Thursday, May 18, 2006

Performing at electro-music 2006

electro-music 2006 is a three day electronic music conference plus performance, covering a wide spectrum of electronic music. It looks very interesting and exciting.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Another digital distribution method...

The PayPlay player can be embedded anywhere (I'm guessing not all browsers support it, though) and provides samples and instant purchase option. Another benefit of CDBaby digital distribution.

Monday, May 08, 2006

to enlighten you, to convey to you...

I am at a point where I can now be concise about the experience of performing electronic music. This involves the concept of 'brainspace between human and machine'.

You push a button, the machine does something, you do something (push another button)in response to that, and a feedback loop occurs. When done well there is a condition that occurs *in a slice of between time* that you begin to share with the audience. That condition is a reaction that is akin to confusion but also a kind of excitement: an anticipation of surprise: "what is it? what is it?".

5/7, an amazing show at the Black Cat...

The previous show went well.

The 5/7 show was killer. I'm not saying that just because I was involved in it, I'm saying that because I've seen a fair amount of musical performance in my time, and this was killer.

[edited to add this comment, overheard: "Yeh, that's right, $5 for alla this, muthabitches!" ] :)

Now, it *is* the case that this genre relies on a certain sensory overload. So, where a great jazz performance will shift through moods and evoke distant unfelt feelings, and where a classical performance will establish that the sense of humanity felt centuries ago is still experienced the same way today, where a great rock performance expresses the angst, yearning and exuberance of a moment, electronic is about taking you into a virtual, shimmering, pulsing brainspace that exists not only within humanity but between humanity and machine, and leaving you breathless and numb.

There are definitely two sides, two approaches to the computer-based music methodology that were demonstrated: musician/creator/producer, and DJ/molder/producer. The first starts at a little lower level, building in more or less real time from notes, scales, chords and single beats or smaller groups of beat patterns, with a predefined idea in mind, but no predetermined 'set'. The second uses already completed works, morphing and shaping in real time, but with a more or less predetermined 'set'.

The first group is maybe more about expression, the second more about entertainment, but it is the case that in this genre, regardless of approach, it's about audio/visual overload.

And *that*, dear reader, was delivered in kilotons.

It should be noted that the primary organizer and host of this event was D K from 302acid. If you ever get a chance to see him perform, do it.

Went back to update this a little... on the way back home, around 1am, I'm listening to WPFW in DC. They are playing something aethereal and glowing, it's jazz, but it's like pieces of light floating like a cloud. Bass, cool and fluid, piano just barely brushed, trumpet, so softly played, so so purely sweet. The selection fades out, fade fading-- this is late night jazz radio, no 'dump to commercial' here... and the announcer comes on, hushed tones, letting me know that that was Miles Davis, from 1968. It is perfect.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Express article snippet...

express writeup

The 5/04 edition of the Washington Post Express includes the article about the upcoming Black Cat Live nite in the Weekend section.

I like this article, not just because it quotes me and has my picture with it, but because of the title and the way it is constructed.

When a reporter asks you "do you think electronic musicians are smarter than other musicians?" you should say "no" unless you believe you are, in which case you should of course find a way to say "no" unless you are dumb and say yes, which produces a paradox that, I can imagine, would (and should) amuse the reporter greatly. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing if you don't mind being *pffted* by all manner of non-electronic musicians who might happen across your quote in an article, but not minding that could only mean you are dumb and crazy.

One thing I learned from reading this edition of the Express is the Chick Corea is playing in town the same night as myself and the Live nite crew. He is one of my all time favorite musicians, I wrote him a fan letter (snail mail, pre-email) many years ago, it was kind of a 'gushy' fan letter, and I talked about how I felt about playing music. He replied. I kick myself that I do not have that reply anymore, but I remember what he wrote: "yeah, I get how you feel about your music...". To see Chick Corea in his trio would cost $50. Am I damning myself if I admit that the idea that anyone should ever pay $50 to see me perform seems absurd?

To see the 8 electronic musicians plus visuals costs $5. Does this mean that (adjusting for genre particulars) if we can exceed one tenth of the value of a Chick Corea performance [how do you assign valuation to that?], we will have reached a higher bracket (albeit still Lilliputian in relation to Mr. Corea)? So, is this the challenge, that if *I alone* could exceed the tenth of the value....

and that whole "value" notion is so stupid (so much for smart electronic musicians). I know for a fact that people (including me) have paid more for worse music than I or any of the other Live nighters have put out. But people will gladly pay high dollar for the skillfully hyped brands. It is a mystery, this power of skilfful hype; like it or not, to be neither loathed nor idolized: part of the strange magic.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

definite digital downloads activity

Now, as Utenzil is 'privately held', Utenzil does not disclose sales info, but-- let's just say that since playing out more, Utenzil is getting a signficant upswing in digital distribution activity. I am not saying this to boast, I am saying this more to the credit of the technology that permits this.

Utenzil's second disc, "Building the Wheel Called Electricity", is now sold out on CDBaby. I have to send some more copies-- I've been slacking on that, because (as I noted in my secret plan known only to the Internet) I plan to do a third disc and send that to CDBaby as well. Now, you might ask, "why are you slacking on that, don't you want to sell CDs?" and my answer is, well, yes, but it's because my time is all eaten up.

So this is not a bad problem to have, but it is a problem.

Interviewed today by the Washington Post Express

Arion Berger from the Washington Post Express interviewed me over the phone today.

She was extremely pleasant. This was very nice, and I learned I am OK at answering questions from interviewers but not very good at leveraging the interview. For example, I didn't mention this blog, I didn't mention the Utenzil website, didn't mention Utenzil is available on iTunes, or the Utenzil merchandise on Cafepress. Didn't mention other people in the group of performers coming up at the Black Cat on May 7th and how they might like to talk with her.

How will I ever be able to afford pimpin' threads, pumpin' systems and thumpin' rides if I cannot pull the commercial/promotional aspect???

[edited this: the part about 'didn't mention other people in the group' is not exactly correct. Of course, I did, because I am quoted as saying "Everyone in this group is really good". But, I did not say 'hey, these seven other people would like to talk to you, too', partly because that would've sounded silly. But, y'know, if there was one person whose picture I would put in the paper as most representing the group, I'd agree it would be mine. NOT. :)]