This blog started out initially with an idea, but no real plan. And as I’ve carried on, things have changed and the initial idea, no longer really suits me. I think about this blog all the time. It seems every weekend almost, I plan to write but I hardly do. I’m less interested in some of what I used to do, and more interested in other things. I’m busier. I got promoted at my job, and my wife and I bought a new house and moved into it. All the time though, I think of this blog and how I can post better and more often.
A perceived need to continue on in the initial spirit of this blog is one of the things that made it so hard to come back. For one, almost every post in the past contained something I had recently recorded. While I still plan on dropping the occasional random recording on here, my focus in recording has gotten much more specific. I have also slowed down in my production/collection of new gadgets for reasons I have addressed before. This can no longer really be the blog of random happy sounds that it used to be.
While it seems like I may have stopped doing a bunch of things (and this is true) my musical pursuits have gained in other ways. I have become interested in a lot of new music and have been seeing some great shows. I have also met some new people whose ideas have influenced mine for the better (I hope). Since I’ve been gone a while, here’s a little list of the things that have been on/in my mind for the past few months.
The Watchful Ear – This is the blog of Richard Pinnell. A far more ambitious blogger than myself, he writes about music every day, and his blog is something I come back to almost as often. Richard has the fortune of finding himself sat right on top (or perhaps just to the side) of one of the most fertile improvised music communities anywhere these days. And he writes about it in such wonderfully thoughtful detail, it makes me want to catch the first plane to London. He also does a ton of reviews. Over the last few months he has saved me a bunch of money, as due to the quality and quantity of his reviews, there is no real reason to purchase the WIRE anymore (ok, I’m kinda joking). Really, I think his blog is one of the things people in the future will look back on, and say wow thank God for that.
Dotolim – Dotolim is (from what I understand) and improvised music series in Seoul, Korea. It is organized by Jin Sangtae and seems to take place about once a month. It features mainly musicians from Seoul, but there are occasionally guests from Japan and the states. The best thing (for someone not based in Seoul) is that they video record, almost every set, and they are available on youtube. In a grenre of music that seems for some reason relatively distant from the benefits of modern internet technology, this is a real treat.
The format is relatively simple. Each night there are 2 – 3 sets featuring different combinations of players, and occasional solos. Since the Seoul scene is relatively small there are a few recurring players, and it has been interesting seeing how there approach changes with different partners or playing devices. Overall a great window into a scene that is very exciting right now.
Philly Sound Forum – PSF is an improvised and experimental music series that takes place in Philadelphia and is curated by Jesse Kudler and Ian Fraser. We had talked on occasion about how there were opportunities for very exciting musicians to play Philadelphia, that were not being taken advantage of by some of the other music series in the area. And how there were some smaller scenes in the surrounding areas that were worth attention as well, and yet not getting much. So Jesse and Ian got together to just do it themselves, and thus far it has been great. Based on some inspiration from dotolim, they also have made an effort to put as much documentary content about each show on the website that they can, and there is some excellent music and video offered there for free. I’m always looking forward to new PSF show announcements.
Another thing we have been discussing is some form of improvised music workshop, which hopefully will come to pass within the next few months. While we are still working out the details, I will say that the general idea is to 1) allow more opportunities for improvising musicians in the area to play 2) to open communication between musicians in the area and encourage dialogs that will help us hone our craft. 3) ?????…. we are still figuring it out, but keep coming back, I will be posting about it as it takes shape.
I could go on here, but I’ve already run on longer than I wanted to. I will continue in the next month of this blog to highlight things that have made an impact on me. They may just be mentions and urls, and they may be full reviews. More in a while…