With D.T. Koski at Silver Falls, Oregon on August 28, 2014.
This language is a white-washed room, its walls crumbling from the sonic continuum of twitters and hums, wires and screens. It is modular and often cheats, excusing itself on excessive iterations of the same utterances in dilute combinations. It feels impossible to say, 'Thank you,' when what I mean is, 'Everything has been distilled into the brilliance of this moment; I am speechless, as you have changed the course of my entire life with what you have done for me.'
But the fisherman thought that story was far more important than the dictates of etiquette and so he replied on the back of the casino stationary, recounting what had happened under the salt water in lucid detail complete with diagrammed pictures and arrows illustrating the strokes of motion.
left the backs of my hands
upon those coquina perimeters
lost in thick excess
an orange glow dripped
and lingered down moss-draped
avenues of oaks and palms
the light was holding its breath
and sweetening the rinds
of ill-timed sentences
on the shore
on the shore
on the shore
Shrouded behind a projector screen, I performed a live score for Maya Deren's films, Meshes of the Afternoon, and At Land, for the Silent Music Revival. Deren's work abounds with cinematic imagery that reverses, repeats, lingers, and haunts in the same ways I try to build sound. The films were a mediator, separating me from the audience while I shared in their viewing; I was an honored participant.
Improvisational performance is an opportunity to cultivate a new experience for every show. Without pressing the performance into a state of collective discovery, there's no mystery and the visceral qualities that allow for the artist and audience to share something that is inherently unique is absent. Therefore, I aim to develop a palette for each show and the act of sharing this with the ever-changing audience is the very thing that compels me to continue live work.
From, Meshes of the Afternoon, a shot of Deren herself.
Last year was like a short lifetime's worth of dreamwork crammed into twelve months. Sweet exhaustion. Pure delight. It all started with a Warren Hixson tour from Virginia to Florida. It went like so: Richmond (The Well), Greensboro (The Flat Iron), Athens (Flicker Theater), Gainesville (Boca Fiesta), and home again. This trip was largely shaped by the self-created McRib Challenge that one of our guys took on with the promise that we'd double the money he spent on these seasonal wonders once he'd eaten nothing but McRibs for every meal. This was a really short trip, so we were all betting on his success. But the McRib barely qualifies as food; it contains over 70 ingredients, some of the most foul include tripe, heart, stomach, and a bleaching agent commonly found in yoga mats (according to Yahoo Finance). After eight rounds, his resolve began to wan as did his palor and his mood. Luckily, we had some killer shows and he finally gave up the ghost and joined the rest of us for an incredible dinner at The Top. I love travelling to the South about as much as I love being in this band. [Forgive the Instagrammar, it was new on me.]
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, con a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
Some experiences suspend us between romance and desperation like aerial silk contortionists. Steady core. Exacting control. Sudden plummet. Decisive action. Recoiling. Adjusting. Reaching exhaustion. Returning to stillness. Cycling onward. Through these experiences our intentions polarize and distinguish our values.
Somewhere in the last plummet, I started to slip. My usual maneuver would have forced me to stay in motion, to maintain the continuum, to adapt and keep on; but this time was different, it was an awakening. Unbelievable things came of my 'yes-to-all' approach.
Yes to waking up on concrete floors. Yes to every friend. Yes to waking up on wooden floors. Yes to crowded rooms. Yes to getting paid. Yes to every acquaintance. Yes to empty rooms. Yes to breathlessness. Yes to not getting paid. Yes to desert days. Yes to broken windows taped shut. Yes to swarming insects. Yes to city days. Yes to every enemy. Yes to trains passing. Yes to coyotes screeching. Yes to moonless mountain roads.
Even still, I was losing my self in the swirl. So, my dear friend suggested a Year of No. It is the threshing and winnowing.
It is half done and only begun.
An economy where advertisers thrive while journalists and artists struggle, reflects the values of a society more interested in deception and manipulation than truth and beauty.
