I hate doing threshold sessions indoors. I dread them. As a matter of fact, I’d prefer to be out on the road in below freezing weather with a 30mph headwind doing them than in my basement with two big fans blowing on me. Plus, for whatever reason, I’ve never been able to hit the same numbers on the trainer as I do on the road. So instead of my regular 20-min LT efforts, I was given this alternate workout for trainer sessions. I like it much better.
Sounds Like NowA blog by saxophonist Brian Sacawa
Archive for December, 2009
Last weekend there was a pretty significant snowfall in Baltimore. And because so many people park on the streets, there was a lot of this going on. Almost a week after the snow, it’s still not completely gone, and people are really getting into the Christmas spirit with displays such as the one above. Ho, ho, ho!
Mobtown Modern played host to Baltimore’s 4th Annual performance of Phil Kline’s ambient Christmas masterpiece last weekend. It was a fun, fun evening as always. And also as always, thanks to Rob McIver for his awesome photos.
I actually had my first “taste of Christmas” last night (added an orange twist to class things up a bit this year), but got the tree this evening. Decorated and will now bask in the tree’s warm glow. Gotta soak it up while I can since I’m off to Chicago for the Midwest Band Clinic tomorrow.
As Mobtown Modern counts down to the first performance of The Rite of Spring for Jazz Ensemble, you can chart the progress and read all about the many, many decisions that have gone into the arrangement process at composer/arranger Darryl Brenzel’s blog Stravinsky for Jazz Ensemble.
Towards the end of last night’s Zodiacrobatic rehearsal, Erik and I sat down to discuss MIDI mapping for our—well, my—Zodiac Live set. I’d already mapped out my Pisces cadenza with the FCB1010, but Erik said he had a better way. As he explained his method to me, I admit that I was extremely confused, until it dawned on me that his method and my method were different solutions for the same problem.
My method maps all the things I need to do for a specific melody in a single bank. So for example, in the Pisces melody I need to launch clips, scenes, add effects, and use the expression pedals. My solution was to assign all these tasks to switches 1-10 in Bank 01. And when it came time for the next melody, I’d simply scroll to the next bank of switches.
Erik’s method is to create banks that are each assigned to do specific tasks. So Bank 01 might be clip launching/stopping and scene advancing, Bank 02 might be for adding a certain kind of audio effect, Bank 03 might be to arm and deploy the looper, and so on.
Once I got my head around it, Erik’s way seemed extremely logical and made perfect sense. His reasoning for setting up his FCB1010 in this manner is that he’s creating an instrument that can be used across multiple projects. In contrast, my mapping choices were very project-specific. My issues with mapping things as Erik suggested is that it could potentially create some situations in live performance that would require some unnecessarily fancy footwork. Say I’ve got to toggle between Banks 01 and 05 quickly to activate something-or-other while playing some intricate line on the saxophone and then go back down to bank 00?
Obviously, there’s more than one way to skin this cat. I’m interested in what other performers—especially instrumentalists—have found to be the best solution here. Thoughts?
This is the fifth year that I’ve organized a performance of Phil Kline’s ambient Christmas masterpiece Unsilent Night (a.k.a. the boombox Christmas parade). It’s the fourth time I’ve done it in Baltimore and the first time it’s been presented under the auspices of the Contemporary Museum’s Mobtown Modern series.
As always, simply show up with a boombox (or not if you just want to follow along), I’ll provide the tapes and CDs (N.B. eager participants who have audio capabilities can download a sound file of the piece at this website), we’ll press play, and be off to spread some ambient holiday cheer throughout the streets of Baltimore. The route will be the same as previous years, though I think we may take a detour to a stop included on the first year’s route—the curved glass in front of the Meyerhoff lobby.
Tim Smith of the Baltimore Sun wrote a really nice preview yesterday on his blog. Make sure to give him a read.
Update: Anne Midgette of the Washington Post also chimes in with a little pre-Unsilent Night love.
I inadvertently unlocked a secret setting in Ableton Live tonight that allows you to create bona fide Milton Babbitt compositions on the spot. Just set a clip’s warp mode to “tone,” assign the clip’s transposition knob to one of the expression pedals on your FCB1010, and voila!