Racer Sessions

Sundays, 8-10pm - Café Racer - Seattle, WA

Skiff Feldspar - June 5th, 2011


Skiff Feldspar’s Big Bang Improvisation Theory for Racer Sessions

In the Fall of last year, myself and bassist Shane Smith decided to form a improvising project consisting of an electric bass/electric guitar duo that utilized our various arsenals of effects stomp boxes, looping devices. Our approach is to take pre-existing our original compositions, as well as a diverse selection of music by artists like Wayne Shorter, Slayer, Bill Frisell, and Radiohead, and rework the music in an abstract manner that would fit into our maze of saturated improvisations. Because of our profound mutual love of heavy metal, the sound of the duo has definitely taken on a heavy and ominous vibe that we embrace whole-hearted….but the absence of the drums has forced us to approach the techniques and devices of metal with a different mindset where these things become more abstract and more malleable yet maintain their intensity in their aggressive nature.

This project is especially fun for me because it’s a chance to play music with one of my long-time friends with whom I share a great musical report with. Shane and I met in the Jazz Studies program at Spokane Falls Community College back in 1998. After a brief period of following our various paths, we reconnected in Seattle around 2001 and have been working together ever since, playing in a host of collaborative original projects as well as playing together in various sideman gigs…funk bands, backing up country singers. Shane was actually in the first incarnation of Goat and actually gets credit for naming the group. These days, he’s busy fronting his own band, Uncle Pooch.

 The Music

The idea for this piece came out of my interest in the creation of the Universe and Big Bang Theory. The universe, in it’s early stages, was a very hot, very dense place that was a plasma blob of sorts. As time went on, the blob began to expand and cool and the hot plasmic density began to become less dense. Around 380,000 years later, the conditions were just right for the formation of hydrogen and helium and eventually stars began to emerge out of their giant clouds and then galaxies consisting of billions of stars . As the universe continued to expand, many of those stars would eventually burn out and explode in giant supernovas which gave rise to the elements that we now identify in the Periodic Table. Over time, these elements would eventually come into the perfect conditions to interact with each other and form the matter that would eventually become planets, moons, comets, and other things that we can find traveling through the universe. It had reached a point where more conditions were possible for more things to interact with one another, giving rise to complex lifeforms in infinite combinations. In the early stages, the universe was a low-entropy configuration, like an egg. The egg in it’s original form is in a very compact and limited state of being but once that egg is broken, the potential for the possibilities for the eggs contents to mix and interact with other contents and form things like scrambles, omelets, quiche, and deviled it’s devilled configuration.

As I thought about this process that the Universe has been going through for the last 13.8 billion years, it gave me an idea for an approach to improvising that could function in a similar way. What happens when the birth of a music composition/improvisation begins in a very dense configuration where there is little space for it’s contents(motifs) to move around and interact with one another? As the time goes on, what will eventually happen to that dense configuration is that it will begin to expand where the space and conditions will be more accommodating for the various contents to interact more freely with one another and form new partnerships. What will we observe as a listener, or as a player, in the tendencies of the musicians and the content of the music, as it begins in a dense configuration and slow moves to one of less density where the potential for more diverse interaction is possible? Big Bang Improvisiation. What will it tell us?

Natas Duo:

Skiff Feldspar - electric guitar, effects, loops

Shane Smith - electric bass, effects, loops