Posts Tagged ‘Arts’

If I had to choose between listening to Frank Mills or Bent Fabric for extended periods of time I’d choose Bent Fabric, no question. Fabric has a nice, relaxed, toe-tapping simplicity that would make any long elevator ride seem a little more bearable. Mills, on the other hand, would grate on the brain for the entire 90 floor milk-route trip.

“Music Box Dancer” (by Mills) was a popular song to dance to at ballet/dance recitals in the 1980s. I had never had a routine where it was used but was envious of those who had been given that opportunity. I wonder if I would have felt the same desire to dance to Bent Fabric, had that music been all the rage. Maybe it was for the girls in tap classes. I doubt it though, certainly not for pre-pubescent girls in the 1980s.

I had been meaning to post something by Mills or Fabric but thinking about tap dancing classes had brought the image of this dancing lady into mind instead. She never quite works up the steps by more than a lazy shuffle…

This is a scene from David Lynch’s Eraserhead.


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Twice a year my adult piano student group gets together; something which inevitably involves me playing something from my old repertoire. In the past, it’s been the usual suspects: some Bach, Shostakovich, Mozart, and lots of Schumann. One off the beaten track performance was of a ‘rag’ by Tenney. And then there was the time at the old house when we had two pianos in the living room. We had requested that the tuner tune one instrument down a quarter tone and Siamese Connection and I played some Ives for a ‘teachers concert.’ That was fun.

Tonight I went for something completely different and brought out ye olde accordion with the pickup attached and fed through the effects pedal and the amp.

What interested me in particular from the performer’s side of things is that it was never really clear to the audience when the performance began. Of course there were some sound check elements, playing with the mic, hooking the pickup up, checking levels, but the noise gradually developed into something more and organically became the ‘piece’– albeit an improvised one. I really wondered at what point in the improv (which only lasted about 7 minutes) the audience of adult students actually realized that this was not just a sound check.

Later on I found out that another one of the teachers ended up shushing one of the students who would have continued talking through it, not realizing that the performance was going on. I guess some people realized it. Others didn’t. But what exactly was the tip-off for those who did hear music in there somewhere (and they all did agree that it was music, in the textbook ‘organized sound’ sort of way)? What exactly was the point at which the noise ended and the ‘music’ began?

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Tonight’s session was good but I had some problems with balance as far as the recording was concerned, the sound of the accordion blasted far louder than the sounds from the amplifier. Basically, the amp was feeding back from the effects unit (or perhaps the opposite) and I had to angle the amp slightly away from the unit and the recorder. In the future I think I’ll do a little sound check with the recorder (I’m not currently using the computer to record but an H2 Zoom. The sound quality coming out of that little baby is pretty good).

Siamese Connection made a good suggestion as far as running the feed from the effects unit straight into a preamp and then into the computer. The problem therein lies that either one or both of our preamps are now dead and/or not compatible with my newish computer so I’ve got to piece the whole thing together. For now, the recordings are off the floor.

In any case, this particular recording, which is a rather smallish segment, is taken in one of the more balanced (less obnoxious, believe it or not) sections. There are still some peaks that I’m not entirely happy with, but that’s fine. The point here was to document a process rather than record something absolutely perfect.

So here is Amplified Accordion Experiment 2.1. I’ll render another sample tomorrow from today’s session.

accordion experiment 2.1

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