This outdoor festival is taking place in the small streets between 5th + Mission and 6th + Howard. Along with with the usual food, music and beer garden, there are also bunch of design and technology projects being presented with the goal of rethinking how we use and innovate in our public space. Shane and I will be hanging 19 loudspeakers in an approximate grid of San Francisco at the corner of Mission and Mary.
Good Fences Make Good Neighborhoods is a data sonification experiment that takes information about tides, trees, language demographics, transport and and wind in San Francisco and interprets them musically and spatially with the dual hopes of clarifying the data and making something beautiful. Bring your thoughtful ears and hungry bellies – we’d love to see you!
As you can see, our rehearsal setup is a little on the cramped side. I guess that’s what we get for building a table and hanging 13 organ chimes in a San Francisco apartment. In spite of our current near-fire-hazard living conditions, we’re getting really excited about this weekend’s performance of SEER at the Lab. The other performers, Jay Kreimer and Diana Burgoyne, are doing some really fascinating stuff as well, so I’m excited for how many of our friends will be coming to the show. On that note, last weekend’s show was standing room only, so get you’re tickets now if you want to guarantee a spot!
After last night’s stellar kickoff party at the Academy of Science, ME’DI•ATE’s fifth season of their Soundwave Festival is looking to be a force in the Bay Area this summer. Shane and I are in the final stages of writing and rehearsing a piece for their July 21 show “The Future Bionic” at the LAB (psst . . . go buy tickets) and we’ve been having a wonderful time taking the instrument we designed to various events for people to explore and play with.
The perfomance, SEER, is about the human desire to know the future – even, or perhaps especially, when it can’t be understood. We’ve taken texts from old newspaper horoscopes, the Oracle at Delphi and writings about Chinese oracle bones and tied them together with this light-activated instrument and a lot of music.
So, it looks like we’ll be spending the weekend rehearsing and programming and generally have a great time.
Shane and I had a particularly artsy Sunday afternoon this week.
We spend the early afternoon at SFMOMA, where we saw Melissa Caywood, Kelly Kemp, and Wendy Rein dance Deborah Slater’s “Echoes Made Visible” on the 5th floor bridge, right in the middle of Bill Fontana’s “Sonic Shadows.” (More on this later – I’m digesting more wonderful dance and choreography than usual right now!)
Walking around the museum also lead to me falling into a Rothko for a while, which was a pleasure.
By early evening, we were entering Holy Innocents Episcopal Church for what would turn out to be a truly enjoyable performance by Nonsemble 6. The program focused on the natural world and was full of stylized birdsong – not especially surprising when featuring Messiaen – and struck a nice balance between variety and cohesiveness. The program included Harbison’s “The Natural World,” Davidovsky’s “Biblical Songs” and Messiaen’s “The Quartet for the End of Time.
While there are many gushy praises I can heap on the ensemble, what strikes me most in retrospect is their clear and remarkable sense of humor. The most obvious example of this is the second movement of the Davidovsky, “And Samson Said.” The text is brief and violent, and soprano Amy Foote sang it with an intelligence and lack of self consciousness that, outside of a concert setting (in a church!), might have inspired cringing laughter as observers took in the murderous glee of the piece. The sense of drama and attention to detail brought by each member of the ensemble was only enhanced by the noticeable enjoyment they drew from interacting with one another.
And I can’t end this without mentioning Annie Phillips’ exquisite performance of the Abime des Oiseaux. She managed to be both conversational and trancendant in a movement where achieving either can be a challenge.
The concert was part of the Noe Valley Chamber Music Emerging Artist Series, which has apparently been around for 19 seasons! I will never stop being impressed by how many wonderful things are going on all over this city.
After some initial birthing pains which I admit were most strongly felt by Shane, All On a Windy Day had a successful maiden voyage at the Whitehaus Family Record’s We are Guest Talk, Free: $10, hosted at the Cambridge YMCA.
All On a Windy Day is an interactive multimedia piece combining the visual aesthetics of photo albums and illustration with a series of interactive musical pieces which are collaborations between Shane and me. As each page of the stylized album is turned, new music begins and the listener is invited to “play” the page like an instrument, changing the music, modifying the sounds and creating a unique version of the piece.
The Album can next be seen on September 23 & 24 at PLAYBACK > SoundLab, hosted by ME’DI.ATE and ARUP Acoustics. It’s going to be an exciting show, so take a look for more info:
PLAYBACK > SoundLab