Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Still life with testosterone

My friend and collaborator, Les Hutchins, is in transition. This is a photo of the testosterone that is part of that. It's a long awaited and contemplated transformation. I'm really excited that I get to see the early stages of it, because he's home for the holidays and working on visa issues and able to rehearse and hang out and gig with me.

(Appropo of which, I hope you will all come and hear us at the Luggage Store Gallery in San Francisco on January 3rd. The show starts at 8, and the gallery is at Market and Sixth Streets. Admission is $6.00 - $10.00 sliding scale. You will also get to hear Jen Baker play trombone and Damon Smith play contrabass. How can you pass up a great show like that to start off 2008? Come hear us!!!)

This transitioning, though, that Les is undergoing, means that I have to work on changing the pronouns I call him by. This blog post is part of that.

The only thing even close to this that I've done so far in my life is my effort to change the name I called my younger brother by. He used to have a childhood nickname which, when he became an adult, became unacceptable and understandably he wanted to be called Will, instead of that nickname. It took some practice to unlearn that nickname but I worked hard on it. Even when he wasn't around, I referred to him as Will, even to folks who were still calling him by that nickname behind his back. And after a little while, I was all changed over and "Will" flows naturally from my mind to my mouth when I'm talking about him.

It's probably because of my classical music training that I see any new skill as achievable mainly through repetition and practice. So here goes:

Les and I rehearsed this evening.
He and I will be playing duos and solos in our show on January 3rd.
He's got a wonderful vintage analog synth that will be part of the performance.
He will also be playing the digeridu.
When we're playing duos, he will be processing my flute and bass flute sounds in Supercollider.
And you should come hear him and me perform!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Green slime improv dream

In my dream last night Phil Gelb and I were performing, apparently on an alien planet.

Phil was playing an exotic wind instrument that he doesn't normally play. I was playing what the dream defined as a shakuhachi flute, but it wasn't like anything I've seen in waking life. It had an inward curve and way too many holes. The holes were very small and there was no chance of covering them all with my ten fingers, so it was probably meant for a non-human player.

There were a couple of percussionists with us and a creature made of green slime who was also improvising. This performer didn't make any sound. His/her contribution seemed to be improvised movement. Some small globs of slime got on me as the show went on, and they were really sticky and hard to remove. It was a really fun concert and in the dream, I felt like I played well.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Diving Swallow Custom Tattoo

On 14th Street near Alice Street in downtown Oakland is Diving Swallow Custom Tattoo. It's a bright, spacious, positive place with a beautiful Dia de los Muertos altar.

Because of this place and my artist, Rocio Arteaga, I'm now even more decorated than I was a few days ago.

Drop by one of my shows sometime and I'll show you what she did! :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

More about Seattle

So, on Saturday, I had a list of things to do.

1. Drop off rented speakers & stands at Apple Music.
2. Arrange to rent replacement headset mic for one more day.
3. Get caf and decaf beans from Stumptown.
4. Load self and compadres into van.
5. Go to Seattle.
6. Play gig.
7. Hang.

In addition to these things I did the driving from Portland to Seattle. It rained cats and dogs, but that didn't exactly come as a surprise to me. We listened to a number of Bill's CDs. We made really good time despite the rain, and there was no slow traffic at all.

The downside (there always is one) was that our show was in direct conflict with a much bigger show, happening on the same night, across town, and appealing to the same audience. But, there is something to be learned from every encounter. I learned several things:

1. Arriving in your destination town to find no flyer in the venue window and no promo done except for newspaper listings (and not very many of those) is every bit as depressing in 2007 as it was in 1993 when I first experienced it.
2. Pho is really good! (It was my first time. I was a pho virgin up until Saturday.)
3. It takes about 3 shows for everyone you're working with to learn all your lyrics and start making fun of them. :)
4. Tom Baker has a fretless Gibson guitar.
5. Raw coffee beans are really hard to find, even in Seattle!
6. The rain in the Northwest will stop on the day after your final gig there.

