Want to ride your bike? Want to make some avant garde music? Bet you never thought you could do both at the same time. Well, here’s your chance. Mobtown Modern is inaugurating our new Summer Spectacle initiative—an annual foray into critical mass, community-based guerilla music-making—with a performance of Mauricio Kagel’s Eine Brise (‘A Breeze’) for 111 bicyclists. Once amassed, the peloton of performers will pedal around a designated Baltimore city block producing heretofore unheard sonic delights to unsuspecting ArtScape attendees.
If you’d like to be a part of this one-of-a-kind performance, send us an email and we’ll gladly tell you where to be, when to be there, and what to do. Act now! This offer is only valid for the first 111 responses.
An unusual concert cancellation today allowed me to get to Boston to do the Wells Ave Cat 3/4 race. 30 laps on a fast, flat course. The first half of the race was pretty uneventful; the usual attacks and catches. I stayed attentive on the front. There were a lot of primes during this race though which would shake things up slightly though nothing really stuck. On lap 16 there was a prime and I decided to test my legs out and counter after the prime sprint. After 2 laps, I’d built up a 15 second gap and was feeling really good so I was happy to park it in TT mode and enjoy the ride. Shortly after, two guys bridged up to me. They were both strong and we worked a nice little rotation together. Two laps later 3 more bridged up though they must have paid for the bridge effort because they were taking some firepower out of the move. A prime two laps later woke the field up and they ended up catching us not too long after. It was a good move though and my legs still felt great.
In the dwindling laps to come there were some halfhearted attacks, none of which lasted more than half a lap. With 2 to go, one team (Cambridge Cycles?) started to organize and drilled it on the front. They must have given up the ghost a little too early because with half a lap to go, the field was definitely dogging it and everyone started to queue up for the sprint. Not me though. I didn’t want to do a field sprint today and as we came around the last sweeper with a 750m straight shot to the line, I threw down a Haussler/Cancellara-style attack. I didn’t look back but I’m sure I caught the field sleeping since nobody reacted when I jumped out. I got pipped (Cavendished?) on the line by two guys, but managed a strong 3rd place. Woof. Here’s my power file from the race finale:
Though I’m currently on the road touring with the band, our schedule has been such that I’ve been able to get some racing in. Last weekend with a day off in Providence, RI, I drove out to my friend Wayne’s house in New Windsor, NY and on Sunday we hit up the third installment of the Bethel Spring Series (Tour de Kirche) in Bethel, CT. I did the Cat 4 race in the morning and jumped into the 3/4 race in the afternoon.
The course isn’t anything special save for the serious power climb up to the line each lap. I liked this immediately. The Cat 4 field was lazy from the start. I was first around the first corner and flabbergasted (yes, I said flabbergasted) that as I coasted down the down the downhill that nobody came around me. I wasn’t even pedaling! Anyhow, the general malaise in the field continued for the next 3 laps and I was getting pretty bored so I attacked up the hill on lap 4. First lap off the front: 5 seconds. Second lap: 10 seconds. Third lap: 10 seconds. Fourth lap: 15 seconds. Then some dude bridged up to me but ended up carrying the field with him. Oh well. It was a fun move. I just wanted to try and shake things up.
The rest of the race was pretty uneventful. My legs were feeling really good (even after coming off of a rest week). With about 4 to go, some guy attacked and dangled off the front until the bell lap when the field really wound it up. I had good position so I was just waiting to pick the spot where I’d jump. I decided that going right at the bottom of the climb would be a bad idea; didn’t want to lose any steam at the end of the sprint. I probably should have though because I uncorked the sprint about halfway up and had much more in the tank when I crossed the line in 5th place.
