Last night, I came home sooooo tired and sore from what seemed like two days straight of moving gear and rehearsals. Literally, carrying around tam tams by hand around NYC. Yikes. Anyway, my roommate was facetiming with a friend and mentioning her waking up habits and iPhone alarms and I mentioned how on the last outreach concert I performed, a kid asked me if I could play the iPhone marimba ringtone. I felt surprisingly incompetent when I couldn't.
So last night was the perfect opportunity. I think I'm missing a couple notes, but considering I was kind of delirious and didn't spend any time on it, I'm glad I can say that if there's ONE thing I accomplished in life, it's that I can now play the iPhone ringer for children's entertainment.
When I was 15, my good friend Olivia and I went to see an exhibition in Santa Monica, CA. It was Gregory Colbert's "Ashes and Snow". As I was getting more into music and film, and Olivia into visual arts and journalism, it was extremely inspiring to both of us.
Ashes and Snow is an ongoing work that involves photography, film and writing that show animals and humans together. There's a lot to discuss in his work, and many different ways to see it, but all I want to do is share a link to this video. I hadn't seen it for a long time, and it still takes my breath away.
Click here to see "Ashes and Snow"
I was practicing the other day and realized that probably every percussionist has lived at least one moment like this where they took a break to ease their [back, mind, arms, neck, eyes, etc...] by laying down and looking up on our various instruments. I've had lots.
"... unique and engaging music that springs from an experienced intensity of absolute listening. "– Kevin Macneil Brown, Dusted
Some advice on how to slow down your brain with John Luther Adams' "The Place We All Began"
I woke up today, after my first week of working with preschool-aged kids every day (it's exciting but tiring), and for possibly the very first time, felt like "it was the weekend". I felt like the world was ahead of me, and though I was lazy for the most of the week on my time off, I was full of energy today. After a few errands and one simple coffee - just one, I don't know what was so special about it - I started practicing... and my head started exploding.
I'm sure it's part caffeine, part living in NYC, part my brain, but it's like the synapses in my head were going crazy, and anytime I thought about anything or played anything, I would make a bunch of associations and end up scribbling ideas. Around four, I felt exhausted and decided to take a nap. Then I decided to listen to something calming to nap to. Then I decided to try to find something in my itunes instead of online, and came across a John Luther Adams album I never really listened to. I didn't manage to nap, but listening to the four electro-acoustic tracks took me on a trip in my imagination that was beautifully polar to the state I was in earlier.
Do yourself a favor and check it out. I didn't make any conscious effort to meditate or visualize in a specific way, but this is definitely some good music to do that to. The mind games I played were: avoiding to think of any words or speech, trying to think and see in sound, being a floating rock in space, and walking indeterminately in white sands. Or you can just press play and see where your mind takes you. Here's a link to John Luther Adams' site for more information and excerpts:
So James Blake's new album "Overgrown" came out today and I've been really looking forward to it. Not to go immediately into the fact that he's just a straight up seductive musician (and he totally plays into that in this album), but I saw the release of this album as an highly-anticipated second date with someone who you're super in to.
Last night I got an email from the itunes store saying the album was ready for download and I dropped everything I was doing. I got ready for bed, got out my good headphones and lied in bed to listen through. It was late and I thought I might fall asleep but I was fully aware of every subtle sound and phrase from the beginning to end.
Yeah, part of it was the time of night, and the glass of wine I had, and my particular mood but it's also that he writes music that demands attention to detail. And I think that's awesome in an electronic artist (and any artist), because most of them who have tried that in the past failed completely by overcomplicating their work, resulting in a pretty apathetic audience. Blake captivates the listener by using space creatively, and producing textures like you've never heard.
I was going to go into more detail about my favorites, but they're almost all great, though "To the Last" should win a Grammy for best slow dance song in history. Check out this youtube video that previews each track. It will make you reaaaaallly wan to buy the album, if you're into this kind of music:
Planetarium is the multi-media result of a collaboration between three really talented musician-composers Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly and Sufjan Stevens. I went to their last performance last night at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and was so happy to witness it.
Even though these three musicians are extremely successful in their own projects, it's great to see them caring to collaborate and create even bigger, more complex projects. You really heard their individual creative voices, and all of the lighting/film/lasers and all of that just enhanced the entire experience.
When I go to concerts I think a lot! It's fun, I get lots of ideas and get all excited by possibilities. Here are two, kind of obvious things that came to mind after the show last night. First off, the fact that I've been discovering that I'm a whole lot more interested in creating experiences with music rather than music with music. Does this make sense? Music for the sake of music is great, and I don't argue that there's a lot of great music out there that stands by itself, but I just feel drawn to and good at creating experiences that involve even more collaboration and experimentation. Planetarium is a great example of this.
And to finish on a really-positive-space-is-so-inspiring note, I had a funny thought at the end of the show and asked my boyfriend, "Has there ever been any art inspired by space that wasn't awesome?" Because I know I haven't seen any! I swear, there's something about space and the cosmic unknown that just humbles people and feeds imaginations. And I think that's a great place to be to make art- humbled and curious.