After our hang with the performers from the Much Bigger Show at Murphy's at 45th and Meridian, we drove back to Portland in advance of Jim's flight back to Kentucky the next morning. After dropping Jim off at the airport the rest of us made the drive back to the Bay Area, listening to Miles Davis, more Bollywood music, a mad Frenchman from the 70s whose name escapes me, and Glenn Gould.

I treated the lads to lunch at the Morning Glory Cafe, that magical place in downtown Eugene right by the Amtrak station. Amar and Bill took photos of Mount Shasta and Black Butte at sunset. The lads (especially Bill) bought many olives and olive-related things at the Olive Pit.

And now we are all safely home, and I'm looking forward to reviewing the recordings Clyde made of each and every show, to see if there is enough material there for a live CD release.

Jesus Christ Made Seattle Under Protest

Paula, who is originally from Seattle, informed me that the above statement about the origins of the city is the traditional mnemonic for remembering the names of pairs of downtown Seattle streets. It turns out we never actually had to deal with those downtown streets, but I thought it would make a cool subject line for a blog post.

I'll write more about Seattle later on. First I wanted to tell you about our gig in Astoria.

It was a rainy yet scenic drive there from Portland, after spending the night on K and Paula's floor. We listened to Thelonius Monk and Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time while winding slowly along highways 103 and 202. After my post from the Sea Star internet cafe, tanning salon, and Dish Network dealership, Carol Newman interviewed me and our host, Paul Hoskin, on her show, Arts Live and Local, on KMUN.

We were all really pleased to see how much work had gone into promoting our performance -- in addition to the radio spot on Carol's show, and the flyers posted all over downtown, we were written up in the local weekly and monthly newspapers. We had dinner at a Peruvian restaurant downtown and, when we came out, we stumbled on a traditional small-town high school Homecoming parade, complete with a pep band playing on a flatbed truck, pep squads cheers and throwing Halloween candy, the Homecoming court, and clown cars careening around.

The performance space at the Astoria Visual Arts Center was like an aquarium, exposing the band visually through its glass walls to any curious onlookers walking by on the street. After Amar's thoughtful opening set, we gave my personal favorite performance of the tour. The audience was attentive and listened hard and even laughed a lot!

Our host, Paul, went the extra mile making us feel welcome, and shared a wealth of information and stories about new music in NYC and Seattle going way back. It turns out we are just the latest in a succession of Bay Area performers to play his Creative Music Series. I hope we'll be back soon.

Amar's blog has more about our experience there on Friday, and includes pictures.

Friday, October 19, 2007


We spent Wednesday driving from the Bay Area to Portland.

We barely got all five people, their luggage, and our gear into the van. It turned out we had to leave our main speakers and stands behind, since they wouldn't fit! We listened to the Ken Burns Duke Ellington CD and Brahms' piano trios; plus the Very Best Bollywood Songs compilation, which was definitely my favorite.

We made good time and arrived at the home of our gracious hosts, K and Paula, at about a quarter to 10 p.m. Delicious vegan chili, corn bread, and fresh carrots and radishes were waiting for us and we collapsed almost immediately onto their floor.

Next morning our first task was to rent mains and stands at Apple Music (thanks to Luis of the rental department there). Then we hit Powell's Books, Moonstruck, and the Greek Cusina before going back to our host home to practice.

We liked the spacious stage at Rotture and the mural which we posed in front of. We suffered no more than an average amount of technical difficulties and there was an actual audience there besides the other musicians. It rained really hard during our set, and it was audible between songs...and it was enough to make me say by accident during Suspension, "There's no RAIN, 'cause those parts don't feel," instead of "pain".

I was really happy to see John "the big JS" Savage in the audience, and enjoyed talking to him afterwards. It turned out he was a special guest of the final band on the bill, Resolution 57, so I got to hear him play alto sax, too.

Now we've made our drive to Astoria, OR and we're all sitting in an internet cafe. Our show tonight will be at the Astoria Visual Arts Center as part of the Creative Music Series. Walking around downtown, it's been fun seeing flyers in all the local storefronts advertising the concert.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

One down, three to go

The trio configuration delivered the goods last night at the 1510 Performance Space in Oakland.

