1. An overdue tip of the hat
to the Tacit Group, the Korean laptop ensemble who I had the pleasure of experiencing over Thanksgiving weekend back in the homelands, courtesy of the reliably awesome arts presenters at Legion Arts in their newly renovated home at CSPS Hall.
The folks in Tacit all have degrees in composition, and they made the simple but brilliant decision to express their interests in process-based music visually and through games, thereby easily and light-heartedly letting the audience in on the overarching secrets that often make this sort of music seem inaccessible. (Viz: the music is written via a process or algorithm which is set into motion; so, as the Taciters posited, the process is more important than the results. But if the audience doesn't understand the process, they've been robbed of observing that part of the musical experience which is admittedly the most important! So instead of keeping the equation mysterious, Tacit sets up six simultaneous Tetris games, and you can see how what happens in the Tetris games effects the sounds being created, and you're part of the fun. Games aren't just an analogy; the music really is a game.)
This show was a total pleasure. Tacit's US tour has three stops: Legion Arts, MCA Chicago, and Lincoln Center. Legion Arts is impressive.
I'm therefore justifiably thrilled that they're hosting the Grant Wallace Band at CSPS in January. We're happy to be making our first Iowa appearance under the aegis of this excellent organization.
2. Prelude to a trip to the west Texas deserts
In my rambles to and fro across these united states, of which my feet have alighted upon the ground of forty-six, I've found continually that one of this country's most inspiring corners is the big bend country of west Texas. It's far-flung, wild, and amazing out there, and I'm headed back this week. In preparation, I have purchased two relevant cultural products.
One: R. Andrew Lee's album of the piano music of Jürg Frey. The opening piece, Klavierstück 2, is a seriously, deeply austere and intense sonic construction, and when I listen to it with my feet in the Rio Grande and my eyes reaching to the crest of the Chisos Mountains, surely it will transmute my feeble consciousness into a golden liquid that will proceed to flow freely over all the nooks and crannies of creation.
Two: Brian Greene's The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos, a book which sports chapter titles such as "Hovering Universes in Nearby Dimensions" and "Endless Doppelgängers: The Quilted Multiverse." I'm going off the deep end, friends, and I'm going there swiftly and enthusiastically. See you on the flip side.
3. Great newses
I'll have to make my way back before too long, though, because there's some great musical stuff in the offing. December 16th is (Re)New Amsterdam, a benefit to help the Sandy-beleaguered New Amsterdam Records. Chicago's new-music scene has exploded with support for this event, and the bill is simply resplendent. Grant Wallace Band will play a short, piano-less set featuring a new arrangement of our favorite creepy old Irish folk song, "The Little Drummer." It's going to be a great afternoon.
More GWB appearances are in the works in January; then, in February, I'm off for a pair of artist residencies, one at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and one at Wyoming's Ucross Foundation. While bivouacked at these august and comely-looking establishments, I'll be working on an album-length piece that takes the next step in bringing together my composer and singer-songwriter sides.
4. More Golconda
The album I promised back in August still exists, is still in the works, has been fully composed, but is still not recorded. Maybe I'll drop a tracklisting here today as an ounce of proof...
1. FR 569
2. Milwaukee Blues
4. June 19
6. El Prado Woman
7. Passacaglia (for Kelly)
More on this project by the first of 2013!
Until then, merry multiverses.
10 Best of 2014
January: Wyoming and the Open
February: New Mexico and the Holes
Notes on The Accounts