Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Take Acre: Believers

Very much enjoying Believers, the new album from Take Acre. Brings to mind Tom Verlaine's solo work, or Set Fire to Flames. A sprawling album that covers a lot of ground, from melodic to droney to some skittery free improv material, but always very intimate and respectful of negative space. Fairly basic rock instrumentation without much in the way of effects or studio trickery; the treat is to hear the musicians listening and responding in real time.

Great stuff. Stream for free, and/ or download at an optional price ($5 minimum) here.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Google Translate beatbox

This found phenomenon has been circulating the blogosphere lately... hit the link, click "listen", and get DOWN.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Call for Musicians: "Antigone" at Macalester

Call for musicians-- audition
To accompany production of "Antigone"
Directed by Randy Reyes
Auditions open to all Macalester students
Project will earn each student one theater practicum credit
Saturday, December 11th
Black Box theater space, downstairs in the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center, Macalester College
Between 3:00 pm and 6:30 pm (Please let us know your preferred time, and we'll do our best to accommodate you)
Mike Hallenbeck: hallenbeckmike@gmail.com
Beth Cleary: cleary@macalester.edu
(Please cc both email addresses to let us know you're coming)

Show dates/ times: February 18, 19, 24, 25, 26 @ 7:30 pm and February 20 @ 2:00 pm
Bring whatever instrument(s) you'd like to demonstrate with; prepare a piece of no longer than 3 minutes (or improvise!) to play with each instrument

Macalester's upcoming production of "Antigone", directed by acclaimed Twin Cities theater artist Randy Reyes, seeks musicians to develop a score with composer Mike Hallenbeck. Any and all (and we mean any and all!) instruments played at any skill level are welcome.

We'll be developing a score in a workshop format. We'll create through improvisational strategies, then compile the successful elements as a live soundscape. As composer, I view my role in this process as a mediator/ facilitator/ arbitrator of what will work as part of a live theater show, and as a dynamic in opposition to the entire thing turning into chaos.

As far as what we're looking for in terms of skill set and instrumentation, we're pretty open. We'd also like to try "found" objects as instrumentation part of the time, but the process will be about seeing what instrumentation we wind up with and taking it from there.

Virtuosity is great, but it's not necessary-- as long as you've got the willingness to explore and use your imagination, that's really what we're looking for. And you don't have to be a music major or even involved with the music department to be part of the show.

We're looking for an ensemble of folks who are open to improvisation, to a process that thrives on listening to and leaving space for others. It'll be about developing group performance dynamics, and about coming out the other side with improved skills and with a broader vocabulary of what it can mean to play music-- specifically, what it means to play music that accompanies a theatrical production.

Thanks for your time!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Collections: UMMA

I recently had the honor of participating in this project, created by sound artist John Kannenberg. "Collections: UMMA" is the live score for a site-specific sound and video performance based on the architecture of the University of Michigan Museum of Art.

Here's the original silent film-- click on through to the Vimeo page if you want to read the complete score, which includes directives like "if you can read any signs or indicator lights, do your best to obey them" and "when you see a bench, rest."

And here's a rough cut of our first performance:

This was a very exciting piece to be a part of. Mr. Kannenberg's projects are always sensitive and thoughtful; this was no exception. My role was to sample the sounds of performers and the surrounding space, then process and recapitulate them in the live setting. The experience made me think a lot about architecture's facilitation of a sonic experience, and inspired me to explore it further in the future.

One of my favorite aspects of this event: even people who were just passing by and had no idea what was going on enjoyed it. It was rewarding for folks with the intellectual background to appreciate the implicit and implied concepts, but it was also enjoyable on a purely visceral level. Nice.