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!

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