We're thrilled to have our old friend Brandon Lucia ( of Netcat, King Tears Bat Trip, and inventor of the Chango!) back in Seattle for one night only. As always, we start right up at 8:00pm with our presenter and have the session to follow! Here are excellent thoughts from Brandon about this week's performance:
A little over a year ago, I moved to Pittsburgh after about 8 years in Seattle. I moved to become a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, which is great, and which I love, but moving away was hard and there are a lot of things that I miss. The Racer Sessions is one of the things I've missed the most since I left Seattle. I've found various awesome people that play great, creative music since I moved here and I've been able to play music with some of them. One example is Anthony Levin-Decanini's once-awesome-now-canceled <a href="http://cruciblesound.blogspot.com/2015/03/crucible-sound-14-april-9th-2015.html">Crucible Sound</a> series (RIP). But it's hard to imagine anything like the Racer Sessions somewhere else.
I've stayed musically active primarily by playing solo improvisations (<a href="http://soundcloud.com/tinyponytinypony">Tiny Pony on Soundcloud</a>), and through my ongoing, long-distance relationship with <a href="http://netcat.co">netcat</a>. I've recently been improvising and performing with a mixture of hardware synthesizers, sequencers, effects, and software (mine, and other peoples'). I've tended to play these improvisations late at night, without a ton of planning, and they've trended more and more toward continuous drones and spectrally inoffensive noise segments. I've been rolling with that to see where it goes.
Where it took me was to <a href="http://dinisnoise.org/">DIN</a> (<strong>D</strong>IN <strong>I</strong>s <strong>N</strong>oise), which is a software synthesizer that was built by a self-described nomad named Jagannathan Sampath. DIN has several unique features that drew me to it and I'll be playing with two of them tonight. First, DIN is a "sketchbook" for time-variant microtonal drones, with lots of potential for punishing, glacial noise sections. I especially like that DIN's interface encourages you to play a lot of notes at the same time, but without the intention of making something discordant or loud. Second, DIN has a "Mondrian" interface for defining trajectory-based tone triggers, governed by physical parameters (velocity, orbital decay) and a customizable bounding area. DIN is a really versatile tool for making ambient music and every time I sit down to use it, I discover something new. Awesome.
For the session tonight, think about a few things that have been on my mind while I'm playing lately:
* microtonal variations, or if you can't stand those, deliberately avoiding them
* playing a lot of notes at the same time without it sounding discordant or really loud
* physically, geometrically, or regularly triggered tones
* long, slow-moving variations in some properties of a sound, with quick, fast-moving variations in others
For me it's been a year of mixed emotion since I left Seattle behind. It's confusing to be content with something (i.e., living in Seattle), then to stop doing that thing and to start doing something else (i.e., moving to a new place), but then to also find yourself really content doing that other new thing. If you can think of a way for that emotional generality to influence what you play, do that too.