And as so often happens, Amar has beat me to blogging about it. His post has pictures, too!

Since Bill wasn't able to join us, Jim and Amar needed to expand their roles in the texture. Amar brought another laptop and contributed some sounds I hadn't heard before in rehearsal. Amar also served as our opening artist with about a half-hour's worth of meditative solo electronica. He also improvised with his own electronic sounds acoustically on the 1510 piano.

All four of us (once we're reunited with Bill) will spend tomorrow traveling and play our next concert on Thursday night at Rotture in Portland. We'll be sharing the stage with Resolution 57, Emily Hay and her group, and a duo of Brad Dutz and Wayne Peet.

Monday, October 15, 2007

All together now!

Jim Carr arrived from Kentucky Saturday morning! Now we are four!

So Jim, Amar, marvelous new guitarist Bill Wolter, and I spent the weekend rehearsing and we're all ready and psyched for our tour this week. We have three gigs in three days in each of Portland, Astoria, and Seattle. For some folks I've talked to, this qualifies it as a "whirlwind tour". There's certainly going to be plenty of driving involved.

Clyde, as our our road manager, will be along to coordinate all tech and logistical madness, sell our CDs, and record each of our performances on his own custom ProTools rig. Since the Astoria Visual Arts Center doesn't have a sound system, we're having to bring our own P.A. just for that show. All that gear, plus instruments, five people, and their luggage, is going to be an advanced game of Tetris in the van.

Bill has a conflict this evening, so Jim, Amar, and I will be holding down the fort in trio fashion at the 1510 Performance Space in Oakland. Amar will play a solo electronica set to open up.

Our set will consist of (1) pieces with composed text and improvisation cues for the instrumentalists; and (2) improvisations that grow out of each of those. We'll also be playing a cover of "Little Red Riding Hood". If that final statement makes no sense to you, you'd better come out and hear what it sounds like. :)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Or at least, be kind of...sobered and solemn.

James Carroll says, "The religious tradition of Christian fundamentalism is one thing; the tradition of American exceptionalism another. They both have their roots in the same experience. They were separated. Under George Bush they’ve been brought together."

Read the whole interview here.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Alex the African Grey passes on

Just 31 when he died suddenly this past weekend, Alex the African Grey parrot taught everyone just how blindingly smart his people are. I'm sure his person, Dr. Irene Pepperberg, and her staff and students are devastated.

"Alex was in good health at his most recent annual physical about two weeks ago," says blogger GrrlScientist. "According to the vet who conducted his necropsy, there was no obvious cause of death."

Of Alex GrrlScientist also reports, "As early as 1999, he was able to "identify 50 different objects and understand quantities up to 6; he could distinguish 7 colors and 5 shapes, and understand the concepts of 'bigger', 'smaller', 'same', and 'different', and he was learning 'over' and 'under'," according to the New York Times. By 2002, Alex had a vocabulary of more than 100 words."

Gifts in his memory may be made to:

The Alex Foundation
c/o Dr. Irene Pepperberg
Department of Psychology/MS-062
415 South Street
Brandeis University
Waltham, MA 02454

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Don't reply to my Quechup invite

It's not that I don't wanna be your friend.

But if you got a Quechup invite from me, it was unintentional.

I signed up because I got an invite of my own (unintentional, I now realize) from somebody who didn't know Quechup would automatically email everybody in her address book when she searched for contacts.

I've since deleted my account.

Read more about this insidious social networking site here:

and here:

Apologies to everyone who may have gotten such a spam invite purporting to be from me!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

60 x 60 double CD release

I'm having lunch with The Wonder That Is Daniel today, and I'm bringing him a copy of the new 60x60 CD. Thinking about it, I decided I should tell all of you about it too, again, so you can get one.

