Posts tagged: summer

Updates/Listening to the London Scene

By , September 11, 2017 1:26 pm

Hi all!

It’s been an eventful Summer:

–  Polyrhythmics played across the region, including the Eclipse Festival and the High Sierra Music Festival, where I had the opportunity to share the stage with both Skerik (who I talked with on the blog here) and Karl Denson, a musical highlight for me.  We added the finishing touches to the next album, set to release 9/20, and are asking fans, friends, and family to preorder it at http://www.pledgemusic.com/polyrhythmics .  Check it out!  There are other fun gifts and thank yous for supporting on that site as well.

–  Theoretics performed at Capitol Hill Block Party and are working on a new EP.  We’re continuing to move in a different direction from previous sounds, and I am really excited to continue.  To me, the music fuses a more composed, layered approach with a creative and spontaneous treatment of sounds and textures, and it’s changing how I think about writing and playing music, in a good way.  I hope to share it with you all soon!

–  I moved to a slightly different part of town with my girlfriend, a little more out of the way but still connected to what I need personally and musically.  With how busy things have been it has been difficult to really get settled (3 months later and we still have pictures to hang and boxes to unpack!), but all things in time.  Honestly, it has been nice to feel as though I’m getting away a bit when I come home; it has been easier for me to focus on what needs to get done.

 

In other news, I’ve been more and more interested in what seems to be a particular circle of creative musicians based in London, and it’s been fun to listen to their similarities and differences in sound based on that common geography.

I had heard the Heliocentrics from Adam, our drummer in Theoretics, quite a while ago, but recently, after they released a new full length album, I went back and got back into them.  In addition, they began popping up in my social media feed more.  Here is their drummer and producer, Malcom Catto, giving a tour of his recording studio (just click).  There also was a Gilles Peterson podcast on which Catto and bassist Jake Ferguson talked about some of their jazz influences, as well as influences outside of that genre like Ennio Morricone and Can.  Unfortunately, it looks like that podcast is not available anymore.

Listening to Gilles Peterson’s playlists after that was really informative because of their stylistic range; although genres like Electronica, Jazz, and Hip Hop are more fluid in America than they were 10 years ago, in my opinion, it seems they are still more fluid in Britain.

At the same time that I was listening to the materials above, I started listening to and following saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings.  As it turned out, Hutchings had worked with Heliocentrics in the past, but predominately plays with his own group Shabaka and the Ancestors, which sounds significantly different from Heliocentrics, in a good way.  Again, through social media I saw more and more from him – clips of interviews, concert footage (Hutchings posted a great clip of an Ancestors show where Kamasi Washington sat in, really beautiful), etc.  Also, check out his account of playing with the Sun Ra Arkestra:  A Meditation on my Experience with the Sun Ra Arkestra

A fourth element of this London scene I listened to was Yussef Kamaal, a duo collaboration with another unique take on creative London music.  Although the duo is no longer considered together, Kamaal Williams, aka Henry Wu, is quite active on my feed, and I’m interested to see what he does next.  And, as before, even with major differences in their musical approach, sound, and style, there is a common thread – Yussef Kamaal’s album Black Focus was engineered by none other than Malcom Catto of the Heliocentrics.

Anyway, I recommend checking out any of the artists mentioned above.  It has been enlightening and interesting listening to them over the last couple of months!

 

Art

 

 

 

Summer Recap

By , August 28, 2013 1:45 pm

sasquatch

 

Another eventful summer is coming to a close; in many ways this one was an extension of the tours, trips, and festivals that I really began to experience last year, and yet at the same time I could feel my “adult” life begin in Seattle.  I’ve become (slightly) more organized with my teaching schedule, I’ll be committed to living somewhere for longer than a year (unusual for me), and the dust has started to settle in this post-day-job life.  And all this was happening while traveling to Montana for the first time since I was a kid, performing in places that still seem unreal to me, and playing music for more people than I ever have in my life.

In addition to that juxtaposition, travel vs. home life, I’ve found the need to connect with listeners, friends, and family stronger than ever, and at the same really valuing the time I have by myself to organize my…self.  These two dualities, social and professional, are really what drove my summer.  I’m not sure whether feeling this way is healthy/helpful/sustainable, but for me it feels good.  It feels like I am experiencing life from as many different aspects as possible, and when it all comes down to it, it hasn’t kept me from being both happy and musically productive, and that’s really all that matters.

Plenty of fun things in the pipeline:  just finished recording the next Hardcoretet album; it will be the first time any band I’ve been in will get to three records!  The Polyrhythmics album will be coming out on vinyl soon, another first for me, and the artwork looks great!  Theoretics shows at Sasquatch and Capitol Hill Block Party were great successes and will be leading to more opportunities in the future.  Other than that, I’m just doing the best I can to be present, enjoy the moment, and put myself in good places!

 

 

Festival Mode

By , August 15, 2012 11:58 am

The hot weather took its time, but it is finally here, and my schedule has been pretty effective as far as getting me out there to enjoy it!

Festival performances with the Polyrhythmics and Theoretics have been really fun, especially because I hadn’t really gone to many music festivals before, either as an audience member or a performer.  The last few months really hooked me (combining car-camping with live music in the outdoors?  How can you go wrong?) and I hope to make it a tradition to go to at least 1 or 2 each Summer, regardless of whether I’m playing.

It’s not over yet though; I’m excited to hit the road in the next couple of months with both Polyrhythmics and Hardcoretet.  Also, Hardcoretet will be enjoying some new musical partnerships soon.  Time to start composing!

 

Summer Wrap-up

By , September 14, 2010 12:56 pm

Well, Summer is coming to a close, and it’s been a while since I’ve written here, so I thought I would try to bring the season to a conclusion by looking back on what’s been happening.

I’ve been lucky.  Just looking at the photos that were taken over the season bring me back to many great memories that I will always have, whether it was playing music or seeing music, hanging out with friends, being with Brittany, or spending time with family, camping or biking or kite-flying or anything else that I did and I’m sure a lot of you out there did too!

One of the reasons it’s so wonderful to have clearly defined Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter is that it gives you that clear start to another handful of months and a chance to look back on the previous ones, and really think about where you’ve been and where you’re going, mostly in the short-term (I don’t really consider myself a long-term thinker right now).  You can relish the good things that went on and make some changes to things that didn’t go so well.

Sometimes you don’t change much.  In fact, most of the time this process just reiterates what I already know, but that’s fine, and I feel as though that review process is really important for me to keep doing what I need to do to be happy.

So what’s next this Winter?  I hope to devote more energy to three bands:  Hardcoretet, Theoretics, and the Polyrhythmics, and stay close with the people that are important to me and support my endeavors.  I hope to be involved in Seattle music while also being a good friend and person to the folks who are important to me.  I also hope I can continue to enjoy and take advantage of living here in the Northwest, even if the sun isn’t out.

And…I hope to put in more time at home with that piece of metal I put around my neck a couple of times a week  🙂

–Art

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