Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Woodland Acoustic Orchestra Presents: "Super-Cali-Fraggle-Rastafarian"!

Set 1 70 megs
Set 2 24 megs

WAO coalesces again here for another successful run with the whiteboard-based signaling approach! (See the post from the end of June below for more details on the format.) This month featured a plentiful orchestra of regulars, including "Filthy" (Fretless Bass) Woody Frank (6-String and Vocals), Dennis Jolin (Ukelele, Percussion, and Vocals), Ian McKagen (6-String and Vocals), and Andrew "me" Woods (Fretless Classical Guitar, Trumpet, Vocals, etc...). We also had a two-piece dumbek section of new-ish arrivals, Johnny Greene (who gave me a CD of a well-recorded, mind-blowingly technical, and thoroughly listenable 20-minute drum-solo!...but more on that later) and Seth "I-don't-know-his-last-name" (the guy seen directing the Abstract Graphical Score in the post below). For the first set we had John only (from the couch in front of the stage), but sometime later in the evening, Seth grabbed my unused dumbek from the stage and joined him on the neighboring couch. Together, the extra percussion extended the grooves out into the house and untold dimensions beyond.

In addition to the continuous stream of expertly signaled direction from within the Orchestra, we also had an unusually fruitful Chai-House-provided theme for the evening (reportedly by Erin...if so, then bravo, Erin! :): "Super Cali Fraggle Rastafarian". As with a handful of the best themes we've had in the past, the story of a ganja-toking Muppet on the road in Northern California shaped the show from first notes to beer-o'clock. (I only wish the theme had been listed on the Chai House's calendar like it usually is...after the show, I got to talking to a guy who remembered Fraggle Rock better than I did and I realized there was so much untapped potential there! ...so many details that were apparently wiped from my 13-year old pre-rastafarian mind.) But kudos to the group for the nuanced improvisation, the many fantastic -- and often theme-appropriate -- signals, and the stellar muppet-vocals.

I think this might be the first time that the fretless nylon-string has been to the Chai House in at least a couple of years. It seemed to add a nice bit of tonal contrast against the two steel-strings, and the lack of frets forces me to keep things simple, which is great with so many players. It's been much longer since I've seriously picked up the trumpet (...junior year in high-school?), and my impression as I was playing was that I was mostly making a fool out of myself. But listening back to the recordings I really liked the added texture and I don't think it should take me too long to get back to the point where I can find a way to play things that people can enjoy listening to. So perhaps I'll make this combo my WAO rig for a while and see what develops!


Snoose Junction said...

Elmo and Grover, over and over!

F R E E L A B said...

Nov. 2006!! A fine vintage. ;)) I think that one was multi-tracked even. Supposedly, Adrian has been playing around with crazy break-beat-esque extreme manipulations of the raw tracks from that night. ...which I'd *love* to hear one of these days...

(I also had more-conventionally mixed down a track from the very last movement of the night where Adrian joined us on kit. I was planning to give it the "What's Got Into You?" treatment, but then I decided it just wasn't quite strong enough. A great jam, but perhaps loose enough that it should just remain as is.)

Dennis said...

I'll have to dial that one in. Good vocal stuff. In fact, I think that is my favorite things that has been happening. Too bad there weren't more mics.
Good mix too.