It's a double CD, containing both the 2004 and the 2005 60 x 60 international mixes. The 2005 CD is the one featuring my piece, "Cold Blood". Vox Novus and artistic director Rob Voisey did a great job of compiling a mix of styles, and perhaps the coolest thing about it is, if you don't like any particular track, you know it's going to be over in 60 seconds or less. If you're a new music connoisseur you will probably recognize many of the composers involved. So go over to CD Baby and get one!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Greetings from Albuquerque

Tonight I'm in Albuquerque on the night before the National Flute Association's 35th Annual Convention. Dinner was at Fei's Cafe across the street from the University of New Mexico campus, voted Best Vegetarian Restaurant by the readers of the Daily Lobo in 2006. And it was indeed tasty. There was hot & sour soup, pot stickers, veggie stew and curry stew.

I'm here to promote my flute quartet, "Remove Before Flight", which is being read on Saturday and which is available at the ALRY Publications booth in the exhibit hall. I'm also here to promote "Not Made of Stone", which is available at the Flute World booth, also in the exhibit hall. And, to reconnect with flutists I know but haven't seen in awhile. And, further, to hike at Petroglyph National Monument!

Also, on Friday and Saturday morning. I'll be trying yoga for the first time, courtesy of Laura Dwyer.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

"Not Made of Stone" now available

Greetings everyone!

“Not Made of Stone” is the debut album by Polly Moller & Company, and the fourth album of my original work. It's full of flutistry, space stations, spoken words, the souls of airplanes, singing, artificial hearts, chiming guitar, brain surgery, driving rhythms, desert road trips, virtuosic solos, and otherworldly atmosphere all lovingly served up by Polly, John, Dan, Will, Jim, and Jeff.

It's now available from Silver Wheel Music, CD Baby, and iTunes.

If you've pre-ordered and therefore already own this album, consider yourself encouraged to write a review for the CD Baby or iTunes page.

Thanks for listening!

Sunday, July 29, 2007 - your alternate news source

I freely admit to being kind of an infrequent blogger.

But anybody out there who's truly yearning for news about Polly Moller & Company gigs, now has an alternate news source in This is because we've welcomed Amar Chaudhary as our newest member and he posts more often. Bookmark, and you'll be better informed than if you just surf by here.

The Works/San Jose show on Friday was our first with the Polly/John/Amar trio lineup. Ultimately, our live lineup will be a quartet with Jim Carr returning on bass guitar. We'd have included him in San Jose, but he couldn't make it. It's a long schlep from Kentucky to begin with, and he had a very important exam to take this past weekend, critical to his future career as a fully credentialed music teacher.

My next adventures will be solo ones -- first at the Luggage Store Gallery this Thursday, August 2nd, as a member of the 12-piece Improv Derby large ensemble. We will be conducted by David Slusser and MaryClare Brzytwa. Then, I will be travelling to Albuquerque on August 8 to participate in the National Flute Association's 35th annual convention. My flute quartet, "Remove Before Flight", will be played in the Saturday morning flute choir reading session. I'm hoping to get in some desert hiking, too, with Clyde while I'm there.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A band and its cat

Last night was our last rehearsal before tomorrow's show at Works/San Jose. John, Amar, and I spent some hours polishing up the structured material and improvising.

Crescenda the cat (black on top, white underneath) sauntered into the rehearsal space having decided that in order to get attention, she ought to become a member of the band. She rolled around on the set list and the lyric sheets we'd laid on the floor for easy viewing by all three of us. All of us grinned uncontrollably and I tried to speak my words convincingly and probably failed.

Rehearsal was solid and it ended with all of us confident about the gig tomorrow. I headed straight over to the Edgetone Festival show, already underway at the Community Music Center. I was just in time to hear the excellent duo of Matt Davignon and Tom Nunn, followed by Nihil Communication with Laurie Benafe, and the ever-tasty drones of Darwinsbitch. The audience was given a small listening speaker to pass around. It was built into a holey stone, which as Marielle confirmed afterwards had indeed been found on the beach. It had a long, long cord attached and when held up to the ear, gave the listener another perspective on the sound coming from the stage.

Friday, July 20, 2007


It was only a 4.2, but I live only 2 miles from the epicenter -- so it shook me awake big time at 4:42 a.m. I headed immediately for a doorway. And then it was over, with nothing knocked over and no cracks in anything. Yay!

