The Firefly Concerto

Well, we did that, and it was fun and well received. The one thing I've learned since working with Bread and Puppet last summer is that you can either be a performer, or a documentarian, but rarely both simultaneously, it just doesn't work so great. This is my excuse for having no pictures, recordings or video to illustrate this spectacular event. Tragically, I'll have to rely on my writing skills to give you the image...

Picture if you will a large tree in the southern mountains, with low hanging branches. Beneath the tree, a wooden picnic table of indeterminate age, well weathered. On the table, an assortment of electronica- mixers, tape decks, ipod, synthesizer... From the tree branches hung candle lit teardrop shaped lanterns handmade from paper and wire, and an assortment of junk...saw blades, iron pipes, stove pipes, a dustpan, a fire extinguisher, lawnmower blades, the lid from a 55 gal steel drum, bits of metal from the scrap pile, and a tennis ball as a pendulum clapper. Speakers were hidden up in the tree branches and out of sight on the perimeter. The whole arrangement was quite eclectic, and lovely in it's manner. The evening was post thunderstorm cloudy, warm, a bit of a breeze, and the fireflies danced merrily. People sprawled on the hillside as if at a Tanglewood performance on the green.

Mark W (dressed in a smashing blue seersucker suit and flipflops, with a coordinating bob marley t-shirt) ran the electronica: a mixer, synthesizer, ipod and the amp. He also managed the source material, which consisted of pre-recorded found sounds and collected loops compiled into loops that ran below the live elements. Yours truly (dressed in a black suit, white shirt, black tie, an altered straw panama and sandals) played the "instruments" hanging from the tree (several of them mic'd with custom made contact mics run through the mixer) with drumsticks, and a ping pong paddle. Mark W played the loops and ran the mixes, while I provided accompaniment as moved by the evening vibe. After a period of time, we let the loops run, sound cascading over the hillside and washing over the gathered crowd. We invited the people to take a turn playing the tree, and happily, several participated. All in all it was quite a beautiful late summer evening. The performance lasted approximately 45 minutes. A fine time was had ball all, and the tree looked lovely in it's candlelight and junk dressing.

After the show, beverages were consumed and all hanging and electronic elements removed, leaving the tree in it's original physical condition though somewhat sonically altered.

I hope this gives you some idea of what it was like. As you undoubtedly have heard many times before about many other things, you had to be there...

I'm not sure what I was (am) trying to accomplish by doing such projects, but they're fun and engaging and while a sure road to starvation and poverty, I enjoy doing them.

Meanwhile, in other news

This project will reach fruition on Sunday evening if the weather is good:

My latest collision of hi tech and lo-fi

I built this:

There were no survivors (ie: it doesn't work)

back to the drawing board...

The Next Big Thing(s)

Summer in full swing at the School of Craftology, resulting in long hours, little rest and almost no time to work on anything. I have however managed to start on two things which I'm pretty excited about.

The first is a sound sculpture/performance piece of ginormous proportions in partnership with Mark Warren, who I've taken to calling Professor because of his advanced knowledge of cool and sketchy sound stuff. His grasp of musicology is astounding as is his adroitness with a soldering iron. This has inspired me to get back in the shop and start building odd little gadgets to work with sound from scrap and scratch:

(the sound was recorded via the homemade pickup... imagine the possibilities!)

Secondly is an as yet unnamed project with 2 more un-indicted co-conspirators. This temporary logo (cause I have no time and little energy to actually draw one) pretty much makes the point.

Stay tuned. (literally...)

We should stop and smell them...

This picture makes me happy...

(from Mikaelah's blog, which also makes me happy...)