A new track from my trio Stull is now up on Soundcloud. Tracy builds the haunted house, while Stephen and I conjure the dreary atmosphere.
Stull is a long-running improvisational group with me on guitar and Tracy Harris on drums. Our friend Stephen McClurg joins us now on bass, and we’re putting some recordings of a recent get-together at The Subversive Workshop up on Soundcloud. Here are a couple for you to get into a deep space freakout with…
Four bitter pills to ingest…
Baghouse live at The Sanctuary last Saturday night…
Right before my set with Baghouse a couple of weekends ago, I accidentally plugged my guitar into the LOW input on my amp. What this meant was that, for the rest of the evening, I would be cursed with trying to sort out what was causing my sound to appear (to my ears) anemic–AND to play and adapt the best I could to the improvisation. In short, a brain fart. Classic. Undeniably stupid. Confounding, even . . . at the time. On one hand, I feel as if I NEVER do that sort of thing. On the other . . . I always seem to.
Luckily, everything else worked that night. I recently listened back to a recording of the evening and, despite feeling that my levels on loops fluctuated as I attempted to adjust in the chaos of the moment, it’s pretty excellent, nicely tense and has lots of fantastic playing & dynamics. Things were solid. Whew. Give it a go here, if you wanna get an earful of the proceedings at The World Famous in Athens, GA that evening.
It’s happening again this Saturday night at Head On The Door in Montgomery, AL. We’re going to do a couple of sets, making music, conjuring textures, tones and irregularities, seeing where the sound takes us. This is a call to all the weirdos and wanderers looking and listening for something freakishly pure. Music pulled from the air, shaped and reshaped, then shoved into your earholes. It feels like magic. Automatic writing. Baghouse. Come hear something being tapped into.
Wear a gasmask in case of brain farts.
This weekend I will be improvising. Every day, moment to moment, I improvise, of course . . . but this weekend is my favorite sort: musical improvisation. And I get to do it on a guitar that makes the experience like playing in a dream . . . the Moog guitar.
The Moog guitar allows me to do many things, but primarily, and most simply, it can sustain notes forever. It’s like being in a permanent sweet spot onstage with loud amps. Of course, it can also be the exact opposite, with its electronics sucking all the energy from the strings until it feels and sounds like playing a fretted-out alien banjo. Improvising on the guitar is such a satisfying and mind-emptying experience. I live for the moments where I can do just that, dropping all thought, just listening to the sounds, the other players and trusting myself. I feel taken-over with no-thought, and I just let whatever happens happen.
This weekend’s show is in Athens, GA (one of my favorite places) with my friends in Baghouse, who are a real telepathic joy to play with. We recently started making music together again for the first time in nearly 12 years, and it felt like we had never stopped, the three of us easily jumping into an improvisation and taking things into the stratosphere with very little discussion–and with more skill now than we had before, in my opinion. The evidence of this get-together is documented here.
I think about improvising as if I’m pulling a human-sized panel up out of the floor. This panel, when fully-exposed, is covered with the most beautiful, intricate, sometimes nightmarish designs . . . some of which I immediately recognize–and many others that I can trace no origins of. On a good night, I can keep this panel up for lengthy periods, adding to it, exposing more depth and detail and, if I’m lucky, amplifying it to the point where it completely obscures me and enters/affects watchers and listeners. I always strive for this, but I can’t say that I’m always successful. Sometimes, I feel like I’ve struggled and failed completely . . . only to hear it back at some later date (I try to record as many improvisational performances as I can) and think that I was completely wrong feeling that way.
The weeks leading up to a live improv performance usually find me down in the basement late at night, tweaking knobs and tones and loops and drones until I am delirious with sound. All in anticipation of pulling that panel into existence as fully as I possibly can. This weekend perhaps it will happen.
First off, thanks to all the fine music lovers in Canada, Germany & Norway who have downloaded and ordered from me lately. It’s so exciting to see music reaching people in far away places. But, I have to ask . . . America where are you? It saddens me that my own country shows very little interest, but the stats I see do not lie.
I’ve recently stopped offering much of my music for free for a variety of reasons . . . the primary being that I pour everything into what I do: my energy, my love, my hate, my thoughts, my feelings, my time and, yes, my money. My favorite artists probably feel much the same way, and I always try to support them as directly as possible, whether that be by paying for downloads, physical media, going to shows when they’re out on the road and even just showing direct interest in where they are going with their work.
But, free or not, I see a real lack of interest from here in the states. I can’t help it . . . it makes me feel bad. Where are people here who are looking for fringe & challenging musics? I certainly understand that what I do isn’t the most palatable thing in the world (most of the time), but damn.
Despite this, I will continue. I’m working on so many things that I hope will see the light of day soon, vibrating your earholes within the year, with any luck. I hope that I can reach someone out there the same way that things reach me.
I am here. Where are you?
Three places to begin listening and supporting:
C’mon. Have you forgotten what it’s like to seek out, find and hear something that really turns you on? Maybe you have.