I remember an earthquake that rocked my college dorm back in the day. It was in the 5 range, and it also occurred in the middle of the night. After the rumbling was done, the students whooped and hollered their approval. That's not something I've ever heard since then, after earthquakes.

Then of course there was Loma Prieta. I was on a MUNI bus 29 heading home from SFSU. We were stopped in traffic on 19th Avenue and suddenly the bus started to rock very dramatically back and forth. The impression I got at first was that a group of teenagers had possibly teamed up to rock the stationary bus. Then I looked at the lamp posts overhanging the M line tracks, and saw them twanging back and forth. It was then I realized there was an earthquake going on.

It took hours to make the trip from there to my home bus stop, with all the traffic lights out of commission. When I got to my apartment, I found everything that could be knocked over or fallen down, knocked over and fallen down. My roommate and I had a coat rack that had fallen over and jammed itself against the door, so I had to shove it open. The upstairs neighbors and I checked for gas leaks and found none. There were scary-looking cracks in my kitchen wall.

My roommate had been some distance away when the quake happened so it took her much longer to get home. By then it was dark and we started to hear the sounds of people roaming the neighborhood in an abnormal sort of way. An object hit our back door and shattered. We sat in the dark, listening to the radio, and ate almonds. Radio DJs were really scared and, as I realized later, blowing things way out of proportion. They actually said the Bay Bridge had completely fallen down!

SFSU classes were cancelled for the rest of the week. A pizza joint in the Outer Sunset offered free pizza, so we went down there and had a slice each. I experienced my first BART ride during that time, since the SFSU library was closed and music students had to go to UC Berkeley to do research for their term papers.

I remember calling up "The Wonder That Is Daniel" Magazin, who I knew worked in downtown SF, to make sure he was OK. He told a story of dodging flying glass in Union Square.

I had a flute student in the Marina district and I remember going to her apartment a week or so later to give her a lesson, and passing by some houses with supports under them with condemned notices on the doors.

What am I trying to say with all these reminiscences? That I was there, but I was awfully lucky. Many of us were there and escaped with just some fright and inconvenience. We could just as easily have lost our lives on the Cypress structure or on Pacific Avenue in beloved Santa Cruz.

It wasn't until years later that I saw the famous World Series game interruption, since I didn't have a TV that year. I'm sure that must have been awfully dramatic for viewers tuning in from elsewhere. They all must have thought California had finally fallen into the drink as so many have predicted.

In other news, the flute choir reading session that includes "Remove Before Flight" has been moved to Saturday morning, August 11th at 9:00 a.m. So if you are going to the National Flute Association convention and intend to hear it, that will be your new date and time.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

"Not Made of Stone" - gestating as we speak

So the CD replicating machines at the plant have been fertilized, so to speak, and are gestating a large litter of CDs.

Or perhaps we should instead visualize a spider filling up an egg sac, soon to be delivered via UPS and containing a huge amount of identical musical units, recombining the creative input of Moller, Moreira, Magazin, Grant, Carr, and Davis. A group love child, or group love litter.

Enclosed with this blog post please find a digital replica of said units' plumage, just approved by the bandleader.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Violin dream

Last night I had a dream about playing a battered old violin in a pawnshop. I was trying to decide whether or not to buy it. It was dark in the pawnshop, and the violin was kind of scratched up and the bow needed work, too -- the hair on it was coming off and it only inconsistently made the strings sound. In the dream, to try it out, I was playing the opening melody from "Fiddler on the Roof".

I don't actually play violin. When I was 8 years old, though, I really wanted to. That summer, my mom had checked out a recording of Beethoven's 3rd Symphony, "Eroica", from the library and brought it home to play for me. I'm pretty sure it was the first time I'd heard a symphony. I remember lying down in front of the record player listening to it and reading the liner notes on the back of the LP sleeve. It was from listening to that record that I first got inspired to try being a musician. And I wanted to be a violinist.

