2011 was an inspiring, trying, puzzling, but ultimately rewarding year ; although i have the looming sensation of being in "stasis" for long stretches throughout, looking back on documentaton i can see that i played 20 concerts, travelled to europe, saint louis (twice), new york (ditto), etc ... all while keeping a regular 60-hour work-week schedule (not bad ; should keep the various existential crises at bay for now) ...
afa reflections go, here's the blurb-ette i wrote (then neglected to send in, ha !!!) for the wire's year-end issue ::
... in boston, non event had a hell of a year (mark fell, jooklo duo w/ bill nace, frank bretschneider, mandlebrot & skyy, palmetto moon electronic group) as did spectral rehab (pete swanson & ben vida slayed, as did pat "indignant senility" maher) … plus it felt great to put on a concert for borbetomagus after having my sensibilities so strongly shaped by seeing them long ago ; in troy, the "earbrains" event organized by micah silver at empac was stellar (amazing sets & sound from lambkin / lescalleet, david shively, flower man, fat worm of error) ; in krems, hearing ivo malec's "triola" over the acousmonium was semi-religious, as was experiencing anthony mccall's "line describing a cone" & the schmickler / lehn duo ; in stl, pretty much the entire "float yr face" fest at floating labs was perfect (but esp. jeremy “ghost ice” kannapell, brett naucke, raglani, rene hell, & expo '70) …
otherwise, just having the time, energy, & resources to continue narrowing in on a very specific set of ideas has been a blessing ; adopting another cat was a great idea - i recommend everyone do the same …
here's a photo of our new bundle of joy (her native habitat) ::
... we adopted temperance (aka tempestuousness, tempy, temes) from the "save a gato" network ; she'd been bouncing around since being rescued in puerto rico & was in need of a good home. we were worried at first at how she'd get along with the notoriously neurotic wilbur (aka halbczszons, dribcots) ::
... but within the first hour they were thick as thieves ::
... i finished assembling this (my current "instrument") ::
... which i used to compose this piece at the grm in paris ::
in the world of records; i found some of my long-time wants while in france (at the best record-fair i've ever been to) ::
... and of course we were lucky to "work" a great deal of excellent music here @ mms ; i'm going to single out the group ongaku reissue as my single favorite "best of the year" title - it's a crucial set of music whose very existence re-writes the history of free & electro-acoustic improvisation (seriously ; everyone should have a copy) ... matt carlson's "particle language" was another high-point (hopefully "synth music" tropes in 2012 will all follow in matt's footsteps & we'll have something of a return to "complexity" after all the faux new-age "light & easy" gerrymandering of the past few years) ; plus nate young's "stay asleep • regression vol. 2" was an eye-opener, easily eclipsing anything he's recorded w/ wolf eyes ...
... i also really dug the pekka airaksinen, jd emmanuel, harald großkopf, grupo nps, jonathan halper, & dub taylor reissues ... plus the ursula bogner, mark fell, hecker, hobo sonn, sean mccann, geoff mullen, bill orcutt, red horse, marcus schmickler, temporal marauder, chris watson, & artur zmijewski records ...
it was a great year for music & records ; one that will only be topped by this year (someone has to be optimistic about all of this ; might as well be me) ... -k
Alright 2011, here it goes - a very quick year, and even though I thought I was super under-productive, it turns out I did get quite a bit done. first and foremost, I said goodbye to warehouse living and moved into a sweet old Victorian house, and quickly got an awesome kitten, Tex.
We were told that she was found on the side of the road, possibly thrown out of a car, and her face was all scratched up. she quickly adjusted to her new home in cold New England, and apart from eating up some magnetic tape and barfing it up - things have gone swimmingly.
Oh man, oh man, what else ...
I sorta kept up with my swimming routine, and definitely didn't save as much money as I set out to. The winter went by in a foggy daze, fueled by beer and wine and not enough sleep. I spent most of my time either working or looking for furniture in consignment shops, and hunkering down in the new crib. After an early spring root canal, everything started to fall in place ...
