At this time of year when things are accelerating for many of my academic friends, I find myself desperate for a slowdown. I'm so ready for cool air, homemade bread and root-vegetable soups. I want a slower tempo and more whole-bar rests. Summer in the Rio Grande rift is no joke. But this morning the dog was curled up with her tail tucked over her nose, like she does in cool weather. The Equinox is coming, not a moment too soon.
May I please introduce my slow-building Instagram music project, Desert Rhodes. I've been asking lots and lots of composers for short short pieces for Rhodes piano. 15 seconds is my guideline, since that was the original max duration of Instagram videos. Fortunately, they've increased the cap, so I can relax the tempos a bit. The first three pieces I've posted are by Elliot Cole, Eliza Brown, and James Shields. Lots more coming. Follow follow.
In late July - early August, Grant Wallace Band played our first northeast tour, with shows in Maine (at a barn), New Hampshire (at a bar), and New York (on a ba-eautiful rooftop with a sunset view of the NYC skyline). Here we are atop the latter (and also atop the ladder, two of them, now that I mention it), looking as Brooklyny as we can manage:
Tour is (big fresh insight coming, here:) tiring. Fortunately, traveling with these guys is a blast. One night driving late across Vermont we invented a fictional Midwestern chamber ensemble and then began naming and characterizing its members, then populating their backstories and local community of Quintaine, Michigan. (You'll have to ask Ben if I spelled that right.) There's a pretty good local deli there, from what I remember. The ensemble is famed for their annual renditions of Schubert's Trout Quintet.
We're playing lots of new songs these days, many of which will appear on our second full-length album, due this fall. But not before we head to Houston for a workshop performance of our new dramatic song cycle. This will be at the Menil Collection September 23-24, in conjunction with an outsider art exhibition. Very cool.
I listened to a lot of medieval and Renaissance choral music all summer. Favorites, in chronological order of composition: Perotin Perotin Perotin (ca. 1200); Machaut's Notre Dame Mass (mid-1300s); Solage, "Fumeux fume" (late 1300s); Dunstable, "Quam pulchra es" (1400s); Josquin, Missa Pange Lingua (early 1500s); Tallis' Lamentations of Jeremiah, performed by Heinavanker (1500s). This is wonderful music. Most of the summer between Albuquerque temperatures and general political insanities it felt like the world was literally on fire and all I could do to deal with it was drink a lot of ice water and lie very still and listen to this stuff.
It remains curious to me how Youtube commenters like to express their enthusiasm for newfound inspiration in older music by stating its superiority to contemporary (especially popular) musical styles. "This is the real music," they say. It's so hard for us to accept that all of it, even the shit we hate, is real music.
For no other reason than that you may not have heard it, here is Eleanor Hovda's Borealis Music:
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• Gone Walkabout
• Music as Drama
• Crossroads II
• 10 Best of 2014
• January: Wyoming and the Open
• February: New Mexico and the Holes
• Coming Up
• Notes on The Accounts
• Crossroad Blues