That autumn I was in 4th grade and I could be part of the public school music program. This before Proposition 13 was voted in, gutting California arts in schools for all time. The music teacher at my elementary school was Sabine Hersh. At a presentation in the school library, she showed large photographs of the instruments in the concert band and told us about them. I still wanted to play the violin at that point, but it wasn't available to me...I'm not clear exactly why. (No orchestra at the school? Parents didn't want to hear a beginner violinist practicing?) In any case, of the instruments I learned about that day, I chose the flute, I think because it most resembled the violin in its range.

My freshman year in college I was in the pit orchestra for "Fiddler on the Roof". But I didn't play that opening violin lick. That job went to the wonderful violinist Benito Cortez, who went on to play violin all over the place. Google him and you'll get all kinds of results!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

"Not Made of Stone" now available for pre-order

Hello everyone.

The new album by Polly Moller & Company, Not Made of Stone, is set for release on August 1. If you would like to receive your copy before then, you're invited to follow the link below to the Silver Wheel Music ordering page. Pre-orders will be shipped out in advance of the release date -- and shipping is free for any pre-ordered copies of Not Made of Stone.

Musicians on the new album are:

Polly Moller - vocals, flute, bass flute, acoustic guitar, autoharp, electronica
Daniel Magazin - piano
John Moreira - electric guitar
Will Grant - electronica
Jim Carr - bass
Jeff Davis - percussion

Engineered, mixed and mastered by Jeff Davis at Lucky Dog Studio in Eugene, OR, the CD consists of ten tracks -- nine originals and a cover of "Save a Prayer" by Duran Duran.

A new Polly Moller & Company lineup will be hitting the road this autumn. Stay tuned for all the latest news of our travels.

Thanks for listening!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Oakland Flip

Last night the Flip Quartet got its second performance. John Hanes, Suki O'Kane, Karen Stackpole and Moe! Staiano formed an all-star lineup. This time we did a 24-minute version (two complete circles) to see if it worked out better than the premiere, which at three times around and 36 minutes seemed a bit too long. We all agreed when it was done that 24 minutes was a good length.

We had 12-channel, quadraphonic sound courtesy of Austin Space from KFJC who was amazing.

After experiencing two Flips I have to say I like the exploratory periods before and after the performance just as much as the show itself. It's so much fun seeing the improvisers trying out all the objects and instruments as they first arrive, and seeing them jam impromptu-style when the show's over.

Here are some stream-of-consciousness highlights:

1. John gargling in the West quarter.
2. John bringing an e-bow for the stringed instruments. Genius!
3. John also bringing a bridal magazine for the East quarter. That was just weird.
4. Karen applying a hand-held fan to a slide whistle in the East quarter.
5. Suki bringing Dina Emerson's wine glasses for the West quarter.
6. Me bowing things in the South quarter before the show when nobody was around. That was fun. :)
7. Every time Moe! played the violin in the West quarter.
8. Moe! flipping stuff over, like the score encourages him to do. He has so far always remembered that.
9. Austin bringing a small accordion for the East quarter.
10. A cell phone going off right at the end of John's opening set as if to punctuate it.
11. Me basically standing around grinning like a fool while the piece was going on. I can't imagine ever getting tired of it.
12. Somebody who was not a performer grabbing the squirt gun from the West quarter and shooting at the artwork on the walls of 21 Grand! I hastily confiscated the weapon and hid it as my life flashed before my eyes. Luckily no artworks were actually hit. The squirt gun thereafter didn't get used until the very end, when Moe! shot it at the wine glasses. That worked out nicely.

And after the Flip I played my solo set in honor and memory of Leigh Ann. This was the part I had been most nervous about, and I feel like it went well. The audience seemed into it. I hold out the hope that Leigh Ann was into it, too.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Celeste's piece in memory of Leigh Ann

I made a third commission of Celeste Hutchins to make a piece in memory of Leigh Ann. It's #21 in the series, and you can find it at the top of Celeste's podcast right now. I asked her to name it "Anarchy and Rapture" after one of Annwn's songs.

Check it out...and while you're at it, ask Celeste to write a piece for you, too. It's so much easier than you think, to be a patron of the arts!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Uh oh.