Took a trip to Asheville, NC for Eli Keszler and Ashley Paul's wedding - where Jules and I played the Velvets "I'll Be Your Mirror" while E and A walked down the aisle (me on guitar and Jules on tambourine). This all led to quite a nice time cavorting and carrying on, lots of food and lots of wine and good times all around. Took a nice hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains and ate some darn good breakfast and grits.
It was a wonderful summer spent at flea-markets, namely the weekly Sunday event at the Seekonk Speedway. We made it out to the Brimfield Fair for a couple days, always a special treat, though we didn't buy much this year. Every day off was spent at the beach or trying to get there, and I developed a perfectly slack way of documenting these trips and reworking them at home - to be documented in an upcoming tape for the wonderful DRAFT label. Worked on my tan quite a bit, and the discovered that the best thing to do at the beach is to play catch in the water w/ a tennis ball.
Jules and I had the most amazing 4th of July partying at a Victorian mansion on a rock (named Clingstone) at the mouth of the Narragansett Bay - our landlords dad bought the place for $3000 in the 60's, oddly enough, and we lucked into one helluva trip, swimming off the dock to small little islands populated exclusively by cormorants and seagulls..
Oh, and KFW and I were able to extend our lunch-break record shopping due to the fantastic news that Stereo Jack's, in Cambridge, has had its lease extended! Although this year didn't bring the bumper crop of ESP vinyl or early electronic gems of 2010, we each pulled our fair share of burning wax from the frequently updated "this just in" shelves, notably - a huge collection of straight-ahead jazz and hard-bop that's had me spending many a nights revisiting Grant Green and Kenny Burrell albums on pristine Japanese vinyl pressings.
Jeez, what else - - poured too many beers for people I had to listen to ramble on about this or that, donated my beat-up car to NPR, oh and I definitely bought some records here and there... guess I should talk about that – some stand-outs would have to include the grip of new releases by Ghedalia Tazartès- I definitely bought them all, I must admit, and I do not have the buyers remorse, not one bit. I was also super-pumped about the new Frieder Butzmann LP on Pan, as well as new stuff from No Ufo's, Ed Yazijian, Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides, Hobo Sonn, Angst Hase Pfeffer Nase, Anthony Levin-Decanini, Tomutonttu, the weird proliferation of Hecker / Mark Fell-inspired wacko "computer" music, Loren Connors reissues on the Enabling Works label, reissues of the Brotzmann FMP records on Cien Fuegos, Pekka Airaksinen, a proper reissue of J.D. Emmanuel's late-night / early-morning slow-burner "Ancient Minimal Meditations", and Conrad Schnitzler's "Ballet Statique" - - Oohhh, and not to mention the fantastic Artur Zmijewski "Singing Lessons" on Tochnit Aleph, the triumphant return of Creel Pone ! (my personal faves being the Umberto Di Grazia, Giuseppe Morrocchi, and Tom Cameron's "Music To Wash Dishes By"), and some just-in-timers: Wolf Vostell "De/Collage Music" and all the long overdue re-stocking of some Edition RZ titles, including the fantastic new collection of Christian Wolff pieces, and the epic David Tudor 2xCD.
In terms of totally eye-opening records / non-new releases, the two top slots will have to go to Catherine Ribeiro+ Alpes "Ame Debout" (thank you Pete Swanson) and Hugh Davies "Shozyg" (KFW pulled this out of the MMS rubble and proceeded to melt my mind and single-handedly inspire me to record an album of guitar damage / investigation, now out on REL records as "Accidental Guitars").
Had a great time playing shows here and there - most notably on a short tour w/ P. Swanson and KFW up to Montreal, where we just zoned out to the Montreal vibe thanks to our host Jean-Sebastien, going record shopping and hunting for Quebecois micro-brews for three days of blissed-out vacation.