Monday, March 2, 2009

Neon Brown Presents: "Woodland Acoustic Orchestra" (Feb '09)!

Set 1 47 megs
Set 2 32 megs
(+ Bonus Timelapse Movie of the second set 4.7 megs)

February 25th started with a trio of me and two guys I'd never played with before: Noah Adler (Mandolin) and Aaron Stepp (Fretless Electric Bass). The funny thing is that it wasn't the first NBP for either of them! Both Noah and Aaron made their debut at the previous month's acoustic-orchestra night, during the first week of my new baby daughter Lucy's life -- when even dragging an acoustic guitar to the Chai House was still sounding a little ambitious and off-topic...though if it had been a week later, I would've loved to have brought her out to just sit on the couch and drool to the grooves. (I believe that unrecorded evening was a quartet of John Beezer (Guitar) -- in his last NBP before his move to New York City -- Dennis Jolin (Nylon String Acoustic through Wah), and Aaron and Noah...supposedly, it was very mellow and trance-like that evening, and -- I'd guess from my more recent jam with them -- awesome.)

But back to the February: What a great trio it turned out to be!! 
We discussed possible signals before we started, but ended up having plenty of momentum and diversity to quickly forget them. I was admittedly a little rusty from lack of recent fretboard time, but Aaron and Noah were sharp and versatile and it seemed we quickly found and explored a common love of what I'll try to describe as "tweaky odd-time groove mutation" -- where a group locks in on a repeating syncopated line and then each player in harmony gradually pushes the rhythm and angles further and further away from the path of least resistance (see 15:30 or 36:30), while simultaneously maintaining a consistent and well-defined meter. The level of attention required for this type of playing almost by necessity becomes exhausted from time to time, and so we would break down (probably a welcome breath for the listeners as well) into a wide range of more spacious and conventionally-rhythmic movements as well. I'm already looking forward to next time with these guys. (Oh yeah, and the "lyrics" that creep in from time to time during this set were from the back-page-classified-ads from the Stranger.)

Second set, we were joined by the always melodic, energetic, and inspiring Chris Powers (Acoustic Guitar), briefly by a percussionist who I don't believe I'd met before, and eventually by Daniel Nelon, whose smooth and modally innovative vocal work carried us to the end of the set and decorated a sweetly-harmonized "last call" right before the final bell. Daniel is always a great addition, but after the brief taste of 'what-could-be' here, we agreed to bring him back for more of the show on a day when I've got more lyrical creativity and we can really explore the chorus-harmonies! I'm looking forward to that too. :) ...and also to any listener or player comments on this post or on your experience of the show or recordings. Please add them here in the comments section!


Anonymous said...

wow - this was a GREAT night of music - finally got the 'net piped through the living room iBook so I don't have to wait til I feel like headphones anymore - DAMN I am liking this one a lot - kisses to all involved


Anonymous said...

You should really place the video on YouTube. It would beat the cramp out of most the the shit that is currently out there.

F R E E L A B said...

Actually, Five was kind enough to grab and add that to his awesome YouTube site at:'s a direct link: Five is the man!! (in a totally non-oppressive sort of a way)

Anonymous said...


is my new favorite word


Anonymous said...

heya, five, we should play sometime. i loved your glass goblins project...i think that was you, right?

Anonymous said...

Yo Filthy Aaron Codlauncher -

Yes, Glass Goblins is me - but I'm located in Los Angeles anymore, so unless you're SoCal local it won't fly!

Glad you remember and dug the sounds - hope it's good things for you lately!

see yas

F R E E L A B said...

Oh, I failed to mention this in the posting: There was a guy there for the first set taking lots of photos with a pretty professional-looking rig...seemed to be getting some up-close shots during some of the weirder sections of the set. Did anybody know him? Maybe he's accidentally found his way here years from now and somehow remembers... In any case, I'd love to see any of the results. Actually, this goes for pretty much anybody who happens to snap some photos. I'd be glad to add them to the postings. Here's your opportunity to boost your photography career through exposure to a captive audience of several! :)

Anonymous said...

hilarious! that was my coworker david snapping the photos. i invited him for the night, and he thought it a good photo op and some good practice for him personally. he got bashful when you set up the webcam and didnt want to step on your toes if you were taking your own shots for the show. incidentally, he also over-exposed the shots in development, so they were bummer. ive got some black and white shots he took from the woodland show you werent at, but ive gotta dig em up...