I've been enjoying reading Jane Stillwater's Baghdad blog, but now all of a sudden it's got a John McCain campaign ad on it. Drat. I guess I was hoping it would remain non-partisan.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Jane Stillwater

A feisty 64-year-old grandmother from Berkeley has succeeded in traveling to Iraq. Her ultimate goal: to get "embedded" as a journalist. Her quest has gotten a lot of press. It appears she is indeed in Baghdad and posting to her blog.

Her posts are so much fun, and the voice so believable, that my suspicions are aroused...I can't bring myself to believe it's real. I expect to hear any day now that it's a hoax.

Monday, March 26, 2007

"RBF" now available from ALRY Publications

My flute quartet, "Remove Before Flight", has been performed five times that I know of since it was completed in 2005. Now, it's available for any flute quartet that feels like portraying an aviator's dreams in sound!

The new ALRY Publications catalog for 2007 has been released, and "Remove Before Flight" can be ordered therefrom. It comes with a score, parts for two C flutes, alto flute, and bass flute, performance notes, and fingerings for all the multiphonics.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

4 "Not Made of Stone" songs on MySpace

You may have already read or heard that the upcoming new album from Polly Moller & Company, "Not Made of Stone", is coming out on August 1st.

Now you can pre-listen four of its tracks -- "Not Made of Stone", "How Now Is Soon", "Suspension", and "The Jaguar" -- right now on our MySpace profile.

Check 'em!

Friday, March 23, 2007

And on THIS day in history...

...the world was blessed with The Wonder That Is Daniel!
Happy birthday Dan, you Aries, you!
Koona phoony!!!!

And of course he gets a Celeste Hutchins piece also.

Monday, March 12, 2007

On this day in history... egg hatched somewhere in San Francisco, revealing to the world one Murphy Soren, a Dusky Pionus parrot! I try not to think about what I would do without her.

It's her 15th birthday today, and in honor of this occasion I've commissioned a new piece from my friend Celeste Hutchins. You can commission a piece from her too. They are going for the very affordable price of 7 Euros. For full details, check out Celeste's blog.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Company man back in town

Jim Carr is coming to the SF Bay Area this weekend to hear Earplay perform his piece, "Four Wilde Aphorisms".

I'm looking forward to hearing it. He told me about it while we were in Eugene last. It came up because I told him I wasn't used to writing music so fast, and "Test Pilot's Lament" had come together in just a couple of weeks. Jim said that "Four Wilde Aphorisms" had been written very fast too and it is his most-performed composition.

So if you are into contemporary chamber music feel free to join us on Monday, March 12 at 7:00 p.m. at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. Full details are at the Earplay link above.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Good Karma

On Friday I met up with The Wonder That Is Daniel (Magazin), to give him a CD I burned of the four songs he plays piano on, on Not Made of Stone: "How Now Is Soon", "The Jaguar", "The Great Highway", and "Save a Prayer". We realized at that time that it is 2007 -- which means we've known each other for 20 years. That felt like something that needed celebrating with dinner at Cha-Ya real soon.

Friday evening I met up with Austin Space from KFJC at the Gallery AD in downtown San Jose. It was First Friday and a good crowd had turned out to see the opening of a show by Daniel Jesse Lewis. He is a graduate of CCA. His work is very personal, intimate and sometimes disturbing. The images seem childlike at first, but as I continued to look at them I realized they were more like a child's visions drawn with an adult hand.

They are the kind of images that, when you hear somebody react to them as you're standing in a crowd of people looking, it tells you a lot about that observer's inner world...and nothing about the artist's. I got to meet and talk to the artist and some of the images were definitely self-portraits. There was another often-recurring female character. There are many drawings where one character is approaching another one from behind, with a variety of different intentions. There was an 8x13 mural piece that Daniel said he created over a period of six months, which after you look at it for awhile, you'd swear it was moving. There are dozens of different miniature scenes in it, all of which seem to be interconnected in a dreamlike sort of way.

I met Brian, one of the curators, and we talked about the sound art he has brought to the space lately. He seems like he wants to expand that part of the gallery's mission, which I'm really excited about. It was very hard, when I lived in the South Bay, knowing there was no regular venue for new music there. If Brian succeeds, musicians might get to have a central place in San Jose that's comparable to the central venues further north.