There was a bit of a long layover between races—like 4 hours. Since I wouldn’t be as fresh for the 3/4 race I decided I’d conserve for the first 20 laps (the race was 30 laps) and then try to get into a good move later in the race since I didn’t think I’d be able to contest the sprint after a long day. With 8 to go and a break of 2 up the road the guy who got 2nd in the Masters race just before went all out on the climb. I got on his wheel and we bridged to the pair up the road. The field shut us down with expediency a lap later. So I picked my move and it didn’t work. Ended up like 20th in the sprint or something like that. Good day of racing though and a nice result in the Cat 4s.
I’m a little late with this post, but it’s not too late to check out the Blogger Book Club that’s been going on all week over at Mind The Gap. The assignment that several music bloggers chose to accept was to read Lawrence Lessig’s Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy and post our thoughts, impressions, and what have you. Here are my two contributions:
The whole exercise has been a lot of fun for me. I feel like I’m back in doctoral ethnomusicology colloquium. And I mean that in a good way. It’s been a while since I’ve engaged with literature addressing what’s current in the field. Check it out.
This past Tuesday, Mobtown Modern was allowed to invade the main gallery space at the Contemporary Museum for our Sequenzathon, a marathon performance of 12 of the 14 Sequenzas by the late great Italian composer Luciano Berio. Talking to Erik before the show, I realized that with the exception of seeing Sequenza VIIb for soprano saxophone performed several times, I had never experienced any of these pieces live. So we were fortunate to have an immensely talented roster of soloists willing to tackle some of the most unforgiving solo works in their repertoire, some of which like Sequenza II for harp, Sequenza XI for guitar, and Sequenza XIII for accordion are rarely heard outside the confines of a pair of headphones. We had an amazing crowd who definitely got their money’s worth of Berio for the evening. And the reviews of the show seem to confirm that it was indeed a great night:
Next up for Mobtown Modern on May 6th is our final concert of the season, Out To Lunch. We’ll be back in our usual digs playing music by Edgard Varese, Eric Dolphy, Frank Zappa along with a rare realization of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Solo and a mind-altering performance by Sam Burt of Alvin Lucier’s Music for Solo Performer.
Visuals at new music shows can be a slippery slope. There’s the danger that the visual component is so prominent that it overshadows the music or that it’s done so poorly that it ends up detracting from the performance. I’ve seen it go both ways. Yet, when done well, adding a visual element to a performance can do a great deal to enhance the total concert experience. At least that’s what we believe at Mobtown Modern.
We’re fortunate to be in good visual hands at Mobtown thanks to video whiz-kid Guy Werner. Guy’s work is so effective because of the way it compliments the performance rather than dominating it. Nothing is ever pre-set in terms of what’s going to be happening when. Prior to each show, we send Guy recordings of the pieces that will be performed, which he uses to get conceptual ideas for his presentation of each piece. For some compositions, like Jacob TV’s Lipstick (performed by Katayoon Hodjati shown above), the thematic material is obvious. But in other cases, like Wendy Richman’s performance of Manto III by Giacinto Scelsi, the inspiration for the visual element seems to come from unexpected sources while remaining ultra-effective. During the performance, Guy draws on the samples he’s prepared and mixes a visual layer in real time as the piece unfolds, lending an improvisatory quality to the work as well as making the video layer an integral part of the experience rather than a simple “visual soundtrack”. It’s this type of engagement during the playing of the music that makes Guy’s work so compelling.
P.S. Guy also curates an annual video event at the wonderful Metro Gallery called Videopolis. And guess what? They’re currently accepting submissions! Go here to find out more.
Okay, so Hybrid Groove Project is embarking on a massive undertaking that includes working with a certain 12 melodies of the Zodiac. But we need a place to start. Help us choose which melody to begin working on by casting a vote in the first ever SLN Poll. Preview each of the five melodies below.
Since Trade Zone #3 was canceled today, I was banished to the cycling lair for a 2-hour trainer session, which included 3 x 3 mins in the upper part of my threshold and 3 x 10 min sets of 30s at lower VO2 with 30s recovery at balance point. Woof.