Sunday, November 26, 2006

Duran Duran's speed seduction manual

Preparations are underway for the final round of recording sessions for our new album, "Not Made of Stone", coming up in January. We'll be recording two originals and one cover, "Save a Prayer" by Duran Duran.

Dan's piano part for "Save a Prayer" is ready and input into Sibelius, and John and I have started rehearsing with it, to create his guitar part and the guitar solo he'll play at the end. Jim is learning the original bass line off the Duran Duran record, and Jeff will be creating his drum part based on the original and a couple of examples I sent him on a CD. I am practicing what's a pretty demanding vocal part and creating a bass flute part.

"Save a Prayer" is arguably the best Duran Duran song. It might be one of the most beautiful ballads ever written. Trying to do it justice is kind of scary but I hope, doable. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's found herself in the situation described in the fact I've been there more than once. To give in to temptation or not to give in?

The originals we will be recording are "Test Pilot's Lament" and "Death and the Maiden". Will Grant created the original sound bites for the "Death and the Maiden" electronica part, and I've created multiple lines out of them, and edited them together and created volume automation. I finalized the lyrics today. There is a lot more work to be done on that one, and on "Test Pilot's Lament", before January. It's a bit daunting but it can be done.

Concurrently with preparing for the sessions, I'm working on my piece, "Genesis", for twelve performers and a conductor. I'm told it will be performed in late January by the Womantis ensemble, an all-female improvising group in Oakland. Their custom is to include one token male musician in each concert, so I created the piece with that in mind. I now have to stop carrying the piece around in my head and write it down.

But even before all this happens, I just found out today that I'll be participating in the Bay Area Flute Fest on December 10th at the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland. I have a 20-minute slot in which to demonstrate and improvise on the bass flute. That should be fun. I'm looking forward to it especially because I'll get to hear my friend Phil Gelb on the shakuhachi immediately afterwards.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Flip Quartet premiere

The Flip got its first performance last evening!

Here are some stream-of-consciousness highlights:

1. At least 4 of the audience members had never been to a "new music" concert before.
2. Matt Davignon and Phillip Greenlief's Misspelled Duo music.
3. Moe! hurling a superball across the gallery to bounce it off the wall, twice, as part of his South quarter improvisation.
4. A good-sized audience, which Matt D described as "the biggest the LSG has had in 2 months".
5. The performers holding their three-minute timers aloft and flipping them over together, sometimes with a count-off from Moe!.
6. My brother Will doing videography and the look on his face during some parts of the improvisation.
7. The wonderful new gallery lighting rig with faders which allowed us to light up each of the four stations and make them visible.
8. Suki blowing bubbles in those classic 70s old-fashioned glasses.
9. Theresa applying a huge dry branch to the wall of the gallery.
10. Lucio and Theresa playing my Native American flute.
11. Actual door money for the performers.
12. The magnificent array of metal objects in the South quarter.
13. Lucio's leaning tower of shaker blocks.
14. Not a single word of text was spoken. The printouts of poems in the East quarter were crumpled up as sound sources.
15. The jack o'lantern didn't get improvised with. Granted, I forgot to light it. Poor Jack had a lobotomy for nothing. ;)
16. Moe! blowing soap bubbles while Matt D announced the performance.

There will be another performance of the Flip in spring in Oakland. Stay tuned!