I filled Austin in on plans for the 21 Grand concert on May 16th, which will include a solo set by John Hanes, the Flip Quartet, and a solo set I will be playing in memory of Leigh Ann Hussey. Austin volunteered to record the show. His initial plan is to suspend four mics from the rafters aimed at each of the four stations, which he'll turn inward when I start improvising in the center after the Flip.

Afterwards Austin introduced me to Good Karma, which is a vegan restaurant a few blocks from the gallery. It's run by some people who are also involved with KFJC. The restaurant was also participating in First Friday and art was newly hung on the walls. It's like a miniature version of Veganopolis in Portland, and I hope it keeps on succeeding.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Back from Eugene

I'm back from Eugene, where the men of the Company and I converged to finish up our album, Not Made of Stone.

Four inches of snow fell on Eugene on Thursday. It was beautiful. Temperatures stayed and the 20s and 30s the next few days, which kept a lot of the snow from melting. It was colder than this Californian is used to. I've visited Eugene several times over the past 6 years, and that was the coldest it's been while I have been there.

It's so exciting to have it all wrapped up, all ten tracks. We recorded three songs this past week, and Jeff mixed and mastered everything. Jim arrived on Friday and recorded all three of his bass lines -- the original bass line for Duran Duran's "Save A Prayer", a new one for "Test Pilot's Lament", and big scary cathedral bells for "Death and the Maiden" -- which he made by putting the bass through a ring modulator. Jeff created drum tracks for "Save a Prayer" and "Test Pilot's Lament".

John arrived on Saturday and made short work of his rhythm and lead guitar for "Save a Prayer". He was psyched to see the snow still on the ground. I had hoped it wouldn't melt before he arrived, since he hadn't seen much of any snow before now.

Jim dug the autoharp percussion in "Test Pilot's Lament". I told him that was me banging on the autoharp with the tuning crank, but he said that's not what we should tell everyone. "You should say you flew in a Sufi high priestess and her three disciples to do the percussion," he said.

John and I took the same train back to the Bay Area. I read Bruce Sterling's "The Artificial Kid" and Rudy Rucker's "Spaceland". John read "The Stranger" by Albert Camus and "Animal Farm" by George Orwell. He also fended off the advances of a five-year-old future heartbreaker who drew him several crayon pictures.

Next will be to nail down the album artwork. I'm expecting it to be green, overall.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Greetings from Portland

I'm told that two guys, one from Boston, Mass and one from Portland, Maine, came to the place in Oregon where I am now to start up the town. Each one wanted to name it after his hometown. They decided to flip a coin, and the guy from Maine won the toss.

I'm here until Wednesday.

Last night I met up with my friends, Rich and Daria. We had dinner at the Kalga Kafe and did six months' worth of catching up over tasty vegetarian food.

Then we went to the show at Holocene. First up was the Music Population Orchestra, consisting of nine members -- flute, viola, 2 violins, drums, clarinet, bari sax, and 2 cellos -- and a conductor. One of their missions, the conductor said, is to take classical music to venues where it wouldn't normally be heard. They played a set of works by a Norwegian composer whose name I didn't catch. They are good players, apparently with experience making classical music heard in non-recital halls. Listening to them, I felt like I was watching sessions for a film soundtrack. And there was, in fact, a video being projected on the wall, but I think it was unrelated.

I talked to the flutist afterwards. His name is John, and I hope he'll get in touch with me so I'll know his last name. It turns out we have some friends in common and background in improvisation and extended techniques. He's just moved to Portland from NYC.

Next was Iretsu, whose CD release concert it was. They had six members. They played psychedelic art-rock with videos projected behind them that looked like they WERE related to the music. Most of the members sang -- one of them reminding me of Thom Yorke. The violinist did a neat impression of The Edge's rhythm guitar playing in one tune. I liked their interesting offbeat arrangements. I bought the CD they were releasing, but I haven't had a chance to hear it yet.

In other news, K has taught me how to make espressos from scratch with all the steps!