Sunday, March 29, 2009

Anima Update

Wow, cool stuff is beginning to take shape with Anima Obscura. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Frank and I have decided to reduce the band to a duo comprising me on drumset, percussion, and Chapman Stick and Frank on midi guitar and 7 string. We are both using loopers. We've never seen an act like that (but we know it's possible because we've been performing one song that way for some time). It was a little rough going at first though. It is very difficult to time two loopers and to make seamless changes from one groove/instrument to another. Today however, we had quite a breakthrough. We're worked on a piece that begins with a bass loop on the stick, then I enter with a darbuka solo. Frank builds a slow ambient sound scape on midi, then switches to seven string and waits. I stop the bass and percussion and allow the soundscape to play solo, then on cue, I start the bass loop and Frank and I come full on with heavy guitar and full drum set. The soundscape and bass are rolling underneath us. We improv and solo over it for a long time, then I fade the bass out and Frank starts to play a gamelan(!) rhythm in 5/4 on the synth and I switch to two handed tapping on the stick. So far it's a very interesting piece.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Stupid Cat

I like my last triptych so I started stretching canvases for another. My cat Fedora thinks that anything I'm working on is a good surface for resting her lazy butt. I cut the canvas, laid down the bars and stepped away. When I looked back she had her butt planted right in my work. Good kitty.

Oh of course I'm well aware that the phrase "stupid cat" is redundant.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Five Year Plan

It's amazing to me, but it's been five years since I last did a painting. I've been busy with music, performing, teaching and of course I've been drawing and sketching all this time, but I haven't been painting. I've actually never been happy with myself as a painter so recently I hooked up with an old college friend whose paintings I admire. He really wants to play the drums so I offered to give him drum lessons if he'd let me watch him paint and give me tips (translate as Lessons, thanks Jon!). Well, here's the first result. If you've been following the sketches I've posted, you'll recognize that this is in the same line of thought. This is a hybrid of a Baroque triptych alter piece and a comic strip from the Sunday paper (that's why each panel is square). This is a mixed media with ink, acrylic, and collage elements on canvas. There are invented images as well as photographed images. There is ala prima painting and glazing. Each panel is 18" x 18". This is a very spiritual piece that explores my frustration with philosophy, religion, and politics. There's a strong sense of "walking into light" with the figure in the right panel. The death imagery, the flytraps, the flys, are all deliberate means to convey my current state of dissatisfaction. I'm very pleased with the shifting perspective in the composition. I also like the warm, dry, desert colors on the left in contrast to the cool, tropical colors on the right. The title is "Shooting the Bottle off the Buddha".

P.S. If you want to see some great work check out my friend Jonathan's blog. He's one of my "followers" in the top right corner above my picture.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Directions

Wow, it's been over a month since my last post. For those who don't know, I lost the bass player in my band a few months ago and I have not been playing out at all. The other day my partner Frank and I auditioned a bass player who had all the chops we could ask for. Unfortunately, after the audition Frank and I were both in a strange mood. As we talked about it, we realized we just don't want to play that music anymore. We felt the stuff we'd written is in many ways too restrictive and formulaic. We want something that's different from anything we've done and which offers us a new challenge. We have decided to try performing as a duo using real time digital loops. I'm using the drumset, Chapman Stick, and percussion with two loopers ( a Headrush and a Jam Man) and Frank is using two loopers as well, one with his Brian Moore Midi guitar and the other with his seven string. So far the music is very ambient. However, I think that with practice we will find the way to establish an interesting structure by switching loops on and off while creating grooves and solo sections. It's definitely a challenge but I think that's going to make it all the more rewarding.