Here’s the theme I did for the radio show 1000 Fathoms
Recently finished up the soundtrack work for this piece by artist Clarissa Gregory. Really enjoyed working with a lot of organic sounds and just using simple editing techniques to create the “score”. Additional vocals provided by Bethany Dinsick.
I’m getting into mixing and recording live shows. I’m realizing that while there is a lot of great video footage of live events here in Baltimore, the audio component of the show is usually done with an onboard camera mic, or maybe a shotgun mic attached to the camera. With not much additional effort (I had already set up this show, and was running sound), I was able to set up a pair of mics on two of the concrete pillars opposite in the stage in the Bell Foundry.
I REALLY like the acoustics here, plenty of reverberant space and the concrete floor and ceiling give it a bit of a cathedral effect. The audience was very quiet, sitting cross-legged in a humid basement, and I’d like to think they were appreciating the sound and the moment as much as I was.
I was asked to make some music and sound effects for the play “The Story of Invention”, by Baltimore theatre troupe The Un Saddest Factory. I really like scoring for video, but there’s something really fun about the flexibility of working with live actors. Timing is obviously important in both mediums, but when you’re scoring for visuals that have already been shot, or if you’re editing visuals to fit to prerecorded music, you can easily hit a wall – the length of a scene can constrain musical phrases to an unnatural rhythm, or maybe the editor needs a little extra footage to make the scene work with the music she has. There’s always creative solutions to these problems – but when you’re doing it live every time, these problems don’t even exist.
I’d done some work in the past with The Missoula Oblongata, notably arrangement of the score by Bob O’Brien for “The Most Mysterious Day of the Year”. I lived on the other side of the country at the time, and our collaboration was limited to email. As they workshopped the play, the music (pre-recorded) needed frequent revisions before timing and mood were where they needed to be. While the experience was fun, it left me wishing I could just be there rehearsing with them, and arranging on the spot. I think there’s a notion that us computer music dorks aren’t as flexible as live musicians (which is kinda fair), but it really doesn’t have to take much time at all to make big changes to elaborate arrangements – cut out parts, change the timing, add instruments or sound effects – anything really. I’m hoping to do this more in the future, I imagine that directors could really get down with working with a composer with the same kind of flexibility they expect from their actors.
ANYWAY, tonight is the last night to see The Story of Invention, so if you’re in Baltimore, I hope you can make it to The Bell Foundry to see it. Here’s the info: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=192955354075345
And here’s what it’s about!:
“The Story of Invention follows an insomniac inventor as she attempts to build a machine that allows humans to experience more than one feeling simultaneously. Pressured by investors who want another profitable product, and by a color-blind botanist who studies dream plants and needs an invention of his own, she navigates what it means to make something new in a crowded world. Her only assistant may be imaginary and is definitely a puppet. The play was workshopped at Whartscape 2010 as well as the 2010 Delaware Fringe Festival.”
TOUR STARTS TODAY
Which Birds / Drew Swinburne Spring 2011 Tour
March 22 – Durham – House Show (very hush hush)
March 25 – Charleston – House Show (Cancelled)
March 26 – Savannah – ?
March 28 – Tampa – International House of Boba
March 29 – Orlando – Stardust
March 31 – Pensacola – Sluggo’s
April 1 – New Orleans – House Show
April 5 – Kansas City – The Mustache Club w/ Height with Friends!
April 6 – Chicago – Ball Hall w/ Height with Friends!
April 8 – Detroit – Division Gallery w/ Height with Friends!
April 11 – Pittsburgh – Garfield Artworks
April 12 – Rochester – Nazareth College
April 14 – Troy – 51 3rd St.
April 15 – Oswego – House Show
April 16 – New Paltz – Record Store Day at Rhino Records
April 17 – NYC – Death By Audio
15 precious little squeakers commissioned by Vice for “The Cute Show“. The Cute Album is a remastered collection of these songs, packaged in beautiful art by Ryan Syrell, held together with an actual jewel case, and released under the proud banner of Wham City Records.
The release party is March 20th at the Bell Foundry
$3 at door
CDs available at the show for $3 off regular price.
March 20th is the debut performance of the Canticle of Spring.
It will be held at the Bell Foundry in Baltimore, Maryland, and will also serve as the release party for my new CD, “The Cute Album”.
The Canticle of Spring is an 18 minute choral work for 4 vocalists and synthesizers. Four loudspeakers are placed in each corner of the room with a vocalist between them, surrounding the audience. The synths and vocal parts are arranged to simulate motion and to emphasize different sides and corners of the room. Here’s a graphical representation:
The work itself is hymnal and reminiscent of gregorian chant. It is sung in the ceremonial language Za Sa. I’m really excited about putting this on. Also performing this evening will be Andrew Bernstein, Jenny Graf, and Which Birds.
March 20th, 9 PM. At the Bell Foundry, Baltimore, Maryland. $3.
A new track! A fun cover! Happy Valentine’s Day!
Another episode of The Cute Show is up, with a new track: “Yard Sale Season”.
Before seeing the video, I was a little skeptical about the cuteness of pot-bellied pigs, but they are definitely cute little guys.