Just five days in the afterglow of debuting our piece at InLight, and Kontra has released this documentary short. The film unveils our intent and the energy surrounding the work with concise finesse. It's moving and inspiring to have the continued support of this community and the awesome artists hard at work here.
This past Friday, Dave Watkins + I had the opportunity to debut the product of our recent collaboration at InLight, 1708 Gallery's 5th annual public light-based exhibition. We had been dreaming on this piece since July and never foresaw how well-received it could be until the night of the show. Interstitial Transduction was an audience-driven instrument that appeared like a tree with 8 leaves. When a leaf was tapped, a sound and correlating animation would occur. The sounds and animations were euhponic and complimentary and filled the alleyway of the Visual Art Studio with light and music. Dave also had background source video footage that was emulated via a microphone-led video mix that changed according to the sounds projected in the space. There was a whole lot of color, movement, and excitement going on all night, we had an unforgettable time. To add to the thrill of watching hundreds of people interact with our creation, we were awarded the People's Choice Award. This was by far, the most rewarding and joyful artistic experience I have ever had the privilege of instigating.
Above photograph of Matthew Caldwell from 1708 Gallery.
Below photograph by Kontra RVA.
This is an unsettling of dreams deferred. In this collaboration we aim ::: To pause the ragged paradigms. To shorten the distance between action and effect. To create something euphonic and dynamic together in a crowd-affected piece--of sound and video, light and performance--pulsing within the heart of the city. To draw this community inward, where one touch will change everything. To shorten the distance between ourselves, unfolding something common and inspired. To share, coexist, project, create, and progress.
A Dream Deferred
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
[Photograph taken in Travnik, Bosnia-Herzegovina, May 2008]
Cliff Baldwin : Aquebogue, NY
Christie Blizard : Lubbock, TX
Elaine Buckholtz : Jamaica Plain, MA
Johanna Evans-Colley : Brooklyn,NY
Tannaz Farsi : Eugene, OR
Rebecca Ferrell : Richmond, VA
Charlie Glenn : Richmond, VA
Norberto Gomez : Richmond VA
Nathan Gorgen : Columbus, OH
Lisa Hein and Robert Seng : Brooklyn, NY
Nicole Herbert : Harrisburg, PA
Devon Johnson : Centreville, VA
Nelly Kate and Dave Watkins : Richmond, VA
Brian McLean : Smyrna, GA
Rebecca Najdowski : Berkeley, CA
Vesna Pavlovic : Nashville, TN
Jason Peters : Brooklyn, NY
Kate Louise Peterson : New York, NY
Phillip Stearns : Brooklyn, NY
Sasha Waters Freyer : Iowa City, IA
Jacqueline Weaver and Timothy McMurray : Troy, NY
There is a word for someone who refuses to be pigeonholed—happily choosing to be broad instead of deep. The word is generalist . . . The most effective social innovators are generalists—they see systems that are invisible to experts.
This month, Need Supply Co. debuts its first issue of Human Being, a new publication meant to tangibly illuminate their culture. I am honored to have an essay included in this copy and it was awesome to work with Will Godwin + Cameron Charles Lewis on an early-morning shoot to go along with the piece. Those dark secrets of a solo touring musician are tucked between beautiful photographs of Nicaragua, urban gardens, stories of new endeavors in private restauranteurs, legendary modern designers . . . go pick one up for yourself at the store before they're all gone.
Photograph from Need Supply Co. blog.
Photo by Rachel Maves
Flyer by Brent Delventhal
It was a privilege to be interviewed for a piece by Harry Kollatz Jr. in last month's edition of Richmond Magazine entitled, 'Under 30 and on Their Way.' The article featured myself alongside 4 other young artists in RVA AND that beautifully-crafted photograph by Will Godwin (from Need Supply Co.) appeared as the entire page 78! It's off the shelves now but can be found online right HERE.
Photograph by Shelby Turner.
Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
...from under this rock.
