Sounds Like Now
A blog by saxophonist Brian Sacawa
Archive for November, 2007
This from an article about the Brooklyn music scene in the Guardian today:
The Maryland city of Baltimore plays a big role in Brooklyn’s musical renaissance. Sitek lived there, and is an old friend of Celebration’s singer, Katrina Ford, still a resident. Brian DeRan, the manager of Gang Gang Dance and Animal Collective, is a Baltimorean. So is Jason Foster, who now runs Yeasayer’s label, We Are Free (he and DeRan used to run another label, Monitor, together).
What is it about Baltimore, of all places, that inspires such curveball creativity? “There’s nothing there,” says Foster. “Absolutely nothing. So you can do what the fuck you want.”
New Baltimore slogans?Â Baltimore: Brooklyn’s Farm System. Baltimore: Making Music Too Cool For Itself. Baltimore: Helping Brooklyn Think It’s Better ThanÂ You.
Tune in to The Signal on WYPR this Friday at 12 p.m. (repeat at 7 p.m.) to catch Hybrid Groove Project in conversation with Signal producer and host, Aaron Henkin. The program will also spotlight the upcoming performance of Phil Kline’s Unsilent Night in Batlimore.
Update: The line-up for Friday’s Signal broadcast is up on their blog.
Question: What does Baltimore really need (besides better public schools, a lower crime rate, and a subway)? Answer: A new music series! That’s why Erik Spangler and I decided to start one. We call it Mobtown Modern. Our first concert takes place this January 29th, and will have a little something to do with our Commander in Chief’s final State of the Union Address. Needless to say, we’re extremely excited and grateful for the support and energy from Irene Hoffman at the Contemporary Museum. Stay tuned for more and be on the lookout for our spring concert too!
Counterstream Radio, the adventurous new music radio station from the American Music Center, is airing a Spotlight Session with one of my all-time favorite composers and collaborators, Michael Djupstrom. Give thanks for the broadcast on November 22 at 9 p.m., but don’t worry if you miss itâ€”there’ll be leftovers on November 25 at 3 p.m. Did I mention that the program will include a performance of Mike’s piece Walimai that we gave at the North American Saxophone Alliance conference way back in 2006? Though it’s not quite Thanksgiving, I don’t think anyone will mind if you have a little taste and sample the cooking.
A short delay at the airport. What better way to pass the time than eavesdropping and clicking around the internet. Overheard at MDW:
Female twenty-something: “So, like we got this new girl in the office. Yeah, she’s from the LA Times, she’s really nice, and she’s really good. Those kinds of people really worry me.”
Kids’s letter to Bush
Nobel! The Musical
Good Vibrato, the occasional blog of Ronen Givony’s forward-thinking Wordless Music Series, pairs paintings with all manner of music, including my recording of Piece in the Shape of a Square by Philip Glass. Check it out here.
Flying from Chicago to Boston tomorrow for rehearsals and this Sunday’s Microtonal Society concert. I’m thankful for connecting flights.
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(a/k/a SLN’s biannual microtonal post.) So I’m practicing James Bergin’s new piece today for next Sunday’s concert with the Boston Microtonal Society, and I’m suddenly inspired to draft a post about learning and practicing any new microtonal piece. Then I think to myself, Wait a second, don’t I get inspired to write a post about microtonal things every time we’ve got a concert coming up (which happens to be twice a year)? Yes. Yes, I do. However, for past BMS concerts, I’ve always been familiar with the works I’m preparing. Not so this time. James’s piece is brand new, and as a result the steps I go through to learn a new microtonal composition were very apparent. Really. It was like reading the instructions on how to assemble a bunk bed from IKEA. So I thought it would be a great service if I imparted this wisdom and (ssssshhh!) shared the secret.
So here it is. Brian Sacawa’s guide to learning a(ny) new microtonal composition:
- Pick your microtonal fingerings.*
- Write your microtonal fingerings above the notes.^
Just follow these steps and you too can learn a microtonal piece!
* An important first step, and one that must be effected with each new microtonal composition you learn. True, one may have in one’s fingering repertoire many “stock” microtonal fingeringsâ€”that one that you use to lower that high C# (1, 2, plus palm key D and side Bb) when you’ve got that note as the third of a major triad because everyone knows that the third of a major triad must be played 14 cents low, a virtual microtoneâ€”but in some situations, say like when you’ve got to have three microtones between each semitone, let’s say 16, 33, and 50 cents high/low, there’s a little tinkering that needs to take place.
^ Also an important step that, if effected with each new microtonal composition you learn, is proven to alleviate extreme anger and sudden obscenity laden outbursts.
â€ Repeat step 3.