Sunday, May 15, 2011

Collab Notes >4< :: CLEARLY

More exciting progress on CLEARLY.  Hiromi, the visual artist, and I visited the Gaffer's Guild studio last week and shot some really great video of molten glass, as well as some of the basic processes of blowing glass...I think we even got some glass breaking in the video!

I have begun experimenting with video and sound clips in my studio space at the Octagon Center for the Arts.  A small video clip is below.  The atmosphere of the installation will be filled with electronic sounds, both pre-produced and recorded as well as processed sound and delay of the live music.  I will be revisiting the music processing program Max MSP as well as utilizing a sound editing program.  This is probably the most daunting part of the project as I spend most of my time working in the acoustic world of music and only preliminarily know what I am doing with electronic tools to process music.

New wind chimes came in from Nathan Ratliff last week.  They look and sound amazing.  In the process of hanging them I dropped an older wind chime flat on the was the greatest sound, but didn't prove to be so good for the thin glass bars.  That one has been shipped back for salvaging pieces.

We have been asked to perform at the Des Moines Arts Festival this year on June 25 at 7:30 on their performing arts stage.  And I am anxiously awaiting any news from the Iowa Arts Council on the Major Grant I applied for.  This will determine what happens next with regards to how I organize the music and all, so it kind of puts us at a standstill while the Iowa Government deliberates on the funding cuts (let's hope not) to the IAC.

Collab Notes >5< :: The Glass House Concerto

So far the "Collab Notes" have been about the CLEARLY Glass Project, however they are intended to cover the whole gamut of collaboration that I always seem to have going on.  And I am happy to begin the first posting about a collaboration with Andrew Ardizzoia that I am very excited about, The Glass House Concerto.

I don't need to write much here because both myself and the collaborator have written descriptive pros about the early stages of the project that I believe give perfect insight into what is to come.  You can read those here:

Composer, Andrew Ardizzoia and I have started a project of working on what we feel will be a truly unique percussion concerto.  I tinker a lot with the odder percussion instruments, as well as collections of multiple instruments of the same timbre.  A few years back I wanted to meld a row of woodblocks with the marimba sound, make it basically a triple-rowed wooden keyboard, and Bjorn Berkhout wrote me a marimba/woodblock concerto for this called, "Tides".  Additionally, I am now working on CLEARLY, an installation of over 100 glass instruments, and I have a collection of three types of zithers.  I saw Andrew's new piece "*Some Assembly Required" premiered by the ISU Symphony Orchestra and immediate was inspired to ask him to write me a concerto, which we later decided would be for soloist and wind ensemble, for my interests in the less-mainstream percussion objects.

Andrew is keeping a wonderful blog about this project on his website, which you can access here:  We have gotten a few ensemble conductors interested in being a part of a consortium of premiering groups, including the ISU Wind Ensemble, Mike Golemo; UNI Wind Ensemble, Ron Johnson; and other groups in Canada and the Pacific NW.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Collab Notes >3< :: "Clearly" Glass Project

Progress is being made with the GP everyday.  I am somewhat at a standstill with waiting for grant money to purchase hardware to hang glass as to get a sense of how it will work in the space, but things are getting done.  I have gotten some more pieces hung that the Gaffer's Guild has made for the project, and will do some research for materials in the hardware store today.

Hiromi and I met with our Gaffer collaborator, Keith Kutz, at the glass blowing studio last night and did some video of dripping molten glass, as well as some basic footage of glass blowing and working with the ovens.  Today I will do some video and audio using marbles, glass bowls/vases, and water and I hope to do some video of Bach on the glass xylophone this weekend.

Here are some photos of the new pieces I hung yesterday.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Collab Notes >2< :: Glass Project

Day 2 of work on the "GP" at the North Grand Mall in Ames.  I unpacked 24 pieces that the Gaffer's Guild of ISU (glass blowing club) had created for the project and began experimenting with hanging them.  I got the 30" glass gong hung and unpacked a few other larger glass gongs.  We are up to about 90 glass instruments now!

Choreographer, Valerie Williams and visual artist, Hiromi Okumura and I met to view and discuss video footage to fill the space using 3 projectors.  We are planning to combine unique images of paint and glass, as well as capturing audience members to superimposed in the projections.

The music will develop and evolve over our workshopping time during May as the collection of glass grows and evolves.  Ideas are swirling around about the sonic environments.  Much may include a base of varying improvised palettes with remnants of tonality and familiar pieces of music convalescing about the space, but I am still in the very early stages of this, and this will likely take shape later this month.

Many wind chimes made by Nathan Ratliff, and good friend in Texas, are on their way later this week, as well as more goodies from the Gaffer's Guild.

Collab Notes >1< :: Glass Project - Day 1

Clearly/Clear Refraction (?) Glass Project.  It is very difficult to settle on a name for a project of this size.  So "GP" has finally begun it's move into a 4000+ sq/ft store space in the North Grand Mall of Ames, IA!  This tops any project I have done...ok, maybe note the dance show in an Olympic-size drained swimming pool with The Seldoms...but, this is a very unique experience.

The dream of "GP" probably began sometime around 2003, SONIC INERTIA did a project that began making it a small realization called "Inspirations of Glass", and starting in the fall of 2010 I began discussing with choreography, Valerie Williams what I really saw in the idea.  We have been grant applying (still are), pondering, planning, collecting, collaborating, and hoping since then, and now it is starting to become a reality.

The month of May will be used to experiment, design, and figure out just what we can do with a large enough space, lots of documentation, and maybe some broken glass (by accident).  In June I hope to have a grasp on what pieces of glass I have, where to put them, and what to play on them, so that rehearsals can begin.  Mid-June we hope to open the space for a series of performances and presentations, probably culminating in a fundraising party.

I plan to have more than 100 pieces of glass musical instruments; found glass, glass blown generously donated by the ISU Gaffer's Guild, plate glass, glass wind chimes made by Nathan Ratliff, and much more.  Video and lighting will be an important element of this project, along with the music and dance.

In the meantime we should settle on a name.