This past week, Style Weekly published a long and definitive article about Matthew E. White, a musician who's hardly new to our scene. He's been living here, helping found an incredible collective (called Patchwork), starting a record label (called Spacebomb), collaborating with Hometapes (!), and making music with amazing artists non-stop...[insert 'living the dream' here]
And also moved. And also thrilled. And also proud.
He stumbles from his bed, and makes his way into the day over cereal and black coffee. Grumbling small talk and switching on headlamps, an elevator lowers them down into the heart of the sleeping earth.
Just above the surface, the morning is sighing itself awake as he begins this solitary quest. Fifty five degrees. Cotton, flannel, denim, wool, leather. Wood and steel. Trinitrotoluene and nitroglycerine. Clicking-clacking-blasting-lifting-coughing-dripping-pounding-hacking-drilling further toward the darkness.
The entire world is taking nutritional supplements, drinking fluoridated water, laptopping current affairs, jogging on treadmills, warring over petroleum, and proposing to the love of its life--as he is chipping away at the fundamental stuff of progress.
Dive into this long-awaited release; it's easily one of the best new things you'll put on your turntable all year. With the analog nuance that characterizes Hixson's work, there's a rich compliment between the surf-rock tones he drives on guitars and vocals, the occasional Casio rhythms, and his signature whirring tape echoes. You never have to get me started on Hixson's writing either because I sink into it like a hot spring in autumn. These were pressed by Deep Woods Collective in a run of 200, they come with a hand-stitched songbook, and 50 of them are released with white covers. See to it that this finds its way into your collection soon, as a classic outro to a summer well-lived.
A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.
After three playful photo shoots with my ever-inspiring friend, Will Godwin, this interview has been posted to the Need Supply blog. He shot all of the photographs with an old 35mm Canon AE-1. I was so grateful to have the opportunity to share my thoughts and ambitions with Miles Quillen, on this publication that I follow on the regular.
[Click on the screenshot below for the full article.]
Also, footage from Meet the Maker series I performed at this spring : : :
Film by Jonathan Hökklo.
Photographs by Will Godwin.
In your favorite haunts--paint peeling from walls, mullions rusting and growing brittle in concrete frames, graffiti histories layering the narrative, and obsolete tools of industry cluttering the scene--are the things you tuck away for the sake of nostalgia. Your imagination delicately cultivates an amalgam of these things deep within your desires. Meanwhile, in an alternate universe, people are harnessing and realizing a refined manifestation of these qualities. With elements both familiar and reinvigorated, it is approachable and transcendent at once.
You'll know when you arrive and it just might change your life.
BoomBap is a DIY warehouse space in Portland, OR that functions as a community hub for learning, performing, exhibiting, and creating. Its rhythm falls in time with the subcultural heartbeat pulsing beneath its glossy American counterpart; there's hope for us all. A menagerie of electronics evidence the work of fastidious and patient artists. Circuit-bent toys and keyboards display behind glass showcases. A bowl of piezo mics made from bottle caps and zip-ties sits upon the counter top. There's a small gallery tucked into the back of the main space where there's an exhibit of local work. Photocopied fliers announce upcoming 'Drink N Draw' figure-drawing sessions. Murals of wild animals and imaginary scapes tickle its walls. Obscure films cycle through projections behind performing artists. And as you might imagine the people who occupy the space are equally magical.
I had the pleasure of sharing a bill with two of the founders of the space, Derek and Kristen Larson. They call themselves William Ingrid and their stupendous combination of electronic beats and tones harkens at the work of The Blow or Mirah, if they were to fill their work out with more layers and a touch of math. Not to mention, Kristen's soulful stylings could easily rival those of Adele any day.
This unforgettable show happened on my birthday. All of the right Portland people were there to witness what might be my last performance of this sort for a long while. The headlining band, Oscilero was a jet-set threesome comprised of Jason Breeden and Sara Johanne (of Zouaves and Susurrus Station) and an electronic percussionist. They gave me three completely awesome gifts: a heartfelt rendition of Nelly Furtado's 'Say It Right,' an invitation to improvise alongside them for a later song, and old payphone the percussionist, Paul, had converted into a microphone.