, December 18, 2008

Do Your Ears Like Magic?

Test your ears to see if they're still receptive to magic.
Go see some electro-acoustic musical performances.

Just got this news from Josh Levi and Apop Records:



3301 Lemp Avenue (at Utah)
St. Louis, MO 63118
8PM // $5 // All Ages

I snatched this description from the interwebs:

"Rainey’s saxophone playing eschews standard techniques; in fact, it rarely involves what have become common extended techniques. Yet, his sounds have a peculiar directness, integrated into a music that is at once meditative and disquieting. The saxophone is forgotten as one becomes immersed in pure tones, metallic chords, palpable breath, and always that primal silence, both mesmerizing and volatile. Rainey’s music, although entirely acoustic, is in close kinship with electronic music, as evidenced in his collaborations with Gunter Mueller, Lionel Marchetti, Kevin Drumm, Ralf Wehowsky, Jerome Noetinger, and Jason Lescalleet, to name a few. With trumpeter Greg Kelley, he is the cofounder of the unlikely improv supergroup, nmperign, and is also the founder and director of the premier electroacoustic ensemble, the BSC."

If you find that your are receptive to this type of experience, I invite you to listen to KDHX on Christmas Eve because I'll be hosting Beep Beep, Boop Boop for Kate from 10 p.m. to Midnight.
I'm going to take some liberties, however, in swaying from the weekly gist of her dancy electronic and hip-hop offerings. For the last two hours before your beloved Christmas, I'll be spinning a sort of revisitation of The No Show, blending improvisational and experimental visitations of the holiday season with some remixes and two incredible spoken word pieces. Filling out the show will be plenty of local offerings from the likes of my friends from the late-great Fred's Variety Group, Grandpa's Ghost, The Bert Dax Cavalcade of Stars and Echolocation Recordings. I hosted The No Show for several years and always attempted to produce and deliver holiday offerings ranging from the sublime to the irreverent to the ridiculous and humorous. This will be more of the same. I'm like a lot of you: I quickly tire of obviousness.
The interminable barrage of holiday music delivers the faulty mythology of Christmas as a magical time of giving and happiness. There is an entire essay waiting to erect itself from the groin of that last statement but not quite now. I'll finish programming the show and let it do the talking for me.

Not only will that program be on the radio airwaves, but it will be streaming live from the KDHX website and will be listenable there as an archive for two weeks following the show, a feature true of all the programming on 88.1 FM.

We shall survive!

...and when we do, there is more magic in January:

Josh and Apop have more in store:


A special daytime workshop will take place followed by an evening concert featuring a collaboration including local performers

3301 Lemp Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63118
8PM // $5 // All Ages

I met Tatsuya the last time I was in Detroit at the late-great Bohemian National Home.

He is an incredibly gifted percussionist. One of many I've seeen at the BoHouse. What sets Tatsuya apart in my mind are two moments. The first moment came after I'd seen him perform twice. It was later on Saturday night after a long day of many different performances and sessions and the place was hopping to the sounds of an ensemble on the big stage upstairs. I was weary of walking up and down steps and standing, so I found a place on the floor against a wall at the far end of the auditorium from the stage and sat down to listen and enjoy a beer. After the ensemble had wowed the crowd, I introduced myself and told him how much I had enjoyed his playing. A couple other folks had gathered the pow-wow by now and various discussions opened up about Tatsuya's past as a sushi chef in Japan and his present life in NYC. We, of course, talked about the wonders of being at the BoHouse and seeing Detroit and Corktown with such incredible folks as Joel Peterson and Rebecca Mazzei (the couple who heads up the group that used to run the BoHouse). I mentioned that I found the festival through my friend Thollem McDonas and that Thollem had found me due to the fact that I used to host The No Show and then we spoke of his experience playing at the Lemp. It was the normal chit-chat between strangers and the language barrier was bridged entirely by his English, of course.

As we got through the first round of back-and-forths (and I'm not much of a talker in such settings, especially in the shadow of musical luminaries), I returned to the topic of his former life as a sushi chef. I probably mentioned that I'd worked in Japanese restaurants, but I for sure asked him what that life was like and if he still liked to indulge like most restaurant workers I know. So, he told us a story about various daliances in the night with sake'...and remarkably we didn't end up doing a shot later. I don't remember how he managed to escape.

The seond moment came at the end of a small workshop session early on the Saturday during last summer's Jazz and Improvised Music Festival at the BoHouse. Tatsuya had discussed various philosophies of the art of sound and the importance of minimalistic percussion instruments to the drummer who is travelling by bus or bicycle. I don't remember the rest of his talk exactly, not because it wasn't fascinating, but because I failed to document any of this earlier, but he went on to lead an impromptu improvisation session with a circle of those assembled. Some of them were master musicians and some of them had much less experience. I enjoyed myself as they played in that auditorium and I sat up near a window that was admitting a breeze to bath the whole experience in forgiveness for certain Friday night over-indulgences. There were various percussion implements and others of the string variety. Tatsuya employs a wide variety of "instruments" in his percussion including traditional drums, gongs, “singing bowls” ,common-place objects and more. He was closing out the collaboration, bowing a cymbal as he had some of the singing bowls and as the sound dissipated and completely vanished, there was a moment of silence. It lasted perhaps less-than-a second because all peace was ripped and blasted by the sound of a speeding motorcycle (a crotch-rocket, to be exact) screaming down the street outside.

To my mind, it was perfect!

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